Clever Michigan Visits Idaho With a Note to Explain Herself!

Idaho boasts scenic beauty and a friendly populace, yet some residents harbor reservations toward out-of-state visitors, particularly those from California. The perception is that Californians contribute to escalating housing prices, cultural shifts, increased traffic, and environmental pollution. Instances of hostility from Idaho drivers, such as honking, tailgating, or aggressive driving towards cars with non-local license plates, are not uncommon.

A visitor from Michigan devised a creative solution to avoid potential mistreatment. She affixed a note to her rear windshield, clearly stating her purpose in Idaho: “Visiting grandbabies. Don’t worry — I’m not staying, but I love Idaho.” This act garnered attention when a Reddit user posted a picture of the note online. The post gained over 1,000 upvotes, sparking diverse opinions. Some lauded the visitor’s wit and humor, while others criticized her for appearing apologetic and defensive.

What fuels the Idaho-California Discontent?

The animosity between Idahoans and Californians traces back to the 1970s, when Californians sought refuge in Idaho due to the high cost of living, urban sprawl, and natural disasters in their home state. The perception among some Idahoans was that these newcomers were encroaching on their land, jobs, and resources, altering their conservative, rural way of life. Some even associated Californians with an increase in crime, drugs, and gangs.

Recent years have seen the resentment intensify, with Idaho experiencing rapid population growth of 17.3% from 2010 to 2020². According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California was the primary source of domestic migration to Idaho in 2019, with over 20,000 people relocating³. This influx has driven up housing demand and prices, making homeownership more challenging for locals. The median home price in Idaho reached $411,200 in February 2021, reflecting a 22.7% increase from the previous year.

Some Idahoans also fear an ideological shift, as they believe Californians bring liberal and progressive values to their predominantly Republican and conservative state. Idaho has consistently voted for the GOP presidential candidate since 1968, while California has leaned Democratic since 1992. Certain lawmakers in Idaho have proposed measures to restrict the influence of Californians, such as imposing higher taxes, fees, and tuition or temporarily barring them from participating in local elections.

Fostering Respectful Acceptance for Visitors and Newcomers

Despite negative sentiments, many Idahoans are open to embracing diversity and understand the potential contributions from individuals of varied backgrounds. Visitors and newcomers can enhance their reception by:

  • Gaining knowledge about Idaho’s history, culture, and traditions, appreciating its unique features and attractions.
  • Supporting local businesses, organizations, and causes, actively contributing to the community and its development.
  • Exhibiting friendliness, courtesy, and respect in their interactions, avoiding stereotypes and assumptions.
  • Being mindful of the environmental and social impacts of their actions, adhering to state regulations, and respecting public lands.
  • Demonstrating openness, curiosity, and a willingness to engage with people holding different perspectives and experiences.


Idaho offers a remarkable experience for both visitors and residents, yet challenges persist, notably the tension between Idahoans and Californians. Stemming from factors like population growth, housing affordability, and political disparities, this tension doesn’t negate the potential for dialogue, understanding, and cooperation. By approaching interactions with cleverness, humor, and respect, visitors and newcomers can navigate potential hostility and enjoy their time in Idaho, perhaps even discovering a lasting affinity for the state.

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