Visiting the land of $2.50 gasoline

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The plan on visiting our grandson in Idaho, and also our son and daughter-in-law, every few months seems to be working out just fine. I prefer to drive but after getting turned back at the Nevada border last winter, we decided to fly during the cold months.

Boise is high desert and doesn’t get a lot of rain, or snow, but the last two winter trips have been pretty cold and wet. There was plenty of snow on the ground the first part of January when we landed, but it only lasted a few days, especially on the sunny side of the street.

Last weekend there was light snow, and something called graupel. I had never heard of graupel before this trip. When I commented that it was hailing, Robert corrected me to say it was graupel, soft, very small, snowballs. You learn something new every day.

We try to keep our trips to three days. Like the saying goes, relatives are like fish and aren’t good after three days. Long weekends give us time to get to know Lukas and for him to recognize us when we show up. He no longer runs towards us, and then turns away, looking for his parents. He is a joy and full of smiles and giggles, now, as he runs to us to be picked up.

Watching him, while his parents get a night off, is still a challenge. I don’t remember our children being so hyper. He never seems to stop running, playing or climbing on everything. His toys are also better than what our children had. He has a new set of blocks that have magnets in them, and wheels with bearings that are also magnetic. I’m not sure who had more fun making cars out of the wooden parts, me or Lukas. My attempt at a motorcycle didn’t work out so well, especially when Lukas pulled off the wheels to use on his creation. I still see a motorcycle in his future.

One of the first things you notice when driving around Boise is the price of fuel. Boise sometimes appears to be one sprawling strip mall, with commercial businesses lining all the major streets. The residential areas have twisting streets with well maintained greenbelts, schools and parks. When I commented about how well the neighborhood looks, Mandy told me that a homeowner association takes care of the greenbelts/bike paths, while the city and schools pride themselves on having places for families to play.

As you go outside to walk the dogs, and Lukas, the sun is shining and it looks warm. After a few blocks you start thinking that blue jeans aren’t as warm in Idaho as in California, but you are glad you brought your gloves. It is amazing what a little wind does to the effectiveness of your clothes. Even when I think I might be freezing to death, some kid goes by on a skateboard with barely any clothes on. At the park there were parents without hats and children with just sweaters on. Tough people live in Idaho.

People talk about leaving California and after experiencing Idaho, I can see why. Affordable housing, cheap fuel and schools that seem to be financially sound.

There are parts of Boise that you don’t want to walk around after dark and the downtown has areas that need help, but overall, it is a nice city. Kind of a smaller version of Sacramento. Even the airport is small enough that you can walk right up to your flight without having to stand in line for an hour.

Robert said they have a homeless problem, but the homeless in Boise have to be tough. I don’t think they fly south for the winter, so I would hope that there are enough shelters for them until spring.

Walking around Winters reminds me why I like California. When the sun is out, it is warm, and snow and ice on the roads is a rare event. Idaho is a nice place to visit, but it isn’t home. We will see what it looks like in May.

Stay warm, and have a good week.

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