Alaska 2008 – Day 26, July 29

Day 26, July 29

Rexburg ID to HOME!

606 miles

We wake up this morning and I ask Mike how far we are from Terrebonne. He figures it on the map. We’re looking at more than 600 miles, but that sounds like such a tiny distance after all we’ve done so far.

I’m tired, I want my own bed, and I’m ready for a few days’ rest to recuperate from this adventure. I wanna go home! Mike says we’ll see how we’re doing and if we want to we can stop in Boise.

Lunch is in Arco Idaho where, inexplicably, there is a con tower of a submarine sticking up from the ground in a park across the road from where we’re eating. I have to go investigate! We wander over and read about this town’s long involvement with the armed forces (there is a very well-secured military operation of some sort outside of town), and the installation of this portion of the fast-attack nuclear submarine USS Hawkbill in 2003 is the towns’ way of showing their support for those who have served.

Every time we stop I get an energy drink and add it to my Camelbak. I’m sleepy and my allergies aren’t cooperating, but I’ll be darned if I’m stopping somewhere boring like Boise when we’re so close to home.

We continue on through the Idaho desert; this area with its flowing hills and wide-open sage-colored valleys dotted with dry land wheat farms and basalt outcroppings really reminds us of home. We enter the Craters of the Moon National Monument, and ride a road cutting through dark black and rust-red lava flows. We stop at the visitors’ center, but decide not to pay $16 for the privilege of riding through more lava formations that are probably relatively similar to the ones along the side of the highway that we get to see for free.

Entering Oregon at Ontario, and continue on Hwy 26 towards Vale. We’ve never taken this route before, and it’s beautiful – amazing all these times we’ve lived through the flat dusty boredom of Hwy 20 through Burns when this wonderful road of rolling farmland and open hills take us to the same place!

By the time we hit John Day the sun is setting, right in to our eyes! We squint and continue on. A ways out of town a deer darts up from the riverbed and over the road, it’s a close call from the only deer we’ve seen in nearly a month!

With the sun setting over Jefferson, we pull in to our garage. Too tired to do anything except grab the overnight bag and house keys, we stumble inside to the warm furry greeting committee. We are so happy to be home, to see the cats all healthy and well fed, to sleep in our own bed!!

Overall the trip was an amazing success. To ride so many miles without a single mechanical problem and no real major issues at all is an astonishing run of luck.

We did fail to make it to the Arctic Circle, but every other aspect of the trip lived up to the adventure we thought it would be. We saw and did so much in 26 days, I can’t wait to go back and explore all those places where we merely skimmed the surface. Not next summer, but soon; we’ll be back with more time, hopefully more money, and less flaky friends!

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