CMA HeartBeat March 2021 - Page 11

RECOMMENDED RIDES

RECOMMENDED RIDES

Thatcher , Idaho . Maple Grove Hot Springs is located on the Bear River at the north end of the Oneida Narrows . With spectacular views of the mountains , you can soak in pools right on the river bank .
Nine miles past Thatcher , watch for the sign to the Niter Ice Cave . It is less than a quarter-mile to the cave with a large parking area . The cave is large with no branching passages , so you can explore it easily in 10-15 minutes , which would be a great break if you are taking the ride on a hot summer day .
Legend has it that local families used the cave to hide from marauding Indians . That would have been a serious threat in the 1870s and 1880s . This route follows the Oregon Trail . In the summer of 1861 , a family of seven on their way to Oregon camped in the vicinity of Soda Creek and the Bear River . Their horses strayed . The family fell behind the main wagon train to search for them . Sometime during the night , they were killed by Indians . Trappers found them and buried them in their own wagon box . There is a sign just after you turn onto Highway 30 directing you off the highway to the Wagon Box Memorial and gravesite .
Continuing another 9 miles on Highway 34 , the road intersects Highway 30 . You will want to head toward your primary destination of Soda Springs , Idaho , so named for the world ’ s only captive geyser . It was discovered 80 years ago when the
town began drilling for a public swimming pool . It is now capped and controlled by a timer . It erupts every hour on the hour . The geyser reaches heights of 100 feet every hour , 365 days a year . Warning : park your bikes as far away from the geyser as you can , or your bike will have mineral-infused water spots that are hard to wipe off .
There is a small park and designated walkways around the geyser . A popular activity for families passing through is to add the effervescent water to ordinary fruit punch to make your own soda pop . It doesn ’ t quite taste like soda pop , but kids sure get a kick out of it .
The geyser is actually located behind the historic Enders Hotel and Museum on 76 S . Main Street in Soda Springs . Built in 1919 , it is now on the National Historic register . You can wander upstairs to take a peek in the rooms and look around a bit for a taste of a bygone era before enjoying a steak downstairs in the Diamond Heart Cattleman ’ s restaurant . Your steak will be locally raised , hormone-free , grass-fed beef . There are other menu options as well . The restaurant has maintained the atmosphere of bygone days and is a pleasant experience . After lunch , get back on Highway 30 and head back the way you came , past where you turned onto Highway 30 and keep going straight over to Lava Hot springs , a short 20-mile detour . Lava Hot Springs is a fun little tourist town of
gift shops , small hotels , and pools both large and small , hot and cold . If you planned ahead and brought your swimsuit , you might want to rent an inflated inner tube to chill on a float down the river .
From Lava Hot Springs , you can head back to Preston , Idaho , on the same route you came . It might be time for dinner when you get back to Preston . We recommend Mis Amores Mexican Restaurant on 36 North State Street for great Mexican food with indoor and outdoor seating .
Or , after your visit to Lava Hot Springs , you could head back to Soda Springs and keep going on Highway 34 north for another scenic 100 miles that will take you to Jackson Hole , Wyoming .
You may not live anywhere near Preston , Idaho , but you might just be looking for a scenic route with local flavor on your way to and from Jackson Hole and maybe farther still to Yellowstone National Park . CMA Tom and Kathie Palazzolo oversee the West Region as
National Evangelist .
11⎪March 2021⎪www . cmausa . org