Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Visiting Family in Idaho & Passing-thru Big Sky Wyoming and Montana

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Visiting Family in Idaho & Passing-thru Big Sky Wyoming and Montana

After the spectacular duo of national parks, passing briefly through the big skies of Wyoming (seeing this unusual scene of a house being moved across a freeway and strange rock formations) getting there and Montana (seeing the arch welcoming people from the state into Yellowstone and snow catchers all along the highway) leaving there, we finally arrived in Boise, Idaho where Bill’s eldest son Jim and family live.  They were our first stop when we began this never-ending cruise last year and now we are coming back to visit, fourteen months after, on the way back to Seattle for a housekeeping visit and the trip to Alaska for Cristine’s (Bill’s youngest daughter) wedding in September!

Boise is the largest city in Idaho with a population of over 200,000.  Jim is married to Ana Goitiandia, a member of the Basque community there.  Numbering about 15,000, it is the second largest such community in the United States after Bakersfield, California and the fifth largest in the world outside Mexico, Argentina, Chile and the Basque Country in Spain and France. Downtown Boise features a vibrant section known as the "Basque Block" and Boise's mayor, David H. Bieter, is of Basque descent.

Jim is a partner in a real estate law firm in Boise and he and Ana have two lovely children, Madeline, 6, and Ben, 3. We went swimming, wandering around the huge Farmer’s Market, and visiting the Train Depot.  They went bumper car riding and ice skating (the same afternoons I chickened out and went to the library and outlet malls instead, respectively). We spent many hours playing games, watching movies and devouring delicious meals capped by delectable desserts which Anna and I alternated in preparing.

One night they stayed with us at the campground in Meridian, twenty minutes away from Boise.  They enjoyed the pool and spa, played billiards, tried puzzles, horseshoes, and the playground, and grilled burgers and dogs, barbecued chicken and steak, and made sinful s’mores (melted chocolate and marshmallows between grahams) over the fire on our brand new fire pit. Inside the RV we comfortably played Rummik-ube and sang with the Karaoke we bought in the Philippines (with a chip of 2,000 songs).

On our last night, the RV rocked from the huge 70mph gusts of rain-free wind that swept Boise, rendering the RV and most homes around powerless until the morning. Actually, when we were approaching the metropolitan area from the east, the whole horizon was a beige layer of dust storm.  I had not really seen both phenomena until this part of our trip.  The windstorm, in particular, scared me so that I did not really sleep that night, catching only about an hour or so after 7 am!

It was a great visit, nevertheless, and we look forward to the next one next year!

Next Stop: Moses Lake and Fall City, Washington