Enjoy this Beautiful Country!

Eric and I took an extended vacation over the 4th of July holiday to explore more corners of this beautiful country. Spending time in Idaho and Wyoming, we hit Boise, Malad Gorge, Carmela Vineyards, Fort Hall Casino, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Craters of the Moon, Pickle’s Place, Sun Valley….(I’ll spare you the whole list as I could probably go on for a while). From plains to desert to mountains, to city-scape and forest, we were able to get out for some mountain biking and hiking, plus enjoy some fantastic restaurants, view some beautiful works of art at local galleries, watch for wildlife (saw moose and antelope, but no bears, darnit!), and practice a little photography.

Being the travel planning, sight-seeing nerd that I am, I had a lot of our trip “mapped” out for us. However, due to the record breaking heat in Boise, we decided to change things up a bit once we arrived. One thing I’ve learned about travel is that you need to be flexible because you never know what’s going to happen once you do arrive – herein lies where unexpected adventures can begin. Without our change up, we wouldn’t have experienced the fun bike trails in Jackson Hole and Sun Valley, quintupled our money in 20 minutes at the Fort Hall Casino, stopped off for lunch at Pickle’s Place, or wondered if we were going to come home glowing from driving past miles and miles of INL land (nuclear research).

In the end, while planning provides me with a sense of comfort and excitement leading up to a trip, it never compares to the awesome reality of exploring a new (to us) biking or hiking trail, trying tasty morsels at randomly discovered restaurants, or driving off the beaten path to view the perfect sunset behind a storm.

One website I love to check out for random roadside attractions is roadsideamerica.com. From serious to quirky, you can almost always find something interesting to check out along your route. (And even submit your own tips on attractions like this one: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/10892 )