West 2021:
Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID


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West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

Wednesday, May 19, 2021: We awoke at dawn because we had a big day ahead of us. We had slept with the back shades off, which was nice.
We were driving out of Farewell Bend State Park at 7:00 AM.
We followed the Snake River a short way ...
... to Annex, Oregon. Our friend, Marley, lived here as a child and had been sharing her memoirs with us, so we traced her history a bit. Here's the school she attended ...
... and a half-mile down the road is the farm she lived on.
We were in the land of sweet onion farms, so we were seeing random onions lying on the road just like we had the day before.
As we left Annex, we were about to cross the river into Idaho. It was odd to be welcomed to Idaho while still in Oregon, ...
... since the border is really in the middle of the Snake River here, but perhaps Idaho was very excited to welcome us back.
Once in Idaha, we discovered that we were still in onion country as we passed Four Rivers Onion Packing.
We drove a short distance to Payette and visited Riverside Cemetery.
With Marley's help, we were able to find her husband's family headstones, ...
... and hers and Gary's.
The main headstone anchoring the area is absolutely beautiful.
Gary had grown up with Harmon Killebrew, and Find-a-Grave had tipped us off that Harmon was also buried here, so we went to see his headstone next.
Debbie was delighted to see that Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium was engraved on the back of the monument. After being torn down in 1985 and replaced with the Mall of America, this was the first depiction of it that she had seen since then.
The streets of Payette also show pride in their hometown baseball star.
Marley lived in Payette in her later childhood so we drove through the downtown to see more of the area.
We followed the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway out of town.
We headed to Boise to the World Center for Birds of Prey. We had first learned of it when researching the California condors we had seen in Arizona two months earlier.
We had timed tickets for when the center opened at 10:00 AM.
We headed to the California condor display where one of the tour guides was giving a talk about them. There were two condors in the display, one tagged with "35" and the other untagged.
Condor #435 is tagged as 35. He was hatched at Oregon Zoo in April 2007. His father and mother are condors #46 and #11.
Here he is showing off his impressive wingspan.
After a few minutes, the untagged condor (also a male) flew over to the perch near him.
After the talk, we visited some of the other birds on display. Here's a bald eagle.
This gyrfalcon was absolutely beautiful.
This great horned owl had something wrong with his left eye, which is probably the reason he is living his life out here.
Next, we went indoors to where there is a small museum and where some of the other birds are housed.
This funny little guy is a harpy eagle. As far as we can tell, he has no bones in his neck because he was able to swivel it and move it from side to side with ease.
This beauty is a peregrine falcon.
Here's a red-tailed hawk.
This is an aplomado falcon.
This cool display showed examples of different birds of prey eggs.
We got to see some birds up close.
This little guy was enjoying something fleshy and delicious.
Here's a gorgeous bird.
He's probably some sort of hawk but we can't remember what kind.
We passed the Boise Idaho Temple. Over several days, we saw many temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). They were easy to spot because they all looked very "temple-y." It's a word.
In Boise, we passed another building with a very Winchell's-shaped sign, so we are certain that this used to be a Winchell's Donuts location.
We went to Fanci Freez for lunch, sticking with our theme of eating at local fast-food chains.
Tom ordered the Huckleberry burger and Debbie tried finger steaks. We got onion rings and "gems" (tater tots) as side dishes.
The finger steaks were really delicious. They tasted like chunks of teriyaki steak, breaded and fried. So tasty!
Next, we drove through downtown Boise.
From a distance, back-lit, the Idaho capitol building dome looks light brown, like a potato, like you might expect for a state famous for its spuds. Fortunately, it looks completely normal up close.
The Boise downtown area looks like a fun place to spend some time ...
... and maybe get your picture taken in a vintage photobooth.
We headed to the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
It's a sprawling site with lots to see, but the highlight is this sculpture of Anne Frank.
Roadside America told us to look for a house shaped like a castle, so we did.
Our last stop in Boise was the Idaho State Penitentiary.
The grounds were beautiful, with dozens of rose bushes in full bloom.
Perfection.
Some of the buildings are very old, ...
... and some are obviously newer.
Some of the buildings had interesting displays. This one let you take your own mug shot ...
... and listed inmates (and their interesting crimes) from all 50 states who had been incarcerated here.
The sign says that this is the Rose Garden. It began as a vegetable garden by an inmate, and was the site of six executions by hanging from 1900-1929.
This is the interior of one of the old cell blocks.
It featured three levels of cells, ...
... which were incredibly tiny.
The cells were slightly larger in a newer cell block.
This one was especially spacious but it held four inmates. Imagine using the toilet in front of three cellmates every single day.
One of the buildings houses the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, containing one of the nation's largest collections of historic arms and military memorabilia.
Debbie was taken by the war posters targeting women.
Tom was dazzled by the cool swords.
The Merci Train boxcar exhibit had been closed when we arrived, but the attendant in the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit was good enough to ask another museum staffer to open it up for us. We were absolutely thrilled that we got to see this and were very grateful to both staffers for making it happen.
There was a display noting the history of the Merci Train and the boxcar itself.
There was also a larger version of the picture on the information sign, and this is where we noticed that the boxcars did have a United States emblem in the upper right corner and a Merci Train logo in the lower left corner. Somehow, we hadn't noticed this on the boxcars we had seen until we got to North Dakota.
The back of the boxcar was missing some of its shields, but that gave us the opportunity to see how they were mounted.
We headed out of Boise and passed this historical marker for the Oregon Trail. It's hard to know which trail we followed more - Oregon Trail or Lewis and Clark.
As we drove through towns, this was the first display of high school senior portraits we encountered, but it wasn't the last. Imagine having your school photo enlarged, printed on signs, and placed on on public streets - so creepy.
There's the Snake River up ahead.
We were on the Idaho Birding Trail on our way to ...
... Bruneau Dunes State Park.
There was a fun display outside the visitor center that featured many other Idaho state parks.
We got checked into the campground and settled into our site by 2:30 PM. We parked at an angle across our space so we could have more of a view of the sand dunes from our side window.
Behind us, we could see dirt blowing across the dry plains in the extremely high winds.
Here's our beautiful rig in camp, ...
... and here's the very cool view.
We had gotten our fill of sand in our shoes a couple of months earlier at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, so we weren't tempted to hike to the dunes. Instead, we just enjoyed them from our rig with all of the screens open.
It's hard to convey the size of the dunes, but if you look at the two tiny people and their dog in the lower left corner of this picture, you'll get some idea.
Through our binoculars, we could see what the winds were doing to the dunes. Sand was flying off of them constantly until the winds finally died down around sunset.
Speaking of sunset, here it is. The lights on the restrooms were red to keep the sky as dark as possible once the sun went down.
Our movie feature of the evening was "A Knight's Tale."

Day 18 >


West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

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