Idaho: June 2014.

On our way out of Oregon, we tried long and hard to figure out how we can make it out to Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area in Idaho without adding a ton of miles to our travels. After a lot of research, we decided that it was not meant to be this time around. We found questionable cell reception at the campgrounds and the trip would likely have added several days to our visit. After all, we are not on vacation, this is our real day-to-day life and sacrifices are the norm.

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We ended up driving towards Boise and stopped near the Oregon/Idaho border for a little break at Farewell Bend State Park.

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Originally we planned to stay the night here before pushing on but a drive through the campground found us not very impressed with what sites they had available.

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So instead of setting camp, we just parked for a couple of hours for a break while I got some work done.

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The water here had an amazingly clear reflection against the clouds and hills on the other side. Had it not been for the mosquitoes around the water, we would have loved to stick around longer.

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We got back in the car and kept our caravan moving until we got to yet another Elks Lodge in Boise. This is our third time staying at an Elks and the first time that we are bringing a guest with us.

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The Elks Lodge here is just a big gravel lot that is fenced in at the corner of their property that is about an acre large.

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Our exploration of Boise started with a trip to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.

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This prison ran for 101 years with its last inmates leaving in 1973.

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During that time, more than 13,000 people came through the system.

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One of the creepiest places here is the gallows. This is directly under the drop floor as a death row inmate would be executed by hanging. There was something unexplainable about the stillness in the air during our visit.

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Another spot was nicknamed ‘Siberia’ by the inmates who came through here. It is in the far corner of the facility, equipped by perimeter alarm, where solitary confinement terms are served for extended periods of time when the prisoners may not see sunlight for many days in a row.

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While in Boise, we got a message from another traveling family on Instagram that they were in town. We planned to meet up while we were out. Since we enjoyed 10 Barrel Brewery so much in Bend, Oregon, we decided to stop at one of their other locations here in Boise to meet Lee, Nicole and their baby girl Jolene.

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They were a really sweet family and it turns out that they had lived in Ventura for many years and had been at a lot of the same places that we use to frequent when we were still living there. We told them about our accommodations at the Elks Lodge and said that it would not be a problem for us to bring another guest to the campground so we can spend some more time with them.

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We knew that Lee and his family were traveling around the country to play his music. As we don’t watch a lot of TV, we did not know that Lee was actually on a season of The Voice (Click here to see his debut appearance on the show).

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Lee and Nicole go by the name @FreeFromMisery on Instagram and they exude that moniker completely in the personality and attitude with everything they do.

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We had an amazing time hanging out with them that evening in the parking lot of the Elks. It was not an exotic location but meeting people like them and connecting on the road is a big part of our adventures.

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We headed out from Boise and headed east towards Twin Falls. On the way there, we stopped at Hagerman Fossil Bed National Monument for the girls to earn another Junior Ranger badge and do some exploring.

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Here the Snake River meanders through Idaho and is one of the few places where the Oregon Trail cuts through.

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In some areas, you can still see the deep ruts cut by the wagon wheels many many moons ago.

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Before we found a spot for the night, we made another stop at Shoshone Falls.

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Just down the river from here, Evel Knievel made the failed attempt to jump a motorcycle across the Snake River.

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Twin Falls is not a big town but it had a lot of offer in the area. Besides the fossil beds and waterfalls, we were also recommended by a few people to take a drive out to Balanced Rock.

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The hike up to balance rock was pretty short but we were pretty ill-prepared with only flip flops as usual.

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And of course Luka got to ride in comfort in the backpack.

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We once again brought our drones to fly around here for some epic aerial shots.

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We all made it back down the rock with no injuries.

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Just south of the Twin Falls is the world famous Perrine Bridge. While it is beautiful to look at as it arches across the canyon above the Snake River, its claim to fame is actually the activity that people do on here.

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The Perrine Bridge is one of the few bridges in the country where BASE jumping is allowed. On any given day, many adrenaline junkies can be seen walking along side of the bridge to the middle to get ready for flight.

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While here, we stayed at Rock Creek County Park. It was sort of hard to find as it sits below street level and had lots of construction going on while we were there. It had water and electric but no dump station on site.

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We had to haul out of there to the city dump station a couple of miles away which was free.

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As we left Twin Falls, we decided to make our way to Craters of the Moon National Monument. We had heard conflicting information about cell reception but when we got here,  I was able to get some reasonable 3G signals from Verizon.

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We had a great spot side-by-side with the Works during our stay here.

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This is going to a pretty bittersweet stay here with them as we will be heading separate ways once we leave this campground.

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We will continue our way north into Montana while the Works will begin heading back to Kansas.

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Josh and Jessa had decided that their life on the road has come to an end. They are settling back in the town where Josh grew up and will be living and renovating his grandmother’s home whom had passed away recently.

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Luka did not let the departure of the Works bother him. He savored every minute with Josh, Jessa and Jack.

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As did the girls.

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Craters of the Moon is a beautiful spot. It is a National Monument and a National Preserve.

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It encompasses about 400 square miles of land and is made up of three separate lava fields.

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We took a short hike up an old cinder cone volcano called Inferno Cone.

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The experience is surreal.

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We stayed several nights in Craters of the Moon and made other day trips out in the area. At the nearby town of Arco, Idaho, the graduating high school class has a tradition of carving and painting their graduating year into the mountain.

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We spent a whole day just driving through the Sawtooth Mountains to do some further exploring.

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If we had more time, we could definitely spend several more days if not weeks in this part of Idaho.

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We took route 75 through the towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley and made it to Redfish Lake.

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Still a fair amount of snow in the mountains in the distance.

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We drove the entire way on route 75 and saw a sign that read ‘Ghost Town’. Well, we could not just let it pass without going so we hit the brakes pretty hard and turned up a dirt road for a few miles before we ended up at the ghost town of BayHorse, Idaho.

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When we got here, the gates were closed and locked. Apparently it had just closed a few moments ago. Bayhorse is preserved and managed by the State of Idaho as a State Park and no rangers were to be found.

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Well, we parked outside of the gates and hiked in to get a closer look at this place.

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I got to fly the drone here in golden hour and got some great aerial footage of the place in 1080p at 60 frames per second.


It was well worth the detour and we hoped that we had gotten here earlier to get some more information about our visit.

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We left and got back on route 75 as it connected back to route 93 which took us south back into Arco, Idaho and eventually to our campground at Craters of the Moon. It was a 350+ mile drive that took all day but well worth the effort.

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We knew the end was coming soon as our stay was nearing an end.

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Jack and Ava apparently had picked up a new hobby from seeing the BASE jumpers at Twin Falls as they fashioned their own parachutes from plastic bags and backpacks.

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I sure hope they will savor this moment on the road together with each other for many years to come.

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Goodbye friends. We hope one day we can do this together again.

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 over and out,
dan

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