Welcome to Idaho! My last state to visit in the lower 48 states!
As soon as we crossed the Montana-Idaho border Kat said “where are all the potatoes?” We didn’t see any until right around our campground and they were harvesting, so that was exciting.
The Ririe Dam reservoir campground (Juniper campground) about 20+ miles outside of Idaho Falls was pretty full when we arrived on Saturday, but we found a nice spot. They didn’t take reservations after October 1st, so we had to chance it. I raced to get Fat Henry and the camper cleaned up a little because that mud we drove through in the morning on our way out of Montana was only going to turn to cement if we left it. It was caked underneath on the slider rails and just everywhere. I beat the rainstorm that blew in and we settled in to watch TV and have dinner. Sunday the weather was pretty rough. Lots of wind and rain with Tornado and thunderstorms flashing across the bottom of the TV as we watched football. It was a pretty lazy day, but nice to relax. There were a few breaks where we could get out for some fresh air. Monday wasn’t much better and we used the heat quite a bit. I woke up a few mornings because of owls talking to each other. I wish I could have seen them, but it was cold and dark outside, so I just rolled over and buried myself under the covers and listened. Heating up soup for lunch helped warm us up a bit. We tried to line up a volunteering plan for that day or Tuesday and when I called we were asked to show up at the foodbank about 10:30am, so we were set with that. Later in the afternoon we decided we should get out, so we went to Starbucks and Walmart where we got some internet stuff done and bought some groceries for dinner the rest of the week.
Tuesday we showed up at the soup kitchen and they said they weren’t expecting us and didn’t need anymore help. It is weird how disappointed can you feel when your volunteer services aren’t needed. Boo. Right away Kat called the Restore store that we passed on the way into town and luckily they said to come on over. Off we went and they put us to work vacuuming and dusting the store. That store was the cleanest ReStore store I have ever been in before we even started, but they were happy to have us. We really enjoyed chatting with Bonnie and Kim who worked there. Bonnie had grown up in the area on a potato farm and answered all of our questions. That was really interesting. She said it was horrible, hard work and when she got married she never wanted to do it again. We had seen one too many pizza commercials since Sunday and were craving it, so she recommended a pizza place for lunch and even though we weren’t starving, sometimes it is just nice to go out to eat. The buffet of pizza, pasta and salad was pretty good. A nice 2 hour nap filled the rest of our afternoon. That was ok because we have to be up early to go help on the at the food bank Wednesday. That was unexpected because I had left a message on Monday with a lady at the Salvation army who was going to see if there were any opportunities for us to volunteer and much to my surprise she came through and we got a call right after we were turned away at the Soup kitchen. I really didn’t expect to get a call back, but we were happy about it. We were hoping the snow that is predicted sticks to the mountains and doesn’t affect us.
Wednesday, no snow, we went to the Food Bank at 7:30am because that is when they start working and everyone was really happy to have us. When I spoke with Sharon on the phone to coordinate she said they may need help with potato loading and things, but it was rainy and they weren’t doing that on that day. When we go there they were busy stocking food that had been donated and also making up bags up that people would be coming to pick up later that day, so that is what we helped with until about 10:30am. People are allowed to come 6 times in 6 months. It doesn’t have to be once a month or on any schedule, that is just the maximum amount of times. The food comes from lots of different places, two that we were told about were from the postal workers food drive and the boy scout food drive. Some is from stores or the government. Once again, they rely heavily on volunteers to help with the work. What a super nice group of people! They kept us busy and chatted with us while we worked. We really hope when we finally do stay longer in one spot and do volunteering we can volunteer more than one time for places. We would have loved to help these guys out again and gotten to talk more with them. The same goes for our time at the ReStore. Bonnie at the ReStore store actually went and got us some potatoes from a potato cellar and had them ready for us to pickup as we left town to go to Salt Lake City. That was so nice and there must be about 10lbs of monster baking potatoes in that box! Or spuds as they are called locally. 🙂
Thanks a lot to Janet for giving us advice on how to light our oven, we found out it does work! We hadn’t ever used it, but that was partly because it had been so hot for most of the trip and we almost always cook outside on the grill.
We will remember Idaho for a few reasons, not just the potatoes, but the people being so super nice!
Stay tuned for Utah.