I returned from the western states on Monday. Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. Here are some trip bullet points:
- I liked the Fleet Foxes, a lot. I didn't manage to pick up their album despite three opportunities, but I will be buying it soon.
- Potatoes in Idaho taste just like potatoes in Wisconsin. Maybe because they're often the exact same potatoes.
- There was a relay marathon being run along 26 as we drove through the Cascade Mountains. I'm not sure if running on a mountain or running on a highway would make me more nervous.
- I am not a beer person, but I somehow managed to down two Black Buttes in Bend. Once accidentally (I ordered a lemonade at lunch; they brought me a porter) and once because I was thirsty and beer was offered. I figure it's like Guinness in Dublin: an obligation of sorts.
- Speaking of alcohol, Idaho wine = surprisingly good. You learn these things when you attend concerts at wineries.
- I saw multiple Wilco shows, with Boise and Bend being nearly tied for favorite status - slight edge to Boise for atmosphere and venue, but slight edge to Bend for the foosball, table tennis, and taco truck afterward. Both performances were great. Fleet Foxes are welcome to join Wilco onstage any time as far as I'm concerned. And it was great to hear songs old and new performed under the stars. I'll miss the outdoor summer concert season.
- Andrew Bird was really good at Outside Lands, but Broken Social Scene was my favorite discovery of the festival. Yeah, I "discovered" Broken Social Scene last weekend. I move at my own speed.
- After a night of Rock Band at U and Annie's, I am already contemplating a Rock Band purchase of my own. I need practice time! Of course, I'd really need to replace my current 18-inch Symphonic TV if I did that. And probably get something for it to sit on that's not a Rubbermaid container artfully draped with an Irish scarf.
- If you find yourself flying out of a small Oregon airport in the early morning hours, make sure to gas up the night before. Gas is full-service only in Oregon, which slipped our minds until we'd stopped at three closed gas stations. Eventually we had to give up or miss our flight. Avis must love Redmond.
- Coeur d'Alene, Idaho has the world's longest floating boardwalk. It also has the world's most inappropriate stuffed monkey toy, featured in my last blog entry.
- I was on seven different planes over the course of that trip, and I'll be on another one Saturday morning.
Speaking of planes, I think I'm all done flying in and out of Chicago unless I need to be there for some other reason. Saving a little money on plane fare is not worth spending a full ten or twelve hours from door to door in transit. I used to be perfectly willing to do this, but not anymore. Perhaps I'm growing less patient as I get older. (The exception to this policy will likely be the use of my newest free flight on Southwest. Yes!)