Thursday, July 12, 2007

Downtown Boise

Today we all decided that after a long day of traveling, it would be best to just go to downtown Boise (about 30 minutes east) and check out the town. You can look up the pertinent facts, but suffice to say that for a state capital and small city, it is very nice and easy to get around in.

We parked downtown and spent a few hours just wandering around, checking out different parts of the downtown, window shopping, etc. Of course, as the late morning/early afternoon wore on, the clouds departed and we were now in full sunshine ... at a lovely 98 degrees. By later that afternoon, it was 102. It's true that a 'dry heat' is more tolerable than high humidity, but hot is still hot.

For lunch, we went to the TableRock Brewpub. It's a nice little restaurant near the Julia Davis Park. Over lunch, I tried a few samples as well as tastes from the beers my family enjoyed. These included the Orange Blossom Special, Laughing Dog Pale Ale, MacLobie's Scottish Ale, Peregrine Porter, St. Andrews Amber, HopHead IPA, and the Hopzilla IPA. All in all, not a bad lunch.

From there, we strolled over to the Idaho Historical Museum where we learned quite a bit about the state. Rather impressive setup considering it only costs $2 to get in.

At this point, we decided that it was time to get some groceries for dinner before picking up the rental car (more on this below), so we headed back to the car and drove over to the Boise CoOp, a very nice grocery store with huge selections of great foods. The beer selection is pretty good, including a bunch of Belgian beers, and in Idaho you can break six-packs (as with Oregon & Washington). I snagged a few to try while at my brother's place.

Now, I mentioned before about a rental car. My brother's car sat all of us, but it's a bit sporty and uncomfortable on longer trips. In addition, after my parents and my visit with my brother is over, I'm driving my parents over to the Northwest for a few days ... hence the need for a rental.

So, we head to the airport where we're told Alamo exists. Sort of. Turns out, they're not really at the airport, but about a mile away. That delayed us a bit. Originally, we were going to pick it up as late as possible because we didn't want to have to pay for an extra day (huge charge), because we'd be turning it back in Seattle in the early evening.

Well ... we get there and find out that even an extra four hours is going to cost a full day ($130!), which sucks considering a full week was only $413 when we booked it. We decided to worry about that later and take the car now, since we didn't want to have to drive back to the airport later that night or the next day.

Get everything set up, go outside. All looks well on the outside. My mom and I get in. Smells like fish. There is a tree branch in the front seat, an ice cream drink lid in the second row of seats, stains all over the floor, ice cream stain on the doors, and a child's toy in the very back. Assholes hadn't cleaned the van.

Go back in to complain. No other cars available (have to rent a corporate for one-way drives), and it will be at least an hour or more before there is someone to clean this van. Long story shorter, we leave with intentions to come back the next morning to pick up. We're assured it will be ready anytime after 6am, cleaned and ready to go. I leave a clipped message on the voice mail of the branch manager, who had left for the day (natch).

Enough of that - we head back to my brother's (now in rush hour traffic) to relax for the evening. That night we made dinner at his place: fresh sockeye salmon, grilled, and my brother made an awesome risotto. That evening, I tried a Deschutes Inversion IPA and a RJ King Wingwalker Lager, both beers my brother had bought before we arrived.

The rest of the evening we spent playing blackjack before heading off to bed.

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