One reason for choosing Boise as a stopover was that Beth had spent June to November 2002 living and working here as a Student Engineering Intern at Hewlett Packard.
We visited the apartment complex where Beth rented a one-bedroom apartment, living in minimalist conditions with a camping chair, airbed and folding bookcase as almost her only comforts, as she didn't want to spend money on furniture she couldn't take away with her. During this period Beth spent many evenings practising Irish tunes on her tin whistles, and learnt that she didn't really enjoy being an Engineer, but did enjoy Irish music and wanted to develop her skills and knowledge in that area, which led indirectly to a visit to Miltown Malbay in Ireland in July 2003. The project she worked on for six months was cancelled just before she finished her internship and all her work was effectively scrapped. Had things worked out differently Beth might have ended up living in Boise, but I'm glad she didn't or we would never have met.
Leaving Boise we drove on through scrubby wilderness much like Eastern Oregon. We spotted this sign for the Old Oregon Trail, one of the trails that the early pioneers had followed to reach Oregon and the lush farmland of the Willamette Valley. The trail led through Boise, so we had unwittingly been backtracking on the trail.
At Glenns Ferry we tried to find the Oregon Trail History Center, which was signposted off our main road, the I-84. Unfortunately the signs were so infrequent that we couldn't find it, and gave up in frustration. This picture is the river near Three Islands Crossing, an important point on the trail because the Snake River (which we had been following and crossing all day) was very difficult to ford, but here at Three Islands Crossing the main channel was split and made fording possible, though never easy, as you can read at the following link. http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/3Island.html Eventually a Ferry was set up, hence the town's name, and later the railway came through town, making the river crossing unnecessary.
Further East but still in Idaho, the evidence of agriculture was more visible, in the large number of irrigation systems alongside the road. Behind the 197 mile marker you can see the wheel and pipes of one such system, watering a field of potatoes, the famous crop of Idaho. Mile markers count up or down from the point a road crosses the state line, so I know that at this point we were 197 miles across Idaho from the West on I-84. In the distance is a range of mountains which had been paralleling our route all day. Almost anywhere in the western states you will be in sight of mountains, a great way to orient yourself, but an impediment to travel. Our starting point of Eugene is 300-500 feet above sea level, but after leaving the Willamette Valley we were between 3000 and 7000 feet elevation.
Just across the Utah border we paused at a rest stop to freshen up, stretch, and change drivers. This view is looking north towards the mountains, and the great salt lake is opening up to the south. Rest stops in the US are quite unlike motorway services in the UK. There are restrooms and water fountains, shaded benches for picnics, information boards, and usually nothing else. There is no attempt to fleece the traveller by charging $7.50 for a cup of coffee and a danish, or to sell them cheap tat at an ambitious mark-up. This stop was unusual in having a manned tourist information shop because it is next to a state border, but only twice on all our rest stops was a manned tourist shop, both times in Utah and near the state border.
Around 5pm we arrived at our friend Sara's house in Ogden, and after some gardening tips and chat we were treated to a wonderful lasagna supper before we had to move on. Sara has two boys and a girl, but the girl fell asleep over supper (we are very exciting and tiring visitors) and missed the parting group shot. Sara and Beth became good friends during Beth's time living in Idaho and Utah, and the eldest boy Jordyn remembered Beth from previous visits.
We drove on the few miles to West Valley City to stay with our friends the Hellewells, of whom I will tell more next time.