Finding an enjoyable bike route from my home in the south part of Nampa can be a challenge. It’s not due to lack of open roads. Here on the edge of farmers fields and wild animal preserves, there is room. It’s just that if I head the obvious direction of south, away from town, the wind is usually against me coming home. If I’m going to have to deal with much wind, I’d much rather it be in the first half of the bike ride.
That is why I particularly appreciated learning about the route to the north of town via Madison Road. It’s hard to know from just looking at a map which roads are going to be quiet or scenic. Since I have limited time to get out on my road bike, and I’m not one to explore strange roads by my lonesome, I am grateful to have been shown a route of this nature. (click on any photo to enlarge)
There is the not-so-small matter of getting out of town and past the freeway. I will have to find another way to get out of town because I cannot deal with going on the 11th Street underpass by myself. It’s probably not recommended for a single cyclist anyway. (My husband confirms that going down the road that is Sunnyridge then Holly then 16th Ave. South seems better for me.) Then, a bit west on 6th North, a short time basically north on Garrity, ending up on Franklin to make the connection to E.Karcher Road from the other side of Madison.
Once we swung over to Madison on that Saturday, where it connects with Karcher, it was peaceful, open countryside for miles. There was very little traffic, except for crossing Highway 20/26 (which is Chinden Blvd. further to the east). On that Saturday morning, between 10 AM and 12 noon, we didn’t have to wait more than a minute for a big empty slot to cross safely.
Then we were at the very best part of the ride! Where Madison meets a road called Joplin, there was a large beautiful farm. It was well kept, but comfortable looking. Peacocks meandered in the street until they saw the bicycles, then raced for cover. There were large shade trees around the house giving it a storybook quality. The cows were munching contentedly from the hay troughs, and the man on the tractor waved like he was glad to see us again.
A left turn on Joplin took us past a pasture with oodles of cattle, including many little ones. They were all sure we should be bringing them breakfast, and in unison began a determined trot to the fence while mooing loudly. Naturally, nearly all the riders mooed back. It is almost impossible not to! When we passed them on the way back, they had plenty of hay and ignored us…
One turn later, our guide, Bruce Wiley, “made us” stop at a scenic point. There was a heavy duty stone memorial plaque telling that Walter Perry had been killed by Indians there! We found out this was not an isolated incident. Down further on Lincoln Road, there is a park which Bruce refers to as Massacre Park (easier to remember),but can be identified on the map as Ward Memorial State Park.
Perhaps the most important information is that there are bathrooms at this remote location, but the little state park had other interesting features. Besides a stone pillar listing the names of many people killed near there, there were story signs giving details of what supposedly lead up to the fighting. When I realized this was only about 160 years ago, a drop in the bucket in the thousands of years of history, I felt like it might as well have been yesterday … or tomorrow, seeing as how people “always get along so well, being good at heart and all.” I counted my blessings in feeling safe enough to go for a bike ride in the countryside.
The ride back was just as pleasant. There was always someone making sure that no one got left behind. Everyone was free to make suggestions about the pace. If someone (uh hum, like me) accidentally got in the lead, Bruce was good about shouting out directions when it was important.
I can see this being a fun place to go for a run, too. We could drive out to Ward Park, run around, then drive home. When I began riding with Nampa Cycling, I was doing it more for the group ride phenomena and camaraderie. I didn’t know how much I would be discovering about my town and surrounding area, where I have lived for nearly 20 years!