- Izhar Bar-Gad
An unexpected day Idaho
Driving from Yellowstone to Utah's parks we had a single day drive through Idaho. Surprisingly it turned out to be one of the best days of our road trip. We woke up in Saint Anthony which is a nice little town of 3000 people (it had approximately the same population back in 1920 so stability is the name of the game) with old brick houses and the town mascot, a working (!) tank parked in the entrance next to the memorial park. During our morning run we also spotted various canons and armored vehicles parked next to the schoolyard.
We drove down to the area's big city, Idaho Falls, where we dined in the cutest little cafe and visited the Collector's Corner museum. This amazing little place run by Jim and Nida, holds over 100 different collections. The collections range from Star Wars figures, to Matchbox cars, Barbies, Civil War artifacts, etc. etc. etc. The couple were the friendliest people we have met, and we spent a wonderful three hours chatting with them about their collections, family and life. They even gave us a gift of a steel penny from WWII to Yoav's delight.
Idaho is known as the potato capital of the USA (or maybe even the world?!) and no place is prouder of it than Blackfoot which has statues of it and even the Potato Museum. This place takes potatoes very seriously, so we walked through all the stages of growing and harvesting potatoes and the different processing methods for the different products. They also have potato superhero comics, toys, slogans and machinery and an all-potato cafeteria including a surprisingly good ice-cream.
We continued our trip south heading to Lava Hot Springs while collecting quite a few geocaches on our way (a separate post about that will follow sometime). The main attraction of this tiny town is the natural flow of hot springs which are feeding the pools. There are five pools ranging from hot to very hot and finally very-very hot. We thought that it would make a nice 30-to-60-minute event, but it turned out to be a long enjoyable social event. We first met a lovely elderly local couple; they have 8 kids and very firm ideas about the past and current president and even more firm ideas about those "California radicals". While chatting with them a family joined us who turned to be Israelis, so we immediately included them in the discussion while Yoav escaped the chatter to play with their kids. By the time we were almost done we were joined by a former Russian/Israeli currently based in Portland so in total we had a social event almost three hours. By the end of it, it was already dark and cold outside, but the pools were still steaming hot which was an excellent ending to a great and unexpected day in Idaho.