Okay, so technically it wasn't summer, it was fall already...but it was a vacation. Sort of.
After we left Minneapolis the day after my stepbrother Larry's wedding, Hubby and I flew to Salt Lake City, Utah. We rented a car and started driving northwest towards Boise, Idaho. It's about a five hour drive and the countryside is beautiful. Being a North Carolina girl, I had never been out west except to visit California (which is a whole 'nuther world!).
Here are mountains and farmland at the outskirts of Salt Lake City:
Then about an hour or so south of Boise, we saw some sweet farms:
Then I saw my first wind farm. See all the tiny windmills in the distance? Those puppies are HUGE up close. We saw quite a few being trucked in pieces during the week we were out there; there are three blades on each windmill and each blade is about 50 to 60 feet long.
Then we hit the city limits:
Not bad for shooting through the car window at 75 miles an hour, eh?
We stayed in Boise for a couple of days looking at properties. Did I tell you that we're thinking of retiring to the Idaho area? We decided to check out Boise and Coeur d'Alene and looked at properties to see how they compared in price to what we see here in NC.
Hubby's from Alberta, Canada originally and is missing the snow something awful. Here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, snow is an event, an opportunity to dash to the grocery store to stock up on eggs and bread and milk because everyone else is doing it, and the kids all pray that school will be canceled. I grew up here and haven't seen nearly enough snow in my lifetime, so we're thinking about heading out west someday. Hence the "driving vacation".
One area that we looked at less than 30 minutes northeast of Boise is in the Boise National Forest (which is a misnomer, let me tell you, at least in that area). The houses are perched precariously on hilly ridges, accessible only by narrow twisting dirt roads. Here's some of the houses...see them at the top of the hill?
Here's their view:
And here was our view out the windshield:
No thank you, very much! Can you imagine negotiating that little dirt road hanging on the side of the hill while it's covered with a foot of snow? I don't think so! I still don't know how to drive in snow, but I guess I'm going to have to learn someday. Just not on those roads.
Then we drove eight hours north from Boise to Coeur d'Alene. It was amazing the variety of countryside we passed along the way on Highway 55. First there was the brown scrubby hills north of Boise, then you finally start seeing some trees. Please forgive the bugs on the windshield; there were a lot of them:
Then you're really in the mountains and there are lots of trees:
Then you come out of the mountains onto the prairie and see nothing but acres and acres of farmland, with mountains in the distance:
You see valleys, like this one outside Lewiston, Idaho:
Then you're finally in the mountains again and soon, Lake Coeur d'Alene:
Ahhh...isn't it pretty?
I wish I could have gotten out of the car to take some of these photos, but no...they were all taken while we were in the car moving at the speed of light. We spent nearly 45 hours driving that week; I saw more of this country than I've ever seen before.
And I can't wait to go back. I miss my mountains.