Departing from the heart of Idaho's capital city of Boise, you can be riding the open road in about 10 minutes. Since the state's principal claim to fame is its potatoes, you might expect to find yourself among potato plants. But those farms are elsewhere. You'll either be among the sagebrush and scrub of the high desert or climbing into the foothills toward mountain peaks that are capped with snow all year round.
Asked to ride a Boise-based shamrock tour in May, I dallied until the fall because I didn't have to turn anything in until October. By September though, when I was ready to saddle up, the smoke from several large forest fires blanketing the state occasioned another delay. Capturing any clear photographic details was out of the question and, self-serving as this may seem to any smokejumpers out there, I prefer to keep my lungs functioning in the pink, just the way they are, for as long as I can.
Raring to go but stuck at home, I waited impatiently and scanned the skies like a NASA engineer. Each morning I woke up hoping to have a good launch window, with the Owyhee Mountains clearly visible in the distance from my house. But, no. The view remained the same - haze on top of haze - one disappointing, murky day after the other. In mid-September, after a cleansing storm blew in from the west, the Honda Transalp and I finally got the all-clear to blast off.