Monthly Archives: August 2016

Idaho Part III: Boise

It was an easy drive to Boise on I-84. We had no complaints because the weather was good and it was interstate all the way. We stayed at the Boise Riverside RV Park for two weeks. The location was excellent. We were within 5 minutes of any shopping we needed. The campground was at the edge of the Boise Greenbelt Trail, so we were literally steps away from our daily dog walks. (That was a real convenience after leaving a place where we had to get in the car to take the dogs for a proper walk). We were technically in Garden City, Idaho, but downtown Boise was a short 5 miles away, and we could get there on our bikes. The Boise River was on the other side of the Greenbelt Trail, so Mike was even able to do some fishing. Unfortunately for our freezer, he didn’t have any luck. Our actual camping spot was nothing special at all, and the park was all gravel, which translates to dust in the air at all times. In the long run, we felt like the location and proximity to the middle of town were good enough perks to trade off the negative aspects of the RV Park.

We both enjoyed the City of Boise very much. It reminded me a lot of Austin back in the day when mostly Texans lived there. The population is a little over 200,000, so it is big enough to have interesting citizens, but small enough to get around easily. It is a state capital and also has a university near the downtown area. The Boise River runs right through town, just as Austin’s Town Lake links many neighborhoods to the city’s center. The people of Boise are friendly and enjoy outdoor activities centered around the community’s multiple public parks and green spaces. Many of the sidewalks in the city center are flanked with patios brimming with tourists and local workers or students. Lots of construction around town indicated to me that the economy was strong in Boise. There was a good energy about the place. And it was very clean. I would dare say it was one of the cleanest and most well manicured cities we have visited on our Tour.

We had a relaxing time during our Boise stop. It was the largest city we had been to in a while, so we ran lots of errands when we first got there. Mike got the oil changed in the Honda and picked up some RV supplies. I bought make-up at a department store cosmetics counter and took the dogs to the vet. We also made a few other stops at stores that aren’t located in towns with populations of 5,000. We spent many hours walking the dogs on the trail, and riding our bikes toward all the action in the center of town. We floated the river one afternoon, went to an evening concert at the Botanical Gardens, and ate at several good local restaurants. I made a trip to the downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. A friend of mine from my organizing life is a full-time RV’er with her husband and they were passing through Boise at the same time we were there. It was fun to catch up with Donna and Mike. We met them downtown at the Bittercreek Ale House one afternoon for drinks and dinner, and hosted them at our place another evening. It is always nice when we get a chance to visit with people we actually know! Donna has a website relating to organizing issues at www.unclutter.com, and Mike writes a blog about their RV travels called www.flyingthekoop.com.

 

Our spot was B24. The sites were all gravel, so it was extremely dusty at all times.

Our spot was B24. The sites were all gravel, so it was extremely dusty at all times.

When I was checking in at the office, the lady behind the counter was on the phone with a potential client making a big deal about how their rig had to be 10-years old or newer. I guess these campers behind us got into the park before the rule was instated. Lots of RV Parks have the "10-year rule". Our Monaco is a 2006, but this year we started telling the RV parks it is a 2007... so we will meet the guest qualifications. (insert eye roll emoji here).

When I was checking in at the office, the lady behind the counter was on the phone with a potential client making a big deal about how their rig had to be 10-years old or newer. I guess these campers behind us got into the park before the rule was instated. Lots of RV Parks have the “10-year rule”. Our Monaco is a 2006, but this year we started telling the RV parks it is a 2007… so we will meet the guest qualifications. (insert eye roll emoji here).

We had one dead tree in our site, so Mike decided that was enough to hang my hammock for me. He strapped one end of the hammock to the tree. He hooked the other end of the hammock to the ladder, and fastened the ladder to the picnic table. The ladder contraption wasn't enough to keep the hammock from wobbling when a person was inside, so we moved this concrete block onto the bench of the table and stability was achieved.

We had one dead tree in our site, so Mike decided that was enough to hang my hammock for me. He strapped one end of the hammock to the tree. He hooked the other end of the hammock to the ladder, and fastened the ladder to the picnic table. The ladder contraption wasn’t enough to keep the hammock from wobbling when a person was inside, so we moved this concrete block onto the bench of the table and stability was achieved.

The Boise Hawks are a minor league baseball team from the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise. On Friday home games they have fireworks after the final inning. We were able to watch from our camp spot, so it was a fun treat. (Although Cessna hated all 10-minutes of it, even though she was inside with the a/c running, two stereos blaring and her white noise machine on maximum).

The Boise Hawks are a minor league baseball team from the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise. On Friday home games they have fireworks after the final inning. We were able to watch from our camp spot, so it was a fun treat. (Although Cessna hated all 10-minutes of it, even though she was inside with the a/c running, two stereos blaring and her white noise machine on maximum).

There are tons of fun outdoor activities to take advantage of in Boise. These kayakers were practicing their skills in the outflow of this small dam on the Boise River. I snapped this photo from the Greenbelt Trail.

There are tons of fun outdoor activities to take advantage of in Boise. These kayakers were practicing their skills in the outflow of this small dam on the Boise River. I snapped this photo from the Greenbelt Trail.

The Sandbar is a great outdoor restaurant on the River near downtown Boise. We rode our bikes over for dinner one night. The live music was fun and the Kobe Brisket Sandwich was sensational.

The Sandbar is a great outdoor restaurant on the River near downtown Boise. We rode our bikes over for dinner one night. The live music was fun and the Kobe Brisket Sandwich was sensational.

As it turns out, The Sandbar is not only dog friendly... the establishment is bird friendly, as well. This beautiful parrot joined his owner and a big group of people at a table near the band for drinks and food.

As it turns out, The Sandbar is not only dog friendly… the establishment is bird friendly, as well. This beautiful parrot joined his owner and a big group of people at a table near the band for drinks and food.

We did a river float through the middle of Boise one afternoon. The current was swift and it took us about two hours to float from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.

We did a river float through the middle of Boise one afternoon. The current was swift and it took us about two hours to float from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.

The Idaho Botanical Gardens is built around the historic penitentiary in the foothills of the city.

The Idaho Botanical Gardens is built around the historic penitentiary in the foothills of the city.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is a lovely attraction. Some of the gardens include: a water conservation landscape, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, a meditation garden, a children's adventure garden, a summer succulent garden, an herb garden and a native Idaho garden. The most intriguing garden to me was the Lewis & Clark Native Plant Garden. This garden’s goal is to display 145 plant species collected during the expedition between Great Falls, Montana and The Dalles, Oregon. With more than 125 of the species currently in place they have almost reached their goal.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is a lovely attraction. Some of the gardens include: a water conservation landscape, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, a meditation garden, a children’s adventure garden, a summer succulent garden, an herb garden and a native Idaho garden. The most intriguing garden to me was the Lewis & Clark Native Plant Garden. This garden’s goal is to display 145 plant species collected during the expedition between Great Falls, Montana and The Dalles, Oregon. With more than 125 of the species currently in place they have almost reached their goal.

We attended a summer concert series at the Botanical Gardens. The theme was swing music. The featured singer reminded us of Rhiannon Giddens. We asked the singer during the break if she was familiar with Ms. Giddens, but she did not know of her.

We attended a summer concert series at the Botanical Gardens. The theme was swing music. The featured singer reminded us of Rhiannon Giddens. We asked the singer during the break if she was familiar with Ms. Giddens, but she did not know of her.

swingin' selfie

Swingin’ selfie.

One block in downtown Boise is called the Basque Block. All businesses on this block are either museums, restaurants or markets dedicated to the Basque heritage. On Wednesdays and Fridays the Basque Market prepares Paella on the sidewalk. The dish is served at noon. All plates are $10, and the food is served until it is gone. (Sometimes that happens in 27 short minutes).

One block in downtown Boise is called the Basque Block. All businesses on this block are either museums, restaurants or markets dedicated to the Basque heritage. On Wednesdays and Fridays the Basque Market prepares Paella on the sidewalk. The dish is served at noon. All plates are $10, and the food is served until it is gone. (Sometimes that happens in 27 short minutes).

We got there at 11:00, and I'm happy to report we were the first people in line! We shared a plate of manchego cheese with bread and apples while Mike enjoyed a Spanish beer and I gulped down an amazing frozen white sangria (or two). After an hour of yummy treats and pleasant conversation with the owner, our food was served. We devoured it within minutes!

We got there at 11:00, and I’m happy to report we were the first people in line! We shared a plate of manchego cheese with bread and apples while Mike enjoyed a Spanish beer and I gulped down an amazing frozen white sangria (or two). After an hour of yummy treats and pleasant conversation with the owner, our food was served. We devoured it within minutes!

Get in line, the paella is ready!

Get in line, the paella is ready!

I wonder how fast they will sell out this time!

I wonder how fast they will sell out this time!

Artists pay the city to paint murals in Freak Alley each year.

Artists pay the city to paint murals in Freak Alley each year.

Contemplating the art in Freak Alley.

Contemplating the art in Freak Alley.

A Lewis and Clark statue on the Idaho Capitol grounds.

A Lewis and Clark statue on the Idaho Capitol grounds.

The Idaho State Capitol.

The Idaho State Capitol.

Downtown Boise has a bike share program. I love those!

Downtown Boise has a bike share program. I love those!

The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was situated on the edge of downtown at the riverbank.

The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was situated on the edge of downtown at the riverbank.

Just like the rest of America, there are many homeless people in Boise. This guy had a nice set up on a park deck off of the Greenbelt.

Just like the rest of America, there are many homeless people in Boise. This guy had a nice set up on a park deck off of the Greenbelt.

A portion of the Greenbelt Trail near downtown.

A portion of the Greenbelt Trail near downtown.

Dinnertime selfie at the Bittercreek Ale House.

Dinnertime selfie at the Bittercreek Ale House.

My friend Donna.

My friend Donna.

A downtown view of the hills that surround Boise.

A downtown view of the hills that surround Boise.

A glimpse of the Boise River from one of our many daytime walks.

A glimpse of the Boise River from one of our many daytime walks.

Rick's Press Room was on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives during season 7. We had the potato pancake, potato crusted salmon, celery slaw and meatloaf. Everything was as good as Guy Fieri said it would be!

Rick’s Press Room was on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives during season 7. We had the potato pancake, potato crusted salmon, celery slaw and meatloaf. Everything was as good as Guy Fieri said it would be!

I'm going to have to look back at my notes and pictures to determine how many walls we have signed since our Tour began.

I’m going to have to look back at my notes and pictures to determine how many walls we have signed since our Tour began.

Boise and birds. This one lived at the campground. I stopped to visit him as he was making evening rounds with his human. I after I loved on him for several minutes, he pretended to bite me and then he laughed and laughed... The bird, not the owner.

Boise and birds. This one lived at the campground. I stopped to visit him as he was making evening rounds with his human. After I loved on him for several minutes, he pretended to bite me and then he laughed and laughed… The bird, not the owner.

I went to mass at St. John's Cathedral one Sunday evening. The air conditioning was broken and people were hot. I didn't think it was too bad, but the priest skipped the homily all together. Just told us to concentrate on being good citizens until we saw him again, and then moved right on into the next part of the service!

I went to mass at St. John’s Cathedral one Sunday evening. The air conditioning was broken and people were hot. I didn’t think it was too bad, but the priest skipped the homily all together. Just told us to concentrate on being good citizens until we saw him again, and then moved right on into the next part of the service!

One of the beautiful stained glass windows on the side of the Cathedral.

One of the beautiful stained glass windows on the side of the Cathedral.

Idaho Part II: Declo/Rupert

We traveled along I-84 through Idaho, so our second stop was about mid-way between Idaho Falls and Boise. We stayed at a place called Village of Trees RV Resort. Although the exact location was adjacent to the interstate, it felt very rural since we saw nothing but farm fields for miles and miles in every direction. The best thing about this stop was that we were situated at the edge of the Snake River, so Mike got his Sea Eagle Kayak out of the bay and hit the water every chance he got.

I paired Declo and Rupert when I listed this location because Declo was actually just an intersection about five miles to the south of us. The address of the RV park was Declo, but other than a tiny post office and a school, the town didn’t feature much else besides abandoned buildings. Rupert was about five miles in the opposite direction. Since it was the county seat of Minidoka County and had a bustling population of about 5,000, we went there when we needed shops or services. For groceries we went to the town of Burley a little farther down the road.

We obviously had to get in the car and drive a bit if we wanted to see any attractions from this stop, and that is precisely what we did. One day we took a gorgeous drive south on a back road scenic byway to the City of Rocks National Reserve. Another day we drove north and west to the craziest geological phenomenon I have seen since we started this trip. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is a sight to see. Before we visited Idaho, if you and I were playing “word association” and you said Idaho… I would have said potato (right)? Well now, I would have to change my answer to volcano. Volcanoes in Idaho. Who knew?

On another day we drove over to Twin Falls to see the town and stop at Shoshone Falls. We took the dogs on a couple of walking trails in Burley and at Walcott Lake State Park. The rest of the stay we spent our time doing the usual stuff of life which consists of errands, chores, and relaxing – not necessarily in that order.

I thought this ribbon of rocks was an interesting feature on our drive between Idaho Falls and Declo.

I thought this ribbon of rocks was an interesting feature on our drive between Idaho Falls and Declo.

There were about 25 horses in a pasture beside our campground. The group was mostly mommas and babies, with only a couple of extra "adults" in the mix. I watched them for hours because it was almost therapeutic seeing them interact.

There were about 25 horses in a pasture beside our campground. The group was mostly mommas and babies, with only a couple of extra “adults” in the mix. I watched them for hours because it was almost therapeutic seeing them interact.

These were my favorite. I've never seen a horse quite the same color. They looked like they had been dipped in pewter.

These were my favorite. I’ve never seen a horse quite the same color. They looked like they had been dipped in pewter.

This section of the Snake River in Twin Falls was flanked with golf courses and parks on both sides of the water.

This section of the Snake River in Twin Falls was flanked with golf courses and parks on both sides of the water.

The I.B. Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls.

The I.B. Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls.

I just loved this Twin Falls Sculpture. It is simply called the Twins Statue.

I just loved this Twin Falls Sculpture. It is simply called the Twins Statue.

Only a couple of miles from this spot is where Evil Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in 1974. He was on a specially engineered rocket motorcycle, but he failed. A parachute on the motorcycle malfunctioned when he became airborne and he floated to the bottom of the canyon. He landed on the riverbank and not in the water. Coincidentally, while we were in the area, another stunt man made an announcement that he would attempt the same stunt in September of this year. We shall see if he can complete the mile wide leap.

Only a couple of miles from this spot is where Evil Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in 1974. He was on a specially engineered rocket motorcycle, but he failed. A parachute on the motorcycle malfunctioned when he became airborne and he floated to the bottom of the canyon. He landed on the riverbank and not in the water. Coincidentally, while we were in the area, another stunt man made an announcement that he would attempt the same stunt in September of this year. We shall see if he can complete the mile wide leap.

Shoshone Falls is about 3 miles outside of Twin Falls. Some people call it the Niagra of the West because it is 212 feet high and 1,000 feet wide. In the early spring the snowmelt creates a massive water flow. By the time July rolls around, some parts of the falls are just a small trickle. Still pretty, though.

Shoshone Falls is about 3 miles outside of Twin Falls. Some people call it the Niagra of the West because it is 212 feet high and 1,000 feet wide. In the early spring the snowmelt creates a massive water flow. By the time July rolls around, some parts of the falls are just a small trickle. Still pretty, though.

The full view of Shoshone Falls, complete with an enchanting rainbow and everything!

The full view of Shoshone Falls, complete with an enchanting rainbow and everything!

Dierkes Lake was just above Shoshone Falls. We drove over to take a look and watched these kids jump off the rocks for a bit.

Dierkes Lake was just above Shoshone Falls. We drove over to take a look and watched these kids jump off the rocks for a bit.

Our spot at Village of Trees RV Resort was C8. The sites were a little skinny, but they owners paid meticulous attention to the grass.

Our spot at Village of Trees RV Resort was C8. The sites were a little skinny, but the owners paid meticulous attention to the grass.

Crop dusters flew over farm fields on every side of us, so we got fertilized almost daily.

Crop dusters flew over farm fields on every side of us, so we got fertilized almost daily.

CAT!

CAT!

The City of Rocks National Reserve was about an hour south of our campground.

The City of Rocks National Reserve was about an hour south of our campground.

Emigrants heading west on the California Trail passed through this area. In 1852 about 52,000 people passed through this area on their way to find gold.

Emigrants heading west on the California Trail passed through this area. In 1852 about 52,000 people traveled this route on their way to find gold.

A view from the Circle Creek Overlook near the Almo entrance to the City of Rocks.

A view from the Circle Creek Overlook near the Almo entrance to the City of Rocks.

Rock climbing in the City of Rocks. No. Thank. You.

Rock climbing in the City of Rocks. No. Thank. You.

This is what the California emigrants would have been looking at when they passed through the area.

This is what the California emigrants would have been looking at when they passed through the area.

The little park on the Snake River by our campground had a boat launch and some floating docks. A couple with a 2008 Monaco stayed next to us for a few nights and they had this cute little blow-up boat that they kept down by the water. It was a Sea Eagle, which is the same brand as Mike's inflatable kayak.

The little park on the Snake River by our campground had a boat launch and some floating docks. A couple with a 2008 Monaco stayed next to us for a few nights and they had this cute little blow-up boat that they kept down by the water. It was a Sea Eagle, which is the same brand as Mike’s inflatable kayak.

We drove over the next town of Burley one afternoon to walk the dogs on their greenbelt trail. The only problem was that it was SO HOT! We made the mistake of going during the late afternoon and I was genuinely afraid the dogs were going to have a heat stroke. We only walked for about 20 minutes before we felt like we needed to turn around and hurry back to the car.

We drove over to the next town of Burley one afternoon to walk the dogs on their greenbelt trail. The only problem was that it was SO HOT! We made the mistake of going during the late afternoon and I was genuinely afraid the dogs were going to have a heat stroke. We only walked for about 20 minutes before we felt like we needed to turn around and hurry back to the car.

The address for The Village of Trees RV Park was Declo, Idaho, but the little town of Rupert was just as close in the opposite direction. Declo had a school, a post office and about one dozen abandoned buildings. We ended up going to Rupert for eating and shopping.

The address for The Village of Trees RV Park was Declo, Idaho, but the little town of Rupert was just as close in the opposite direction. Declo had a school, a post office and about one dozen abandoned buildings. We ended up going to Rupert for eating and shopping.

After our failed walk in Burley, we drove back to Rupert in search of drinks, shade and an early dinner (in that order). Only one spot fit all of our requirements, and they were dog friendly to boot! Henry's Drift Inn was a restaurant and small hotel inside of a beautifully preserved historic bank building. The flowers that decorated their outside space were absolutely amazing.

After our failed walk in Burley, we drove back to Rupert in search of drinks, shade and an early dinner. Only one spot fit all of our requirements, and they were dog friendly to boot! Henry’s Drift Inn was a restaurant and small hotel inside of a beautifully preserved historic bank building. The flowers that decorated their outside space were absolutely amazing.

Sunset at the little park by our campground.

Sunset at the little park by our campground.

Mike was able to get his kayak in the water from this spot.

Mike was able to get his kayak in the water from this spot.

Mike's typical bounty at the conclusion of his fishing excursions.

Mike’s typical bounty at the conclusion of his fishing excursions.

The dogs were grateful for the soft grass with no stickers.

The dogs were grateful for the soft grass with no stickers.

Our view as we drove to Craters of the Moon.

Our view as we drove to Craters of the Moon.

Lava. Lots of lava. In Idaho, of all places.

Lava. Lots of lava. In Idaho, of all places.

When Craters of the Moon was proclaimed a National Monument in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge used the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve "a weird and scenic landscape, peculiar to itself".

When Craters of the Moon was proclaimed a National Monument in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge used the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve “a weird and scenic landscape, peculiar to itself”.

Selfie on the way to the top of Inferno Cone.

Selfie on the way to the top of Inferno Cone.

A panorama from the top of Inferno Cone.

A panorama from the top of Inferno Cone.

Pine trees growing out of a bed of lava rocks. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

Pine trees growing out of a bed of lava rocks. I have never seen anything like this in my life.

We were lucky to find a picnic table near a tree with some shade. It was a hot and sunny day, and all the black lava everywhere made it even more toasty. The dogs waited in the shadows while we finished our lunch.

We were lucky to find a picnic table near a tree with some shade. It was a hot and sunny day, and all the black lava everywhere made it even more toasty. The dogs waited in the shadows while we finished our lunch.

The first thing Mike must do when he returns from fishing is get his catch approved by Piper.

The first thing Mike must do when he returns from fishing is get his catch approved by Piper.