Saturday, May 31, 2008

Long-Forgotten Olympic Hotel

A relic of a rusted out sign hanging on a building in downtown Boise. I don't know anything about the hotel's history, the building is no longer a hotel. It's surprising this old sign is still there. There's an art gallery underneath. I think the lower level was a club/bar at some point, and I have no idea what is on the upper floors.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tallest Building in Idaho, and a Job I Wouldn't Want

The U.S. Bank Plaza is 20 stories high, and that makes it the tallest in Idaho. We watched the window washers rise from the lower floors to near the tippy-top the day I took this photo. For those who have visited Boise over the years, the name of this building has changed several times as banks have changed hands. A piece of Boise history: this used to be the tallest building.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Not Deer, Not Antelope

They kind of look like deer, they look more like antelope. But these creatures are most closely related to giraffes - they're pronghorn. My husband took this picture while driving to work. I believe this is a domestic herd. Pronghorn run fast, almost as fast as cheetahs - and they can run for hours. The males and females grow "antlers" - which are not really antlers, and they shed them and grow new ones every year. When driving to Sun Valley, I've seen them in a cloud of dust running across desert scrub.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Boise Gas Prices Are...Golden

Average gas price in Boise today is $3.89/gal. This is a display in an art gallery window downtown. The little sign underneath says "layaway available."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Caretaker Wanted for Boise Memorial

This memorial stone is in Capitol Park in front of the statehouse in downtown Boise - to honor the Idahoans who lost their lives during Operation Desert Storm, 1990. Obviously, the stone has been neglected. It could use a cleaning and there's just a dead plant in the permanent vase. I took this picture over Memorial Day weekend, and was surprised nothing new had been put in the vase. Part of the reason could be that getting to the memorial isn't easy because of the massive construction going on at the Capitol across the street.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Idaho's Potato King Mansion

The Simplot Mansion on Simplot Hill. You can see this from several locations in Boise, and get a closer view along Bogus Basin Road on the way to the ski resort. J.R. Simplot is called a "potato magnate" and has often been listed as one of the richest people in America, making his fortune on processed potatoes and other agricultural industries. He donated this property to the state to use as a governor's mansion a few years ago (no governor has lived there yet), and he moved to a condo in town - he passed away yesterday at age 99.

Summer BBQ Season Kick-Off

The best place to fill propane BBQ tanks. Many places in Boise offer to fill the tanks, but beware of the "minimum charge" - which could be a lot more than the actual fill-up needed, and it can be hard to tell at home with propane. This sign has become more faded than I realized, "Tank Heaven for Little Grills."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Egyptian Theatre

The Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise - it's been there since the 1920s. And it's still looking good, although it's had ups and downs over the years, and had been renamed the "Ada" at one point. Inside, it's over-the-top Egyptian-themed with lots of detailed paintings, scarabs, and gilding - and an organ. As you can see, older movies are being shown, and when we stopped by, a Mary Poppins sing along showing was in 20 minutes, and we were tempted, it sounded like fun! Actor Matt Damon has connections to Boise, and specifically to this venue - he's come to town for "Bourne Ultimatum" movie screenings here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cows of Boise - Part Two

Part two in my series of the Cows of Boise - playing on my theory from years ago that every day, you see a cow in Boise, even if it's not real. This small herd is on a ranchette in West Boise. There were also two pot-bellied pigs in the field, which at first, my daughter thought might be mini-horses, and when she discovered they were pigs, they seemed very funny to her. The first in the on-going "Cows of Boise" series is here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Seven Dwarfs Used to Work Here?

This has been in place for years along Cloverdale Road in Boise. It's a small rail car on small tracks that looks like it's going into a mining tunnel. Maybe it's an example of hobby of the people who live nearby? It's kid-sized, like a train that would offer rides at a county fair.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Old House

This "house" sits along a major road, Franklin between Cloverdale and Eagle. There are several ruins along this stretch. This house isn't just old and neglected, it looks like it was also gutted or vandalized, and it's possible it was moved to this location and abandoned. I don't see any sidewalk remnants or other leftovers I would expect if the house had aged to this condition on its original site.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

'S No More Snow, It's Haze

This is a photo request - an update on the snow view of the Boise Front. It's a fuzzy view because our warm temperatures almost always bring hazy skies - pollution. We also had stormy skies yesterday in town, but sun on the mountains, so you can see more of the depth of the hills that step up to the range. The storm last night brought high winds and rain, and it hopefully helped clear out some of the pollution, which seems to get stuck in front of the mountains.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That's Close to the Bridge

More "flooding" and puddles along the Boise Greenbelt, as the river has risen once again. This picture is on the east side of the Glenwood bridge, a spot watched closely because the bridge is rather low - and the topography is low here, all looking even more low today with the water so high. Normally, this river is more of a meandering stream, with people standing in it to fish with the water up to their knees. The levels are close to what is called "bank full," still, not technically flooding.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Farming Leftovers in the Middle of a Park

This is the silo that stands in DeMeyer Park - one of Boise's many neighborhood parks. The neighborhood sits on top of what used to be a farm, and this silo is a remnant. Someone told me the DeMeyer family sold the land to be developed on the condition that there would be a public park in the middle and that the silo would stay. I have not verified the truth of either statement, but it sounds reasonable. My husband says he bets the silo will be removed in the next few years for safety reasons. It looks pretty solid to me, it's concrete. I think the silo houses equipment related to the park's irrigation system and the fountain in the park pond. It's hard to see, but there's an antenna at the top of the silo. And kids are drawn to it as a meeting place, and a place to camp out and play.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Boise Greenbelt - 25 Miles for Walking, Running and Biking

Well, after showcasing yesterday's "Greenbelt flooding"- which was maybe 6 inches of water, here's a shot of the paved pathway that runs from this area in Garden City to Lucky Peak Reservoir - 25 miles for walking, biking and running - and most of it is right along the river, and even with high water, it's dry. There are other stretches of the pathway on the other side of the river that aren't paved - and fun to explore. All free! This stretch I took a picture of is usually not crowded, stretches near our major parks can be busy on the weekends.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Boise Greenbelt Flooded

I received a note from the parks department about flooding on a section of the Boise River Greenbelt, which runs right along the river from Garden City to Lucky Peak Reservoir. So I popped over to take a look last night. This section of the greenbelt was "closed" and the sign looked ominous. However, I saw two bicyclists breeze right through it after I took this photo. The "flood"' here does not have a current and is not very deep, even though the sign says it is, but I guess it could get dangerous if the water rises much more, plus, the water's cold - about 40 degrees. Other low-lying areas of the Greenbelt are said to be "puddle-y."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boise River Surprise

I thought the river surge would be over while I was traveling, but instead, the river is reaching new heights today - to 5,300 cubic feet per second, which is a lot higher than the water managers predicted last week. And compare the difference in April here. The little ledge I usually stand on to take the photo has sunk into the water. Our high temperatures will reach into the 90s this weekend, which will tempt people who want to float or kayak the river. The warnings have been issued: the water is very cold, moving very fast, and there are a lot of snags and debris in the river.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Idaho's Famous Potatoes - Freebies!

A wearable version of Idaho's famous russet potato that's been around since I was a kid. They're plastic potato lapel pins, yeah, they're tacky but they have a special place in my heart. I took some with me on my recent travels and handed them out to people whether they wanted them or not. Maybe you want one? I have 10 available that I will snail mail to U.S. addresses only, please. Just leave a comment letting me know you want a pin, and make sure I can contact you for a mailing address.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Boise Road Birds

They're not exactly easy to see because they blend in with the road, which is dangerous for them, really - because they don't get out of the way very fast when cars get close. It's nesting season for quail in this part of the world. They nest on the ground and seem to like roadside gravel. We had frost on the rooftops yesterday morning, and more than one person repeated the old saying around here that it's really not safe to start the summer garden until the snow has melted off Schaeffer Butte - the highest mountain peak we see from Boise, and it is still covered with snow. We're supposed to see more normal temperatures by the weekend, which means highs in the 90s.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Still More Mountain Snow than Usual

This is a mountain view from East Boise and there is still plenty of snow up there - more than we usually see this time of year. We are having a cool spring. I was thinking I would be behind on my gardening and yard work because I was out of the country during standard planting time, but it's been so cold, that work has been delayed anyway. I hear that quite a few tender plants have been frost-killed by the unexpected cold.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Floored at the Boise Airport

This is the floor design when looking from the second floor (arrivals) to the first floor (ticketing and check-in) at the Boise Airport. It's kind of hard to see exactly what it is at first, but there is an outline of Idaho and then parts of adjacent states. It also looks like it's wearing army camouflage, but the khaki colors illustrate the topography - along with a muted mountain bluebird, the state bird. The little circles in between the compass points are syringas, the state flower. Boise Daily Photo is back in Boise. Tomorrow, I'll share a new shot of the snow line in the mountains. I thought the snow might all have melted while I was away almost three weeks, but it's still there - and it's chilly today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

One More England Shot

Everyone knows what this is, I think. I learned the Big Ben name is for the bell, not the name of the clock - which is just Westminster Clock. Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter character in Nine Tailors explores England's history of bells and bell-making and incorporates it into a murder mystery. A fun book. Bells always have names of men, I think - and they're so huge, they have to be poured into their molds very nearby. This view is from the London Eye - a giant ferris wheel-type attraction where you ride in a capsule above London. Today is our travel day, we're back to Boise tonight.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Castle Tours

The sign said something about the infirm and those with heart conditions should avoid the 500-plus steps up to the top of Guy Tower, I figured that didn't apply to me, but I was sure out of breath and shaky at the top. The sign didn't say anything about the fact that those 500 steps were winding up an extremely small passageway in complete darkness, and each step was the size of a stingy piece of cheesecake. The reward was this view from the top - the tower is one of two main ones at Warwick Castle in England. A great visit on our tour. Just a couple more days and we're home to Boise!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Boise Daily Photo Traveling

Boise Daily Photo is still traveling through the weekend, so I'm sharing some pictures from the road until I reach Boise Saturday. Last weekend, we were here....Times Square. I took this photo to remind me of a very "blonde moment" - see the LG sign? It was just a few months ago that I learned that was the name of a company. I had a cell phone for a couple of years with "LG" printed on it, and I thought it just meant I had a LARGE cell phone. And this picture also reminds me that while I like the bright shining lights and horns honking and seeing movies being filmed on the streets all as part of a visit, I'm glad I live in Boise - where our nights are not quite so well-lit. I would just like to add more off-Broadway shows to our entertainment options. Mary Poppins was fabulous in NY - and we need a closer Carnegie Deli.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On the Road Again

A view from the "connector" - which was a massive road project that garnered a lot of criticism when it was being constructed because it isn't really a "through" connection. It ends at Broadway. It's a partially elevated span that was the site of a lot of winter weather crashes the first year. The elevated roadway iced quickly. It does have a spectacular view coming into town, though. We've also been on the road here in England on my little tour. We've now traveled from London to Coventry, then to Bath and to Portsmouth today - which is by the sea. We'll be thankful to be back in Boise late Saturday night. English food is sure different than home food!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Micron Technology - Major Boise Company

Micron Technology is a major part of the area's economy. I remember when it was started, with potato magnate J.R. Simplot backing the idea that Boise would be a major producer of computer chips. The company has had its ups and downs, and mostly downs over the past few years. The main product is DRAM, and competition from overseas is keen. I was working in media and interviewed Mr. Simplot for a story on his ideas about Micron and dreams he had of building a giant coal-slurry pipeline through the desert, and hardly any of the interview was usable. I had to do serious editing, and that was back when editing was done with a razor blade, editing tape and reel-to-reel machines. It's not that what he said wasn't interesting, it was just laced with profanities. What a funny character!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Instant Lawns Grow Here

This is one of the sod farms along Eagle Road, technically in Meridian. This area had just been scraped up into big rolls. Then they spray the seeds onto the dirt for the next crop - it's a foam-green color material that holds the seeds. It's a beautiful instant lawn. Kentucky bluegrass is what's usually available, although it's the most difficult to grow here - it needs a lot of water. I keep trying to get rid of a little bit more of my bluegrass each year. My goal is to plant only things that flower or bear food! On a side note, today was a harrowing day of driving to Coventry, England, with my father behind the wheel on the "wrong side" and learning to drive on the left side of the road - kind of an "instant" driving lesson. The rental car is just a little bit scratched so far.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Charming Victorian House Not So Charming Anymore

This is a house on Ustick Road that I've always found to be charming in an architectural sense - and inside used to be charming, too - an antiques store. But as Ustick has been changed into a multi-lane commuter route, the house has been changed, too. It was sold to a man who runs halfway-type houses for men who have addiction problems of all types. The white picket fence has toppled over, the gazebos on the property have been trashed, the once-beautiful yard has grown wild, and there are junked-out cars and men in tattered clothes always in front. I know these types of houses have social goals that are admired, but I'm not an admirer of that goal in this location. I hope that when the housing market recovers, the owner will want to cash in and sell - and maybe someone with more money than me will come to the house's rescue. It could be a cute bed and breakfast. Or a gathering house - one rented for events and weddings.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Little Less Snow in the Mountains

McMillan street looking wild - and with temperatures reaching close to 80 degrees, the mountain snow is melting fast. This stretch of McMillan Road in Boise doesn't have curbing or sidewalks on the north side. A little further West, the highway district added sidewalks a couple of years ago because there's an elementary school on McMillan and the students had to walk on the shoulder of the road to get there. I'm in London at the moment, sidewalks in many areas of town are extra wide, so even though there are a lot of people walking, they're not crowding each other terribly. Another note on this photo - when I took the picture last week, my daughter was with me and she thought she saw a little puppy in the brush. We looked, but didn't find him. It could have been a fox - I've seen them along this stretch of road.