When planning this trip, we thought carefully about where we wanted to end up for Independence Day. Our first location was in the middle of nowhere, ID along the Salmon River. I didn’t think we’d get much in the way of fireworks so we reworked our plans to land in Boise on July 4th.
However, because Rizzo turns out to be a bit freaked out about fireworks, not crazy insane but not happy about them, we realized that a big park show was going to be out of the question. Fortunately, it’s Boise, where pretty much anyone can buy and set off fireworks. And our park, Hi Valley, is literally located on top of a hill overlooking the city of Boise. It’s become an annual thing for RVers to gather their chairs behind the park and watch the fireworks go off all over. It sounded like a war zone but there wasn’t a single spot in the sky you could look and NOT see fireworks. Pretty awesome!
Now it’s time for some motorcycle riding! First stop, prison.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
What’s cooler than a prison from the 1800’s?! Well, probably a lot of things but I love old buildings (have I said that before?) and couldn’t resist a visit one of only four territorial prisons still open to the public today. Idaho Penitentiary opened in 1872 as a territorial prison and operated for just over 100 years before being closed in 1973 due to a more modern facility being opened near by.
What’s fascinating is getting to see the evolution of the prison cells from the 1800’s up to when it closed as many of the original buildings are still in use. Rather than tear them down, they simply repurposed them over the years.
The original solitary confinement.
At one point, these very tiny rooms would hold up to 6 prisoners, not very solitary.
These shared cells were an upgrade. They even had a hole in the wall to place the “honey pot” when not in use. This was pre-plumbing…
The Trustees had furniture and padded toilet seats!
A death row cell.
After the penitentiary, we continued our ride up to Idaho City and had lunch at Trudy’s Kitchen where even the bathrooms aim to entertain
Unfortunately, it turns out that visiting the day after Fourth of July isn’t a great idea. Most of the buildings were closed with signs saying they were spending time in Boise for the holiday. Here’s a few photos and, for more on this fascinating town, check out Charming Miller’s blog post.
Kayaking Boise River
If you are from the Phoenix area, like us, you are very familiar with tubing the Salt River. Boise has the Boise River. Float the River is part of the very popular Boise Greenbelt, a recreational use area that runs through the town of Boise and along the Boise river. You can rent rafts, kayaks, or tubes and float along the relatively calm waters past the University of Idaho Boise (the one with the blue football field), through some wonderful parks until reaching another park where they’ll shuttle you back to the first park to pick up your car. Since we already had a kayak, we were able to take advantage of the $3 shuttle without the other rental fees.
Now, I’m not sure if we are just fast kayakers or the water was running faster than normal but the 6 mile, 3 hour float only took us about an hour and 45 minutes. The three Class II rapids gave us enough to want to try more.
Miles hiked at this stop – 13.72
Animal Sightings to date – 17 and holding