A Southern Swamp Rat in the High Desert

Moved 2,600 miles from Florida to Idaho and talk about differences! It's almost a whole other country! I will discuss our move and the differences between the Deep South and the Northwestern High Desert as only a Southern-Bred Swamp Rat can. Check out my new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/idahoswamprat. My updates are irratic, but they are fairly regular. Stay tuned!

Pedestrian Crossings

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Everyone has seen the above sign or one very similar.  It is a pedestrian crossing sign, informing drivers that they are in an area where people may cross the street.  The way Florida and Idaho approach pediatrian crossing areas, however, is much different.

In Florida, as a whole, pedestrians cross at intersections, and when possible, at an installed crossing sign that let them know when to walk and when not to.  Very rarely are pedestrians allowed to cross in the middle of a street that is not at an intersection, and in that case, they often build an overpass specifically for them so they can cross safely.

Idaho is different in this regard.  There are many, many pedestrian crossing areas marked by sign and lines on the road only and are not at any intersection, in the middle of the street.  On occasion, they will have an installed light which the pedestrians can turn on with the push of a button that will blink to give motorists warning, or they will have orange flags that the pedestrians can carry while crossing to give the motorists some warning and to make themselves more visable. In one instance at least, they have both the flashing sign and the flags. Problem is, the pedestrians often don’t watch to see if cars are stopping for them.  They automatically assume that the cars, sometimes traveling at 40 MPH or more, will see them and stop.

These pedestrian crossing areas were very confusing when I first moved here.  I don’t remember ever seeing a pedestrian crossing in the middle a street before.  You can be driving along and out of the blue suddenly come across a pedestrian crossing area and have to stop to allow the walkers to pass. It is something I’ve had to watch for, having never seen such a thing before. I wouldn’t say these types of crossings don’t exist in Florida at all, but they are few and very far between.

I often hear news stories about pedestrians being hit by cars, and I have often wondered if they are being hit by Floridians and other out of state drivers who aren’t used to having to stop in the middle of a busy road for walkers.  Sounds good anyway.

Firehouse Subs is known for its murals which celebrate the community which they are located.  Here are three prime examples from the Firehouse Subs in Boise Idaho and two Firehouse Subs in Florida.

A Florida Original Makes its Way to Idaho

Firehouse Subs is one of my favorite Florida restaurants and I knew I’d greatly miss them when moving across country, but they’d come as far as Salt Lake City at that point so my hopes were that they’d keep on trekkin’ in this direction.

                                         

Well, roughly a year ago, Firehouse Subs, which originated in Jacksonville, Florida with over 20 locations in or near the Bold New City of the South and over 770 locations nationwide, opened it’s doors in Idaho, in Boise itself on North Milwaukee Street, and by all indications, a second location will be opening soon on Eagle Road in Meridian.

What makes Firehouse Subs my favorite?  Most of their subs are served hot, from steamed meat to freshly toasted bun, and they are just……great.  Firehouse Subs also displays a large variety of hot sauces rated for their “hotness” for their patrons to try, and if one of the sauces tickles your fancy, you can usually purchase it from them.

In addition, each Firehouse Subs gives back to the communities it serves.  As just one example: during Hurricane Katrina, they made food for the emergency workers.  In addition, they highlight stories of bravery and sacrifice of individual firefighters on their soft drink cups.  Firehouse Subs, after all, was founded by two Jacksonville firemen, Chris and Robin Sorensen.  

If you haven’t yet been to Firehouse Subs, it is worth a try.  My next blog, which will come out in just a few days, is about the murals in each Firehouse Subs restaurant, each as local and unique as the area the restaurant is located.

The Story of the Two BK’s

Both Jacksonville, Florida and Boise, Idaho have a BK.  Not too amazing, right?  A lot of people’s thoughts probably drift to Burger King, which was actually founded in Jacksonville.  But, no.  It’s a bit more coincidental than that and a fact I found it a bit freaky when I first moved here. Both places have a Catholic high school that go by the initials of BK: Bishop Kenny High School of Jacksonville and Bishop Kelly High School School of Boise.  They are the same in spelling except for two letters, and they even rhyme!  And the coincidences between the two schools don’t exactly stop there. While there’s plenty different, there’s enough similar to make it strange.

Both schools were founded by their respective Catholic dioceses: Bishop Kenny by the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida and Bishop Kelly by the Diocese of Boise in Idaho.  Both schools were products of other high schools closing, and both high schools were named after the 3rd bishop of their respective diocese: Bishop William John Kenny and Bishop Edward Joseph Kelly.  Their mascots are also pretty much identical, in a matter of speaking.  Bishop Kelly’s mascot is the Knights while Bishop Kenny’s mascot is the Crusaders. Isn’t a crusader a type of knight? 

 

And just a little bit on the differences.  Bishop Kenny is quite a bit larger, with 1,200 students as opposed to Bishop Kelly’s 725.  Bishop Kenny also still maintains a uniform policy while Bishop Kelly abandoned one a long time ago though they have a strict dress code.  Their school colors are also different, with Bishop Kenny favoring white and red while Bishop Kelly prefers black and yellow.  

 

Of course, you can always do more research on your own, but I thought this was a cool little tidbit, and it’ll be kinda cool if I brought the schools somewhat together or at least made them aware of one another.

What’s the Deal with Roundabouts?

In Idaho, especially around Boise, they seem to love their roundabouts; you know, an infernal circle that takes the place of a light at some intersections.  According to the Ada County Highway District, roundabouts are an alternative method of traffic control.  They claim they are more eye appealing, cause less pollution than stop lights because the cars don’t have to stop, there is better traffic flow and they are more safe than a traditional intersection.  A roundabout is planned for downtown Eagle, Idaho with much of the public vehemently fighting it to little avail.

Most people, on the other hand, appear to believe that roundabouts are a waste of tax payer dollars because they cost much more money to put in place than a traditional traffic signal, the government has to invoke it’s imminent domain rights to purchase land to build the roundabouts, they cause major traffic problems for several months as they are being constructed and they are more dangerous than not because cars speed on them and it is often difficult to see a car coming around the bend.  

Florida, on the other hand, doesn’t “do” roundabouts.  I know of one or two in newer communities, usually where there are five or more roads converging, but that’s about it.  When doing a casual Google search for roundabouts in Florida, I found more than one article where they were deemed confusing, and

not only to casual drivers but to law enforcement.

Personally, I believe in the latter when it comes to roundabouts.  It IS very hard to see cars coming around the bend and cars tend to speed on them.  What do you think?

23 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning In Florida

I received this from a friend in Florida.  They are just so true, I had to share.

5 months ago

Snow and Sand Sculptures
The top two are snow from the McCall Winter Festival, the bottom are sand courtesy of Photobucket. And, as you can see, we have a very confused snow….um….sand man.
If anyone has any additional pics of snow or sand sculptures you’d like to share, go for it!

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