Thursday, September 16, 2010

EoB: Bamboozlery and Boise

I'm continuing to repost (post-dated) diary entries from my trip. I'm in DC now, but if you scroll down you can relive my Oregon Trail odyssey in real time. As always, pictures are click to enlarge.

Before getting to Boise, we figured we had enough time to stop off and see Shoshone Falls. but, we didn't have enough milage to take the scenic route along highway 30, so we were just going to pop off, look at the falls, and pop back on gain. We followed the brown signs to "waterfalls" but were BAMBOOZLED! Bamboozled onto the scenic route and we didn't even see the falls! To be fair, the scenic route was quite pretty during the second half, but the first half was all strip malls and no Shoshone falls. Incredibly disappointing to be hoodwinked in such a way.

The scenic route did redeem itself with multiple crossings of the Snake River:

And it did get pretty:

But this is not Shoshone Falls:

We got to Boise, had dinner and bounced around while we waited for Kristen, our couchsurfing host, to get off her shift at work. She took us home where Amy went to bed and I went out with her and her friends to a goodbye party. Our first stop was at her friend Angel's house, which is so cool. It's a converted grocery/corner store, so the whole first floor is big open space. She even turned the deli counter into a mini bar.

Idaho State House:

We took a (five dollar!) cab downtown to Mulligan's, a silly bar that reminded me of McFadden's, for (two dollar!) drinks. Once the goodbyes to the kid who was moving had been said, and we picked up a friend named Eric, we headed to other, more legitimate, places.

Woke up at 9 the next morning and hung out around Kristen's amazing apartment and wandered neighborhood until lunch. A few of her neighbors grow corn (!) in the little space between their sidewalks and curbs, which is SO COOL. We went to lunch at Donnie Macs Trailer Park Cuisine, as awesome as it sounds. We met Angel and Eric there, and sat on couches in the parking lot surrounded by old toilets used as planters. Inside the garage, they had a car on risers that had been converted into a table. Some little kids were eating there when we arrived (and we wanted to take advantage of the amazing weather), but Amy and I made sure to get a photo op.

Across the Street from Donnie Mac's was the Spearmint Rhino! When Amy was prepping for our trip, she Googled "Boise Night Life." The first thing to pop up was The Spearmint Rhino, a sleezy strip club with a website to match. Anyway, we joked about it the whole trip, and were absolutely thrilled to just stumble upon the Best Chest in the West!

After lunch, Kristen took us on a walking tour of Boise and the Boise State campus. We saw the blue turf, as promised. Boise is definitely a city, but it's super friendly and Kristen kept seeking people on and off campus that she knew. The city is also relatively small - the perfect size for biking.

After lolling about by the river a bit, we went to a few different happy hours, and then to Live after Five. Every Wednesday afternoon, there's live music and a beer garden in the center of town. It was really nice and had some pretty epic people watching.

Back at Kristen's, we hung out for a bit and collected her boyfriend to go to dinner at a brewery just out of town where I had amazing polenta. A lot of people know that polenta is something I feel passionately about, and I was very glad to see this incredibly underrated item on a restaurant menu.

We were all too tired to go out agin so we played with the kitty, chatted a bit and went to bed. This morning we ran a few errands downtown before heading out again. We stopped at a little coffee shop that happened to be near Kinkos for some coffee before hitting the road, and Eric was the barista! It was all very serendipitous and exciting and a really nice ending to an absolutely amazing stop in Boise.

There hasn't been much on our drive so far today. (Literally, ranches in Eastern Oregon are 100 miles apart, not to mention small towns or gas stations). It's beautiful but desolate. We listed to a really awful right wing advice show on AM radio, and the first Britney Spears CD, and stopped for lunch in the bustling hamlet of Burns. We've decided to stop in Bend for the night to make the car rop off and catching a bus easier tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a sketch motel.

I can't believe our trip is almost over! It's so spacious and free here that I get a littler claustrophobic and scared thinking about flying back East. But that's in a week or so, and for now, we have the Oregon badlands!


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