Hiking Cress Creek Nature Trail

On Saturday Elisse and I were looking for an afternoon activity. Some internet searching led us to a nature trail out past Ririe, near Heise.

Cress Creek Nature Trail

Cress Creek Nature Trail
First, let’s talk about how to get there. Here are the official directions from the BLM page for Cress Creek:

About 20 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho
From Idaho Falls, take the North Yellowstone Highway north through town. Follow Highway 26 northeast towards Ririe and Jackson. About 3 miles past the Ririe turnoff, follow the signs to Heise. Bear right after crossing a large irrigation canal. Cross the Snake River and turn left immediately onto the gravel road headed towards Rexburg. 1ΒΌ miles on the right side of the road is the trailhead parking area.

That’s great if you’re a 65+ year old farmer who’s used to getting directions like this. I just wanted an address to plug into Google Maps, but the place wasn’t even in Google Maps. Alas, the directions were sufficient, but I did some homework and here’s the address in Google Maps that will get you there:

11894 S Snake River Rd, Rexburg, ID 83440

The parking lot is right off the road and has restrooms (not for the sensitive smeller). The first half mile of the hike is wheelchair (and stroller) accessible with a couple of picnic tables available. We were out there on a 90+ degree day so it was pretty hot. The shade is few and far between at times, so bring plenty of your own water.

At the end of the paved trail you encounter a small creek that is fed by a natural spring. The spring is warm water, thus allowing the water cress to grow even in the winter (hence the name of the creek). Here the trail makes a large loop. To the left you go up the stream through a more wooded area. The trail has several stations along the way that identify wildflowers, animal tracks & scats, and trees. As you loop around you come to the edge of the bluff and have a fabulous view of the valley and the river.
Cress Creek Trail
All told it was about a 1 hour to 1.5 hour hike. Not too strenuous and definitely worth the view. If you’re looking for a quick little hike to get out and enjoy the weather, I highly recommend it.

Mongolian Grill – Idaho Falls

I’m a big fan of local businesses, especially restaurants. Therefore, since moving to Idaho Falls I’ve been asking around for recommendations on where to eat. Places that are only in Idaho Falls that people would recommend. One such place that was mentioned by a couple people was the Mongolian Grill.

Mongolian Grill

This place epitomizes “hole-in-the-wall”. The decor is really out of date and you don’t want to look too close at the floor under the grill. However, the food makes up for the deficiencies and I’ll be going back. So what’s it like?

If you’ve never been to a Mongolian grill restaurant, it’s a somewhat unique experience. In the center of the restaurant is a buffet full of veggies, meats, noodles, and about a million different sauces. You get a bowl (they have small, medium, and large) and start piling stuff into/onto your bowl. Start with the veggies, then add meats, top it off with some noodles and ladle a few scoops of sauce into your bowl for flavor. I went with sweet & sour sauce, sesame oil, the house Mongolian sauce, and orange sauce. The worker then dumps your bowl onto this huge round grill and works it all around while cooking it. Kind of fun to watch.

They serve egg drop soup and rice with the dish, but I didn’t really need it. The bowl was pile high (I’m quite the stacker) and I had plenty to eat. Here are my tips to you folks:

  • Go heavy on the veggies. I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy and even I felt like I needed more.
  • Get a little more meat than you might otherwise. It cooks down quite a bit.
  • Put in lots of sauce. I recommend at least 12 ladles (you’ll know what I mean when you get there).

Like I said, great little place. Not too expensive and I’ll definitely be back.

Getting High Speed Internet In Idaho Falls

If you don’t know, I’m an internet marketer. I run my own business (Righteous Marketing) from my home and I’m online as close to all the time as you can get. I’ve had a smartphone for almost 9 years. I’m addicted to internet.

When I got married about 15 months ago and we moved into a nice old lady’s basement, I got set up with Comcast (the only available option for getting more than 5 Mbps at that address) on one of their 12 month promotional rates. I went out and bought a modem so I wouldn’t have to rent theirs and was able to set up the service over the phone in about 30 minutes. It was a little more than I wanted to be paying, but it was a business expense.

Therefore, I thought my expectations were set pretty low. I was a Comcast customer after all.

High Speed Internet in Idaho Falls

There is a lot of traditional marketing up here in Idaho Falls, so I knew about the major players:

The last two aren’t really major players, but I had heard of them. I ruled out SpeedConnect because my high school friend said they sucked and he’d recently switched to CableOne and was happier. A fellow internet marketer in the area also recommended going with CableOne. CableOne also had an offer for $35/month for the first 3 months on a 50 Mbps package. I called them up.

Speaking With CableOne

Everything was fine and I was decided on going with them. I’d been to their website and seen that my modem was on their list of compatible modems. Big win not having to buy another one. When I asked when they could get me set up…they said it would be 8 days! EIGHT DAYS to get a tech to my house to set up my internet. When I already have the modem. I told them I needed to get set up faster because this was my job.

Speaking with CenturyLink

They offered pretty equivalent pricing to CableOne and I learned they were using DSL. This meant I’d need them to send me a modem and my max speed was probably about 20 Mbps. Not great, but if they could get me up quickly I would have done it. Hoewever, they needed 2-5 days to get me the modem and get me set up. What the heck! Can nobody in Idaho Falls help a new customer within a day or so? I told the guy I was going with CableOne because it was more speed, similar price, and similar delay in getting started. He aggressively lowered the price down to where I would have been paying like $25/month, but when he got rude I just plain hung up. I appreciate the persistence, but know when to let it go.

Internet Nomad

So I was now in the predicament of being an internet marketer with no internet in my home for over a week until CableOne could set me up. How am I surviving?

  • Starbucks – They open at 5am, so I can go there first thing in the morning and get a couple hours of work in before going back home for breakfast with the wife.
  • Barnes & Noble – Cozy place, solid internet, and they kind of expect campers like me.
  • Idaho Falls Public Library – After getting a library card (this is coming in a future post) on my first day I was told their WiFi was down for the day. I therefore had to use a computer lab and email myself the files to get them on my machine. Such pain. However, for the last couple days they’ve been quite reliable on the WiFi side of things. I’m actually posting this post from the library. A good option after 10am.

Registering Your Car In Idaho

Moving to a new state involves a lot of changes. One of the first changes I had to make was on the registration of my car. My Utah registration expired the end of May and would have cost $200+ to renew for just one more year. Since we were moving I decided to wait and register in Idaho. Little did I know how complex that would end up being.

What To Bring

This is everything you’ll need to actually register your out of state car in Idaho (learned through painful experience and numerous trips to the DMV) :

  • The actual car needs to be in the parking lot or close enough for a cop to do the VIN inspection
  • The title
  • Proof of insurance (though they never asked to see it)
  • Proof of address (again, they didn’t ask to see it)
  • Check book (using a credit card means a $1 fee + 3%)
  • Current drivers license
  • SSN (if you don’t have an Idaho drivers license yet)

Why I Was Bugged By The Process

Re-titling the car

Yep, if you own the car outright, you need to re-title the car in Idaho to get Idaho plates. Why? Does the DMV not trust the other states ability to title a car? Really I think its just a way to skim $14 off out-of-staters moving in.

VIN Inspection

The VIN was on the Utah title. The VIN was on my insurance. I can get an auto insurance quote from Esurance and once giving them the VIN they know the make, model and year of my car. Obviously there are lots of places where someone can validate my VIN. However, the DMV needed to physically inspect the VIN (and charge me another $5 for it). Since my car had expired registration they dispatched a police officer to my house to do that.

So basically, I paid $19 for them to issue an Idaho title that seems totally unnecessary and to have someone visually confirm that my VIN wasn’t tampered with and was correct. This necessitated 2 extra trips to the DMV (because these are prerequisites to actually getting the vehicle registered). A total pain.

My Recommended Solution

  1. Stop re-titling. It’s obviously just a money grab and it got support because it only affected people moving in from out of state (who haven’t voted yet)
  2. Limit VIN inspections to new titles. I understand there is a theft prevention motive here, but when the car has been owned by the current owner this is just an unnecessary step that slows down DMV service (since the employee has to go out to the parking lot to conduct the inspection)
  3. Accept credit cards. People increasingly don’t carry cash or checks. If the transaction fee from the processor is burdensome, increase registration prices to include it and offer a discount to people with cash or check. Psychologically people will be happy to get a discount, whereas they’re frustrated to get charged additional fees or feel like they are inconvenienced to avoid a fee

If you know why the re-titling is necessary or why the VIN inspection is necessary I’m willing to update my opinions. Until then, I’m frustrated by the process.

Thai Kitchen – Idaho Falls

Thai Kitchen Idaho FallsDown in Utah my wife and I loved eating at the various Thai restaurants in Utah County. With so many to choose from (Spicy Thai in Provo, Bangkok Grill in Orem, etc.) we were truly spoiled by the quality, price, and convenience. So when we moved to Idaho Falls, finding a go-to Thai restaurant was a fairly high priority. After a couple searches it seemed like Thai Kitchen was going to be our first stop. (They won the “Best Asian/Chinese” award from Idaho Falls Magazine after all)

What We Ordered

I’m a huge fan of massaman and I usually get it with chicken. However, the massaman here was only available with beef. Weird. So we ordered two specials. One order of pad thai and one order of yellow curry later we were digging in.

How Was It?

Overall, my rating would be “Good, not great”. The pad thai was spot on, but I feel like that’s a minimum requirement from a Thai restaurant. The curry again was good, but not great. The service was good. The food came out quickly and was hot. The pricing was reasonable. However, I think that I’ve been spoiled, so I was underwhelmed.

If you’re looking for a good Thai place, then go to Thai Kitchen. If you’re looking for a great Thai place in Idaho Falls…keep an eye on the blog. I’ll keep you updated on our next venture.