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Eye On Boise

Bicyclist calls all of Idaho ‘just stunning’ – and he should know

Kirk Hall just showed all of us what we’re missing. Starting in Boundary County on May 31 and finishing just before the Fourth of July in Boise, Hall, 62, pedaled his bicycle into every one of Idaho’s 44 counties. Hall, who regularly commutes by bicycle in Boise, said his month-long scenic ride throughout the state wasn’t meant to make a statement about gas prices. “I’m not sure I saved money, given what I ate and spent on rooms, but I sure had fun,” he said.

Here’s what he learned after traveling solo for 2,100 miles, climbing 57,000 feet, and logging about 70 miles a day: “We all say that Idaho is a beautiful state, and I think I have some authority to say that’s true.” With this year’s rains, the state is green and gorgeous, Hall said. “It was just stunning right now. … I’d encourage anyone to get out and see this state.”

Hall was inspired to make his 44-county ride by the state’s “Idaho Passport” program, which offers people a chance to get a stamp from every county and win recognition for visiting them all. “It got me thinking about doing it a different way,” said Hall, who’s retired after a career as a Bonneville Power Administration official and former head of the state’s Energy Office under then-Gov. John Evans.

He works part-time now for REI. “That’s how I pay for these toys,” he said, gesturing to his bicycle and a streamlined bike trailer on which he carried his gear. Hall’s trailer was from BOB Trailers, Inc., a manufacturer that recently relocated to Boise from San Luis Obispo, Calif. His bike was from REI.

Hall, who’s clearly very fit, said his trip didn’t require Superman-like fitness levels. “With something like this, it takes more persistence than fitness,” he said. “I’d be up early and go ‘til 6 or 7 in the evening. With the exception of two days of heavy headwinds, it wasn’t that hard.”

Hall is the 810th traveler (including one pet cat) to complete the Idaho Passport by visiting every Idaho county, and the first to do it by bike.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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