It’s Friday afternoon about 4:30 and I’m in the weeds. I’ve had pretty steady walk in traffic and I am just starting to fulfill the online orders which came in today. Don’t get me wrong; these are good problems and I really appreciate every customer. But I’m tired, and the thought of going to a dinner party tonight and then getting the bikes ready for an overnight bikepacking trip tomorrow is actually depressing. That’s the opposite of how it’s supposed to work: we go to dinner parties and plan trips in order to relax and rejuvenate and get away from the grind, I think. Maybe the depression was just from feeling too tired to do the things that normally are enjoyable. Luckily, Sky King never cuts me any slack, and so I change my clothes and trudge off to the dinner party, which turns out not to be horrible. The other attendees are wine aficionados, which the Bike Hermit is not. I feel a little intimidated and inadequate as I quaff my Josephsbrau Heller Bock. But I do learn some stuff about wine and sample most of the varieties which were paired with the different courses. The hostess is a great cook and the company is highly entertaining. In spite of my plans to be irascible, I enjoy myself and by the time we walk home I feel quite a bit better. (maybe it was all the wine sampling?)
We have the bikes loaded in the truck along with all our gear by mid-morning and we head south out of Boise. It is probably 2:30 PM or so by the time we start riding. Even though it is over 100 degrees in Boise today it is not even 90 here at 7,000 feet. A rancher rides up on a four-wheeler with his horse’s saddle slung across the front. We ask him for directions and about the road and we discover that he and his fellow wranglers just drove some cattle down to Bull Basin- where he left his horse. His speech is slow and deliberate, as if he is carefully considering what he is going to say. I imagine I see the beginnings of a grin as he thinks to himself things he decides not to say. I’m sort of disappointed that he is wearing a ball cap, even if his boots appear authentic cowboy. Why not be totally awesome and wear a custom West Texas Cattleman if you are living the life?
We roll generally downhill for 9 miles to Bull Basin where the road t-bones at a posted gate, behind which stands our cowboy’s paint. We turn left and through a second gate, which is posted with a bleached out sign which is unreadable, into a fenced compound where the cattle are chilling. The road crosses a swampy spring with water the color of black tea, passes through another gate and heads up out of the basin. This last gate is not signed which makes me believe the short section of private land we just crossed is de facto not posted.
It was almost 7 PM by the time we reached Crutcher Crossing. We drank our cans of Dales Pale Ale, bathed in the Owyhee River, ate dinner and passed out. In the morning we ate breakfast, packed the bikes and headed back up the trail. This was a very workmanlike S24O bikepacking overnighter, but I still felt as though I had escaped the grind. I was physically very tired but mentally prepared to get back to the salt mine on Monday.