Day One: Twin Falls, Idaho (688) miles.

Phew.

That was a handful of miles in the hot sun.

Maybe the longest day of my trip. I’m glad to get it done with first. My hands ache. My left foot has a blister from the sun baking it in my boot. But The biggest day is behind me. The rest will be a cake walk.

Hot and windy, but not at all a bad ride. It went quickly. Lots of talkative westerners at the gas stops and now at the bar. The tall grass is beginning to look tawny yellow, but the trees are still green and the rivers are reassuringly high. At 85mph It doesn’t feel like a divided country in a state of ongoing war.

The portly, Corvette-driving septuagenarian who sit down next to me at the bar talks my ear off. He tells a tale of motorcycle death witnessed just hours before, casting a pall over my IPA and burger. But remember, this is Twin Falls, its grand Snake River Canyon famous for that most invincible motorcyclist, Evel Knievel”s rocket-powered plunge across the divide in ’75.

Mr. Corvette gets close to it—“What Trump should do is…,” “Be careful with those people in Portland…”—but he veers back when I don’t pick up and wishes me well when I leave.

How does one make sense of this country? Its vitality, its beauty, its difference all rolled out across its sweeping plains. Motorcyclists have been asking that since Brando leaned against the lamppost in a mock up of Hollister.

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