Ice, Ice, Boise

Dun, dun-dun-dun, duh-duh, DAH-dun

Catchy, eh?

We ventured to Boise because Doug’s former Sierra Nevada co-worker and friend moved with his family to the area a couple years ago. They have a similarly aged child, so we thought Halloween with friends would be an awesome adventure. We were right!

After saying goodbye to the ever windy Pendleton, we headed toward our stop for the night in Baker City. We had grand plans to grab lunch in Baker City, then check out the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and finally head out to some free BLM land nearby to boondoock for the night. We parked downtown in a very beautiful spot, walked the dogs, played in some leaves, and then went to lunch at a wonderful local restaurant that makes everything from scratch. Seriously, our food was delicious. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend Lone Pine Cafe.

But, something completely unexpected happened while we eating lunch. IT STARTED TO SNOW!!

Mother Nature just knew we needed to skip the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and beeline it to Boise. So we did what we hadn’t done yet, turned a two hour drive day into a four hour drive day. It wasn’t easy, but our kids were champs and were rewarded with an unexpected Halloween party when we arrived at the RV park in Boise. It was super sweet for the RV park to host the event and if we had arrived the next day as planned, we would have missed it. Here are the only photos we took of this event:

Our RV park was right on the Boise Greenbelt, which allowed us to have some fun exploring the Boise river and gave the four-year-old the ability to bike a bit. On one bike ride Doug and the four-year-old found a key fob, so they took it to the nearest fire station. The fire fighters on duty were rock stars and gave the four-year-old a tour of the truck and let him turn the lights on and hold a helmet!

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A lot (okay most) of our outdoor time this week was spent on that greenbelt or in the RV park. When we arrived, the temperature was high 20s to low 30s. Not too terrible. But it quickly dropped into the teens. It turns out when it is below 20 degrees out, Katie isn’t super keen to take the kids out to explore the cold, cold nature. So Doug worked in a coffee shop a few days and Katie and the boys did indoor home activities, with occasional short bursts of outdoor exploring while walking the dogs. Can you blame her? This was the inside of our window one morning!

Here are some shots of our Greenbelt fun:

They found parts of the Boise River that were frozen. A lot of fun was had with rocks, sticks, and the frozen river. Doug took the kids back later that day (and a few other days too) while Katie was working. He quite enjoyed the ice, maybe even more so than the kids.

There was a large pile of leaves that the kids were stoked to explore and literally spent 20 minutes jumping around in them. It would have been longer, but Katie got cold.

But before it got so cold and icy, Doug and Katie met up with Danny, Nicole, and their two-year-old for a treat at a local bakery and a walk down a very festive Halloween street. It was a very beautiful fall morning walk with excellent company.

Katie also took the kids to Zoo Boise! This was probably the best zoo experience Katie has ever had. It was 32 degrees out when they arrived at the zoo and only 34 degrees when they left, but almost every single animal was out and easily visible for them to discuss and learn about. The giraffes were in their very tall structure and not visible, so we decided this is why our two-year-old insists our toy giraffe is a camel.

Giraffes aside, the lions, tigers, bears (see what I did there?), wolves, leopards, penguins, birds, reptiles (including the komodo dragon which currently is an obsession of the four-year-old…thanks Wild Kratts), zebras, monkeys, and more were all out! The kids had a blast (so did Katie)! Did we mention they got to feed the Sloth Bear??! Katie and the boys were each given five mealworms to drop into a tube that the sloth bear sucked on to devour her treat. Katie and the boys held mealworms. The two-year-old said they were sticky, the four-year-old was in heaven, and Katie thought it was cool but let the four-year-old feed the sloth bear most of her mealworms.

Here is a ton of photos from this trip:

As soon as we were able, we made the trip to one of the local hot spots for Halloween fun, The Farmstead. There was a giant Very Hungry Caterpillar shaped corn maze (we did not attempt this), tractor wagon rides, apple canon shooting, a large inflatable dragon to walk through (turns out it was a dark maze), a large potato sack slide, a sad pumpkin patch full of rotting pumpkins (don’t worry, we found our two gourd ones among the bad), and so many other things we didn’t even see and do. We planned to spend an hour there and two hours flew by! We only left because we were all getting very hungry and none of the food was Katie or our kid friendly.

One afternoon, when it was probably in the mid to high 20s outside, Doug took the kids to the local MK Nature Center. It was pretty neat. The two-year-old saw a stuffed deer and correctly identified it as a reindeer. So as parents we are not completely failing him when it comes to animal identification. Unfortunately, the kids spotted a playground through a door at the nature center and because they had spent a large part of the morning inside with Katie, they wanted to be outside and on the playground. So long indoor nature center, hello cold playground fun!

Doug also ventured with the kids to the Discovery Center of Idaho. It took a while to find the activities that were geared toward our young kids, but once they did, the kids were hooked on science! Well, they were hooked on a warm room full of things to explore. That is science, right?

Toward the end of the week, Katie took the kiddos to the Boise Aquarium. It was super cute and the ability to touch the sting rays was really great. The four-year-old convinced Katie it was a great idea to feed them. You know, that way they would come closer and we could more easily touch them. Katie bought the food, thinking it would be like fish food flakes or something. She was a bit surprised to find they handed her tiny fish. To add to her surprise, once the kids saw the tiny fish, they didn’t want to feed the sting rays anymore. So it was up to Katie to feed them the dead fish. And feed them she did! Fun fact, they sort of make a burping noise when they come up to try and grab the fish before it hits the water.

The night before Halloween, we carved pumpkins. The kids drew what they wanted and Doug carved it (with some help from the four-year-old). We did it inside because it was freezing outside. The four-year-old actually grew quite attached to his pumpkin and come Saturday when it was time to say goodbye to the pumpkins, he had a very difficult time. It was already beginning to rot, so it couldn’t journey with us. One downside to travel life is saying goodbye to things we enjoy in one area. This time it was pumpkins.

On Halloween (the best time of year) we got all dressed up and went to our friends’ family’s house. After eating some pizza, we hit the streets! This was the two-year-old’s first real Halloween. Last year he sat in the wagon and refused to go up to any houses. He was 18 months old, who could blame him? But this year, he quickly discovered the fun and was all about it! Did you know grownups handing out candy don’t tell two-year-old kids to only take one. Nope, they laugh as the two-year-old grabs a handful of candy and excitedly exclaims while running away, “lots of candy!” The four-year-old is becoming a seasoned pro at trick or treating. He ran up to each house, knocked or rang the bell, peeked in through nearby windows, and had the “trick or treat” and “thank you” down to an art. It was seriously amazing and we wish we had captured more photos. Thanks again to Nicole’s family for hosting us! We appreciate it a ton!

We tried a local chain restaurant called Boise Fry Company. You get to select which potato varietal you want your fries made out of and which style you want them cut in (regular, curly, etc.). Plus they have a ton of sauces and burger options too. It was a neat place. We also hit up Westside Drive-In because they make potato ice cream. Because when in Idaho…

It is really ice cream in the shape of a baked potato and it wasn’t some amazingly delicious dessert, but it was well worth the visit. Fun Fact: apparently Guy Fieri ate there, or at least their sign said so.

It would have been wonderful to have spent another week or so in Boise. There is so much to do and see and we barely scratched the surface. We wanted to hike Camel’s Back and explore some parks with walking/nature trails. Really just be outside more when it isn’t quite so cold. We will just have to wait until next time!

And just for good measure, here are some random shots from the week!

Updated totals for those keeping track:

Days on the road: 114

Miles towed: 2,430

Camp sites visited: 23

Breweries visited: 21

National Parks/Recreation Centers/Monuments visited: 5

 

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