The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

April 15, 2009

I Think I Actually Can Wait to Get On the Road Again

Filed under: travel, Wanderings — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 11:23 pm

Through yet another set of circumstances I have yet to fully comprehend, I have once again found myself in a hotel in Boise (a different one this time) with little to do but ramble on about another day spent in the car.  I had actually intended to make the trip back to Redmond from Provo without stopping for the night, but a meeting scheduled at the last minute meant that I couldn’t even get on the road until  nearly 2pm, which would have had me just about driving clear through the night to get home (yeah I’m a night owl, but I’m  not THAT much of a night owl.)  Oh, and did I mention that it was snowing like crazy all the way from Provo up to the Utah/Idaho border?  Somehow, in spite of that, I managed to actually make it here so far anyway) in one piece, and since the pool is closed, the hot tub here is down for “mechanical issues,” and Boise doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of  place you’re going to find much in the way of nightlife (or daylife, for that matter) you get to read another batch of my ramblings from the road, found after the jump.

If you thought the Spring weather up in Redmond was a pain to try to figure out, try dealing with some of this stuff.  In just two short days the weather went from 75 and sunny to 35 and near-blizzard conditions.  Fortunately none of it was sticking to the road, but unfortunately that meant that everyone on I-15 seemed to be sticking to their customary 75 mile per hour pace, which made the whole thing just a bit dicey.  Around Ogden or so I saw a couple of pickups which had made presumably unscheduled excursions into the ditch which caused me to briefly contemplate just calling the whole thing off and stopping there, but fortunately the snow began to let up beyond Tremonton (the last bastion of civilization along I-84 for nearly 100 miles, aside from a slightly dodgy truck stop at Snowville 35 miles out  and an even dodgier one about 7o miles out near Sublett,) and by the time I crossed over into Idaho the roads were just fine, although varying amounts of snow remained on the ground in a number of places.  Of course, being Southern Idaho, this pretty meant that I was looking at another 50 miles of the Middle of Nowhere, followed by somewhere, followed by another 50 miles of the Middle of Nowhere, and so on until I eventually made it to Boise.

For some odd reason, it seems like for a while as you drive down the road, every little town along the side of the road in Southern Idaho seems to have a first name, but no last name.  You’ve got all sorts of towns along I-84 with names like Paul, Jerome, Wendell, Rupert, Ruby, Kimberly and Eden, among others.  I haven’t been able to find a whole lot of history on any of these towns from searching (in general, you’re lucky if small towns like these out in the middle of nowhere have a website at all,) but usually when you see things like this, there was generally some postmaster or railroad executive out there naming these random stations or post offices after their kids.  I can’t really be certain that’s what’s going on here though.

Eventually you get tired of all the Middle of Nowhere though, and begin seeking a return, however brief, to civilization.  In this case, I made a stop in the town of Burley, where I wanted to take a closer look at this surprisingly small JCPenney store which I had seen on a previous trip through here, but on that trip I didn’t have time for more than a quick gas stop.  It turns out that this particular store (which is even smaller than I originally thought, and by far the smallest JCPenney store I’ve seen) was once an anchor to a small dead mall (if you can even call it that) called the Snake River Plaza.  Aside from a dollar store on the other side and a couple of miscellaneous low-rent places near there, the place is completely empty, and the interior of the mall is now closed off.

Elsewhere in Burley, there was this incredible (or some other suitable adjective) offer of a seven-course meal for seven bucks, presumably brought to you by the creative geniuses who gave the world the $2 Vegas buffet (now with free Salmonella) and the $5 steak and lobster platter.  Then again, a badly rendered spinning cheeseburger is usually a pretty good sign you’re not exactly headed for a four-star dining experience.

And sure enough, the seven-course meal consists of…  Well…  One course repeated ad nauseam and a drink.  By that logic, I bet you could probably get them to throw in an order of fries and make it a 63-course meal for eight bucks if you wanted to.  Given the fact that I’ve already endured my fair share of culinary misadventure on this trip (more on that later,) I decided that I should probably actually trust my badly neglected better judgment for once and just pass this one up.

As you continue down the road, eventually you begin seeing signs like these, which are a good indication you’re starting to get close to Boise.  If you’re not sure what road you’re supposed to be on, then this probably isn’t going to help you much.  If they added a couple of more designations to this road, I bet you could win big bucks off the Lotto using the numbers on these signs.

At the end of the day’s travels I made it to the hotel here, which seems to be somewhat nicer than the last place I stayed at (or at least has a room that’s actually a bit bigger than a cruise ship cabin this time,) but as is the case with the vast majority of hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, there always seems to be one thing or another that just seems a bit off.  For example, someone here thought it necessary for some odd reason to embed the name of the hotel on the sink’s faucet knob.  Given the fact that most of these places have found plenty of ways to plaster their logo all over the room as is, this seems a little bit excessive.  Unless the hotel has experienced a problem with stolen plumbing fixtures, I’m not sure what purpose this is supposed to serve.

Even odder than that is the fact that for some reason, this room has a telephone installed in the bathroom.  I can think of very few reasons that anyone would have use for a phone there, and even fewer reasons that are printable in a family Blog.  It doesn’t even seem to work right now, and I’m pretty sure I will eventually regret bothering to find that out in the first place.

Finally, the complimentary bar of soap provided in the room seems to have fallen victim to the culture of hair-trigger litigation, bearing a warning that it is “Not for human consumption.”  Ralphie Parker could not be reached for comment.

Anyway, since I’ve got the obligatory slog through Oregon to deal with tomorrow, and I’d like to actually try to get home at some point (just in time to assume dogsitting duties with Imola and Minardi for the next week or so as I pass my parents heading the other direction somewhere along the way) I’ll be wrapping this trip up with another post or two sometime after I get back and get all the stuff I messed up by disappearing for a week sorted out.

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