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Author Topic: Gem State Clinchathon  (Read 2339 times)


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Gem State Clinchathon
« on: May 13, 2014, 12:48:49 AM »

Went down to my real home state, Idaho, this past weekend to drive the first of three drives I need to take to finish up clinching the Idaho highway system. I plan to finish the system up in five weeks. In the meantime, I went down to more or less my homeland of southwest Idaho to clinch some roads. In reality, I've been on and even driven most if not all of these roads at some point in my life, but not as a roadgeek, and there's something important to my heart to doing it that way (with me behind the wheel, camera in hand, during the day)- when I do finish Idaho, I wouldn't have felt good calling a clinch of the state without having taken this drive.

Anyway, onto the photos.

Left Deer Lodge at about 4:30 AM, really just trying to haul butt down to the Treasure Valley. The sun came up more or less right as I entered Idaho on I-15.

Headed down to Idaho 33 to finish my clinch of that route, then over to US 20 and Arco, the first city in the country powered by nuclear energy. The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility, owns a good chunk of the ground around this part of the state, and several nuclear tests were conducted here in the 50s. This part of Idaho is pretty desolate, kind of reminds me of Nevada- just wide open expanses with tall mountains in the distance. No potatoes out here.

Idaho is working on converting its signs to mixed case. Sometimes it gets confused, as with this sign at the Idaho 78/51 split.

One of the few remaining button copy signs (I believe three left) in Boise.

Approaching downtown Boise. Speaking as objectively as possible, Boise is pretty much my favorite city in the country. Right at the base of the mountains, good culture, great downtown, jobs available, low cost of living. Just a really nice place.

Approaching the capitol.

In the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boise's North End. I lived in this area from 1997-2003, and still think it's awesome.

Erroneous sign on I-184. The road is 184 west, but it leads to both directions of I-84, and from here it even is the best way to get to I-84 east.

On I-84 in Nampa. I think I get what this sign is trying to do. Idaho often directs thru traffic to use the left lane through towns with interchanges where there are only two lanes of interstate, as this stretch of 84 had only a few years ago. In this case, rather than posting a "thru traffic keep left" sign (which wouldn't be necessary now anyway since the thing is three lanes wide), they've put the arrow for the distant control city of Ontario, Oregon over the left lane and the near control city of Caldwell over the right two lanes. Caldwell is still ten miles away though, so I don't really get it.

Entering wine country on Idaho 55 near Marsing. The Snake River Valley is ideally suited for grapes.

In Marsing, this VMS is used for local events and never anything important. I remember this being the case back when I used to come down here to play Marsing in high school baseball. I have no idea if that's an appropriate use of a VMS.

I actually rented a car once I got to Boise because rental cars out of Boise are cheap and I was going to pass through it twice, and Hertz hooked me up with a spanking new Accord with only 1400 miles on the clock even though I booked an economy car. It was a nice car too- on US 95 south of New Meadows, I went to pass some ricer teenager brat in a Civic going about 60 in the 65. As I passed, he thought it would be funny to gun it, and I ended up at 95 MPH before I finished passing him, and I got up to that speed quickly.

Speaking of that, on US 95 in the Indian Valley north of Cambridge.

North of Council, still on US 95. This area  is gorgeous at this time of year.

Back on Idaho 55, we enter my home town of McCall, Idaho, where I went to high school and my folks and brother still live. This is Payette Lake.

Downtown McCall

Idaho does require you to pull over if three cars are behind you. This is strictly enforced.

Over to Oregon for a second, this is a fairly old interstate shield, but being Oregon there's no state name. This has been an interesting year for roadgeeking- if I had to give it a theme, it would be "visiting past haunts"- I entered Oregon at least once every year from 1997-2009, but then haven't been in Oregon since 2009.

Oregon style speed limit sign on Route 201 just over the state line.

Normal speed limit signs are beginning to invade off-interstate in this part of the state, which is a shame.

Oregon almost always puts reassurance shields under bridge crossing signs. I'm not sure why.

At Idaho 52's western terminus before it enters Oregon, we get an END Idaho 52 shield with an arrow- follow the arrow to head over the Snake River. I've never seen an "end" shield with an arrow under it before.

Multi state route actually ends a couple miles later.

Spur US 95 shield in Weiser- both Idaho and Oregon sign 95 Spur (former US 630) like this.

Interesting arrow sign in Nyssa, Oregon.

Back into Idaho, on Highway 16 descending Freezeout Grade into Emmett with Squaw Butte visible in the background. My aunt and uncle followed us out to Idaho and moved here, living here for several years before they both passed away within a couple years of each other. My family almost moved to Emmett as well- we even owned land here that we had planned on building a house on.

Idaho 16 is being extended from Idaho 44 to US 20/26 as an expressway with eventual plans to go down to I-84, to provide a western north-south expressway for the Boise metro area. It appears the 44 to 20/26 segment is almost done, as even the reassurance shields are up. I'll have to get back here to clinch it once it opens. My older sister lives just a few miles away, so that shouldn't be too big a deal.

As I was on my way back, I was reminded of the joys of open range laws, as a bunch of cows were chilling uncomfortably close to the road on Idaho 33.

And, coming back into Montana...I hope this isn't a new thing. This is a welcome sign I've never seen before that wasn't here before, and it's horribly illegible.

Normal Montana entry signs (including what was here on I-15 just a few months ago) look like this

Anyway, in two weeks it's off to Reno, NV and Kennewick, WA to clinch Idaho 51/67/167 and then finish up everything in northern Idaho, with a detour across Nevada's US 50 and then 395 from Carson City up to Spokane.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 01:28:52 AM by corco »


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Re: Gem State Clinchathon
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 06:33:45 AM »

Very nice pictures...I was born in Idaho Falls in 1969 and left in 1970.  My dad was in the Navy working at the reactor school out by Arco at the time.  I've only been back in 1997 and 2010.  Intending to be out there again in September as part of a western vacation...

I hadn't seen an arrow with an END sign like that before recently myself.  There is one at the east end of VA 239.  Note the road straight ahead into Norfolk Naval Shipyard has never been a public road.





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Re: Gem State Clinchathon
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2014, 09:02:29 AM »

I remember liking Boise as well. Went out there on a football trip to the bowl game back in 2004, then went up to Bogus Basin the day after the game. Haven't seen any of the rest of the state and didn't get to see much while I was there, but it seemed like a place that would be worth visiting again.
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.


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Re: Gem State Clinchathon
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2014, 07:02:53 PM »

Idaho is one of the few states in the lower 48 I have yet to see, so I really enjoyed this thread and the accompanying photos! Especially loved the Payette Lake playground shot.

And god, that new Montana welcome sign is tacky.


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Re: Gem State Clinchathon
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2014, 11:10:56 PM »

Cool pictures.

I have been through some parts of Idaho over the past few days, and have been fairly impressed with it.

I crossed from Montana into Idaho on US-93 at Lost Trail Pass this morning, and was surprised to find that it was snowing at the top of the mountain.  I guess that's fairly typical weather given the topography, but evidently being naive to the Rockies, I was surprised.
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