A little over a year ago I read an article named “Seeing all 50 states popular”. It quoted Oklahoman David Bykowski, who had been in 49 states and only needed Alaska to join the All Fifty Club. Yes, such a club really exists. David said that he had spent the night in every state he has been in except for Maine, where he only had lunch. “I feel that it’s cheating,” he said. I agree.
I’ve been in all fifty states more than once, have spent many nights in all of them, and have not joined allfiftyclub.com. What I have done is write about my experiences on this blog from Alabama to Hawaii with a focus on favorite places, especially those that others might not know about.
Idaho is a state I travel through almost every year. I have relatives in Boise. To begin, I made a list of my Gem State favorites, and then I checked out About.com’s Top 10 Idaho Attractions. We matched on 5.
#1 Sun Valley. This all-inclusive resort remains fine after 75 years in the spotlight. Appropriately named Bald Mountain is considered one of the world’s top ski places due to its absence of wind, etc. Sun Valley has historically attracted Hollywood royalty–Clark Gable, Ann Sothern, Bruce Willis, etc. Author Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls in a Lodge suite there and later called Ketchum home. He committed suicide in Ketchum and is buried in its cemetery.
#2. Sawtooth Scenic Byway. Highway 75 north from Sun Valley and through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is as beautiful as a road get in the U.S. As 75 becomes 93, it follows the Salmon River to the remote, colorful town of Salmon, a good place for David to spend at least one night. Ruth & I haven’t explored Highway 21 west of Stanley to Boise and will have to make that happen soon. Often closed in winter, it is dotted as scenic by Rand McNally.
#3 Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. This landscape is a bleak and otherworldly as it gets. If you visit in summer like I did, don’t overdo the hiking. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the heat. Today it’s covered with snow. This vast, dark expanse of lava flow, cinder cones, etc. certainly has the right name. It’s hauntingly ugly wasteland that you’ll never regret seeing and will always remember.
#4. Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area. The best ways to explore the deepest river gorge in North America include jet boats, rafts, mountain bikes, horses, etc. but not cars. There are, to my knowledge, no Grand-Canyon-like scenic overviews of it, which is just fine.
#5. The Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls. I was thrilled to find this on About.com’s list. It’s #1 on mine. I think it’s the best museum in Idaho. Only 10 years old, MOI gets everything right. Along with super permanent stuff, it mounts sensational temporary exhibits. Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World just closed. Carousels, 100 historical figures and more, opens January 25 and run until May 27, 2014. When I staggered out this museum for the first time, I asked the staff how it manages to be so absolutely wonderful and they told me it has great benefactors, especially one who has been successful in technology. I asked for an example of his inventions and was told….voice mail.
The mis-matches tomorrow.