Double Wide

Linda Burton posting from Boise, Idaho  – I almost killed the cats. I didn’t load the Scion right, so when I slowed to take the ramp to Promontory, the printer box came crashing to the front, right into the litter pan. I stopped to see if cats were buried underneath it all, but Jack was undisturbed. Alex fixed me with a glare, wide eyed and frankly quite perturbed. “Fix that!” he seemed to say. “My bad,” I said, and scratched his chin. I rearranged some boxes, a temporary fix; oh well, I thought, it’s not that many hours to go. I’d left too late, didn’t want to pack the car again, but the schedule for the Journey was in my hands to keep. So we’re on our way to Idaho; to Boise, capital city number six. Except for one last Utah stop.

“You missed the reenactment,” the Ranger told me as I flashed my Lifetime Pass. I’m at Golden Spike National Historic Site, the place where the two railroads joined; where east met west, May 10, 1869. And they just had a re-enactment of that historic day. (Remember Sacramento, and the story of the Golden Spike? April 13 Post Facts and Fictions). I hurried outside to the trains, hoping to get pictures of the re-enactors in their period dress. “Who do you represent?” I asked a fine-looking gentleman, thinking I knew the names of those who were present on that day. “A filthy rich banker, out to cheat you out of your money!” he grinned. People posed for pictures everywhere, kids jumped back and forth across the track, water dripped from the just-used boiler of the Jupiter,” Don’t touch! It’s hot!” warned a watchful mom. The sweetest grass smell filled the air, on this lonely hill, so far from anywhere. I posed too, standing right between the trains, straddled over that historic spot.

Back on the road to Idaho. The space between Salt Lake City and Boise is double wide, mountains stretch too far to see on both sides of the road, but they are very far apart. Most of northern Utah is the flat-bed bottom of ancient Lake Bonneville; it’s dry and brushy there, not much will grow where all that salt was left, so many thousand years ago. Once you get to Idaho the Snake River plain is fertile; soil rich and dark; centuries of flooding have made it so, just like the Nile, I think. Idaho potatoes grow right here, alfalfa too, and many other crops; field after field in verdant green; sprinklers on wheels moving and spraying. Grow potatoes, grow! Healthy fields for cattle too; shiny Angus graze in peace; black polka-dots against the green. Productive place.

Another product of the plain is wind. Giant windmills on my right and left; rowed on mesas, planted on the hills in droves.  A billboard shouts out sWINDle, “Don’t be deceived” it says. I’ll need to learn the politics of that. Warning signs. High Wind Area Next 20 Miles. Don’t stop on the road. Game Crossing Next 10 Miles. I watch out for the world; don’t pass those triple-trailered trucks; wind sways them back and forth across the center line. Forty miles from Boise now, the exit sign says Mountain Home; traffic starts to build. I pluck another Snickers from my Mother’s Day bouquet, ribboned candies-on-a-stick, all I’ve had for lunch today. (KitKat’s the best for driving, I have found, the wafers snap apart with ease.) Now 10 miles left to go; just fields and farms to see, the valley still looks double wide. And then I’m in my room; two doors from my car and by a pretty pool, and trees; a good place to sit and write; Denny’s is next door. Jack stretches on the bed, relaxed; Alex hides out underneath, still miffed about that flying box.