Sunday, July 3, 2011

Missouri River to Idaho

Tue, June 7th to Sat, June 25th

This is a view of the Missouri River as we crossed it just west of Platte, South Dakota.

We stopped at Independence Rock State Historic Site just west of Casper, Wyoming. This was an important milestone for the almost half a million emigrants coming from the Missouri River to the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. It was about the halfway point and they needed to be here by the 4th of July to be sure they would get over the mountains before the snows came. Judging by recent pictures I have seen on the internet, they would have had to wait until well after the 4th for the passes to open up from the previous year's snows. There are wagon ruts still visible and many pioneers who stopped here carved their names into the rock. In 1852, 21 year old Ezra Meeker stopped here with his wife and son on their way to Puget Sound. He later became concerned that the history of the trail was not being preserved, so he traveled the route back east again with a covered wagon and ox team in 1906 at the age of 75. He left a line of stone monuments marking the trail from Oregon to Kansas. Ten years later he traveled the trail again by car, and in 1924 he was flown over the trail by army pilots. He died four years later at the age of 97. He wrote several books about the significance of the Oregon Trail. There is a nice walking trail out to the rock and around the north, west and south sides of it.

This is right in downtown Soda Springs, Idaho in the alley behind the bar and cafe. There are many hot springs in the area. In 1937 they were drilling to find a hot water source for a swimming pool. At 315 feet they unleashed the only man-made geyser in the world. It sprayed continuously and the Federal government asked the city to cap it because they thought it was effecting the regularity of Old Faithful, which is about a hundred miles or so north of it. It is now capped and controlled to erupt every hour on the hour.

We met the kids in Meridian/Boise, Idaho on Wed, the 15th for our grandson's baseball tournament. We stayed at a very nice KOA in Meridian. The little ones found the bike pump and decided to wash Grandpa's camper. "You pump and I will spray." Imagination is a great entertainer.

Future biker, if we can just get her to leave Lamby behind.

We stayed a few extra days and went to the Capitol in Boise. It was built in 1905, has the only state seal designed by a woman and is the only Capitol heated by geothermal heat pumped from 3,000 feet away. Boise sits atop a naturally occurring geothermal resource.

"Grandma, take a picture of us by the big flashlight." And I'm sure it did make a big flash when the confederates used it during the Civil War.

"Look Mom, we can ring the bell."


We had to skip most of the historical stuff. It was just too much fun to run down the long hallways and up and down the massive staircases. The huge flag filled the rotunda for several stories.

In the upper right-hand corner is a lifesize sculpture of George Washington on his horse that was carved from a single piece of pine by an Austrian immigrant. He carved it by candle light from a postage stamp-size likeness over a four year period. It was bronzed in 1869 and sat on the Capitol grounds until 1934. It was brought indoors, restored and covered with gold leaf in 1966.

This door was labeled "Lobbyists". I guess they keep them in a 'safe' place, all locked up. They just might be on to something.

"Aah, this is the life, Grandpa. Just you and me and TV." (until Mom finds out)

Who needs swing sets? What could be more fun than a water fountain in the park? All you need is a woman to take charge and give orders.

Back on the road, our future little lawmaker couldn't wait to read up on the history of the Boise Capitol. Wed, the 22nd, we headed south to Rexburg (home of Brigham Young University and 1976 Teton Dam Flood Museum) for another baseball tournament. "What a way to travel, Mom. I need a snack and a potty break."

Number "1" pitcher on the 12 and under Helena All-Star Team. I could be biased, but he's pretty good.

Go get 'em, Carter!

Baseball, Schmaseball! It must be five oclock somewhere.

Just bein' Grandma and lovin' it!


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