Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Boise, Boise, Boise and thoughts on finally being off the road.

Our weekend trip to Boise wrapped up on Tuesday.

It was a whirlwind experience and a great time.

We spent a little time house-hunting, attended a lovely wedding (I'll let Charlie fill you in more on that later), and had the chance to get a feel for the downtown and north end.

First impressions? Friendly and dry.

Everyone we met in Boise was so nice and was eager to share suggestions and recommendations for future residents. Though it's hard to get a good impression of a place from a 24-hour stay, my first impression of the folks who live there is very positive.

The climate, however, is going to be dry-dry-dry. Though we heard this tends to be a "greener" time of year there, to our eyes (accustomed to the lush, verdant jungle that is western Oregon--"Please! STOP GROWING and give me a chance to catch up with you, LAWN!"), everything seemed brown and burnt-out already. I predict that, for me, this has the potential to be something that will take a while to get used to. As I told Charlie, I was virtually raised under a toadstool in the Seattle area, and my later move to Portland hasn't done much to dry me out. My gills still function just fine, thankyouverymuch! I've never much needed to use hand lotion or chapstick--I predict that soon may change. I also predict that when we move to Boise, you'll be able to often find me prone, under the sprinkler, trying just as hard as the grass to absorb a little "green."

But, that's just the landscape--and I can get used to that.

The food we had the opportunity to eat there was fantastic--we had lunch at a lovely Mediterranean restaurant in the downtown area. It was delicious. The downtown seems to be thriving and lively--lots of restaurants with outdoor seating, and lots of people out and about everywhere. Lots of bikers and joggers, and people enjoying themselves. And finally (perhaps most important!), plenty of coffee shops to keep Charlie and I awake and alive.

We looked at a house for rent. It was adorable and in a good neighborhood. We were ready to rent it, and even called the woman back to say so--in the end, though, it ended up not quite working out. They say things work out the way they do for a reason, and I think this may be an instance of that. Even after we'd called, the more we thought about it, the more reserations we started to have. What? You want to sell it after a year? What? You want to remodel the whole kitchen when we're "out of town for a weekend" (seriously: tile the floors, replace the cabinets, new counter, new dishwasher, etc. Unrealistic goal!)? So, we're back on the house hunt again, this time with a few more options in hand before we head on our next trip east.

Even though we didn't get it, we're still so, so excited to find something together:

Anyhow, overall it was a great trip, and we'll be back soon with more stories I'm sure.

I'll leave you with a great photo from Charlie's dad of the big wind turbines in the Gorge. Even more impressive than the shot, is the fact that he took it from the backseat while we were driving down I-84!

Windmills in the Gorge, photo by Dan Varland.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On the Road... to Boise

Good morning campers!

While most of you are hunkering down in the extreme weather in Portland tonight (lightning, heavy rain), Charlie and I (and Charlie's parents) are overnighting in Eastern Oregon. Baker City, to be specific. Thanks to wifi at the Best Western, I can share a few nice road photos with you.

The drive has been beautiful and relatively uneventful--sunny most of the way, though we ran into a few storm cells as we were heading into the hills east of Pendleton. We had a nice dinner at the Red Lion in Pendleton, and though the hotel itself was kind of a blast from the past style-wise (and age-wise with regard to most of its patrons!), the view out the restaurant's big picture windows left us looking mostly beyond the walls.

Tonight we're hoteling it up, watching cable and bouncing on the beds, but tomorrow will find us up early to make a rental-house-viewing appointment at 10:30 am in Boise. We had somewhat of a distressing realization as we were coming into Pendleton--we'd arranged a 10:3o am appointment, planning to leave Pendleton at 7:00-ish am. That appointment was on Boise time, however (Mountain Time), and we were on Oregon time (Pacific). We did some last-minute plan changing, though, and worked it out just fine--we've a 6:30 am breakfast date with Charlie's parents in the morning, and hopefully will be on the road to Boise at 7.

I haven't been south of La Grande since I was 15 or 16, and I really didn't remember how spectacular the valley containing Baker City is. We drove in right at sunset, and the sky was lighting up the snowy mountains that border the highway on both sides and turning the clouds pink and orange.

Anyhow, time for me to pay attention to Charlie now, but let me leave you with a few photos from the Emigrant Springs area viewpoint just outside Pendleton.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Things to Do

I asked someone I know who is from Eagle, ID recently what his top five things are to do in Boise. Here's what he told me, in order.

5) Drinking the amazing milkshakes at Moon's Kitchen Cafe.

4) Biking or jogging on the 25-mile Greenbelt (which follows along the Boise River).

3) Skiing at nearby ski areas, such as Bogus Basin.

2) Taking in a football game at Boise State University. (And enjoying the view of BSU's unique blue astroturf.)

1) Floating down the Boise River. (This is a favorite summer pastime of many Boise-ites. Nearly everyone I've talked to says it's a must.)

Ariel and I are pretty excited to try these things. Perhaps a milkshake at Moon's will be in order after we unpack all of our boxes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So far the "We're moving to Boise!" reaction has been pretty positive.

Not sure about Charlie, but I've had a few funny responses.

One co-worker at the high school fixated upon the idea of DUST:

"It's supposed to be real dusty there," he said. "I know someone who moved here from there. She said her husband shined his shoes before work every morning, and as soon as he stepped outside? WHAM. DUST. So, watch out for the dust."

Another made me feel so special:

"Oh. That's about where I grew up. Hmm. Interesting. Well, I suppose this means I need to get the Conference Proceedings finished."

(I should say that she went on to say very positive things about Boise; also the "Conference Proceedings" are a project for which I'm waiting on a piece from her to finally complete--I've been waiting since November for that piece.)

Overall, though, everyone seems to be excited.


At least for the weekend at any rate.

We're headed to Boise for the weekend with Charlie's parents. I'm certainly looking forward to checking it out and seeing what this "place" where supposedly I am going to "live" is like.

The only time I've spent in Boise was an overnight stay mid-road trip en route to New Mexico when I was 15 or 16. In contrast, once this weekend is over, Charlie will have been there three times in the last month--twice in one WEEK even! (On a side note: he commented to me the other day regarding a short work-related trip earlier this week, "I've never flown somewhere just for a day before! I've never been important enough for someone to fly me somewhere for a day before!" Exciting things!)

It's funny, from my point of view, Boise still seems like a unique and interesting "vacation" destination. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I'll actually be living there and actually needing to find lucrative employment in "the city of trees" (as it's called) in about a month. Also hard to conceptualize: I won't be living in Portland any longer. No longer an Oregonian. No longer a Portlander. I'll have a new driver's license, new plates on my car (Idaho... those are the red, white, and blue ones, right?), and will have to register to vote again.

Of course people do this all the time--every day. It's not like this is a strange, remarkable thing, but nonetheless, it's a big life change. That said, I'm thankful for such a great partner in adventure. I couldn't ask for someone better. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

For Rent: BIG YARD.

Half of the fun (or frustration) of moving is browsing through the FOR RENT ads on Craigslist. Doing so can give you a real sense of the place you're moving to, and sometimes, a great sense of the people who live there.

I ran across one the other day, that, while not IN Boise (in a nearby city), I hope exemplifies the sense of humor of the average Idahoian (Boisian? What will we call ourselves?).

In particular, the picture of "Junior" (or maybe that's Fido?) and the emphasis, nay, insistence on a bonfire really tickled me.

I've PDF'd it so we can enjoy it forever, since Craigslist postings tend to expire.

Here's the link: House for Rent

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What, what?

There's a rumor going around that we're moving to Idaho.
Let me banish it from the ephemeral world of myth and hear-say.

Is this true?
Sure thing. Charlie got the phone call last week and now we're Boise-bound.

Boise, Idaho!

6 hrs, 45 minutes from Portland, OR.
9 hrs, 25 minutes from Hoquiam, WA.
8 hrs, 53 minutes from Seabeck, WA.
8 hrs, 42 minutes from Kingston, WA.

6 hrs, 24 minutes from Grand Teton National Park.
6 hrs, 52 minutes from Yellowstone National Park.
5 hrs, 59 minutes from Steens Mountain, OR.
4 hrs, 49 minutes from Salt Lake City, UT.

Good news: a week or two after we move, we get the opportunity to see Andrew Bird and Josh Ritter, co-headlining together. I think this is a good sign.

In other things, we wanted Otto to have plenty of warning, so we broke the news gently.
As you can see, he's still adjusting to the idea: