Thursday, June 30, 2016

IDAHO --- friends, Boise, friends, McCall, friends

Northern Idaho Spring Canola field in the Palouse 
Roger here...  The trip continues.  We left Lake Tahoe to embark on a long, two-day, nondescript (very nondescript) drive through northwest Nevada.  Our destination was Boise, Idaho where our friends Greg and Barb were waiting for us.  

Before traveling in an RV, Barb and Greg worked and raised a family in Boise.  When we arrived, they were house-sitting for long-time friends.  The house was amazing.  It backed up to a public hiking trail on the Boise River.  After a round (or two) of mango mojitos, we took the dogs on a pre-dinner walk along the river.  During the walk we also walked by one of their former homes (beautiful arts and crafts house near a lake).  Barb prepared a delicious meal (flank steak, corn on the cob) --- so good.  The food was delicious.  

The next morning Greg and Barb picked us up at our RV park (Boise Riverside RV Park) and took us on a motor tour of Boise. We got to see the home where they raised their two sons.  We stopped by the Old Pen for a guided tour.  The prison is one of only four U.S. territorial prisons still standing.  It was built in 1870 and remained in use for more than a century, until it closed in 1973.  

Our tour guide, Skye, took us into all the buildings and did an excellent job explaining the history of the place, as well as what day-to-day life was like for the prisoners.  The picture to the right shows an example of how the prisoners were allowed to decorate their cells.

The cell blocks were depressing, even the newer ones as this one was.

In early times, the executions took place outdoors in the rose garden on gallows built for each occasion.

The "modern" gallows was gut-wrenching, especially when Skye stepped on the trap door to illustrate.  We were cautioned to not touch the lever or she would have been catapulted to the floor below.  All executions during the time the Old Pen was in use (1870 to 1973) were by hanging.

Inmates burned the prison buildings inside the wall on two occasions.  Just this week (two weeks later) a wildfire is burning on a nearby hill.

OK, back to more pleasant things.  The views of Boise were impressive.  The downtown area is growing by leaps and bounds.  We had a great lunch at The Ram located near the impressive Boise State University football stadium.  Alas, the blue turf was not visible.

The Boise Train Depot rests at the top of a hill on the edge of the city.  It is a local landmark.  

The view of Boise from the front of the building may be the best in the city --- especially with these people in the foreground.

The following morning we met Barb and Greg in their driveway.  They had secured four bicycles.  We were in for a treat riding several miles along the extremely impressive Boise Greenbelt.  Much of the 25-mile Greenbelt is along the banks of the Boise River, but it also extends past Boise State and into the center of the city.  Dianne had some wobbly moments on a bike that was taller than she was used to, but she soon gained her pedaling balance.  

One of the most impressive stops along the Greenbelt was at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.  Powerful quotes from human rights advocates throughout history were carved into huge stone tablets among a series of waterfalls and fountains.  It was one of those places that grabs your mind and brings out strong emotions.  A really moving tribute.

Bicycle Stop at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

A short distance past the monument, we locked our bikes onto a bike stand so that we could wander through the Saturday Market in the middle of the city.  The picture below does not begin to demonstrate the scope of this huge market.  It went on for several blocks (in front of the State Capitol).  Different musicians performed on every block (choir, guitarist, opera singer, fiddler, etc.) 

Boise Saturday Market

After wandering through the length of the market, and buying some interesting jalapeño wine lemonade (better than you think), we had a glass of wine and some lunch overlooking the activity below.

That evening we met Barb and Greg downtown for a special dinner at Alavita that their son manages.  Their successful and personable son has certainly done his parents proud.  It was great to meet him.  (The food was awesome -- I had lobster and fontina stuffed black ravioli.   The chocolate tartlet for dessert was to die for!  -- Dianne)

Dianne kept returning to sample the Italian and French wines.
Before dinner we stopped at a unique and interesting wine bar, Bodovino. Upon entering the establishment, we bought a card with a specific amount of money that could be used to purchase samples of more than 110 bottles of wine.  We simply entered the card, selected the wine and the amount (1 ounce, 3 ounce, or 5 ounce), and pressed a button.  Fun!  There were wines from all over the world in all price ranges.   A 1 ounce taste of the most expensive bottles could run $20, but most were in the $1 - $2 range per 1 ounce taste.

Serendipity strikes!  When we returned to our RV Park that evening, we were forced to negotiate a little more traffic than normal.  Our campground was adjacent to the Expo Idaho Fairgrounds that was hosting a day-long outdoor music festival.  The music was loud enough that it seemed we were in the audience.  As we walked the dogs, Daughtry (one of Dianne's favorite performers --- mine too) was singing a stirring rendition of Prince's Purple Rain to end his live show.  

After two wonderful days of play, we needed some time to take care of life's issues.  Trips to Costco, an auto parts store, a laundromat, and a hardware store dominated the next day.  Time to move on!

A trip to the resort town of McCall (for two nights) was in the cards.  After some initial trepidation about driving the motor home through two-lane roads through the Idaho mountains, we booked a site at the McCall RV Resort.  We were thrilled to learn that Greg and Barb booked a cabin  at the same park.  Greg had never ridden in a motor home.  Dianne and I both felt that we should not pull the car behind the motor home through the steep grades.  So, Greg rode with me in the motor home.  Dianne and Barb drove separately.  Greg was a great passenger.  He did not criticize my driving nearly as much as my regular passenger. :-)  The two-and-one-half hour drive turned out to be a piece of cake.  Greg took a wonderful picture of the Payette River along the way.

The McCall RV Resort is among the top three of all RV resorts where we have stayed over the past 7 1/2 years.  We had a pull-in, full hook-up site, with a view of a horse shoe in the Payette River.  The pictures below were all taken from our site (78):

View from our patio

View through our front windshield

Before dinner, Barb and Greg took us into McCall for ice cream and a walk around the town.  Get a load of the marina on the lake:

I grilled steaks for dinner.  Before dinner we enjoyed some wine in the shade of a pine tree at our campsite.

The next morning we joined our friends for a huge breakfast at the McCall Pancake House (some of the biggest pancakes I have ever seen).  We then went back to our campsite to allow time for food digestion.

We returned to the McCall waterfront to split an order of nachos for lunch.  The view was spectacular.

We then took a tour of McCall (Barb lived here as a child) and the surrounding area.  This entire area is a wonderland.  No wonder the people of Boise drive up here for weekends.  Barb and Greg (and Izzy, of course) came to our site for another happy hour overlooking the river.  After that, we walked the dogs up to Barb and Greg's cabin where Barb fixed dinner.  We certainly had a wonderful time with our good friends.

The next morning, Barb and Greg returned to Boise, while we took the motor home along another stretch of two-lane mountain roads.  There were three steep stretches along the way, so Dianne and I drove separately.  Again, the beautiful drive was uneventful --- other than the time we stopped because of a strange whooshing noise in the car that turned out to be the radio.  Traveling can be so interesting.  

Our one-night stop was at Hell's Gate State Park, just south of Lewiston, Idaho.  It was a peaceful overnight stop along the Snake River.

The blue spot in the center is the Snake River

We are now at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  Today's drive was also on two lanes with no issues.  It was also especially beautiful.  Most of the drive was in the rolling landscape of the "Palouse".  

Anybody remember the Teletubbies?

The pet picture of the day is of Greg and Barb's dog, Izzy (with Tequila in the background).  What a beautiful, calm, gentle, and loving soul.


Nancy and Bill said...

Idaho was one of our favorite states that we visited during our "first trip around the sun!!" We especially remember the drive to McCall. We never were able to make it north to Coeur d'Alene as we got snowed in for three days and we headed south toward Crater Lake in Oregon. So we will be watching and taking notes about Coeur d'Alene. We also have added Boise to our next trip:o)) Safe Travels and keep having fun....

heyduke50 said...

what a great view from that campsite and one I would surely enjoy!!!