February 26, 2010
Sometimes a photo sums it up.
My buddy Dave Maynard and I were cycling through the bits and pieces of the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho. No traffic. Lots of climbing. Sleeping under the stars. And your typical camp food ... oatmeal or eggs in the morning, pasta at night.
We coasted down out of the mountains and into a valley plain. The temperature soared. We came upon the only intersection within 30 miles. Low and behold there was the quaintest little roadside diner I'd seen in twenty years. The light and shadow were just right, so when I snapped a photo it caught the vivid lonesome landscape (with blue sky and puffy clouds) on one side, and the interior of the diner on the other.
This is a classic bike travel moment. You come upon a diner with an old fashion register and swivel stools that offers burgers and handmade milk shakes, berry pie, cobbler, chicken fried steak ... the works. And due to the fact that you have been cranking hard on the pedals for days ... you've earned it. You can sit down and eat until the cows come home, and no matter how hard you try, you won't be able stuff as many calories into your mouth as you've burned.
To add to the intensity of it all, you're so thirsty, that even a simple glass of ice water will taste as good as most meals back home.
And only one little detail of this scene keeps it from being the most beautiful food/travel photo memory I've ever snapped.
The diner was closed!
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.