Saturday, August 29, 2015

Side Tripping in Idaho: Twin Falls, ID

I've been busy with other things but now I am finally to get back to business which means, back to Idaho for a few more stories.

When I booked our trip to Idaho, I only set plans for the evening.  I made our plans over a month in advance and had no way of knowing what the weather would be.  I looked up some indoor and outdoor options but in the end decided just to live in the moment and see where the universe took us.  The day after the concert proved to be a beautiful blue sky day and since we don't need to be back in Boise until 7 pm, David suggests we take a side trip over to Twin Falls.

David is constantly telling me what he has "read about" and in this case he has read about a bridge and a falls.  What he hasn't read enough about is how to stay awake in the car.  The drive from Boise south to Twin Falls is not exciting and I experience it largely alone.  As with many aspects of my life (myself, other people, situations, events and in this case places), Idaho isn't what I expected.  Living only 30 minutes from the border with Idaho I expect it to look like where we live.  Mountains.  Trees.  That was wrong.  The northern parts of Idaho do look like that but as you go south, not so much.  I think there are more trees in Amarillo than there are between Boise and Twin Falls.  It is flat and brown.  You can see for very long distances.  I didn't appreciate when we set out that we would be so close to Nevada until we started seeing signs on businesses about serving "Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada".

Over 20 years ago David and I talked about the possibility of living in Twin Falls.  He was finishing school and we had agreed that it might be best for us to get out of Texas.  We had been through a difficult time in our marriage a few years before and we had just spent a little over a year getting him through school while I was the only one working.  We had 3 kids in a crappy 2 bedroom apartment.  They had little foam chairs that pulled out into mats they slept on all in one room with no other furniture.  Our mattress was sitting on the floor and we also had no other furniture.  Everything of value had been sold or pawned to get him through the last few months of school.  Now he was graduating 1st in his class and we were ready for a change.  He applied for a job in Twin Falls.

The job he ended up getting was within walking distance of that crappy apartment and for the next 20 years we stayed in Texas.  Worked and raised a family.  But we always talked about going north and west someday and now here we are living in Montana.  And I think it worked out the way it should.  But for the writer in me it is interesting to look at this town and to think how different things would have been if we had moved all of those years ago.  Especially for our kids whose whole lives would be different.

The bridge isn't hard to find, you have to drive right across it coming from Boise.

The I. B. Perrine Bridge has been here (under other names) since 1927.  When it was built, it was the highest bridge in the world.  

 This bridge spans the Snake River and somewhere in that near distance is a site where Evil Knievel crashed in 1974 after his parachute malfunctioned during a jump.

As soon as you cross the bridge there is a visitors center so we stop in to see what information they have about the area.  What we end up seeing are people working on packing parachutes.  It turns out this bridge is a very popular BASE jumping site.  David and I grab our cameras and go to find a good vantage point to watch from.

Checking to see if the coast is clear.  There are a lot of boats, kayaks and paddleboarders on the river.

Over the edge.

The first step is the hardest.  This guy did a flip on the way down.

The girl he was on the bridge with jumps next.  No fancy flips for her.

Chute's out.

The landing site.

You can sign up at the visitor center to try this in a tandem jump.  We don't for a few reasons.  David has a fear of falling.  I have a fear of looking like an idiot or them telling me I weigh too much.  But a big reason is it seems like a LOT of work for such as short experience.  The packing of the chute appeared to be a very time consuming activity and then getting on all of the gear and walking out on the bridge to wait for a good time to jump.  It was over in a few seconds.  Then they have to hike back up to the top of the bridge carrying all of this equipment.  It is a steep, difficult hike.  After crying during our hike on St. Mary's, where only David was around to see, I am not prepared for the possibility I could have that same experience here with all of these people watching (and taking photographs).

Plus, there is a falls to see.  Shoshone Falls is listed as "The Niagara of the West".  I have been to Niagara Falls so I am really anxious to compare.

It may be 45 feet higher than Niagara but in scope and grandness...not even close.

They have much of the flow dammed up when we are there but even if it was flowing over the whole of this area, as it apparently does at times, this would still pale in comparison to the real deal in New York and Canada.  Still, I am awed by most waterfalls and the park/visitor area here is very nice and there aren't a lot of people so it was definitely worth the side trip.

On the way back, I treat David to a burger since there is no Popeye's in Twin Falls.  When we walked in I almost walked right back out.  I thought we were in the wrong place.  I wasn't expecting this "restaurant" to be in a bar/pool hall.

It is a good thing we stayed.  The burger came with tots.  I know the way to my man's heart.  I just might not be able to get in there someday when his arteries clog up.

On the way back to Boise, I think about what it would have been like if we had lived in Twin Falls all these years.  I told David - during the part he was awake for - that we would have been okay there.  It's hard to say I am glad we didn't move here back then because we went through some very rough years when our kids were teenagers and maybe that would have turned out different.  Well, I know it would have.  But different isn't always better, there is always the possibility of different worse. 

What I really need to learn from this trip is that my expectations are often wrong - about people and about places - and that it doesn't matter what the people we would be in that alternate universe would be like.  After all, they don't exist.   And look at his face in that picture.  Who would want to miss out on this version of David?