Virtual Road Trips

Side-Scrolling Idaho Landscapes

Story and Art by Beth Jensen

Sometimes, our family drives didn’t have a destination in mind. My dad would just drive out of town and follow the long roads through the high desert, past any dwellings except the occasional ranch: out to the sagebrush and dusty mountains that rolled forever and hawks circling in the endless sky.

One reason why my parents would load up my three siblings and me in the car and take these long drives is because we were rowdy kids, and they got tired of us climbing the walls of our home in Caldwell. Among our most popular destinations were the Owyhees and the Boise Mountains.

Sometimes we would drive out to Succor Creek in the Owyhee Canyonlands, or to spots along the Snake River. We have family in Idaho City, and loved to camp up there, too.

Something I love about Idaho is its distance. The mountain ranges that border the Treasure Valley have always seemed to me like long-distance barriers set up to limit just how far human vision can go. It’s as if the mountains are all that stop me from looking past the curve of the earth into space.

We kids would get quiet once we left town, and we’d get lost in our thoughts. My sister would make up songs. My mom would point out white-tailed deer.

When I moved to Portland for art college, my dad drove me along I-84 many times (thank you, Dad) for all the holidays. That drive takes you through eastern Oregon’s high desert, across the Blues, and through the Columbia River Gorge: eight hours of changing geology.

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Beth Jensen

About Beth Jensen

Beth Jensen is a freelance illustrator in the Treasure Valley who loves nature and creating art with a sense of atmosphere. Beth works in a variety of spheres, including editorial, conservation, and commercial art. She finds research to be rewarding and says no detail (or pebble) is too small. Visit:

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