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Jul 17, 2001: Sore Butt

WARNING: narcissism ahead

Home. Whew!

The road trip slogged through 22 days, 20 states, 7,150 miles, two continental mountain ranges, and five or six microbreweries. Thanks to the hospitality of numerous friends and family, the reliability of the trusty Passat, and the wonders of credit card-based commerce, the trip went incredibly smoothly. Even the nation's interstate drivers cooperated; I felt the urge to flip one of them off only once. Some reactions:

  • Best place to spend the 4th: The rooftop of Ed Hargis' apartment building in Seattle, overlooking the fireworks display being launched from a barge on Lake Union. The lake itself was studded with hundreds of boats, clamoring for great views, that were lit up and looked like Xmas lights. I especially liked the fireworks that exploded to look like ringed planets.
  • Motel Staff: Seems they're entirely comprised of glum women in their late 50s and their glum 19 year old offspring. Maybe this is one of those jobs that should be automated?
  • Most mind-blowing drive: Leave Yellowstone via the northeast exit and spend the day on local roads heading east. Meander along the Montana/Wyoming border, stopping to take in the views from the peaks of the Bear Tooth and Big Horn mountain ranges. Well worth the white knuckle driving.
  • What they say is true: National Parks Department does seem to be the best run branch of the federal government. Cool hats too. New post-IA career goal: park ranger.
  • Strangest Place Name: Delintment Lake, Nevada (yes, really). "Please raise shirt and proceed cautiously."
  • Underrated cities: Minneapolis (great urban biking around Lakes Harriet and Calhoun), and Asheville, NC (its restaurants and cafes put my hometown, Ann Arbor, to shame).
  • Worst place for a brain fart: The front end of a white watering raft on the Nolichucky River on the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Woops. At least the water wasn't too cold; in fact, I felt quite refreshed once they fished me out and saved my life.

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