Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the Road Again

I haven't posted trip updates in a long time because usually Tim goes alone or we go to Utah, which is a trip I've made enough times that I don't see the interesting things anymore. So nothing to write!

Today, though, we made the second leg of our trip to Idaho, from Lehi to Kuna, ID.  It's a trip I haven't made in many years, so it was new to me.

First thing I noticed were some funny signs:

One read, "Beware Broken Windshields".  Since they're sitting around on the freeway all the time?

Another said, "Idaho is too great to litter."  That's good, since when a state litters, it lands in another state, and nobody wants Idaho's trash.

I also noticed that northern Utah and southern Idaho are a lot more desert-like than I remembered. There are swaths of beautiful farmland, for sure, but most of the drive was dry rolling hills covered with sagebrush. That made it at least as exciting as the drive  through Wyoming, which is one of my least favorite drives around.

Just before the border, though, there is a whole valley of abandoned farms, with empty frame farmhouses worn gray by the weather, fields plowed but not planted and just sitting there. Completely deserted. I realize from my family history that the area around the border is particularly difficult for dry farming, so I can see why it might have been walked away from (that's what my family did in the 1920s).  But seeing farm after farm after farm just left to ghosts begged for two things: exploration and narrative. I can't help but think of a thousand stories for those empty houses.

On the way up, we discovered that most of the Sinclair stations in Idaho are out of everything but the lowest grade of gas. That was bizarre. Snowville (just on the Utah side of the border) was PACKED with cars and trucks, and was running out of gas altogether. So we drove on and eventually had to stop at a little gas station that was its own town. And that means expensive. So we didn't fill up all the way while we were there, but we did take a potty break.

It was the funniest gas station I've ever been in.  On the door was a sign that said, "Baby Rattlers Inside; be cautious." Inside was a deep cage, with steps up to it and chicken wire across the top. The sign said, "Baby Rattlers." In the bottom of the cage was sawdust rattles. Pink ones and blue ones, mostly, but there was at least one yellow one thrown in for good measure.

Next to that was a "phone" that said, "Local calls only." It was a can on a string.

Near the bathroom was a large sign that said, "Watch out for bats."  Yeah, you guessed it. Just through the doorway, a wooden baseball bat was suspended from the ceiling.

The kids got a kick out of that place.

Tim and I have a dream of wandering the country some day and going to all the little museums in all the little out-of-the-way towns--and finding places like that gas station. It was a great stop. Too bad gas was a dollar more per gallon than some other places on our trip!

Coming up on Twin Falls, we found at least two signs, several miles apart, that said, "Twin Falls 42" (miles, that is), and at least three that said, "Twin Falls 13" miles. All miles apart from each other. Then, when we reached Twin Falls, we drove through it and were in Jerome before we realized we'd seen it. I kept thinking we'd catch up to it eventually and prove the signs wrong (a city can't be receding, can it?), but from the freeway, Twin Falls seems to be more of a farming region than a city. So the signs are all right, I guess, because the exact location of Twin Falls is kind of nebulous. Jerome was great, though. No gas at the Sinclair, but there was a Little Caesar's pizza, so we got pizza for dinner.

The last hour of the trip, after two days of driving, I was in such pain in my hips that I couldn't get comfortable. I was crawling up my seat, squirming and wiggling and so deeply uncomfortable. It was awful. So I was glad when Boise came into sight.

So we eventually made it in to Boise, then to Kuna, and then to Tim's sister's house, where we are staying for a visit (prompted by a gig in the area on Friday).  Hooray!

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