Category: USA 2017

Idaho: Shoshone Falls, Sun Valley, Craters of the Moon

Just the facts:

STATE: Idaho
NICKNAME: Gem State
FOOD EATEN: Potatoes. HAHA, jk. I went to Twin Falls Sandwich Company in (surprise) Twin Falls and Cristina’s Restaurant in Sun Valley
PLACES VISITED: Shoshone Falls (via Twin Falls), Sun Valley (via Ketchum and Hailey), Craters of the Moon
GOOGLE MAPS ILLUSTRATION: Potato farmer
PHOTOS: HERE


For those who don’t know, I’m on the road before I head off to grad school. While I could make things a heck of a lot easier for myself and stay in one location, I did have a bucket list item I wanted to complete, come hell or high water. Or, rather I had 13 bucket list items that I wanted to complete, and those were all the states I hadn’t yet visited:

  1. Idaho
  2. North Dakota
  3. South Dakota
  4. Nebraska
  5. Kansas
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Minnesota
  8. Iowa
  9. Arkansas
  10. Mississippi
  11. Alabama
  12. Georgia
  13. Vermont

This is probably a terrible time to mention that I haven’t driven regularly since I was in high school, right?

While most of these states can geographically be grouped together, it did mean that I was going to have to zigzag my way through the US. To go out of my way just to hit up Idaho OR Vermont makes zero sense to the average person, but hey, I’m committed.

In fact, the first state I checked off was Idaho. There are two things I know about Idaho, and those are (1) potatoes and (2) Napoleon Dynamite.

Speaking of which, it’s been 13 years since Napoleon Dynamite was a thing?!

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it to Preston, and after hours of driving through the Tahoe/Reno area and bits of Nevada along I-80, I was quite happy to see some form of civilization in the form of Twin Falls, ID: home to Chobani yogurt and CLIF bars!

Mostly, I was just plain hungry, hence this chicken pesto panini from the Twin Falls Sandwich Company, with lots of fries because being in Idaho warrants a metric crapton of potatoes.

Untitled

Appropriately fueled up for the rest of the leg, I eventually made it to our first real destination: Shoshone Falls! Dubbed the “Niagara of the West” but careful enough to disassociate themselves with the tourist kitsch that defines the real Niagara we know and love (to hate), Shoshone Falls boasts the type of waterfalls that TLC told you not to chase:

channeling TLC ⛲

A post shared by cindy! 🙋🏻‍♀️ (@cindypepper) on

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

That night, we drove to Sun Valley, aka the ski area where Ernest Hemingway used to spend his winter vacays. By May though, Ketchum and its surrounding environs were quiet with little residual mounds of snow, which is to be expected when the ski season is already over, but that didn’t stop us from walking around the main town, Ketchum*, the next day and grabbing coffee and a meal at Cristina’s:

Untitled

DAT RIGATONI was excellent (10/10 would eat again), and a good walking distance away from Ketchum Cemetery, where you can find the graves of Hemingway & co, should you know where to look:

Untitled

Untitled

We then headed to the Hemingway Memorial at Trail Run, which is nestled between a park and a golf course.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

That afternoon saw us driving out of Sun Valley and onto our next Idahoan destination: Craters of the Moon! A national monument and preserve in central Idaho, Craters of the Moon is an endless expanse of dark volcanic ruins. Equal parts weird and stunning, Craters is made of dark lava flows, cinder cones, and sagebrush that look both futuristic and jurassic.

As we walked along the trails, the landscape looked largely like this:

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

with the occasional trees poking out:

Untitled

with a few ice caves:

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Like, damn, Idaho. Who woulda thunk that you’d be able to come across this post-apocalyptic aesthetic in this neck of the woods?

*Yes, of course I thought of Pokemon. What, you think I was just going to roadtrip and not play Pokemon Go?

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

POUND THE ALARM, is this a real life update?

So, hi. It’s me.

If I haven’t seen you in the past two months (which is highly likely, given how ridiculously hermitic I’ve become), do I have an update for you.

A month ago, I left my first “real-world” job at Google, one I’d had for the past 5+ years, to go back to school. (Yes, it’s the same job I’ve had since I announced, way-back-when in July 2011, that I’d be moving cross-country from New York to San Francisco. Boy, has time flown by!)

Which is to say: I’m pleased as punch to announce that I’ll be attending the design program at STANFORD (!!!!!), where I’ll be for the next two years!

Am I excited?

The short answer: Hell yeah!

The longer answer: Hell yeah! But of course, it’s bittersweet to leave behind the first job and neighborhood and life that I’ve had since leaving college. I technically won’t be moving too far, but after a decade of living in a city, moving to the suburbs of Palo Alto will be an adjustment. There will, in fact, be a lot of adjustments, from not relying on free food at Google to dorm life to having things called classes. How do you all-nighter again?

So, here’s the gameplan. Anybody who’s known me in some capacity of familiarity knows that I travel — well, a lot, so it should come as zero surprise to y’all that I’m going nomadic and spending the months between now and Stanford.

May – June: I’m driving cross-country, with a primary goal of visiting all the states I’ve never been to (Idaho! The Dakotas! All of Middle America! Vermont!). If you’ve recommendations for Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Vermont, I’d be happy to hear them! I’m also making my rounds through the Midwest, the East Coast, and bits of Canada. Bonus points if any of your recs involve using a National Parks Pass:

As of now, my roadtrip has taken a turn for the south (literally speaking, thank god), and I’m currently in Little Rock, ready to begin the Southern leg of my trip (Arkansas – Mississippi – Alabama – Georgia), just after finishing up the Mountain timezone and Great Plains legs. So if any of those number markers look familiar, send your recs my way!

Late June: New York!

July: I’m then off to South Africa, with stops in Victoria Falls and Seychelles. I’ll be hitting up Cape Town and Joburg, where I’ll be for roughly two weeks, before I head to Morocco for ten days.

August: It’s back to New York for about a week, and then it’s Brazil, where I’m finally finally going to Rio, among other places. But mostly Rio, because how the hell have I been to Brazil twice and still not managed to have set foot in Rio?

September: WHAT’S GOOD, Western Europe! My endgame is to hit up the first weekend of Oktoberfest, which is my last weekend before I need to move back to California. As for everything else in between, welllll. I’ve got London on the list, but this is the one that’s most flexible, aka HI I DIDN’T BUY MY PLANE TICKETS HAHAHA.

And then it’s school time.

So. I’m committed to updating this more regularly, especially since New and Exciting™ Things are happening in my life that are worth documenting. For a more real-time update experience, I’m on Instagram as (surprise, surprise) cindypepper. For everything else, there’s MasterC—

Wait, wrong commercial.