A Road Trip. Day 6. Boise to Butte.
There’s a potato-shaped AirBNB in Boise, Idaho. Let me repeat that: there’s a potato-shaped AirBNB in Boise, Idaho.
I first heard about this spud hotel some months ago when it was doing its viral rounds on all the news outposts. “Sleep in a Giant Potato for Only $200 a Night,” “The Ultimate Vegan Airbnb Is a Giant Potato,” “Boise’s Potato Airbnb is the Most Idaho Hotel Room Ever,” all the click-bait headlines declared.
Of course, as soon as I read article after article on these tater digs there was only one thing I could say, “I need to stay there.”
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I kind of love roadside attractions. And by kind of I mean really. I’ll drive out of my way to see a world’s largest anything. My ideal man is a brawny bearded muffler man. My fifth favorite animal is any animal made of fiberglass. And I even run a whole blog devoted to these weird tourist destinations.
Plus potatoes, in any form, are my favorite side dish.
So, to sleep in a giant potato? Dream come true.
I posted one of those articles on my Facebook page with the caption, “I guess I need to go to Idaho,” thinking I’d get a few laughs and then forget about it for a while. But then my friend Tim commented, “Let me know if you want to road-trip out there!” and, somehow, a zany, crazy, road trip was born. A road trip designed around sleeping in the Big Idaho Potato Hotel.
We planned out the route, figured out when we could get to Boise, figured out everything we could see along the way, and booked the $332 a night potato AirBNB (hello taxes and cleaning fees).
We were set. We were ready. We were giddy with anticipation.
And then…the potato cancelled on us.
I guess there were some zoning issues having to do with the potato not having a bathroom inside and the city wouldn’t let them rent it out until they made some changes.
So, there we were, left potato-less.
We assessed the situation, thought about cancelling or postponing the whole thing, but eventually decided to keep our original route, our original dates, our original plan, and just take a potato-hotel free road trip.
But just because we couldn’t spend the night, didn’t mean we didn’t want to see it.
And, so, when we woke up in Boise, Idaho in our non-potato-shaped AirBNB on day six of our road trip, we decided to take a drive out to see the potato hotel.
But first, breakfast…
After a hearty breakfast of sunny side up eggs, bacon, red flannel hash (potatoes, beets, and… more bacon), a blueberry pancake, and, of course, some coffee to fuel my morning, it was on to the next stretch of our road trip. This was day six, officially the halfway point of our trip, and the literal turning point. Boise was as far west as we were going and now we weren’t only heading to Montana, we were heading home.
After loading up on all the food at breakfast, we went in search of our first destination of the day, that big Idaho Potato Hotel.
The giant tuber was located on a farm road about 25 miles from the city center. As we drove and drove with nothing but farms and farm houses surrounding us, we were beginning to wonder if we’d actually find it. We went past the point our phone’s GPS told us to go and were almost ready to turn around when we spotted a giant brown oval in the distance. It was there. It was glorious. It was every bit the potato of my dreams.
We pulled over and admired the big spud. It was a bittersweet moment, standing there in front of this glorious novelty hotel but knowing that we wouldn’t get to stay there. Still, it was exciting just to see it. And to meet Dolly, the resident cow, who came up to greet us, slobber on us, and eat feed from our hands.
After spending some time marveling at the giant potato AirBNB that wasn’t to be for us and after properly gushing over that adorable cow, we conceded that it was time to move on…
There were about 420 miles and six and a half hours of driving between Boise, Idaho and Butte, Montana. And, honestly, there wasn’t much to see along the way.
There was scenery, sure, but attractions? Not really. So most of our day was just driving.
Well, Tim driving while I tried to stay awake.
But there was one much-needed stop that broke up our day: Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve.
Craters of the Moon is a U.S. National Monument and national preserve made up of a lava fields that spans over 750,000 acres (1,100 square miles). The dark landscape made up of volcanic rifts and lava rivers and lava tube caves and cinder cones and spatter cones and lava beds was a stark contrast to the glowing orange of the rest of the state. For miles before we even reached the visitor’s center, it felt like we had been transported to another world.
At the heart of Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve is a seven-mile loop road with plenty of stops that provide access to trails along the way. We spent a couple of hours at the National Monument and made three stops along the drive (Devils Orchard, Inferno Cone, and the Spatter Cones) where we took some little hikes among the volcanic surroundings.
The rest of the day was more driving, more trying not to fall asleep in the passenger’s seat, a stop for some chicken-fried steak, more driving, more trying not to fall asleep, scenery, and more scenery, and, finally, Montana.
And a Montana AirBNB that was not shaped at all like a potato.