Roadtrip to Las Vegas – March 2011

Such an incredible and eventful journey I don’t even know where to begin. I think chronological is going to be the best approach, so here goes:

  • Day 1, Thursday: Our first mission was to reach Reno, where Cara’s truck and our first hotel were waiting for us. She had lent her Denali to a friend to help him move, so we would be driving his Acura TSX to make the trade. I left work a couple hours early, Danielle and Cara had packed gear for the four of us into the Acura’s trunk, and we scooped up Jordan at his office and headed straight down I-5… into 2 hours of rush hour traffic. About the time it was dark, we found open lanes south of Olympia and began to really make progress despite the sheets of falling rain. Quick stops at a couple of Starbucks locations and some other annoying Oregon things before we reached Hwy 58 just south of Eugene and left the utilitarian efficiency of the interstate highway system. A turn south towards Klamath Falls a few hours later marked the change in weather, as the general dreariness of the Cascades gave way to the harsh cold of the north Sierra Nevada. Snow flurries kept our speed low, but the helpful truckers along Hwy 97 did what they could to clear our passage into California. We reached Susanville, CA just after 4am, with only the downhill grade into Nevada left to conquer, and arrived in Reno about 5:20am, checking in at our hotel at a time of day when I have often checked out of one.
  • Day 2, Friday: Four delicious hours of sleep and a much needed Starbucks trip later, we rescued Cara’s GMC from the Grand Sierra parking lot and headed east for Fallon, NV. The extra legroom and bright desert sunshine meant spirits were high, so much so that we absently discussed taking a detour to nearby Lake Tahoe on our next cross-country trek.

    The small towns of rural Nevada provided so many photo ops I could barely stay inside the vehicle, so take note of pages 4-9 in the gallery for my car-window glimpses of Fernley, Fallon, Shurz, Hawthorne, Goldfield and the endless miles of desolate highway that connect them. It was an urban decay aficionado’s paradise that I would love to revisit sometime. In Indian Springs, NV, about 6:30pm, I started asking if we could see Las Vegas yet. At 7pm, we rolled into the valet loop at the Rio and found Mom and Dad in front of a bank of slot machines ready for a fantastic weekend.
  • Day 3, Saturday: Breakfast on the (faux) streets of Paris, and then straight to work at the business of having fun. We were on a mission to get Mom and Dad into an awesome dinner and Vegas show, and so spent part of Saturday morning working the streets to find the right deal. There was standing in line to be done by all, but it paid off with half-price tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis for the 6 of us that night, an incredible show full of acrobatics, trampolines, huge dance numbers and lots of Elvis tracks.

    We emptied our wallets on Elvis merch and then lost our remaining loose change at the craps table afterward.
  • Day 4, Sunday: Cara and I said our (temporary) goodbyes to the group and found our way to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Nascar Kobalt Tools 400, an awesome day of gearhead fun and an adventure all in itself. Mom and Dad delivered Danielle and Jordan to the airport and their Seattle-bound flight and returned to their winter home in Lake Havasu, AZ, leaving Cara and I to enjoy one last night in our favorite city.

    Our evening in old downtown Las Vegas was a blast, and I managed to win back everything I’d lost all weekend in a lucky turn at the slots – a perfect farewell to the Entertainment Capital of the World.
  • Day 5, Monday: Up early and fueled by our unofficial roadtrip sponsor, Starbucks, Cara and I struck out in a southern direction, attempting to touch as much Route 66 pavement with our tires as possible on our way to Arizona.

    We managed to hit 3 states’ worth, in Nevada, California and Arizona, although only CA offered any lingering Route 66 signage suitable for photo ops. We arrived in Lake Havasu in the late afternoon to spend 2 nights with Mom and Dad in their winter getaway and soak up just a little more of that fantastic desert sunshine. That evening’s venture out with the folks was to The Naked Turtle for much-needed margaritas in the barefoot bar.
  • Day 6, Tuesday: Mom and Dad arranged a desert ride on their atv’s, along with a few of their Havasu friends.

    Mom’s homemade sourdough pancakes provided early-morning fuel, Dad’s GPS contained the trails, and we barreled into the Arizona desert stopping occasionally to enjoy the view and returning home covered in dust and smiles. That night we feasted on tacos and marveled at the beauty of the desert before retiring to rest up for the final leg of our adventure.
  • Day 7, Wednesday: Two goals for this day were on our minds – reach our hotel in Boise ID before midnight, and see as much beautiful country as possible.

    After a brief stop on the east end of Las Vegas where an impressively-friendly team of lube techs administered a much-needed Denali oil change, we accomplished both goals, arriving in Boise about 11:30pm after a dinner stop in fabulous Jackpot NV and many miles of sleepy towns, winding canyons, and wide-open valleys full of cacti and sagebrush like the kind in old cowboy movies. Our Idaho hotel clerk’s friendliness didn’t quite make up for her inability to correctly issue a room key, but we were too tired to wonder who left her alone on the night shift.
  • Day 8, Thursday: Back in the rain again, and the closer we got to Seattle the more difficult it became to pretend it was just another day in an endless summer vacation. Stopping for brunch at Cara’s Grama’s house, though, for her signature biscuits and gravy and fresh-squeezed OJ, melted all our cares away and made us feel like kids on summer break once again. The renewed energy from an amazing meal and a hug from Cara’s mom Sandy outside her office as we passed through town propelled us home to Seattle, where a seemingly-endless rainstorm and the chore of unpacking did nothing to diminish the fantastic joy I felt (and still feel) looking back on this grand adventure. So many laughs, so many firsts, and so many wonderful hours spent with the people in my life I care about the most – exactly how an epic roadtrip should be.

Click through below for the roadtrip gallery. There are also separate posts and associated galleries for the Nascar race and our stay in Lake Havasu. I also have a Google Earth KMZ generated by my iPhone’s GPS logs that details our route.

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

Lake Havasu AZ – March 2011

Cara and I spent an awesome (but short) visit with Mom and Dad in their winter home-away-from-home as part of our epic March roadtrip. My camera was broken by this point in the trip so most of these shots are with Mom’s, which I really appreciate the use of as I was enthralled by the harsh beauty of the desert as seen through a viewfinder. In addition to lots of closeups of cacti, this gallery contains shots of me “smizing” while wearing goggles, such as the one below.

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

DNBC Show – Vancouver BC – September 2010

Sunday was not an ideal day for a roadtrip, what with the early fog, the persistent drizzle, and the occasional wall of smashing rain, but Cara and I made the best of it and trekked to North Vancouver BC for what has become my annual end-of-season tradition, the DNBC Show at Waterfront Park. The grass was swampy and the group was small, but we still had a great time with our fellow non-weather-dependent gearheads and I came home with the Best In Class trophy in the Modern Coupe class. It’s a custom, handmade one that Richard put together that I was especially excited to earn.

Cara is a fantastic roadtrip partner and not only put up with but actually enjoyed all the open hoods, car talk, highway time, and getting semi-lost on the way home looking for souvenirs in Surrey – I can’t wait for our next adventure. 🙂

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

Knox Mountain Hill Climb in Kelowna, BC – May 2009

It was a perfect weekend to cruise over the Okanagan mountains to Kelowna, BC and attend my favorite northwest track event – the Knox Mountain Hill Climb. I originally ventured into the great white north seeking this unique, european-style rally two years ago – with my buddy James Walper – and the event was just as excellent as I remembered it. The drive up there, even more so; please bear with all my out-the-window shots as I was completely enthralled by the scenery along the highway, but there was rarely room to pull over and take a proper photo (plus I never would have made it home). 😉

Although I didn’t intend to bring any souvenirs, I did manage to return with a horrendous allergy/cold/flu (swine?) but had a worthwhile trip despite not being able to hear or sleep or breathe for most of it, and managed to confirm a few things for myself:

  • My Z is a fantastic car. Besides being totally sexy, it is just brilliant to drive (finally getting the new suspension settings where they should be surely contributed to that) and the 700 miles I logged this weekend flew by, bringing me home all too soon. I can sit in that driver’s seat for literally hours without even considering a break, and while there are things I’d love to fix, I’m extremely happy with where it’s at right now. I guess it’s just nice to validate that all the hard work and money are worth it – and they are. 🙂
  • I am good at traveling alone. A few weeks in a foreign country with a lonely hotel room and an expense account have taught me that it’s okay (enjoyable, even) to walk into a restaurant and request a table for one, and I’m resourceful and creative in finding ways to entertain myself in a strange town. Of course, I would have loved a roadtrip companion, but I’m pretty experienced at flying solo and it’s something I do well. I like that about me.
  • I’ve got a crush on British Columbia. There’s a lot of it to love: all the rugged, dramatic, sweeping wilderness that I grew up surrounded by in Montana, but on a larger scale; all the lush cascade rain forests of Washington, but with more sunshine; wide open highways and a driving populace that knows how to “stay right except to pass”; the metric system (it’s easier to use, people). Everytime I’m up there I find another reason to go back, and Kelowna is definitely on the short list of places I’d like to “keep an apartment” someday.

The other thing I learned this weekend is how quickly my dual-battery grip is exhausted running the autofocus on AI Servo… so I didn’t shoot as much of the race as I would have liked to. On the bright side, that left me time in the afternoon to actually just enjoy it as a spectator, rather than through the lens (and halfway up a tree). Next year, though, I’ll have battery reserves for the late afternoon, and two working nostrils so I can stay for Sunday’s runs, too.

Click here for the gallery

Me + Car + Oregon = Buffy?

I’ve been feeling the pressure to share my truck-buying adventure last week with the world – or at least with my five readers and the google robots. This is me caving to peer pressure, something i don’t do very often, partly on principle and partly because i rarely shut up long enough to listen to anyone else’s advice.

The plan was simple. I wanted an Infiniti QX4, chosen over the equivalent Pathfinder for its more carlike and freeway-tuned 4WD system and handling, luxurious interior and greater quota of buttons and switches. It had to be a 2001, as the 2000’s 3.3L engine is warily regarded by every mechanic i’ve discussed it with as a problem waiting to happen, whereas the 3.5L VQ-series in the 2001+ is a media favorite and has seen service in the Maxima, Altima, Pathfinder, 350Z, G35… several minivans, and probably a few Tim Allen-style lawnmowers. I had a price range, and a *strict* interior color scheme (black only). My exterior colors were more flexible: black, dark grey, or dark blue – so basically any color that would coordinate with my high-fashion Manhattan wardrobe.

After a month or so of searching, i found one that met the qualifications above, 283 miles away in Eugene, OR. Not the furthest i’ve driven for a vehicle – you’ll recall my Z is a Medford, OR transplant – and not an impossible weekend drive. As usual, when none of my friends were willing or able to make the trek, my awesome little sister stepped up to the plate and agreed to drive me down there saturday morning. She needed to check out of her old apartment that morning, so we left after that was completed.

It was a long, hot drive and Danielle’s car’s AC struggled to keep us from becoming human pot roast. We found the dealership holding my target vehicle, Kiefer’s Mazda, and threaded our way past the eager Mazda salesmen practically hurling keys at us and bellowing “Test Drive!” as they jostled past each other, elbowing ribs and nipping at heels like pack animals hoping to pick the wounded widlebeest from a herd. Keeping my herd close together for safety, i found the receptionist and paged the sales guy i’d been talking to on the phone all week, so i could experience his halitosis in person.

We poked around the truck, Danielle testing out buttons while i looked for signs of bodywork, undercarriage leaks, and crumple zone, uh, crumpling. Everything checked out, except that there was no radio – just a big hole in the dash. Despite his protests that the vehicle came to them without one, i insisted that their ad showed one and mentioned it in the ad copy, but let it go after that, as it was less important than the truck’s overall condition.

After some quick test driving on a nearly-empty tank, i pulled the trigger and agreed to meet with the business manager. Here i learned about (and declined) various extended warranties, undercoating sprays, fabric protectant (for the leather interior?) and “powered by Mazda” stickers. A lot of nodding, signing my initials and letting my thoughts drift to important issues like whether i should keep my old ski rack or get a new one. I held my ace and played it last; when everything but the final signature had been inked, i inquired about the radio. Since – of course – it was nowhere to be found on the parts shelves, having probably already been installed in a 97 Mazda Protege which was sold, driven to Tacoma, stolen, parted out and shipped to Mexico in boxes, they had no choice but to throw in $200 cash on top of the deal. Brian: +1.

Danielle followed me out of the lot and across town to the Econolodge, me driving on the imaginary fumes of gasoline i did not have. I parked where i could see my new truck out the window of our room, we settled in, and planned for dinner.

I need to take a short aside to describe the comedy of errors that was this room. When i made the reservation, a 2-bed suite and a regular 2-bed room were nearly the same price. As i wasn’t sure at the time how many friends/mechanics would be in my entourage, i splurged 3 extra dollars on the suite in case the extra square footage might prove useful. You know me, always trying to be prepared. Our plan, as discussed on walkie talkies during our crosstown caravan, was to gas up the new ride, find some dinner – preferably accompanied by very large, very frozen margaritas – and return to the hotel to find a movie on cable that we could fall asleep halfway through. The “suite” (and, later, the evening’s events) would send awry the best laid plans of mice and men.

Here’s a diagram of the room’s genius layout, drawn by yours truly using the Photoshop equivalent of a half-chewed crayon:

As you can see, lying in bed watching TV was completely out of the question. Also, the second bed’s proximity to the bathroom door made this luxury suite not just wheelchair-inaccessible but pretty nearly alert, sober, walking-on-two-feet-person-inaccessible. I won’t even get into the bizarre wasted space and the extraneous – but not what i would deem *luxurious* – second sink. This room was wack.

So, returning to the primary story. I’m sure you’re wishing by now you’d brought a snack on this rambling thought-journey. We were hungry too, and so was the new truck. Trouble is, we couldn’t go fill it up, because it wouldn’t start. It just turned over and over, acting like it was out of gas. Which seemed like a plausible situation, given how low the needle had been riding all day, and that it was now parked on a slight incline. We walked a few blocks to a gas station, sweating in the 90-degree heat, bought a small can, and brought home a gallon ($3.39 charged to my Amex card). Nothing. A return trip, another gallon, a weird look from the attendant (remember, this is Oregon, where you’re not allowed to pull the trigger on your own 92 octane), and still nothing. Could it still be low fuel? I called the dealership several times, until i had several different employees scurrying about requesting manager approval for things, and finally secured a 5-gal tank of gas to be delivered by two lot attendants. They arrived, the tank was filled, it started right up, problem solved. Dealership: +1. I drove the few blocks for a fillup, and brought it back. Danielle and i had already ordered in (tragically, sans margaritas) and resigned ourselves to the sofa where Nicolas Cage tried valiantly to put us to sleep, but was trounced by the carved-granite sofa. We fell face down in our respective beds, willing the morning to come slowly.

Up at six, trying to make good time, as Danielle needed to be home by noon for her appointment to be thoroughly frustrated by Comcast. An exit or two up I-5 we saw a Fred Meyer near an offramp, and pulled in for breakfast and travel food. Our efforts to choose breakfast items that were easy to eat while driving proved futile, however, when my truck wouldn’t start again. We opted to eat our breakfast first and think about what to do, as thinking on an empty stomach wasn’t getting us anywhere but hungry. Once our hunger was satisfied, it was replaced by frustrated apathy, and we opted to wander around Freddy’s for a bit and see if the problem fixed itself. It was apparently a brilliant strategy, as 20 minutes later after our second trip through the Freddy’s checkout, the engine whirred to life.

At this point, theories on the truck’s reluctance to leave Oregon were flying across the airwaves on multiple frequencies and across several state lines. The simplest plan was the most obvious: never turn the truck off. It worked flawlessly at our next stop, securing gas for Danielle’s car and junk food for the drivers. Thankfully the truck was sipping fairly miserly at its fuel reserves (considering it’s shaped roughly like a shoebox with wheels) as i wasn’t sure an Oregon pump jockey would swipe my card with the engine still running.

The third time was in a rest area south of Olympia. I was following the plan – i didn’t shut it off – but it died when i tried to leave the parking space, so i just coasted it back to the curb. At this point, we returned to our previous strategy: ignore it and hope it goes away. Fifteen minutes on a shady park bench and everything seemed better, and the truck must have thought so, too, because the key worked its magic and that now-familiar tone rumbled from the exhaust. We left quickly before it changed its mind. Strategy: +1.

The fourth – and final – time was just south of the West Seattle bridge, within sight of downtown and less than 20 miles from these bedraggled travelers’ final destination. Freeway traffic looked slow through the city, so we were merging right to detour on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, when i apparently gunned the engine in an unacceptable way and it responded with the silent treatment. As with every time before, it was courteous enough to throw its tantrum as conveniently as possible, after we were already halfway down an empty exit ramp and well distant from speeding traffic. Truck: +1.

Not wishing to tempt fate any more, and having no desire to find out where the *next* spot would be (The express lanes? The Battery St tunnel? The Aurora bridge?) i called AAA and enlisted a wrecker for the last leg of the trip. They were fairly prompt and only left us baking on the shoulder for 30 minutes or so. Of course, my truck started readily and loaded itself onto the flatbed with no winch-based assistance. I sent Danielle home and i rode in the tow truck, trying to make small talk with a tow truck driver that had absolutely no interest in anything i had to say. He dropped me and my truck (which, again, drove perfectly) at the Nissan dealership near my house, where – when he received the hundreds of voice mails and text messages i’d sent – Travis would hopefully be able to look at it on his next day at work. Despite being consciously aware that i had comfortable shoes and clean socks as close as my suitcase, i walked the last mile home in flip-flops, arriving at my front door limping from the kruller-sized blisters my feet were now sporting. (A week later they’re still not entirely healed.)

One anguishing day later, Travis was able to open the hood, connect a code monitor, and pronounce an $80 sensor the culprit. He changed it in less than 3 minutes, confirmed for me that – now – the truck was in excellent shape and would be very dependable, and sent me home happy to swap clutter from the old glove box to the new. Travis: +1.

As a sort of a postscript, Danielle and i drove it across Washington and back this weekend, into the north Idaho mountains to meet Mom, Dad, and a significant chunk of our extended family on their annual July 4th campout. The engine started every time, the AC kept us at a comfortable 72 inside while the digital ambient readout glowed “100F”, and we are both home safely tonight with no new roadside tow truck stories to tell. It’s going to be a great truck, but i will definitely be hesitant to buy another vehicle in Oregon. I think they must do something to their cars there, something evil, something that must be exorcised from them before they change ownership lest the curse follow the new owner, even across state lines. Travis seems to have made this one clean again; even so, i’m weaving a rope of garlic tonight and keeping a wooden stake under my pillow. You know me, always trying to be prepared.

You can measure the quality of a weekend by how far you can open your eyes on monday.

I had such a blast on this weekend’s roadtrip, and i really wanted to sit down and log it last night while it was still fresh, but anyone who saw me last night (namely Danielle, and that jerk from craigslist who shorted her $20 in the U Village parking lot – what is it with craigslist people? oh well, last laugh’s on him: he thinks he drives a baller’s “Tahoe” but it’s a late-eighties Blazer. Someone got suckered by the used car lot!) knows i shouldn’t have been looking at a computer screen. My eyes are still a bit bloodshot today, but 9 hours of sleep and half a bottle of eyedrops have made great strides. That’s also why i haven’t processed the 4 memory cards (512 MB) of photos, either. But i might try and do that tonight, if my eyes can take it. I’ve got some contract work in the queue, too, and that does take priority…

I left work early friday for a doc appt with the very capable (and wow! incredibly hot) Dr. Jeannie. Before you go thinking i’m a traitor, Eric was in hawaii getting married. I don’t think he was even thinking the slightest bit about who was covering his appointments. At least, i hope he wasn’t. 😉 I will see him this afternoon and ask him how it went, but i assume he’ll tell me before i have to ask… 😉

Clint left work a little early, too, and we did some last-minute car cleaning and then met Travis, Christie and Peter in marysville, forming our Vancouver BC caravan crew. Clint’s Z, my Z and Peter’s 200sx were entered in the Driven to Perform show at BC Place, and Travis filled his Sentra with snack food and beverages heavy on the C8H10N4O2 and acted as our support vehicle. We met up with Luis about halfway to the border, and he rolled with us for a bit until some unluckily-timed showmanship landed him a $327 speeding ticket (sorry again about that, Lou!). Despite some navigational snafus (it’s not easy to read a map, hold a flashlight, steer and shift when you only have two hands, ok?) we found our way to the east airlock on time, and met up with Vince, Ben, James, Colin, Ron, Aaron, Luis, Tyler and the sweet booth that NWN had built for the show. (I know these names mean nothing to half of you – i mostly enumerate them for my own benefit, so when we’re 70 and i’m arguing with Clint about what that guy’s name was with the nice blue Silvia i can look it up here and prove him wrong 😉

Some cleaning and polishing, followed by late-night Denny’s, where Travis tried to take a picture of some chick he nearly convinced us was JoJo and her two-man Fubu entourage. It’s probably better there is no photographic evidence because now it will become our own private urban legend, as well as the running joke of the weekend.

DTP was a good time on saturday, with the guys at Garage Five taking home most of the trophys in our class, which we’re fine with because their cars are totally sweet. I took a kazillion pics, talked to a lot of canadians “aboot” my “zed” and pretty much laughed myself exhausted with Travis, Christie, Peter and Clint. We had a great time; it’s too bad we can’t afford to do this stuff more. The show staff kept us all locked in the exhaust-fumes-death-stadium until almost 1AM, and upon release we booked it past the hookers, junkies and drug dealers on Hastings Ave and straight to the border, because even with our quick departure we still only had 2 hours for a nap and a shower at Travis’s in marysville before it was time to report to Stanwood for the Twin City Idlers hot rod show. The entire rest of the team made it out for this one *with their actual cars*, which was a first since i’ve been involved. Someone’s always got a mechanical problem, or is in the middle of a build project, or has to work. But for the first time everyone cracked their “real” cars out of hiding (Jason even braved the burbs in his new R32 Skyline) and we filled a (small) parking lot with our Nissan contingent (and Nate’s turbo’d civic, just for variety). In the middle of a classic hot rod show we felt a bit out of place, but the quirkiness of a small-town close-main-street-for-the-day kind of event kept us all entertained, and (creating further amusement) our swag bags included packages of both beef jerky *and* pepperoni. Probably also a coupon for half-price bull castrating and a vintage Chevrolet parts catalog, too, but i haven’t gone thru it all yet. 😉

By the time 3PM crawled towards us, everyone was bleary-eyed and ready for a gargantuan nap, especially the five of us on a two-show international weekend tour. We puttered out of there past the gawking crowds and went home to crash (in bed, not on the road, thanks to energy drinks purchased, donated and surreptitiously acquired from vendor booths in a quantity large enough to fill a small pool), vowing on the way home that there should be many more weekends of spirited driving, walkie-talkie insult wars, celebrity pancake sightings, bikini-clad car show models, and breakdance fighting before we all get too old and start taking ourselves seriously. 😉

Awesome Van City weekend

Just a quick update to let you know that Van City was awesome, Importfest was sweet, had a blast with the guys, took a bunch of pix. Everything from historic Gastown to denny’s at 3am to waiting in line at the border crossing… overall, a sweet deal. And as an added bonus, i finally got the hoodie sweatshirt i ordered from NorthwestNissans like two months ago, and it’s super cool. Vince gave me a great tour of the show and introduced me to half of Vancouver, and we even ran into Forrest in a totally freak timing thing on I-5 north as he was headed to his dad’s. Random! All in all, a great time. Van City roadtrip rating: thumbs up!

Oregon Coast roadtrip (pancakes for dinner!)

Wow, ten whole days without anything new! I’ve been neglecting you! Well, what’s going on lately… Mom and Dad will be here on Wednesday, to spend a few days and then take Danielle home. It’s going to be weird to live by myself – she’s been here for three months! We’re trying to cram in as much fun as possible in these last couple weeks, so Saturday we got up really early and, along with Robin and Temby, drove to the Oregon coast for the day. We stopped in Astoria (home of the Goonies!) to explore a bit, and then spent the bulk of the day in Seaside, with a quick jaunt down to Cannon Beach to scope out Haystack Rock, and then trekked back home late that night. It was a great trip, laid back and relaxing like a vacation should be. We window shopped in the fun little stores, looking at kites and seashells and wooden ships. We took a nap on the beach in the sun. Well, it was sunny for a little while, anyway. We ate clam chowder, and ice cream, and had pancakes for dinner. And took a bunch of pictures, which are up in the photo section for your enjoyment. So, enjoy!

What a crazy awesome week!

Okay, so since i couldn’t get connected over a dialup and Danielle’s connection got shut off way early, we were unplugged until last night, so i’m just getting to update you all at work today. Needed something fun to do while i’m here, right? Danielle and i made it back to Seattle last night about 7pm, stiff, tired and pretty much criminally insane. We spent waaaaay too much time in the car on too little sleep and were really fidgety and delirious by the time the trip was over. But we survived, and went to bed early (9.30!) and are doing better today.

So, to summarize the weekend, i hung out with a bunch of fun people i hadn’t seen in a while, got Danielle all packed up and moved, and pretty much had a lovely time. Some highlights include: Great dinner at Montana Aleworks (well, appetizers and beer) with Gabbye, Josh, Kris & Megan (have some funny pictures from that, which are forthcoming). Mother’s Day dinner with family (some funny pictures there, too). Nutty roadtrip with Danielle (again, some funny pictures, although for most of the trip we were too tired to be particularly photogenic). Gabbye’s generous hospitality (thanks Gab! You rock! Have fun in Reno!). Catching up with Nate after a chance meeting in the hallway. Driving for 4 hours with Danielle’s fish in a rubbermaid lunchbox (no sharp corners!). Having a nervous breakdown in my first hour home because I couldn’t find my mailbox key (it was in my car, in a cupholder). All in all, a very eventful weekend. I have some photos prepped and ready to upload, will try and get that done tonight. Sorry, i don’t have any pix of me having a nervous breakdown – you’re just going to have to use your imaginations.