World's Largest Potato Chip/Register Rock
Sep 16, 2008
|We left the tranquility of the KOA in Arco and headed toward American Falls, ID. In her research, T had gleaned that there existed wagon ruts from the Oregon and California Trail westward migration period. She also found out about “Register Rock”, a 20 foot high rock that emigrants who camped along the Snake River signed.
According to A, “Yesterday’s graffiti is today’s National Monument, today’s graffiti may be tomorrow’s national monument. There’s hope for the boys in the Bronx.
En route, we stopped at the Idaho Potato Expo, which claims to have the largest styrofoam potato in the state, for our “free hash browns for out of state travelers.
We found out that the potato industry grew up with Idaho. Mormon Pioneers laid the foundation for the modern potato industry a century ago when they constructed the first system of irrigation canals. They made the desert bloom.
With gradual mechanization, “spud” farming graduated from “small potatoes” to a major portion of the economy. During WWII, J. R. Simplot used the first mechanical sorter, invented in Shelley, ID, for efficient packaging of potatoes destined for the military. In 1945, L. D. Wilson took potatoes to the East Coast where demand soared. Since then all kinds of fresh and processed Idaho Potatoes, from French fries to a wide variety of dehydrated potato products, have tantalized taste buds nationwide.
The advent of sprinkler irrigation over the past two decades allowed 250,000 more acres of potatoes to be planted in Bingham County alone. However, quantity is not the whole story. Idaho producers constantly strive for better potatoes by improvements in genetics, cultivation, storage methods, processing and transportation. Idaho is famous for its Russet Burbank potatoes.
We found out that potatoes are Idaho’s No. 1 agricultural industry. One out of every $7.00 generated in Idaho originates from the production of potatoes.
We were amazed to see potatoes still being dug by hand in the mid -1950's.
Bingham County, the county that Blackfoot is in, produces more potatoes than any county in the U.S. - one hundred million hundred-weight each year - one third of the nation’s potatoes. Bingham County is known as the Potato Capital of the World.
In addition to the educational exhibits and antique farm equipment, the museum displays the World’s Largest Potato Chip according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Also on display is the potato autographed by Dan Quayle, speller extraordinaire. It also highlights the famous Marilyn Monroe poster featuring the former movie star dressed in a burlap sack while gracing a potato field. Not many women could look good in a burlap sack but Marilyn pulled it off.
We found out that the average American eats 49 pounds of fresh and 90 pounds of processed spuds each year, making the potato one of the most popular side dishes in the United States.
We headed South on I-15 then west on I-86 to Massacre Rocks State Park, so named because in 1862 several wagon trains were attacked and 10 people were killed in a skirmish with Indians. We got our campsite and were we ever pleasantly surprised!
This park has discounted rates mid week after labor day. During this period, senior citizens can camp for half-price. We paid $10.60 for a huge campsite with water and electric fronting the Snake River. A truly beautiful vista.
We took a ride to Register Rock, a 20-feet high stone where many emigrants along the Oregon and California trails carved their names or wrote them in axle grease.
We decided to take a walk to see the wagon ruts from Oregon Trail Days. It was .8 mile each way and “supposedly” level and handicapped accessible. It may have handicapped accessible with a high powered wheel chair but it did climb up and down hills, and wound and back tracked along and under I-86.
By this time of day, it was hot - 93 degrees. We made it, but for the length of the walk, the wagon ruts were a disappointment.
We liked Massacre Rocks State Park so much, we’re staying another night. There aren’t many sites to see in the area but the setting is serene and the price is great