Monday, May 22, 2023

Boy O Boise!

 May 17 - 22, 2023
Boise, Idaho

We enjoy another easy, rainy day's drive to our next stop - Boise, Idaho. The morning starts right with the slide coming in all the way on the first try - both of us pushing/pulling seems to be the secret for now.

There's a lot of flat in this part of Idaho, good for stretching the eyes and listening to our book. 

Boise Riverside RV Park lives up to it's name and our site backs up to the Greenbelt along the Boise River. We can't see the water here, but we can hear it. The path is used - a LOT - with a steady stream of bicycles, walkers, runners, dogs and families. 

Gravel site with a concrete patio and picnic table, 50 amp and water, open sky for satellite but still some shade from the massive trees. It's snug but one neighbor is absent the whole week, and the other is quiet except for their Husky who only talks occasionally. 

In the past I have taken us up the coast with our return route coming south through Montana and Idaho. The last few years we've spent that southerly route trying to outrun the smoke, missing much of our planned sights in Idaho. I hoped that by switching directions this year we'd avoid the late summer smoke in this area. 

Sadly this is not the case. Even with record rain and snow, Canada already has major fires which are once again covering our northern states with nasty smoke. 

The heat has also arrived which isn't welcomed by us. If it never got over 75 degrees we'd be happy! But alas 'tis almost Summer so we plan around it. A scenic drive in the mountains sounds good.

The Ponderosa Pines Scenic Byway meanders through the Boise National Forest all the way to Stanley, about 135 miles northeast. Friday morning we head out for Idaho City. Once the largest city in the Pacific Northwest (1862), this now-tiny burg is just a quick stop along Hwy 21.

The foothills of the in-between (city and mountains) are covered with yellow flowers under smokey skies.

The Boise River is flowing bank-to-bank beside the highway. 

At Lucky Peak Dam we're blown away by the volume of water being released into the already full river. The reservoir must be at capacity with all the snow melt.

Ya think?

Instead we find the reservoir half empty. There are signs along the banks that it was recently very full. Did someone forget to close the drain??
Above the reservoir we cross a couple tributaries of the Boise River, including Mores Creek which looks much more like a river today. Running fast and strong, it reaches, and in some places overflows, the rocky banks. It's beautiful and powerful and sounds amazing. It also adds to the mystery of the very low reservoir.

Idaho City sits at just under 4000 feet and is 85 degrees when we arrive mid-day. We meander the dusty streets where a few historic buildings with information plaques keep the town alive. 

In case your Tom requires servicing.

Trudy's Diner serves simple but very good eats and we enjoy a short break from our explorations. I'm hoping someone will order pie so I can see if it's really possible to eat that much whipped cream - no takers so I'll never know :-(

In addition to the desert and red rock and plains we've now ventured into the forest. I love the variety that only traveling adds to our lives. 

Could do without the addition of smoke to those travels!

The Black Cliffs are popular with climbers from around the world. 
Although sometimes we don't remember it's Saturday, usually we choose to stay home when everyone else is doing their weekend-thing. At 102 degrees it's also a good day to read in the shade and take a nap in the air conditioning!

With the path just beyond the fence, and the river just beyond that, it's a lovely spot to hang out.

When it's cooler in the mornings and early evenings Tessa and I take advantage of the nearby path with walks along the river. I can hear birds, including an industrious woodpecker, but never see any. An occasional squirrel makes a dash across the trail, usually unseen by the fluffy dog who is too busy reading her peemail. 

I love the sound of the moving water.

In several places the water is inches from the trail. 

Sunday brunch is often a more formal affair, but our simple meal in the unassuming tiny Goldy's Breakfast Bistro is also special. Our wait for the upstairs table is 45 minutes, followed by another 45 minutes after we order. Lots of unique items on the menu, I opt for Andalusian Eggs (chorizo marina topped with poached eggs and surrounded with steamed asparagus) and Bill gets blueberry pancakes. Both are scrumptious!

Walkway as art at City Hall.

An old beauty.

It's another hot and squinty day so after a quick perusal of downtown we're back at home. 

Gentle Breeze

Sunday evening 40 mph gusts kick up dirt and shake the trees, followed by a short rain storm with rumbling thunder all around. The next morning the skies are clear and blue - yay!!

Wonderful birthday breakfast - salmon benedict.

Downtown Boise has several al fresco options - look at those gorgeous skies!

I have two things on my list that I've saved for my birthday. Unfortunately I misread the open days for the World Center of Birds of Prey and they're closed Mondays - we leave Tuesday :-(  Fortunately the other is an always-open alleyway of street art downtown. 

Following our yummy breakfasts we mosey over to Freak Alley Gallery between 8th and 9th streets. It has a fun history and includes the works of numerous artists. 

Amazing minute detail.

Doorways too.

I walked on the other side of the alley.

This Jimi Hendrix includes pieces of broken mirror for additional impact - he's very cool!

Bill finds some blue friends to hang out with.

Many pieces blend into others.

With birds of prey on the original agenda we opt for the 35 mile drive to the Birds of Prey Conservation area near the Swan Falls Dam and Park. Although the winds come up again, there's no dust or smoke and the views are stunning. The drive is through a lot of very flat (not a tree or bush in sight) landscape until we drop into the gorge. And then Wow! (again). 

I don't capture any pics, but we see several Prairie Falcons, gulls, red-winged blackbirds, Ravens, swallows and even a large Blue Heron. There are Golden Eagles in the area but none we see this time.

Lots of flat!

The Pointe Fire Memorial includes a very detailed account of the tragedy. Two firefighters perished here, just 700 feet from the road that would have taken them out of the fire.

A steep road drops us alongside the Snake River.

Above the Swan Falls Dam. Several tent and small trailers are camped in the dispersed area.

The far side of the river includes reds and yellows.

Another fabulous Plan B!

Even with mild rain nearly every afternoon and cooler Monday temps, it definitely feels like summer will be here by Memorial Day after all. We move into Oregon on Tuesday with the coast in our sights in a couple weeks.

Remembering some other birthdays on mine :-) 

Oliver on his first birthday.

Elliott on his first birthday.


  1. Love, love, love those murals and street art! Plan B is often a wonderful surprise and there is always "next time" for plan A!

    1. That alley is a must-see, the variety is amazing! Kept the bird center on the list for next time :-)

  2. Was it seriously 102 degrees in Boise this early in the season?? Could not believe we have smoke so early--doesn't bode well for the summer! That grin on Oliver's face--love! I wouldn't think farmer/ranch irrigation could take that much water out of a reservoir???

    1. It was forecast to be 95 then soared in the late afternoon, fortunately it didn't last. That was our thought on the irrigation as well. No idea where all the water went if not just being blown out of those "cannons".

  3. Happy Birthday! That's a lot of discharge from the reservoir, hope it is not all just going to the waste. Hope you manage to escape the smoke, the fire season will be a long one.

    1. Fingers crossed no more smoke! Not sure if the water is being saved down river anywhere but they sure weren't saving it in the reservoirs above the discharge :-(

  4. Happy Birthday Jodee! What a wonderful birthday adventure! LOVE the murals…I always find it amazing how large they are with perfect scale. Plan B was a hit! I love road shots and your photo of the steep road to Snake River is perfect and frame worthy. And, you still have the bird center to look forward too! Life is good!

    1. Thanks Gay :-) I agree about the scale - I don't know how they get it so right. Road shots are always fun I think. Schaffer Switchbacks is one of my favorite pics from the day we spent there with you and Joe - it's framed on my wall at the house.

    2. That’s awesome Jodee! I read that post several days ago…nice memories!

  5. Happy Birthday, Jodee! It's always fun to celebrate on the road. :-)) We had a great time biking and exploring Boise, but we didn't get to the Birds of Prey center. Not sure that we will, so we're counting on you for your next visit LOL. Those high temps and smoke so early in the year are not a good sign. Sigh. Makes it hard to plan a trip west. (Laurel)

    1. Even when we try to plan around the smoke we find some - hopefully it won't follow us into Oregon!

  6. Darn that smoke! A couple of weeks ago it reached NY. My mother said it was a beautiful day but hazy. Their local weather person said it was smoke from Alberta. It's interesting how everyone gets a little of the smoke with the wind patterns. Your photos are still lovely even with the smoke background. That alley definitely has some very interesting and different art work. Plan B was perfect since the smoke blew out and you had a clear sky. It has definitely started off as a very warm summer in the west. Let's hope it doesn't last. I so enjoy your writing. Your humor is appreciated, but best is your wonderful, positive outlook on whatever life throws at you:) Love the grand photos for their first and your 40th!!!

    1. Thanks Pam! Feels like I'm having to work a little harder on staying positive, but I really am blessed :-) Yes that Plan B was another winner with the gorge so beautiful. Our temps look fairly mild on our route so fingers crossed they stay that way!

  7. I too would be thrilled if it never got over 75. I hate dams. Just let the river flow. Forget the reservoir. Hard to believe Idaho City was once the largest city. 102 degrees….oh my. Did you misplan your summer? Glad to hear your skies cleared up even if you had to endure gusts and dirt. Love the beautiful flowers on that building. I would love to have seen the scaffolding necessary to do it. Complete bummer and totally unfair that World Center of Birds of Prey was closed. How dare they on your birthday.

    1. We've actually had some of the best Spring weather we've enjoyed in years. The lack of wind, cooler temps overall, and almost daily afternoon rain have been great. I figure I can plan routes, but planning weather is a crap shoot :-) That building is really tall so I agree it would have been fun to see the scaffolding and how it came together. It is really beautiful. Clearly the Center didn't realize I was in town or they would have been open!!

  8. The 1st flowers of the year are the yellow Balsam Roots....Idaho is swell!

    1. I wondered what they were called - so pretty!

  9. Boise turns out to be a cute and artsy town though the summer heat doesn't sound pleasant.

    1. We were there at a good time, but I don't think I'd be a summer fan!