Boise, ID is quite possibly my favorite place in the world.
I got stuck in Boise recovering from a knee injury two years ago while on bike tour and was taken in a by some of the most radical and caring folks I’ve ever encountered, and ever since the city has been a gravitational force pulling me back. Now I’m finally here again.
Matthew and I finished our time in Oregon with an incredible interview with Cager, the president of the Local 4 International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which has teamed up with Rising Tide and other environmental groups against building an oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington. Cager had never been much of an environmentalist, and doesn’t quite admit to being one now, but he eloquently tied together the need for environmental stewardship with the need for labor rights, privacy rights, corporate reform, etc. Stay tuned for our first video!
Anyway, after some rideshare mishaps Matthew and I ended up hitchhiking out of Portland with a wonderful series of characters and making it all the way to Boise. It took us seven rides to get here, but each was unique and memorable. The first guy who picked us up was a Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan veteran and ex-timber worker who left his past life behind and is now an avid hiker and socialist. One woman had moved from Florida and was looking hard for work in Oregon so she could move to her favorite state, and she took us on a scenic tour of the Columbia river. One driver was a kid about my age who worked in a factory and was curious about going traveling, but really dedicated to learning how to be content in one place first.
Our last drivers were a couple Mormon guys who had never picked up hitchhikers before but took pity on us in part because of my banjo. They took us all the way to a gas station in Nampa, 20 miles north of Boise, where my friends drove to pick us up. Funny enough the guy at the gas station, Chuck, was so excited to hear about our trip and was so outraged by the oil industry that he gave us a bunch of free food (fried chicken, tater tots, cheese burgers galore) and asked to join our mailing list.
When my Boise friends showed up I was so happy I felt like my chest was exploding, and we shared a beautiful giant bear hug before heading back to their place for a “dumpster pizza calzone”, which was two dumpstered pizzas filled with extra veggies and cheese stacked together and baked into one massive pizza loaf. No regrets.
All of which is to say I love Boise.
On the flip side, Matthew and I have had a really hard time getting along, and decided to break up this morning. I guess it’s a hard thing about traveling with someone that you never quite know how things are going to turn out. Still, we’re going to keep working on this project and traveling together. This is just the next phase. I’m pretty sad, but relieved to be in Boise surrounded by such good people to work through it.
Stay tuned for more ridiculous tales of my misadventures!