A Travellerspoint blog

Boise to Burns, Oregon

Stunning drive through the Malheur River Gorge

overcast 30 °C

After check-out we drove a short distance to downtown and the Basque District. Yes, Basques in Boise - they originally came out to work a gold-rush and then stayed on as sheep-herders. It's the biggest Basque population outside of Spain/France. Jeni visited the Basque Museum and I sat at an outdoor cafe opposite, sipping on Orangina

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The drive out of Boise to the start of Hwy 20 at Vale, Oregon seemed to take forever but from there we were driving through the stunning gorge/valley of the Malheur River. There were a couple of passes at about 5,000' which sounds worse than it was, as we were still at 4,000' - when will get back to near sea-level?

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We arrived in Burns (mid-way between Boise and Bend) about 3:30pm - it was very windy and very hot (88F) but the swimming pool was still too cold for swimming. During the night, very heavy rain started

Posted by kforge 08:23 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Twin Falls to Boise

Horrible drive

all seasons in one day 30 °C

The suite was so comfortable that we decided to stay until midday!

Despite the Falls being the biggest tourist attraction in Twin Falls (the drop is actually more than Niagara at about 480') we couldn't find it - no signs anywhere. We accidentally happened upon the Visitor Center after we had crossed the Perrine Bridge (495' above the Snake River Gorge) a couple of times looking for the Falls. The view of the Snake River Gorge from the Center was spectacular. We never did find the Falls

USA - Idaho - the Snake River in Twin Falls

USA - Idaho - the Snake River in Twin Falls

The drive from Twin Falls to Boise was nasty - high desert country with fierce cross-winds.

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We arrived in Boise about 3:30pm and immediately wanted to leave as their freeway system has destroyed the outskirts of the city (as in a lot of other cities we'd seen). However at a full hotel near the freeway, we were given directions to the "downtown" area". We quickly found the area in booking.com, booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express and checked in 5 minutes later

It was an excellent hotel with an outdoor pool that I used for a couple of hours while Jeni explored the lake and Mexican restaurant nearby (she wanted to do that rather than swim!)

In the evening we strolled 100 meters to the Mexican place and had an OK meal but ate too much of course, so a long postprandial walk around the lake was undertaken

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By the way, the reason we are driving a seemingly round-about route is that there are just about no roads traversing the Nevada and Oregon deserts to bring us near Crater Lake

Posted by kforge 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Jackson to Twin Falls, Idaho

Nowhere to stay

rain 20 °C

We awoke to a very overcast, rainy day with very low cloud (but we were at 6,237'). The forecast for the next few days was the same, so we decided to push on. To avoid the 8,431' Teton Pass, we took the very scenic loop road that followed the Snake River and then the Palisades Dam and ended up in Idaho Falls. We were actually heading for Pocatello but thought we'd drop into the Visitor Center to get some information on the route of the old Oregon Trail - it was closed but a strange/friendly woman appeared at the door, let us in, gave us a few brochures, told us that the river-walk close by was very good and that the town of American Falls was great. So we drove to the river nearby and yes, the walk and falls were very nice

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The historic area of Pocatello has been given good reviews in several articles, however the reality is that the buildings have been well restored but nobody goes there, it's like a ghost town. Unfortunately we've seen this all over - Coos Bay, Eureka, Crescent City to name just a few. So on we drove to American Falls. This was one of the most depressing towns we saw and we left immediately. We saw nowhere to stay in Pocatello or American Falls (and wouldn't have wanted to), so our only option was to follow the Snake River down to Twin Falls. We stopped at a couple of National Historic sites where the Oregon Trail had run

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We finally arrived in Twin Falls about 7:30pm and after some difficulty found La Quinta hotel/motel. The front-desk women were incredibly friendly and helpful and after we'd agreed on a room and price, they decided to upgrade us to a suite and this really was a suite - downstairs was a large bedroom and a large lounge, and upstairs was a jacuzzi

Posted by kforge 08:39 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Lake Village to Jackson

Through a rainy Grand Teton Park

rain 20 °C

As we pulled away from our cabin, there he was - an enormous bison just steps away, munching away, completely oblivious of any people or cars around. Something you can do when you're that size!

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It was an easy enough, if wet, drive from Lake Village to the entry to Grand Teton Park where we got out first look at the 1,735 km Snake River and Jackson Lake.

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The Jackson Lodge is another beautiful National Parks lodge. We just happened to arrive as a local orchestra was playing patriotic marching songs and anthems in the huge lounge on this Independence Day weekend. The view of the mountains through the gigantic windows was almost wonderful - we could vaguely see the mountains through the rain and clouds and it would surely have been spectacular on a clear day. And I bumped into an old friend

USA_-Wyomi..ckson_Lodge.jpgUSA -Wyoming - Grand Teton Park - Jackson Lodge - Kevin meets an old friend

USA -Wyoming - Grand Teton Park - Jackson Lodge - Kevin meets an old friend

From there we stopped at the Jenny Lake Lodge but they were fully booked for lunch. So we drove the mile to the lake (Jenny Lake? Lodge) and managed to see a few peaks through the rain and cloud

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As the weather was deteriorating, we decided to carry on to Jackson and look at our options for the next day. Unfortunately, as the day wore on the rain really came down. But we did find a good motel just a few minutes walk from the centre of the old town
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Posted by kforge 21:26 Archived in USA Comments (1)

West YellowStone to Lake Village in Yellowstone Park

via Old Faithful

sunny 30 °C

We couldn't wait to get out of West Yellowstone. We were at the Ranger Station as it opened, bought our Park tickets and were in the Park by 8am. We didn't have any accommodation in the park and it was Independence Day but we took everything with us as there was no way we'd be going back to West Yellowstone

Our first stop was a small geyser bubbling away next to the Nez Perce Creek in the picturesque Fountain Flat meadows. At all of the geysers, you cannot get near them as the crust may collapse to leave you to be boiled alive

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Next were the Fountain Paint Pots in Lower Geyser Basin

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And, of course, Old Faithful. The Old Faithful Inn was quite amazing - one of the largest log-built structures in the world, and they did a mean sorbet which we consumed in comfort (it was 90F) on their shaded outdoor patio overlooking Old Faithful

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From there, we drove alongside Yellowstone Lake to Lake Village and and were able to make a walk-up booking at Lake Lodge Cabins, set back 200 meters from the Lake

After settling in to our rustic cabin, we walked through the meadows down to the Lake (keeping an eye on half-a-dozen Bison busily munching away) and along the waterside to the local General Store that happened to have a great patio

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Early evening, we were on the Lodge deck overlooking the Lake and watching the local Independence Day parade

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Posted by kforge 07:40 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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