Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Lava Hot Springs

Once upon a time when I was a kid, we went to a family reunion to Lava Hot Springs, ID. I don't remember much, just a few details but it mostly feels like a weird dream. I don't know how we got there, what exactly was there, and how it fit in with the rest of the universe.  So it's stayed still and stranded in my mind, like a tiny misfit creature uncategorized.

I even went a few years ago, just stopped to soak in some hot springs for a few, and the details of that are just as hazy.  Maybe I need to get my memory checked? Well, anyway, Julian and I recently went over our spring break and it was basically the greatest little trip ever.  I know I say that about everything but it would appear these little mini-trips just keep getting better.

I discovered something.  I don't have a bunch of kids or even more than one so it's easy for me to give my full attention to my child. I don't have to schedule my time or attention and the only time Julian is competing for it is when the whole whopping three of us are all in the car together and Julian has to wait a few minutes while Sean and I are in the middle of a conversation.  It's hilarious when Julian mentions being impatient about it.  In fact, today I asked if he wanted to go on a boring errand with me, mostly as a joke because I know he hates it. But he said, "Can we talk on the way there?"  "What? Of course."  "Great, let's go!" Haha! Because the kid loves car conversation and we live in an alternate universe where this is our reality, people. 

Oh, back to what I discovered. So in spite of our perhaps unusual circumstance, going on a trip with just the two of us was markedly different, and awesome. I highly recommend it if you can swing it.  I felt like I got to know and see him in a new light even though I thought I had him figured out pretty well.  The jokes were incessant, he was killing me the entire time, he was fun, thoughtful, game for anything, and it was so fun to go to this chill place with no schedule or plans and see where the day or the one main road in the whole town took us.    We had such a great time. But I think I finally spent some good cognitive time there in Lava, and locked down what makes it unique and a little bit surreal:

1. It's tiny. Population 400 or something. It has one main street with rentals and shops and hot pools and old structures lining the place.

2. It's old. It was a sort of resort town in the early 1900's, particularly when they got the rail built in the 19-teens. In fact, I think our hotel was built in 1918. That feels legit. Also, except for a few updates, they seem to have attempted to maintain its old timey vibe which made it extra trippy. A place out of time, I would describe.  Some might call it "run down" but there are truly old structures there and either they gave up the maintenance long ago or just decided to rebrand it as "historic."  Whatever it is, it's working.

3. It's secluded.  The drive there was bizarre in that you drive off the beaten path for a while and just as you're wondering if you're going to have to park and hike to it, you're there.  This little corner pocket of a town.

4. The hot pools are unusual, at least to me. Most "resorts" are summer places but I'm not so sure that's the peak season at Lava.   On our trip, it was still quite wintry there, just right for a scalding hot pool. Misty weather with temps in the 50's.  Perfect.  Since I freeze even at the mere thought of being cold, this was great for me. All pools should be 102 degrees.   It seemed that there were several shops that weren't up and running but we made our own fun and it was glorious to sit in the pool and watch the sun set behind billowy dark clouds and snowy mountains. 

As usual, I kept a trip log, mostly of Julian quotes. I also took some pictures. So you're getting both. Let us proceed:

Our hotel, as mentioned, was quaint, cozy, and old. There was a huge radiator (not working) in our room which made me super happy. Julian had trouble opening the bathroom door so he needed help exiting.  Later on I was ready to go and a dialogue took place that made me giggle:
JEN: Hey, let's go.

JULIAN: Ok, one sec. I need to use the bathroom.  Be sure you're ready to rescue me when I can't open the door."   

His quick, dry delivery gets me every time.

In the office they had a soda vending machine from the 40's which made me even happier: 

Somehow I had no cash and no coins on me so one of our trip goals was scouring the town for loose change for that machine. Man, I love old timey things.

They had a tiny museum there which was quirky and run by two little old ladies. I have no pics but it was perfect for the place, informative and weird, and it requires a shout-out.

We walked up and down the main street just looking around and chatting and laughing. At one point we stopped for ice cream at the ice cream shop.

JULIAN: I have big questions for ice cream places.

JEN: Like what?

JULIAN: Like, 'what keeps you from losing your mind and pulling off the refrigerator thing and diving into the ice cream?'        

"I have big questions."-- {squint eyes, huge smile}

Along our walk, Julian pointed to a bottle shoved into a pile of dirty snow.

JULIAN: Oh nooo, there's a bottle in there. :( :(   Wait, what is this?

JEN: It's old dirty snow.

JULIAN: What? I thought it was a rock! *begins kicking snow pile* That's for tricking me!

did we even get the bottle out? i'm not sure.
Totem poles:

bottle caps
JULIAN: Hey, is that another totem pole?
JEN: What? No, it's just a dead--wait--
JULIAN: No it isn't, there's stuff carved there!
(I think there was a bear on the other side.)

JEN: How'd you get to be so funny? Who taught you that?"

JULIAN: I'm self-taught. But it's hard coming up with jokes all the time.

JEN: Boy, I get that.

There are rental places all along the main street for pretty cheap. Just saying. If you need a quick weird getaway. It would be a fun place to go with friends and be like, "well, we're here, now."  But Julian and I brought games and spent some quality downtime in our room, too.  Movies, games, candy. It's sort of fun when there aren't a million things to do. Takes the pressure off, you know.
JEN: I keep sending Dad stuff we're doing.

JULIAN: I know. Every time I say something funny I notice you pausing to take it down.

"Take it down"?? xD (-- old school emoticon)

The food was fair. Homestyle food, I suppose. The pizza at the pizza place was abhorrent. But don't listen to me, uber-snob.  However, for breakfast one day after I'd ordered half the menu because I like a variety, I re-discovered marble rye and I AM OBSESSED.  Add that to my ever-increasing list of old person foods I now love.  I ate every slice with jam.

rye toast and oatmeal, hash browns with gross poached eggs.
Why do I keep ordering poached eggs at these places?

JULIAN: I am FULL. I ate like a whale. Well, actually whales eat kind of neatly. I ate like a ravenous lion. 

JEN: Whales eat neatly?

JULIAN: Yeah, they kind of glide through the water, waiting for the krill or whatever to enter their teeth.

JEN: Yeah, you don't really eat that way.

JULIAN: Yeah, I don't walk through the air, waiting for food to hit me in the face.

Hahaha.  The beautiful thing about his humor is he continues the joke to make it the funniest possible. He carries out the ridiculous scenario to provide the funny visual, like I was hoping he would.  The best joke is a complete joke and he gets it, he just gets it.

Over dinner one night we had a debate about whether a particular pepper was a jalapeno or a banana pepper. Julian was certain it was a jalapeno and i said nay. Turns out we were both wrong, it was a pepperoncini, which apparently everyone calls a peppercini, and we learned something about peppers that day. Then we dared each other to eat it with hot sauce, which I accepted and it was fine, just fine.

We were there for two days. On the first day we found the weeeeirdest hot pools. Not a soul was in sight so I wasn't even sure they were in use. They looked like ancient ruins the Greeks might have soaked and philosophized in.  But no, people were in them later and we joined them.  I snapped some pics:

the kiddie pool?

no cavorting. This pool was the coldest out of them and too chilly for me.

hot pool with an even hotter one next to it.
There was a fixture in the pool, maybe a spout for the water, like a fountain burbling, and the water it was pouring into the pool was BOILING.  Julian was laughing and making fun of my self-interrupted observations and crazed, hot-water induced slurred speech:
JULIAN: Oof, that is hot
JEN: Oh, my gosh, that is BURN YOU hot. Oh look, stairs.

Easily distracted. Sitting in these temps makes you feel like a super relaxed frog slowly cooking to death and not caring about it. We were so slothfully subdued. At one point a group of people walked by and one person dropped a sweatshirt. They didn't notice but I did but I was powerless to do anything about it.  I think I may have pointed and gurgled something.  A while later they returned and they were luckily within the range of my sleepy voice and I said,

"Oh hey, one of you dropped something over there."

PERSON: Oh, is that yours, Brad?

JEN: I saw it happen but couldn't get out of the pool... (trailing off. feeling the need to explain myself, with this lame explanation)

THEM: ha ha ok, well thank you.

JEN: Sure thing. I'm glad you came back, ha ha.  ... because I was never going to follow you.
There are newer pools at the other end of the main street and we hit those up the next day. They were HOOTTTTT. Julian was pretty heated through by then but I was good. But we could never handle the hottest pools.

Like I said, we made our own fun. At one point Julian exclaimed, "Hey, let's go to the hardware store!" which made me laugh because the hardware store is the least fun place I can think of, but there really wasn't much to do. But we went in anyway, looking for nothing, which made it fun. We entered and the man in charge greeted us and asked us if we were looking for anything and I said, "Nope, just browsing... as one does in the hardware store..."   I guess it's just the last place in my world I would go just to browse. "Ooo, toilet seats!"

Ooo, knobs and handles!

We passed the copper couplings.
JULIAN: I got my finger stuck in one of these once.  I was crying for like an hour.

JEN: I dare you to put your finger in it.

JULIAN: Wha-NO! I was crying for AN HOUR.

I wanted to hike up to the "L" on the mountain but it was pretty steep and still snowy and muddy. Also I coudn't actually see the L bc of the snow.  We tried to hike but kept sliding all around so we bailed and went for a walk along some kind of bank. It was there that I realized just how much I love moss, which is a lot:

JULIAN: I need to earn some money. I want to go on a cruise... just my cat and I.

Julian had tried to wrap himself in his blankets and declared himself a burrito but I said "oh that's not a burrito, THIS is a burrito:"

Our hotel was near the mountain where the ol' train would come multiple times a day, one of them being early morning (woohoo).  Every time, we would sing, "she'll be comin' around the mountain when she comes" because I'm pretty sure that's the actual train that song was based on.

And that basically sums up our little jaunt. Will I be back to Lava? Oh yes I will. There is also a zipline excursion there that Julian and I need to try as well as floating down the river.

On our way home we stopped at the Hill Aerospace Museum which was frickin AMAZING.  I had never been and I was dying.  So many planes and flying things! I was completely overwhelmed. It was awe-inspiring, truly. Ex-military pilots were there to answer questions. We got to go inside a rescue-mission helicopter and I was just stunned. I asked the gentleman there, a pilot in Vietnam, "so... what..can you tell us?" I wanted to hear all the stories.  I didn't grab a picture but there were early fliers too. Julian had just done a report on the Wright Brothers so yay for that.

Here are a few pictures and I won't go into it but it was seriously the coolest. I am still thinking about it. Also, Julian and I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the Memphis Belle Flying Fortress, a B-17 bomber. I'm pretty sure we saw one at the museum and it was nuts to see it in action in the documentary. Actual footage of an actual 1941(?) mission to Germany. Say what? It's short and has a Disney-esque vibe of the times. Check it out. 
yay bombs :|

Being so close to these great winged machines (some are just monsters) and reading about
them honestly made me be like, how is it possible that humans can fly? {cry face}
Also I felt quite a surge of patriotism which is, frankly, unusual for me.



Joel said...

I've been considering a day trip to LHS for a while now. This must be a sign that we should actually go.

Also, I definitely need to take my kids to the aerospace museum again. Only the two older ones have been, and I think James is just getting to the right age to be thoroughly impressed.

1 said...

What a fun blog - loved it. And it was a great family reunion, maybe two of them?? Thanks for sharing! Reta

)en said...

Maybe two! Dot and I were trying to remember. Didn't get very far between the two of us. But either way, maybe it's time for a reunion part III? :)

Go, Joel, before it's too hotttt.