Apr. 5, 2020

I was really glad I brought my appetite when I made it to Pickle’s Place in Arco. I was at the end of a week-long BucketList tour and my belly was ready to savor that Atomic Burger I had been hearing so much about. I was NOT disappointed! Wow! The burger was incredible and I’m not just being nice. It even came with fresh cut Idaho Potato fries. I literally thought I couldn’t stuff another bite in...and then I realized they had fried pickles. Who passes up fried pickles?! Not this girl. It was worth unbuttoning that top button on my jeans.

The burgers were seasoned with John’s Steak and Seasoning Spice then cooked to perfection. (You can actually buy that spice at the stores in Boise. I know the Co-op has it.) The service was fun and even though they were busy, they still went out of their way to make you feel welcome. I loved the atmosphere. It was like a 1950s soda shop. Very classic and simple.

Now, you may be wondering what makes an atomic burger...well atomic! I asked that too. The name actually comes from the town of Arco (where Pickle’s Place is located). Arco became the first city in the World to be powered by atomic energy on July 17th, 1955. Makes sense right?! By the way, they also make a fantastic steak.

The building is all painted this crazy neon type green. I asked my server if it was because of the name...ya know...Pickle’s. She laughed and let me know that it is actually radioactive green. Ummmm….what?! Between that and the six-foot-high-chair, they have out front you might take a minute to pause and say WTF.

This is quite the drive from Boise for a burger (even if it is a GREAT burger), but if you are visiting Craters of the Moon, stop and grab a bite. Not only did I fall in love with their pickle mascot but I had a blast! And a dang good dinner.

Location: Take I-84E about 40 miles to Exit 95 for US-20N. Left on US-20E for 100 miles. Turn left onto US-20 E/US-26 E/US-93 N/N Main St and follow for 44 miles. Turn right onto Front St and get ready to eat!

Address: 440 S. Front St. / Arco
Phone: 208-527-9944

Website: picklesplacerestaurant.com

Good to Know: They are the hot spot in town so if you get there during busy meal times, they WILL be busy. The wait is well worth it.

Hours: Everyday 6 am to 11 pm

Cost: They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices range from the lower end of $10 to $25.

Special Notes: Arco is full of BucketList treats. Grab a burger and visit the submarine across the street or check out Number Hill from the parking lot. Not to mention all the atomic history in this little town. Try not to fall in love with their Pickle Mascot….bet you can’t!

Apr. 5, 2020

This is one of the most unique places I have visited in Idaho. When they say this is the World’s largest beagle...they aren’t kidding! This is a bed and breakfast with the guesthouse INSIDE THE BEAGLE! This is one time you will want to be in the doghouse.

Pulling into the parking lot is like entering dog heaven. First and foremost is the two huge beagles center stage. Toby, is a 12-foot tall beagle statue standing next to the main attraction, Sweet Willy. The whole space reminds you of roadside trips taken during the 1950s when roadside architecture was at its finest. Both these sweet dogs were built by Dog Bark Park artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin.

The grounds are well maintained and full of lawn art designed and built by Dennis and Frances including a very large fire hydrant! There are benches to sit at and even an archway full of beautiful flowers.

The guesthouse is found inside of Sweet Willy. Guests enter through a private 2nd-floor deck. It is so sweet inside, full of handmade quilts and special touches. They even put cookies on the bed shaped like...you guessed it...beagles! There are plenty of original art pieces through the guesthouse made by Dennis and Frances. There is also a loft room inside and up another level in Sweet Willy’s head with a cozy alcove inside his muzzle. Four people can stay comfortably. I loved it! I really enjoyed that there was no television. Sitting in the muzzle of a HUGE dog, reading a book, was amazing! Plus you got breakfast! Yummy!

There is also a gift shop on-site with an artists’ studio featuring chainsaw artwork by Dennis and Frances. They have canine carvings (of course) as well as fish, bear, moose and many Lewis & Clark themed items.

Make sure you take the time to visit with Dennis and Frances. They love sharing travel stories. Be sure to book in advance because they are traveling also and they don’t want to miss you.

This is one place you have got to see! Not only is it incredibly unique, but the accommodations are relaxing, the company delightful and together it all makes for a remarkable BucketList Trip!!

History: Husband and wife artists Dennis and Frances have been working at the Dog Bark Park since 1997. Dennis is a self-taught chainsaw artist who has been carving for over 30 years. 22 years ago, Frances joined him in the business. In 1995 they sold their carvings on QVD television. They had been carving wooden dogs for 18 months straight! They took the money and invested it all into developing and building Dog Bark Park.

They have even been featured on The Ellen Show and the Today Show along with countless others. I even saw them rank number 5 on a show about America’s most unique hotels on the travel channel.

Location: It's actually not that bad of a drive to such a fun adventure. Take I-84W towards Ontario for 35 miles. Take Exit 3 for US-95 toward Fruitland/Payette and turn right on US-95N. Follow US-95N for 167 miles. Take a left onto Johnston Rd. Follow for 2.2 miles then turn left back onto US-95N for 13 miles. Dog Bark Park is on Business Loop 95.

There is also a commercial airport in Lewiston (LWS) which is only an hour away.

Address: 2421 Business Loop 95 / Cottonwood
Phone: 208-962-3647
Email: frances@dogbarkpark.com

Website: dogbarkpark.com

Cost: Lodging Season is April to October.
Rates: $132 a night / Double Occupancy / Breakfast is included
$12 each additional guest
$126 Single Occupancy

Good to Know: They do allow pets. What a great place to bring your dog! You will need prior approval so be sure to discuss with Dennis and Frances when you make your reservation. There is a $15 non-refundable pet fee.

There is no television or phone. You will have to entertain yourselves. Its actually fun! However, if you can’t stand being disconnected, WI-FI is available.

PLEASE NOTE they only have 1 unit so cancellations greatly affect them. Please avoid canceling unless it is an emergency situation.

This is a VERY popular destination. They are booked up a year in advance so make your reservations for next year now!

Eats: There are a few restaurants in nearby Cottonwood.

Rodonnas Country Haus Restaurant
407 Foster St. / Cottonwood
Comfort food, Small plates, Quick bite

The Hangout
603 Front St. / Cottonwood
Comfort food, Outdoor seating

C’est la V’s
415 Main St. / Cottonwood

Special Notes: This is one of my favorite places. I can’t wait to visit again (if I can ever get another reservation!) Bring your dog, your kids….and enjoy the downtime. Visiting with Frances and Dennis is clearly a highlight. They are amazing people with fantastic stories. Have fun!

Apr. 5, 2020

To be completely transparent, I am not LDS. That said, I was still eager to visit the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple in Idaho Falls. The architecture alone lands it on the BucketList. Driving up I was a little intimidated. The Temple is majestic in stature and the grounds surrounding it peaceful and serene. I was looking forward to touring it.

After I parked in the parking lot, I was approached by a very nice security officer. The grounds were getting ready to close for the day. I explained to him that I was on a BucketList adventure tour and the Temple was on my list. He was very kind and allowed me to tour the grounds despite the hour. Since I am not LDS I was unable to enter the building, but if you are LDS I strongly advise an inside tour. If it is half as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, you will be awestruck.

The grounds are pretty substantial so it did take some time to walk around. There are beautiful fountains and many benches to sit. The benches are perfect if you are looking for someplace to sit and reflect or even just read. I had driven quite a bit that day so I took advantage of the benches and rested. Just sitting there in the quiet was a pleasant way to end the day.

If you are LDS, the Temple is a great tribute to your religion and if you are not, it is definitely worth a visit.

History: The Temple in Idaho Falls was announced on March 3, 1937. The building was designed by the church board of temple architects: Edward O. Anderson, Georgious Y. Cannon, Ramm Hansen, John Fetzer, Hyrum Pope, Lorenzo Snow Young. The exterior of the Temple was completed in September 1941 and the interior was expected to be completed the following year. However, with World War II shortages, it delayed the completion of the Temple for four more years. In spite of delays, LDS Church President George Albert Smith dedicated the Idaho Falls Temple just one month after the war ended, on September 23, 1945. (Wikipedia)

Location: Take I-84E 185 miles to exit 228 in Cassia County. Get on I-86E/US-30E for 15 miles. Follow I-86E and I-15N for 95 miles to Fremont Ave. in Idaho Falls. Take the Exit towards Riverside Dr/City Center from US-20E. Follow Riverside Dr and Fremont Ave to find the Temple.

Address: 1000 Memorial Drive/Idaho Falls
Phone: 208-522-7669

Website: www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/details/idaho-falls-idaho-temple

Eats: There are several restaurants near the Temple if you want to grab lunch or have dinner.

Copper Rill Restaurant
415 River Pkway / Idaho Falls
American food, Casual dining

The Snakebite Restaurant
401 Park Ave / Idaho Falls
American Bistro

Jalisco’s Mexican Restaurant
325 River Pkway / Idaho Falls
Mexican American

468 N. Eastern Ave.
Fine dining, Steak and Seafood

Special Notes: If you are not LDS you will not be able to enter the building, but be sure to enjoy the grounds as I did!

Feb. 4, 2019

I love northern Idaho. The beauty of the mountains and the trees, the historical stories braided throughout its small towns and the massive number of BucketList adventures that originate there. One adventure I was really looking forward was to riding the gondola up Silver Mountain in Kellogg. Not only does it offer up a beautiful view of the mountains, but it’s a really unique BucketList adventure.

A gondola up the mountain isn’t like you may think. This isn’t a gondola that is defined as a flat bottom boat, lazily floating down a canal. Oh no...this is a small box car suspended on a ski lift going straight up a mountain. Now, as a side note here, I have to mention that I am terrified of heights. Getting on the gondola took me a minute, but I’m so glad I did. The gondola at Silver Mountain is the world’s longest single stage gondola and Kellogg is in the heart of Idaho’s Panhandle National Forest. The view was breathtaking!

The day we went on our gondola ride they were also having a mountain bike adventure course down the backside of the mountain. We bought our tickets at Silver Mountain Resort and boarded our gondola there at the bottom of the mountain. I can not even begin to describe the majestic beauty you can see for miles in each direction as you glide up the mountain in your own personal gondola. We arrived at the top of the mountain and decided to get off and explore before heading back down. There is small cafe where you can get lunch, snacks and drinks, as well as restrooms at the top and several viewing points around the area, a huge grassed area that is perfect for group gatherings, and several other chair lifts that originate here. During the winter it is where skiers top the mountain. During the summer you can take your mountain bike down the backside, enjoy lunch, and go back down the mountain on the gondola.

After exploring the top of the mountain, and meeting some of the gondola staff, we headed back down the mountain. It was truly blissful gliding down the mountain while enjoying such beautiful scenery.

During the summer they have concert and dinner specials all combined with the gondola rides up the mountain. A great place to take the kids or enjoy a romantic evening/weekend with someone special. Not to be missed! I know you will enjoy it as much as I did!

History: It all started with the discovery of rich lead ore. Kellogg was born out of this discovery in 1886 and grew rapidly as mining activity in the Silver Valley expanded. Kellogg has traditionally been consider the industrial center of the Coeur d’Alene Mining District since that time. The town grew from a mining support community to an important processing center for primary metals through World War II and beyond.

In the 1980’s, the mine complex closed and the city looked elsewhere to sustain its livelihood. Kellogg constructed the longest aerial transportation system (3.1 mile single stage gondola) in the world and began development of Silver Mountain into a year round recreational resort. It now hold condos, a water park, a golf course, mountain bike trails….and, of course, skiing!! There is an abandoned railroad bed in the middle of town that is now a greenbelt walkway. That walkway is part of the “Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes”, a 72 mile long trail that extends from the Montana border to Plummer, Idaho.

Location: From Boise - Take I-84 W toward Oregon, entering Oregon, for 223 miles. Exit 188 for US-395 N towards Stanfield/Hermiston remaining on US-395 N until the turnoff for OR-207 N..about 10 miles. Then right onto US-730 E (entering Washington) for 18 miles. Left on US-12 W for 16 miles. Take Exit 14 for US-395 N (again) toward Spokane and keep right to continue on Exit 14B, follow signs for US-395 N/Spokane. Continue on US-395 N (Back in Idaho) for 200 miles. Take Exit 49 for Kellogg and Silver Mountain. It’s literally right off of US-395 N.

You can also fly into Spokane International Airport. It’s only an hour away from the airport and flights from Boise are very affordable.

Address: 610 Bunker Avenue / Kellogg
Phone: 866-344-2675


Adults (18+) / Ride $19 / Ride & Dine ** $32.95 / Bike Park Day Pass $36
Youth (4-17) / Ride $15 / Ride & Dine ** $24.95 / Bike Park Day Pass $29
Senior (62+) / Ride $15 / Ride & Dine ** $31.95 / Bike Park Day Pass $36
Children (Under 3) / Ride Free / Ride & Dine ** $6.95
Family Package - First 4 members Ride $61 each / Each additional member $13

Prices are for information only and subject to change. Taxes not included.
*Every Friday in July through August, enjoy a savory mountain top BBQ featuring huckleberry ribs served with choice of assorted side dishes, bread and a non-alcoholic beverage. Beer, wine and mixed drinks are available for an additional charge.

Website: https://www.silvermt.com/Summer/Scenic-Gondola-Rides

Good to Know: This is a great vacation destination. You can take the whole family and there is plenty for everyone to do. Not to mention, the scenery is fantastic and there are many BucketList things to do in nearby towns also. You can make it a BucketList vaca!

Eats: There are many restaurants around Silver Mountain Resort. Here are a few suggestions.

Noah’s Canteen (Located at the Resort)
(208) 783-2440
Comfort food, Outdoor seating

Moose Creek Grill
12 Emerson Ln / Kellogg
Great setting, American food, Happy Hour

Hill Street Depot
446 Railroad Ave / Kellogg
Comfort food, Outdoor seating, Small plates


You can stay right at Silver Mountain Resort. It’s a little pricey in the winter, but if you are there to enjoy the amenities at the resort you might like the convenience of being closer. Spring/Summer prices are much more affordable.

Average Prices per night:

Winter Rates:
Studio $177+ / Family Studio $253+ / 1 Bedroom Suite $279+ / 1 Bedroom Loft Suite $467+

Spring/Summer Rates:
Studio $121+ / Family Studio $143+ / 1 Bedroom Suite $169+ / Mountain View Suite $169+

Other lodging in Kellogg: Hotels

Fairbridge Inn and Suites / 601 Bunker Ave, Kellogg, ID 83837 / (208) 783-1234 / Average Price per night $96

Sunshine Inn / 301 W Cameron Ave, Kellogg, ID 83837 / (208) 784-0225 / Average Price per night - please contact directly

La Maison Sur Le Hill Bed & Breakfast / 18 Emerson Ln, Kellogg, ID 83837 / (208) 783-0315 / Average Price per night - please contact directly

McKinley Inn / 210 Mc Kinley Ave W, Kellogg, ID 83837 / 210 McKinley Ave, Kellogg, ID 83837 / (208) 786-7400 / Average Price per night - please contact directly

Alpine Village Resort / 308 Ohio Ave, Kellogg, ID 83837 / (208) 783-2757 / Average Price per night - please contact directly


Blue Anchor RV Park & Campground / 300 West Mullan Avenue, Osburn, ID 83849 / (208) 752-3443 / large pull thru sites, full hook ups available, 30/50 amp electrical service, tent sites, cabins, free cable TV, clean laundry facilities and we are the only park in the Silver Valley that offers FREE Wi-Fi. Oh and your pets are welcome too!!

Special Notes: I want to post a quote from the Silver Mountain website “Family fun is our specialty! Stay with us and you've got more activities than a summer camp. Silver Rapids has you covered for surfing, splashing and floating and all the biking, skiing and tubing you can handle is just a gondola ride away. When you stay with Silver Mountain Lodging be sure to grab a Kid's Passport and check with the front desk about our outdoor movies, water bomb fights, craft times, singalongs with smores by the fire and much more.”

Jan. 31, 2019

Driving through the town of Soda Springs, every hour on the hour, it’s hard to miss the 100 to 150 foot plume of water shooting over the tops of the city buildings. I drove into town looking for the water explosion and was happy I pulled into town just in time to see the show. Unfortunately, I only caught the end of the show over the rooftops, but I didn’t let that deter me. Soda Springs is a great town to spend an hour, or an entire afternoon, exploring.

An hour later, I was standing on the deck above the Soda Springs Geyser, ready to watch the hourly eruption. I wasn’t disappointed! What a show! I was impressed with the water shooting higher and higher into the sky...my dog, however, was not. I guess his BucketList did not include seeing the Soda Springs Geyser.

This is a really unique BucketList item. In some ways it is like visiting Yellowstone and seeing geysers there, but it is not a natural phenomenon. The Soda Springs Geyser is the only captive geyser in the World! Another plus is the beautiful park that surrounds the geyster and the fact it is right in the middle of downtown Soda Springs. The downtown has an old town feel, with the celebrity geyster adding in touches here and there for the visiting tourist. Make sure to bring a raincoat though….water that goes up must come down!

History: As previously mentioned, the Soda Springs Geyser is the only captive geyser in the World. On November 30, 1937, a local man, drilling in search of heated water for a swimming pool, penetrated an underground chamber 315 feet down. It unleashed the geyser. However, in contrast to the well-timed hydramatics of geysers like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, the Soda Springs geyser didn’t know when to quit. It would spray continuously if allowed. This left the the geyser in danger of exhausting itself. The town capped the geyser and it is controlled by a timer making for an impressive show worth the drive to Soda Springs!

Location: The Soda Springs Geyser is located in Soda Springs. From Boise take I-84 E 167 miles. Merge onto I-86 E via the exit on the left toward Pocatello/I-15 and continue for 63 miles. Merge onto I-15 S via EXIT 63A toward Salt Lake. Follow for 25 miles then take the US-30 E exit, EXIT 47, toward I-15 Bus Loop/Soda Sprs/McCammon/Montpelier. Turn left onto E Highway 30/US-30 E. Continue to follow US-30 E for 35 miles. Once you reach Soda Springs, the geyser is smack in the middle of town. Geyser Park. Downtown. Behind the Enders Hotel on 1st South and Main St./Hwy 30.

Hours: The geyser erupts every hour on the hour, unless wind conditions might cause water drift that interferes with downtown business. Open 24 hours a day.

Cost: There is no cost to view the geyser.

Good to Know: There is a Visitor Center and restrooms in the park. The Visitor Center explains the marvels of the Man-made Geyser with interpretive signs, and a wind meter lets you know whether your visit is poorly timed. Around the geyser is a boardwalk along with two viewing decks.

Eats: There are plenty of restaurants throughout Soda Springs. Picnic tables and benches pepper the park. On a nice day I would go with the picnic!

Special Notes: The park is great for kids and they will love seeing the geyser shoot up into the air. The park is pet friendly, but please be courteous and pick up after them. On a chilly day you can watch the action from your vehicle in the parking lot. (I strongly advise this in winter. It gets super cold over there!)

Soda Springs is only a 4 to 5 hour drive from Boise. If you combine this BucketList item with a few of the others in the area, it makes one heck of a great way to spend a weekend!