So what else can I say about Idaho? Besides the obvious potato fixation, there is a lot to recommend a visit. The Potato thing does become a bit hilarious at times. I mean even beyond the Idaho License plate slogan, “Famous Potatoes.”
For example, an 18-wheel truck transporting a 40-foot fiberglass potato. The driver was quite a spokesman for this particular “Famous Potato.”
He even gave us a “Spuddy Buddy” stuffed creature, which now adorns the Bus’ dash along with Liz’s co-consiprator, Goofy.
Other examples of lot’s to see included the Idaho Center for Birds of Prey. Up on a hill overlooking Boise (which of course we could not see because of the smoke), this center has some very interesting captive raptors and very educational staff.
It also has an entire archive, built by an Arab Sheik, devoted to falconry. This building is meant as the repository of all the hand-maintained notes on individual birds by master falconers from around the world. It describes many of the various species of raptors used in the sport of kings, with pictures, stuffed specimens etc. Also artifacts such as bells, perches, hoods, jesses, etc. This is open for only limited tours, and we were offered one.
I was really struck by the partnership between the Bird and the Falconer, and the amount of time spent gaining the trust of the bird, catering to its needs, etc. And many of the Raptors are endangered, so captive birds – and the knowledge gained by their human partners — are significant in maintaining these animals.
All in all, Boise is quite a nice place to visit! We also saw the State Capitol, some markers and statues regarding Lewis and Clark, and we visited several breweries and Wineries.
Perhaps the most interesting: The ONLY Walmart in the WORLD with a Growler Stop!
This is a Kiosk to get/fill growlers with local microbrews. Considering how frequently we patronize Walmart, I hope this is an experiment that catches on!
Leaving Boise, we went North to an area near McCall (but not IN McCall, which is for the rich-and-famous-not-potatoes mostly) where Los Stubbs have a home.
This is on a steep hill on 26 acres on the Little Elk Creek, which joins the Big(ger) Elk Creek and this flows into the Little Salmon, and then the (Not so little? Full on? Totally?) Salmon River.
A lot of flowing for a pretty dry, smokey area.
Anyway, the bus made it up the gravel road/hill and we parked by Dick’s Office (a double-wide on the property). Magnificent, wooded, peaceful location. We enjoyed several meals in their spectacular home overlooking the creek; Liz and I contributed, among other things, a pitcher of the Margaritas we learned to make in Casper (Thank you, Mitchells!).
Based at Stubbs-North, we did some local touring. A long drive and some hiking in an area called Hell’s Canyon, eventually achieving 8,400 ft elevation at a Fire Lookout Tower. The air had cleared a little, so we could actually see a few smokey miles. The Fire Spotters pointed out THREE active fires within the 10 mile radius we could see. The plumes could be clearly seen, as well as the helicopter delivering smoke jumpers to fight them.
We also did some walking and driving along the Salmon River, and some beautiful vistas revealed themselves with the smoke abating somewhat.
The river had a variety of back country campsites; a few of them were occupied.
Finally, we did drive to McCall and walked around a State Park on the lake…which was somehow saved from the developers who would have built castles and gated communities there, otherwise. McCall is a very wealthy resort community…just like many (Sun Valley, Palm Desert, Lake Geneva, etc. etc.). Although very picturesque, not unique, interesting or our style. $70 for breakfast is not in our budget very often.
Leaving the Stubbs, we guided the bus back down the gravel drive…it is a whole different thrill wondering if the brakes will stop going down as opposed to wondering if the diesel will go up. Both were successful, and we are continuing onwards. Next stop is Lewiston, Idaho, were Dick has recommended a visit to Clear Creek Canyon Winery. Then we head for Vancouver, BC via the Cascades Highway.
The latter is a bit more adventurous than the Interstate route to Seattle and Vancouver. On line sources report no problem for Motorhomes vis a vis Grades and Hairpin Turns. Also no fires reported (one of the Interstates was actually closed!). Scenery is reputed to be spectacular…if the Smoke lets up so we can see it!
We are scheduled to arrive near Vancouver on Sunday, so 5 days to cover about 12 hours of driving. And finish whatever beer/wine we can so our border crossing will be as uneventful as possible.