Our Idaho Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 1051 miles, and drove for 19 hours and 46 minutes during our week in Idaho while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Idaho over the past week.

Famous Person: Ernest Hemingway

Famous Food: Idaho Potato

Roadside Attraction: Largest Man-made Potato

State Capitol/Museum: Bosie, ID

National Park: Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Craters of the Moon

Historic Location: Collapsed Teton Dam

Can't miss attraction: Coeur d’ Alene

Made in the USA Factory tour: Idaho Potato Museum

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Idaho.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 235.00

$ 2.59 gal. in Couer d’ Alene, ID was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.74 gal. in Belllevue, ID was highest price paid.


We did a lot of driving in Idaho!

Groceries: $181.00

Walmart $65.00

Costco $116.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $38.00

Costco $6.00 (unbudgeted, 3 slices of pizza)

Starbucks $4.00 (budgeted, 2 teas in exchange for a few hours of wifi)

Pilgrims $28.00 (budgeted, vegetarian lunch)


We did better than usual, but are still eating out too much.

Entertainment: $15.00

Redbox $4.00 (Movies x2)

Rexberg museum $4.00 (Admission x2)

Potato museum $7.00 (Admission x2)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $ 8.00

Walmart $0.00 (slept in parking lot x7 nights)

Camping $8.00 (x1 night at Craters of the Moon)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $0.00


We did great in this category

Idaho Expenses Grand Total: $ 477.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Idaho Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 4

“Agriculture, food processing and technology are the primary sectors of Idaho economy. Healthcare makes up only 5.4% of the work force. However, Idaho ranks 2nd in the nation as the friendliest state for small businesses.”

Lori: 4

“With an average median household income of 48,275, Idaho ranks 40th in the nation…not good”

Economy score: 4

Cost of Living:

Nate: 3

“With a sales tax of 8.5% with local and county surcharges, and an 7.4% income tax, Idaho is one of the most highly taxed states we have visited.

Lori: 4

“Gas prices were 10% higher than the national average, and to make matters worse, food is also subject to sales tax. On a positive note, potatoes were very reasonably priced at $0.89 for a 5lb bag”

Cost of living score:3.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 5

“Idaho climate varies greatly throughout the state from 98 degrees in the summer, to below zero in the winter. Idaho ranks 5th in the nation for earthquakes, and wildfires are always a huge risk”.

Lori: 7

“Idaho’s crime rate is 2.16 per 1000 residents, which is well below the national average of 3.8” and the state was very clean and well kept.

Quality of life score: 6


Nate: 9

“Outdoor activities with friends and family are important to Idahoans. I saw wind and solar farms, and hydroelectric dams throughout the state which tells me Idaho is very progressive and cares about their environment”.

Lori: 9

“Idahoans were among the friendliest, outgoing and genuine people I have come across on our trip. On numerous occasions total strangers struck up conversations with me in Walmart, and even on the street. This does not happen in Connecticut, and was quite refreshing”

Culture Score: 9


Nate: 8

“Unless you live near a major city, everything in Idaho is very far apart. However, we encountered little traffic, and the roads were very well maintained.”

Lori: 8

“From the largest wilderness area in the US, to sagebrush deserts, breathtaking mountains and even an ancient lava field, Idaho has the most diverse environments we have come across thus far on our trip. The state possesses a natural beauty which truly is unique to itself”.

Environment Score: 8

The verdict is in:

The final score for Idaho was 6.1, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

Nebraska 5.7

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9