States Visited Today
The morning of July 1st, 2020 started with a random assortment of foods for me. Then we were on the road again after sleeping in for a bit.
On the way to Idaho Andrea had a thought regarding giant potatoes and started to do some research on her phone. She found that the Idaho Potato Museum was in Blackfoot, Idaho. This happened to be the city we were going to be leaving the highway from on our way to our main planned destination of the day, so we went to the museum first. I mean, who doesn’t love potatoes, right?!
The Idaho Potato Museum is in a building that was at one time a train depot. It was officially opened in 1988.
Blackfoot, Idaho is known as the “Potato Capital of the World” so it makes sense to have a museum about potatoes there. From what I have read, Idaho produces 1/3 of the potato crop made in the United States with the majority of that coming from the area surrounding Blackfoot.
The museum had some interesting facts. The biggest one to me was that the Incans were the first to cultivate potatoes. Spanish Conquistadors then took potatoes to Europe where they traveled around until the Irish brought them to the United States. From there, it took the Mormons to bring potatoes to Idaho which seemed to be the perfect place to grow them with all of the rich, volcanic soil. Volcanic soil in Idaho, you say?! Yep…and I was just as surprised as you are. Here are some of the highlights from the museum.
The museum was pretty small but still interesting. Afterwards we had some fresh cut french fries.
Our next destination for the day was the Craters of the Moon National Monument. On the way there we drove through many, many potato fields. This is what a potato field looks like.
We also went through another interesting area. The city of Arco lays a claim to fame as being the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power. This happened in 1955. Nearby the nuclear power plant that produced the energy for this is now a museum of sorts and has tours. Unfortunately it was closed due to the pandemic. But it might be neat to go see one day. This area of Idaho still has nuclear energy research going on to this day by the Idaho National Laboratory.
As for Craters of the Moon National Monument, it was first established all the way back in 1924. It encompasses three major lava fields and a few hundred square miles of grasslands as well. I expected to see nothing but hardened lava fields and the black rock that makes up the fields. There was a surprising amount of vegetation growing in the fields as well. This is due to the fields being a few thousand years old, so there has been plenty of time for trees and grasses to take root.
The Devils Orchard Trail was fairly short and had a paved sidewalk.
There is one giant cinder cone in the area.
This would be the highest point that we would be on in the park. And check out how windy it was at the top!
There are also a few smaller cinder cones.
The last trail that we did was called Tree Mold. The lava cooled on the trees in the area and kept the shape of the trees.
After we left the Craters we went to Rexburg for dinner at one of our favorite road trip places to eat, Del Taco.
We also found lodging in Driggs, Idaho, just west of the Grand Teton mountain range. On our way there we stopped at an amazing overlook.
And our view of the Tetons from our hotel was quite spectacular too!
We watched the sunset on the mountains and then went to bed early so we could watch the sunrise from behind the mountains the next morning!
I hope you enjoyed this installment from our summer 2020 trip!