We spent an entire month in Idaho. I can honestly say it’s the first state where we’ve spent enough time that we feel like we really got to know the state. Even with a month though we were making choices on what to do given the number of options!
We used six different base locations to see the various parts of the state. We started with a stop in the Twin Falls area, then over to Idaho Falls, then back west to Boise, next north to Grangeville (halfway between Boise and Coeur d’Alene), then over to Kellogg on the Montana/Idaho border, and then Blanchard (north of Coeur d’Alene). We chose these locations primarily based upon our research of things to do in Idaho. Also, these locations allowed us to see the various regions and differing topography. Idaho is diverse and beautiful!
Our first stop in Twin Falls included a trip to Shoshone Falls for the afternoon, with visits to the Perrine Bridge and Snake River Canyon and the ultimate trips to Craters of the Moon National Park. Shoshone Falls was beautiful, the bridge very impressive and the canyon scary deep! Craters of the Moon is the most original and surprising National Park we’ve ever visited. It is beautiful, mysterious, varied and holds many stories of the past! We LOVED it!
Our next stop was the Idaho Falls area. The primary reason for this location was to visit Yellowstone Bear World and it did not disappoint! The bear habitat was started to recreate the experience of bears next to the car and up close and personal like Yellowstone allowed years ago. The facility has a drive thru bear park with black bears, brown bears and grizzlies. It serves as a rehab center and rehab facility for all types of bears. They have other animals, but the real focus is the bears! During our visit, Tonya got to feed a bear cub that was 7 months old and it was amazing! Truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Next up, we headed back west to the Boise area. The temperature had become very hot and it was hazy some days with the fires occurring in the west. This limited our outdoor stuff in Boise quite a bit. We didn’t see near as much of this area as we had hoped, so no doubt we’ll be back!
Next, we stopped in Grangeville which is right next to Hells Canyon. What a beautiful area! We booked a trip with Kilgore Adventures (which we highly recommend) to go up and then back down Hells Canyon in a jetboat. The ride up has beautiful scenery and was fairly uneventful. The ride down was fast, wet and exhilarating beyond words. Kurt (the captain of the boat and owner of the company) was masterful at making sure we got wet enough and scared enough to keep us cool and our adrenaline pumping! We saw a bald eagle and big horn sheep on the journey! This adventure was amazing!
Next, we headed north to see the panhandle. I didn’t know any state other than Florida who called the skinny part the panhandle ☺. On our journey north, we ventured east to Kellogg next to the Idaho and Montana border. This location was chosen specifically for us to ride the Hiawatha Rails to Trails bike path. The Hiawatha is a 15 mile one way trail (you can go both ways if you want of course) where you can park at the top and ride mostly downhill and then shuttle back to the top. The ride includes riding through 10 train tunnels and on 7 train trestles. The longest tunnel is 1.66 miles long! We were able to use our bicycles that we travel with and rented lights from the local guide. Some of the tunnels were completely black without the lights! It was an incredible ride that we’ll remember for many years! The weather was cooler for this one day and we had a slight break in the haziness which was nice!
Next, our stop was in the far northern part of the state in Blanchard. Blanchard is a small community north of Coeur d’Alene. We chose Blanchard because there is an RV Resort that had been featured in the Newmar magazine. Stoneridge is a golf and recreational community and we rented a space with a covered pergola and very large patio. This was great for the pups and for us to “set up house” for two weeks!
This area included trips down into Coeur d’Alene to ride the Centennial Trail along Lake Coeur d’Alene, a trip to Farragut State Park, an incredible hamburger at Hudsons in Coeur d’Alene, a trip to Sandpoint and some down time to just enjoy the setting.
The Centennial Trail is a walking/biking/jogging trail that has many paths leading north/south as well as east/west. It was a beautiful trail and we enjoyed a picnic in the park downtown and a detour off of the trail through the historic district of Coeur d’Alene that was truly one of the most beautiful housing areas we’ve seen. There was even a blue mailbox on the corner just like in the movies ☺!
Another stop in Coeur d’Alene was Hudsons Hamburgers. This place has been in business since 1907 and five generations later are still serving hamburgers to the locals. It’s small and organized with only a bar to sit at. It seats approximately 30 people and there are ONLY burgers, ham and egg sandwich, egg sandwich, ham sandwich, soda, milk, buttermilk and a slice of pie for dessert. They are quite proud of the fact there are no sesame seed buns, no bacon, avacados, no French fries, onion rings, or other sides! They don’t do checks or credit cards, they are cash only! They are friendly and the burgers with pickles and onions were excellent! They did have special mustard as an original that you could add if you so desire. We sat next to and visited with a local and he told us there used to be a McDonalds two blocks away but they closed down and moved outside of the town!
Another outing was Farragut State Park. Farragut was a real treat because it was once a Navy training facility during WWII and it was where Roger’s Dad, Quinton, went to basic training! All of the structures are gone except for the brig and the water tower. They have used the brig to display artifacts and they have a small museum there to show the history. One exciting thing to do is to look up your sailor to see their class photo. Unfortunately, the fire in Washington DC years ago claimed many of the records so not all sailors are listed. Quinton is not on the list, but we have the ranger name and information and will be updating the records with them to ensure he is included. We also have a class photo to send them so they can add this to their collection! The grounds are now a state park with awesome camping and hiking trails. The location is at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced “Ponderay”). Lake Pend Oreille is beautiful and huge! We thoroughly enjoyed the day at Farragut and equally enjoyed calling Roger’s Dad to tell him about our adventure through his history!
Another day trip was up to Sandpoint. Sandpoint is a small town on the northern end of Lake Pend Oreille. It was so cute and quaint and definitely an area we could have spent more time biking and hiking! For now, we had to settle for dinner on the water ☺.
Idaho was diverse beyond belief. We crossed the 45th parallel and truly felt like we’d been in multiple states. Depending on which part of the state we were in we would see many logging trucks, or many hay trucks! Parts of the state look a lot like Colorado, but the elevation is always lower. In Colorado, to see the evergreens that were similar we’d be at 8,000 ft. In Idaho, same look and feel and we were at 3,000 ft. Wild roses lining the highway in some areas that you would swear they were planted there intentionally! Rolling hills in the Palouse with white winter wheat as far as you could see. The crops throughout the state included potatoes (of course), beets, wheat, soybeans. Our request is for each state to please label the crops so we know what we’re seeing! ☺ And, we discovered Huckleberries! Yep, they look a bit like blueberries, but more sour. And, they are sold everywhere! Tonya made muffins and pancakes with some and they were delicious!
After our two weeks in the Blanchard area at StoneRidge, we packed up and headed east to Montana. We are there now visiting Glacier, our friends Pat and Colin that we know from Lake Havasu and Tonya’s childhood friend Tracy. Unfortunately, our dog Ringo started to have difficulties walking and deteriorated very quickly and we had to have him euthanized. It’s interesting how things work out. We find ourselves in an area where we know people and we’re here for a full week. This enabled us to get a reference for a phenomenal vet to help us through this phase and we could be settled to make this difficult decision. Remember, with this lifestyle, we sometimes stay in an area for 1, 2, 3 days or sometimes 1-2 weeks. BUT, we rarely stay where we know people that can help us through these life events!
Ringo had a great life and had settled into being a ‘road dog’ just fine. The stops in Idaho all included grass for him to enjoy, which he loved! Now, our focus is on Maverick to help him adjust to being an only dog ☹.
Ringo had a great life and had been given many nicknames… some you’ll understand, and some we’re still trying to understand 🙂
Here’s to you Ringo, Ringy, Cedric, Scooby, Ringaloid, Ringbutt, Buttring…. and Sweet Boy!