Category Archives: Boise

Car Camping #3: The Cadillac #3, Parking 

We got our new Cadillac in 1952. In 1952 grocery stores were just starting to include parking lots and advertise for an area larger than the near neighborhood. Shopping for anything else meant going downtown where the department stores were located. 

In 1952, downtown Boise had bustling business buildings, cafes, specialty shops and six large department stores. And crowded two-way traffic. 

Downtown Boise also featured that most challenging aspect of city adventures: parallel parking. Mom had no idea how she would ever be able to park that huge, heavy vehicle in tiny downtown spots with traffic backing up behind her.

INT mom

There was a reason cars had huge steering wheels back then – it gave the driver more leverage when turning the tires. Another way the driver was given more leverage when turning the tires was making it so it took a lot of turning the  steering wheel to move the tires back and forth.

At driving speeds the tires turned rather easily since the they were moving into the change of direction. When the tires were standing still the only thing that worked to turn the tires was brute force. 

Well, folks, the tires on a car are standing still when you are cranking the wheel to parallel park.  No wonder Mom was worried about parking that heavy Cadillac in downtown traffic. Yet on her first try that vehicle slipped into a spot easier than any other car she had ever driven! 

Today we take powered steering for granted, but my Mom never did! 

INT steering wheel.jpg

PS – While researching this story Wikipedia told me the first power steering for cars was put together by a man named Fitts in 1876. Chrysler sold the first off-the-line passenger car with power steering called Hydraguide in the 1951 Chrysler Imperial. Apparently General Motors was not going to be lost in the dust and had power steering ready for the 1952 Cadillac, the first GM car to feature it. Both these systems were based on work introduced in 1926 by Francis W. Davis. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_steering

Arrowrock Dam GUSHING Spillway!

After I posted the video I took in May I went up to check on how the spillway at Arrowrock is doing now.

We had a very wet winter and the snowpack in the upper watershed is at 200% of normal. For the last several days we’ve had our first real warming trend, with temperatures getting into the 90s. Seems the water is coming down!

Here it is running —

running INT.jpg

Here’s the a short video of it gushing —

Arrowrock Dam Spillway

ARROWORCK DAM.jpg

Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River was complete in 1915. For nine years it was the tallest  dam in the world. It was built to hold back water to feed the newly completed New York Canal, the largest of the irrigation projects in the Boise Valley.

As a kid I was fascinated by the massive spillway that passes to the north of the dam. Unfortunately it seems running the spillway is tough on the bull trout that call Arrowrock Reservoir home and use of the spillway was curtailed some time ago.

Until this year. We have a record snowpack and it seems running the spillway has become an option!

I checked it out on Thursday, May 18, 2017 and sure enough the spillway was running! Here’s a little three-minute movie about it.

ARROWROCK SPILLWAY RUNNING

The day after I posted this video of the spillway running I checked the spillway out again. It has warmed up and the snowpack in the upper elevations is melting. The spillway is no longer running. It is gushing —

ARROWROCK SPILLWAY GUSHING

Golden Moment

On Sunday, August 14, 2016, I took a little stroll up Camelback Hill just up the street from my home. On this path I usually stop at a favorite spot for a little thanking the Gods for their beautiful existence. Just as I got to my thanking spot the sun emerged from the overcast.

sun

The light caught the dried grasses of our southern Idaho hills and turned them golden.

north

northeast

And did a fine job of lighting up Boise.

city

Fortunately I took some photos before pausing for my thank-yous. By the time the Gods were properly greeted the sun was again behind the cloud and the golden was gone.

gone

Flower Shade

Boise is in a desert. We have sunny, hot summers.

Not only does the sun make cars into ovens, it is the fastest way to fade paint and deteriorate a car’s interior. For these two reasons I never worry about walking across a large parking lot. The only consideration I have for summertime parking is finding shade.

Winters are different, of course. The low sun neither heats the car up nor damages dashboards. From November to March, I forget about looking for shade.

Every March, when the temperature gets near sixty and we have a sunny day, I find myself thinking, “Is the sun hot enough and will I be parked long enough to heat up the car?”

Not that it really matters. We are in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and our winters are cold enough so when warm, sunny days start in the spring the trees do not yet have their leaves.

Even so, there is one place I can park in the shade of trees even though they do not have leaves. From what I can tell the trees are ornamental pears and their blossoms are thick.

Like moon shadows, I always get a particular joy from parking in the shade of flowers.

Photo JPEG