July 23, 2021
The morning of Day 9 found us in Idaho Falls once again; this time we checked out of the hotel and took a walk along the river before heading out for our last full day of touring. The falls in Idaho Falls are low but wide, with park and garden settings to stroll through along the banks.
I was sort of fascinated with our hotel, especially having seen it in some of the flood photos. We stayed in the hotel tower, which has similar roof lines to the motel next door; I think they were built at the same time and were known as the Westmark in 1976. The architecture does have a hint of retro futuristic about it, for sure.
From Idaho Falls, we headed out to Arco, where we grabbed lunch (in a bit of connection I like, the place we ate at was the home of a seasoning blend we’d seen on the table at a restaurant in Mountain Home earlier in the trip) and walked through a park with part of a submarine on exhibit.
Our next stop was Challis, where we walked along a river much less visually interesting but much more peaceful than in Idaho Falls that morning, and collected the last of the “C” license plates (not in order; that would be a really inefficient route).
Our last Idaho county for Day 9 was Lemhi, where we got ingredients for a picnic dinner, which we ate a ways up the road in the day use area of a small camping and fishing area in the Bitterroot National Forest. There was a river to stroll along here, too, which I guess makes the theme of the day moving water, despite that desert break in Arco.
We ended our day not in Idaho, but in Montana, because that’s where the roads were.
After a night’s rest in Missoula, we got back in the car for the home stretch. We had one more Idaho county to set foot in and picked that up about two hours into our day with a stop in Wallace. We we sad to find out that the bordello museum was permanently closed, but were able to visit the remaining historical museum, which focused on mining, including the 1972 Sunshine Mine disaster in which 91 people died (far more than in the Teton Dam failure, though that took out tens of thousands of livestock animals). There are many historic buildings in Wallace that would have been demolished to make way for the construction of I-90 if the residents hadn’t fought that and won.
From Wallace, we drove home, stopping for one last vacation treat in town before we headed up the mountain (ice cream from the same local chain we’d gotten some from in Moscow earlier in the trip).
Days 9 and 10 photos are here.