Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 10: Idaho

Day 10 of our cross-country was spend entirely in Idaho, a state full of surprises. We had left Yellowstone National Park the day before and crashed in the first hotel we saw. Leaving Yellowstone, you pass through just a sliver of Targhee National Forest. This is another destination I'll have to go back and investigate and strongly encourage those passing through to check out. It was amazing to see trees even larger than those in Yellowstone, and (now that I'm in Oregon) just a taste of what the West Coast offers.

The "trip" had turned back into (a pumpkin) a "move" in a way; we were staying later in our hotels, not bothering much with the necessary humor that keeps a road trip of this length tolerable, and only the most monumental landscapes could steel our attention away from the desperate need to get to our destination. At first, the most remarkable thing about Idaho was that there seemed to be a lot of poverty. Our wonderful waitress at Stella's two days prior (remember her?) had lauded Idaho almost as much as Yellowstone, but for the first part of the day we drove through fields (above) by the interstate much the same as our journey through the Midwest. Brown, brown, farm, brown.

The good news? Arriving in Idaho Falls, the first big city on I-26 in Idaho, the mountains were back and coaxing us onward despite our post-Yellowstone weariness.

The bad news is, once we got to Idaho Falls mid-morning to stock up on groceries (with a pledge not to eat out again) I found out that we were out of road-trip money. Our hands literally stuffed with provisions, this was a serious wrinkle in planning. Considering we had made it this far (10 days, 16 states) without a hitch... other than my sand-paper voice... really was a huge blessing. However, many a friendship could have collapsed under he weight of those 2 tense hours driving on a low tank of gas with $12 cash between us and a strained silence.

Twin Falls saved the day... and a hearty lunch wasn't a bad idea either.
We had finagled some bank accounts and squared away the finance bit but still had that held-breath feeling left to release. What great luck driving into Twin Falls! Right in the middle of I-86 that runs through Idaho, instead of a landscape suddenly building or trees suddenly rising up before us, our quietude was snapped by this great crease cutting right through the highway underneath us! You turn left from the highway and think "Oh my, what a lovely bridge..." and then *bam!* realize that you're riding over this impossible vast, gorgeous canyon!

Snake River Canyon, which we had heard (and then promptly forgotten) about at Stella's, was completely astounding. I'm one of those people who marvels at heights, while still being vertigo-stricken and terrified of them, so this experience was rather perfect to shake me out of earlier mundane woes of money matters.

There was an information center at the canyon, right after driving over Perrine Bridge, where I learned all about BASE Jumping. They had this awesome map where jumpers could come and mark their places of origin, I bought some post cards, and the volunteers there laughed at my complete surprise of the happenstance that our lunch pit stop turned out to be a mini-adventure.

The rest of the trek through the state was just an ambling toward Boise, where we would rest at the last hotel along the way and cross over into Oregon the next afternoon. Idaho really did unfurl a beautiful landscape before us for the remainder of the afternoon, the fields by the highway were becoming green more often than not, and the hills and mountains curling out on either side of the road felt comforting and dramatic for hours at a time.

1 comment:

always young at heart said...

thanks for sharing the cross sountry trip. glad you and p made it safely to Portland and all the adventures in store for 30 and beyond. Happy trails...