There is something about visiting a place with zero expectations that usually sets one up for to be pleasantly surprised…
The only reason we are going to Boise is because of Airstream Adventures, that’s where our Airstream repairs are scheduled. I know nothing about Idaho, other than potatoes. Although I was previously shocked when passing through, on our way to the Pacific Northwest, by how stunning southern Idaho is with its lakes, foot hills and white capped mountains.
So we really have no ambitions in Boise other than wait for our Airstream to be repaired…
We are thrilled, excited and pumped to have reservations at… the Homewood Suites!
Now, if you have never been to Homewood, you have not lived. Ok, massive exaggeration. We fell in love with the Homewood Suites long ago when we were traveling with kiddos and needed a place to stay. We were able to take our babies put them on a sofa coach and then lay in nice clean, cold sheets watching cable tv (which we have not had for years). We were smitten. Ever since we always stay at a Homewood whenever we need a hotel.
The manager there, generously offered to upgrade us to a 2-king suite. BAM! Boise, off to a great start.
Every time we stay in a Homewood, even when we used to live in a 5-bedroom 3000 sq foot house, Char and I would look at each other and say…
“This is perfect, I could live here.”
The layout is just simple. It’s just the right amount of space. I think like 1,100 sq feet. Which is now a mansion compared to our 275 sq feet on wheels.
First night there, we get a takeout pizza from New York Giant Pizza. It’s a little crisp, overdone. So they insist we don’t pay and it’s free. BAM BAM! Boise off to a good start
Early in the week, we see signs for the Caldwell County Fair. Score number three! Love the fair. Char’s phone died though, so no pics. We had a blast though.
One of the highlights for me was learning about 4-H. When I was little I remember seeing commercials for 4-H. I think they had a jingle of something too. Note to self – bring back the jingle. Tell the team we need to start marketing with more jingles.
4-H is a farm program where kids are trained in everything from growing, to raising live stock, building and operating guns. We met a handful of kids who had spent the last year raising an animal of their own. The way it works is they get sponsored to raise an animal… a chicken, a hog, a goat, a cow. They then raise that animal to maturity. Bring it to the county fair for showing. Compete to win ribbons. And then the animal is auctioned, usually to be slaughtered.
I know sounds brutal. But it’s reality! We eat meat and this is how it works. 4-H is old school like that. I asked one mom why they name the animal if they are going to eat it. She said, “The kids get attached any way, so we let them name it. They know at the end, this animal is to feed us and provide for the family.” BAM! That’s a lot of reality for a little 11-year old girl raising a pretty little cow.
We have already put in our 4-H early applications for all three of our girls.
Back at the Homewood, we are walking distance to a cineplex. BAM! Boise is on a roll. One night I go to see the new Star Trek. The next Char goes to see Jason Bourne. Wasn’t a lot to choose from. But solo-night-out is always a treat. I know, you think it doesn’t sound romantic. When you share 275 sq. feet with 5 people, giving your spouse the opportunity to get out by themselves is extremely romantic and appreciated
We had the opportunity to eat at Boise Fry, a trendy burger joint known for it’s grass fed burgers, unique condiments and 25+ combinations of potatoes and fry cuts.
We had just regular burgers with loraine potatoes and sweet potato fries. The cranberry ketchup was pretty solid. So was the garlic mayo. That said, even though I wanted to love this place like crazy, I keep thinking back to Little Big Burger in Portland. Little Big Burger had a tiny little menu compared to Boise Fry. In fact they only had ONE, yes ONE kind of French Fry. Shoe string golden yukon with truffle oil. Crazy thing is, there ONE french fry they had mastered so well, I would pick it over the other 25+ combinations from Boise Fry.
Lesson learned again and again – when it comes to business and perhaps even life, better to focus on a small set of things and become a true master, then to spread yourself thin and linger in mediocrity. That said, still a fantastic lunch. We are getting spoiled, since every town we go into I immediately pick the highest rated place on TripAdvisor where kids will be tolerated and thats where we eat.
Sunday we get to enjoy Boise, Vineyard. Loving seeing all different churches and denominations. Great place.
On one of our final days, we go to Zoo Boise. Another great surprise! From the outside, it is not impressive in the least. Inside, it is an extremely well put together zoo with a ton of animals I have never even seen before. Like the Bear Sloth. Did you know there is such a thing as a Bear Sloth!?!? Crazy looking creature too. And we saw two of them getting into a serious argument. I don’t know if it was about politics or urinating rights, but the sounds they made as they debated were incredible.
I also was stunned by how much our Bella (6) and Seygrey (3) know about animals. It’s embarrassing for me and my wife. We passed by the lemur and Seygrey started explaining how they rub their tails on their chest and release a stink smell to fend off predators.
Then we pass a desert exhibit that appears completely empty. Under a piece of slate rock there is exposed about a 2 inch strip of skin of a hiding reptile. Looks like a snake. Nope, I’m wrong. Bella comes over and tells me its a Gila Monster. i look at the sign and she’s right! She then also corrects me and explains it is pronounced “hi-lah” not “gila” monster. I asked her how she knew. She said she recognized the pattern… of a Gila Monster!
Wild Krats – I salute you. Thank you for turning my kids into zoologists.
Our time in Boise turns out to be a wonderfully pleasant surprise. All around great time.
We are packing up now. Time to get back on the trail…
Our journey is now taking us back east. The goal is to make it the Oregon coast. See some awesomeness there like Sea Lion Cave and perhaps Thor’s Well (both real things, I didn’t make them up, honest). Come end of August, we will head down into California. First stop, Bethel Church in Redding