I took a few days vacation to turn my 3-day labor day vacation into a 6-day vacation. I went on a road trip with my friends Matt and Joel from Minneapolis to San Francisco, and it was amazing.
In South Dakota we had a few good times. At the first restaurant we stopped at we asked our waitress about the abortion ban in her state. I’m not going to get into that other than to say it was fun asking her about it and hearing what she had to say. Not long after that we got pulled over by a state trooper and got both a $120 ticket (I was not the driver!) and directions on how to take the scenic route through the badlands. Expensive directions, but once we saw how beautiful the badlands were we totally forgot about the ticket. Joel knows how to sing Islamic prayers, and he sang one from a cliff in the badlands during sunset. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen/heard.
Montana was gorgeous. The whole state. I pretended to have to pee a few times just so we could pull over and get out of the car. After driving through the whole state we stayed with a bunch of rustic biologists in Missoula, in their house which was also inhabited by a bunch of somewhat-dangerous hobo spiders. It was really cold at night, and only the basement of the house was heated (go figure). Luckily we had been out to the Missoula bars and that helped with the temperature. I still slept wearing a parka, on a mattress pulled from a dumpster, and Joel ended up sleeping curled up on top of the basement stairs, completely covering his body with clothes so as to not be eaten by the hobo spiders.
In Idaho we stopped in Coeur d ‘Alene. The city was even more beautiful than anything I’d seen in Montana, but under the surface it is a little ugly – or so I hear. Apparently there are a lot of white supremacists there and the picturesque lake is awfully polluted from coal mining. We didn’t see that side though – the people were friendly, the lake was beautiful, and the food was good. We had a really friendly waitress who drew us a map to the local CD store where I picked up a copy of Fugazi’s “13 Songs” – best album I’ve bought in a long time.
In Washington we stayed in Seattle with some friends of mine that I haven’t seen in a while. We pretty much just walked around the city and went to bars, we didn’t have too long to stay there. It seems like a really cool place, especially Capitol Hill, I wish I had more time to explore there.
When we left Seattle we stopped at Sleater-Kinney road in Lacey, WA, because how can 3 Sleater-Kinney fans not stop there. This was the scene of the most disturbing experience of the trip. Our waitress, maybe 25 years old, on Sleater-Kinney road, did not know of the band Sleater-Kinney which is named after the road. What. The. Hell.
In Portland we went to Powell’s books, a really really big book store. I have never seen anything like it. If only every city had a Powell’s! That night we went to a bar and sang karoake – Joel substituted his own lyrics for a song or two and that led to the bartender trying to get him cut off. She clearly had no taste in music, because Joel is obviously a lyrical genius.
Portland was pretty much the end of the line. The next day we drove all the way to San Francisco, where Matt and I spend a lot of time so it wasn’t much of a vacation any more at that point. The night after returning Matt and Joel played an awesome show in Oakland at somebody’s house, and the lead singer of the other band grew up about 5 blocks from where I live now in Minneapolis.
There are so many other enjoyable and funny things that happened during the trip, like A&W root beer and the waitress who invited us to a wild kegger birthday party in the back woods of Oregon after chatting with us for maybe 2 minutes (we didn’t go, no time). However, I don’t have the energy to write about it any more.