Monday, February 16, 2009

Things Seen on a Valentine’s Day Drive to Boise

Our little corner of the world, Indian Valley, lies about 120 miles northwest of Boise, one of the few actual cities in the rather large state of Idaho. We don’t make our way down there very often, but Eberle & I decided to make a day of it on Saturday as a Valentine’s Day date. We had a wonderful lunch at Madhuban Indian Cuisine—the buffet, so we were able to sample goodies ranging from goat masala to aloo tikki & beyond—& then were off on a bit of a shopping spree for some much needed household items.

A drive to Boise in the later stage of winter often seems a bit like time travel, because the snow can start to vanish & grass can begin to appear as soon as 50 miles from home, in Weiser. Friday night had seen a bit of a freak snowstorm, however—no huge accumulations, but enough to keep the surroundings snow-covered for a good part of the trip. There wasn’t a trace of snow in Boise, tho—at least we could return to wintry Indian Valley knowing that in a month or so our land will look like that.

Here are some things Eberle & I saw:

  • An old & abandoned homestead, with the roof of one outbuilding caving in, its rafters exposed
  • A mailbox on a wagon wheel
  • Lambs in the snow
  • A bluish tinge across the surface of the snowy pastures south of Cambridge
  • Snow capping the tufts of cattails by the highway
  • A large mound of gravel covered in snow & blending into the dull white sky
  • Ducks on the Weiser River
  • A large board & batten treehouse with a porch; three green garden hoses are coiled on the wire fence below
  • A rockslide as we came down the south slope of Midvale Hill
  • Bennie’s Tacos: a snow covered white taco bus parked by the highway in Weiser
  • White boxcars covered with graffiti
  • A grid of knee-high sapling Christmas trees
  • A row of junk cars in front of goats in a pen
  • A row of blackbirds on a phone line above a snowy pasture filled with black cows
  • A sign stating: “Hunt Test”—a number of pick-ups, & men in camo with rifles & hunting dogs
  • A great blue heron flying above the Payette River
  • An authentic green John Deere tractor mailbox sized to receive packages
  • C & C Quick Stop: a faded white flat-top store with boarded up windows, there’s faded red trim around the plywood
  • A pair of plywood cutout goats, primed white but otherwise unpainted, beside a sign advertising home repair
  • Green grass
  • The Log Cabin Bar: a log cabin with red tin roof, open at 10:40 a.m.
  • The last wall standing from an old concrete block building
  • Goats & sheep in a pen grazing on snow-dusted grass
  • A coil of hog fence lying at the corner of a harrowed field
  • A miniature burro, a horse & a large sheep grazing in a wood corral by a large metal shop
  • A pair of stone lions in front of a small house with green weathered clapboards
  • Tractor tires half-sunk in the ground lining the driving to Burkhardt Burkhog Farm
  • A metal horse silhouette atop a white flagpole—the pole doesn’t actually hold a flag
  • Green & white wishing well & trellis in front of a green & white doublewide with gingerbread trim
  • A flying ear of corn (green wings) advertising “DeKalb”
  • A white dog standing on his doghouse—a black horse covered with a blue quilted horse blanket watching the dog
  • A pile of gray irrigation pipe at the edge of a plowed field
  • A newly framed barn beside an old, corrugated barn, with a leaning stack of rotting hay nearby.
  • The signboard at a Shell station: “2% milk, bread, biscuits & gravy”
  • A flock of Canadian geese foraging on a softball field
  • A nursery with a lawn filled with pink flamingoes; the flamingoes surround a small man-made pond
  • Road names: Devil’s Elbow; Patch Island; Little Willow; Big Willow; Moon Valley
  • The large blue Star Merc: “Meat, Groceries, Hardware, Roughcut 1 x 6 thru 3 x 12”
  • Two geese preening in a field of corn stubble
  • A cell tower standing behind three metal York silos
  • One mourning dove on a telephone wire
  • Strangely skeletal horse statues atop the Sand Hollow Store
  • The late afternoon light hitting the cliffs along Highway 52; they rise straight up from large pastures in the land east of Payette
  • A redtail hawk swooping into a pasture
  • A miniature black Wells Fargo wagon on a front lawn with sheep & horses grazing in a pen in back
  • Onion fields outside Annex, OR blinding white with the fresh snow, & the snow lying across them in a corduroy pattern due to the plowed rows underneath
  • Several onions lying in a mud puddle beside the road
  • An old red tractor parked next to dormant grape vines
  • A pair of dark tennis shoes dangling from a high limb of a big cottonwood in Midvale’s town park
  • Ice on the Weiser River covered with new snow; the black water flowing open beside this


  1. Your post reminds me so much of the PBS special I watched last night about sites along the Lincoln Highway. Some bits of real Americana. Sounds like a wonderful day.

  2. Hi Willow: Sounds like a great show-- have always been fascinated by the Lincoln Highway-- I believe the last road of this sort is US 6, which runs from Provincetown to Long Beach; would love to travel that whole highway.

    & yes, thanks, we had a delightful Valentine's getaway.

  3. Wonderful to read this. You guys are so cute.

  4. Maybe this is in another post of this type, but do you write these down as you go, or do you memorize them? I love these lists, I should learn to be more observational.

  5. Thanks Oladapo: great to see you here again.

    Hi Tomm: Yesterday we jotted them down as we went along-- since there were two of us in the car we could do that safely-- then I gussied them up a bit this a.m. When I'm keeping lists & driving by myself-- well, let's just say it's a bit more complicated.

  6. * I meant Saturday, of course, not yesterday-- time is on the wing....

  7. Wonderful how you took "time to smell the roses." Great observations...and I'm sure you both had fun doing so. Kind of reminds me as a kid, noting things along the way on a long automobile trip (from the back seat!)

  8. Hi Linda:

    Yes, it is a nice pastime in a car, & it does get you to "see" the surroundings.

  9. Thanks for the tour of Boise. I've never been to Idaho. Always thought the state had the very coolest shape of any state in the U.S.

  10. One of the really good side benefits of a career spent in the high tech biz is that you find all the good Indian restaurants. My current home must some sort of American ground zero for Indian food: Drive five minutes in a randomly selected direction and you'll come to a good place.

  11. Reya: Idaho has a lot of natural beauty & is a very "outdoorsy" sort of place. I do appreciate the gorgeous landscape, but sometimes I miss city living-- spent close to 10 years in San Francisco before moving here.

    K.: That is a really big benefit in my opinion. As one who loves vegetarian food (without being a strict vegetarian), I'd have to say Indian is my favorite cuisine.

  12. Wonderful sights on your trip. It sounds exactly like the kind of day Kevin and I would enjoy here. Lots of fodder for nature poetry - hawks, Canada Geese, herons etc. Not to mention dining on my favourite food - Indian!
    It sounds as if you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.


  13. Kat:

    Yes, it was a fun day out, & we love the "back way" we go to Boise-- the typical way is on I-84 for about the last 60 miles. We duck around thru some pretty rural farm country instead-- actually a lot of the observations came on that stretch. & yes, Indian food is the best.


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.