As we wrap up our 31-day virtual road trip today, we travel west from Montana to Idaho. My family first moved to Idaho in 1998. We live up in the panhandle in the Coeur d’Alene area, near Spokane, Washington.
If you haven’t been here before you may not realize how very scenic most of Idaho is. We were surprised to learn that the state of Idaho is 75% public lands (national forest), but that explains why we so readily find interesting back roads to explore.
People who aren’t very familiar with Idaho seem to mainly know about the “famous potatoes.” What’s funny to me is that there aren’t even any potato farms around here. They are in the southern part of the state. Yet our license plate proudly boasts “Scenic IDAHO” across the top, and then “FAMOUS POTATOES” along the bottom– as if the potatoes are part of the scenery! That makes me laugh.
When we lived in Denver we found out that the population of the entire state of Idaho is half the population of the Denver metro area! That’s why it felt so crowded there to me.
We’ve had so many interesting, back-roads adventures in Idaho that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a handful of favorites. In 1999, my Granddaddy came to see us for a couple of weeks. We picked him up at the Spokane airport and as we drove home over the mountains that day he said, “I feel like the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon: ‘The half was not told me.'”
The girls were little and my schedule was pretty open, so almost every day of the two weeks he was here, we packed a picnic and set off to explore. We had only been here for a little over a year ourselves, so there was plenty that we hadn’t yet seen ourselves. Granddaddy was game for just about anything I suggested. We visited the Cataldo Mission (the oldest standing building in Idaho), rode the gondola up Silver Mountain in Kellogg, drove along the Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe River… (We also went to British Columbia, Montana, and Mount Rainier National Park in Washington during his visit–but of course that’s not Idaho.)
I could probably list about half my blog posts to tell more about Idaho, but I’ll refrain. I will share a couple of my favorite places, though:
Have you been to Idaho? If so, please share a memory in the comments!
Thank you for traveling along on my 31-day virtual road trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride!