General Road Trips in Idaho
Idaho, for so many reasons, can be unpredictable. Weather, wildlife, seasonal closures, and unexpected beauty has a way of catching people unprepared. Most people want to experience an extraordinary road-trip, not merely an average one. What makes an ordinary trip into an extraordinary journey? It's planning for the unexpected. It's the smaller things that sneak up and have the potential to turn hopes of fun into disappointment. Being prepared for expected surprises has a way of turning even the most unexpected into exciting, adventurous, and amazing experiences that make for lifechanging moments and leave many telling stories about their Idaho experiences for years to follow.
Map out the Route in Advance -
Idaho is home to far more remarkable destinations than one might think. Make your road trip destination list and check it twice, as there is a lifetime of locations to be found and enjoyed year-round. To accomplish a wealth of area attraction options, activity opportunities, as well as destination hot spots, try to keep your research broad and mix it up by searching in different avenues. Most often than not, the search begins online, and that is a great place to start. You may also consider Idaho travel guide books, photography magazines and books, maps, travel brochures, local activity magazines, and other resources that you may have available. Strolling the old photos on the walls of local shops has a way of uncovering some of the neatest not so well known locations, as does striking up a conversation with one of the locals. Unveiling some of the not so well known destinations can be an adventure all in itself. When it is time to get on the road relying on GPS or anything online related, for directions is excellent when you have a source of power and cellular reception. When trekking Idaho's terrain or merely heading out for the day, it may be helpful to have a classic fold-up map stored in the vehicle. The backup paper map also comes in handy when a device takes an unintentional swim or accidentally gets left at the last stop hundred of miles back. I've found that my GPS unit has a sense of humor, and isn't always accurate, so I prefer to cross-reference my Idaho road and recreation atlas as a safeguard.
Plan for Random Weather -
When enjoying Idaho's grand outdoors, there's an almost unspoken rule when spending any extended amount of time in the open, and that's to be prepared for odd weather changes when you least expect it. For instance, a bright and shiny summer day could quickly turn into a windy storm blowing in a wall of dust. Downburst winds, torrential downpours, inconvenient hail storms, random snow, you name it. You may consider packing an entire set of other apparel for everyone making the trip, that will accommodate any significant change in weather. Store it and forget it, has been helpful for me. That way, my back-ups are already set when I need them. This way, if rain, hail, snow, or a sudden drop in temperature does hit, you can laugh it off with a little joy as you're a bit more prepared, and now that's a potentially avoided stress. Moments like these, have the possibility to then become a delightful surprise, rather than a trip ender because everyone is soaked and cold.
Seasonal Closures - Closed for the Season or on a Weekend? Yes. It Happens.
If you are planning to travel off-season, as many do in order to beat the crowds, and sometimes enjoy an entire campsite to yourself or even mountain top, you're not the only one. Idaho is predominately a four-season state, meaning there are four distinct seasons. This means that come the colder months, attractions and those convenient area amenities may be closed for the season. The 'I wish I would've list,' is best when you're not adding to it. Off-season traveling makes for more opportunities to catch you underprepared. The unexpected closures, especially when it's a need that arises, have a way of creating stress. For instance, needing a restroom may definitely become one of those times. To avoid this, plan your necessary stops in advance. This may come across as unusual for some, though, finding yourself in the middle of the stunning desert landscapes is not a great time to realize you forgot the essential planning for moments like that. Gasoline, food, and shelter are some of the other matters that have a way of becoming a bigger deal after it's too late to plan. A fully stocked picnic basket with water water water may be a consideration. Also, having an emergency plan is never a bad idea! For me, it includes knowing where the nearest urgent care (hours of operation) or emergency room is in the vicinity. I also let someone know where I will be going and when I'm expected back. I stock the vehicle with the necessary supplies for a breakdown, flat tire, or various other surprises. Sometimes those emergency moments have a way of turning into 'remember when' laughable moments when prepared accordingly.
Idaho's Wildlife & Birdlife -
Idaho's wildlife will likely cross paths with travelers, somewhere along the way, on an Idaho Road Trip. There are abundant area wildlife and birdlife to enjoy; ideally from a safe distance, in order to help ensure the whole experience is enjoyable for all. Idaho's wildlife can make for great picture opportunities, so you may consider storing a camera safely away, where it can be accessed quickly if the time should come that it could be used. Idaho's wildlife may present itself as an eagle flying overhead, a fox trotting across an open field, or a pheasant dashing from field to field. If traveling on I-84 between Boise and Mountain Home, often, Pronghorns make it out in that direction, as they enjoy grazing and traveling across the open ranges. Traveling in Idaho, there are a few various creatures (beyond dogs, cats, and ducks) that present themselves more expectedly than not: wild turkeys, chickens, deer, and cows roaming the open range most often on the dirt backroads. I'm sure there are droves of additional animals that have unexpectedly made their presence known to others.
Breathtaking Sunsets -
Expect spectacular sunsets to come around when least expected, most especially the kind of sunset that is nearly impossible to pass up stopping to take in the moment. Now, of course, not every closing to the day is going to present a remarkable sunset. You may consider budgeting in a few extra minutes close to sundown, just in case you'd like to stop what you're doing and catch the moment when it comes. For me, it's always nice to get out and take a quick break while twilight passes anyhow. If enjoying a sunset is one of those times you appreciate stopping and taking in the changing colors of the sky, plan for it in advance.
The most vibrant colors of a sunset may appear in a short timeframe right before the sun disappears for the evening. There are also various ways to miss out on a sunset that are nearly guaranteed, for instance being indoors or in a completely closed up tent. Deep valleys amid soaring mountain ranges have a way of aiding in the sun, disappearing a lot faster and eliminating some of the colors that happen closer to when the sun reaches the horizon.