Lunch, Brie and a Birthday

Yesterday was a great day, we headed into Seattle on the light rail from Columbia City to Puoneer Square. It is probably one of the nicest light rail system I have seen. 10 or so minutes into the downtown.

Once there we headed to Pikes Place Market. We stopped for roasted nuts, yes I know we had enough nuts on the trip ;). I first chose cinnamon walnuts, the guy was out so I went for cinnamon pecans.

With a bag of pecans, I began walking around to see the throwing fish show, the gourmet foods, sodas, candied rose petals, chocolate pasta, wines, model cars, baseball cards, movie posters and cheese!

We visited Beechers, a famous cheese shop, and purchased four cheeses, a cheddar gruyere combo, a Rosemary anise flavored cheese, a triple cream and a Brie. My favorite part of the experience, when the guy finished cutting the cheese ( a mental laugh-out-loud moment ) he ate the creme left on the knife. This is the kind of place I want to buy cheese from.

We walked around among Pike’s Place, among the heavenly food, and met up with Erina. First we went to a seafood place which was at best a cafeteria, and quickly incentivized each other to find a different nicer place, the Athenian. The Athenian is apparently famous for a scene from Sleepless In Seattle.

We wait 10 mins, and are pointed to a table on the second floor, in an alcove. We sit down, and barely fit our egos around the table. We order drinks, appetizers, and a meal.

We had crab cakes, salmon lox, clams in white wine, crab crepes, tuna melts, and fish and chips.

The service was spectacular, the waiter learned they wee out of clams, and offered us the same dish with mussels. When he brought it over, they had picked up both mussels, and clams. Apparently, they get all their fish and seafood at the market.

At the end of the meal, our waiter was switched out for a new waitress, Rose. Maddog, aka Mister Opportunity, tried again, and got Rose’s email, name, and when she would be in Boston.

Go Maddog!

For Mother’s out there, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

With a nice lunch rounding out our already full figures, we headed to a few hidden jewels, we visited a truffle store, and bakery. Abercrombie sat for a wine tasting, and purchased a nice white wine Pinot Grigo. Erina introduced us to heaven in the form of loaves of bread, a baguette, a Parisian, and one that looks like a stalk of wheat. Ben purchased meringues

We walked Erina to her car, and continued walking to Uptown Expresso and were treated by Margot to iced chai, iced coffee, and a latte. Margot, Thanks!

We headed back to Matt and Erina’s via the light rail. We experienced our first random check/test of tickets, and luckily we passed. Maddog is known to throw a curve or two on a test. 🙂

We got off in Columbia City, Erina picked us up and took us to the butcher, where we purchased priscutto(sp). We arrived back…

And the Party began….

We setup figs and priscutto, cheeses, bread, and popped a cork on Ken’s wine. We met the neighborhood, friends, family, and Wessley. Wessley is the fun little kid that you always hope to see.

Food arrived, we ate hamburgers with gruye, bread and cheese, BBQ wings, cake and more food. With food and drink comes amazing conversation and we had a nice bonfire.

The guests headed off home, and we gathered and shared photos form the trip. I even used the fancy terms of emailing, friending, and used the fancy term of cross links with other friend’s blogs. Now I have to figure out what that means. 🙂

It was all a blast!

We all headed to bed.

Today we arise and celebrated Erina’s birthday with Brie and bread.

We say a temporary good bye, pack and head onwards to Portland.

Matt and Erina you are awesome hosts!

Ps, they got the CB working, and we are listening to two truckers argue about a giant shopping cart go cart.

The Honk

So so so…..

I thought about not writing this entry but I keep laughing, and laughing, and Laughing.

A Massachusetts driver would appreciate the subtleties of the following story.

Maddog and I have just left an awesome lake, we drive down a hill, and wait at a red light.

One minute

Two minutes

A Chevy Suburban gets in line behind us.

H-O-N-K

What the heck is going on…. What an annoying diver! And I see the driver and young kid laugh.

The light turns green. I cruise out into the intersection slowly, very slowly, light turns yellow.

I drive to Crazy Horse, visit Crazy Horse, come out and see the bumper sticker honk if you love dirt.

We about die laughing!

Pablo is your friendly every driven:)

Twenty Chopsticks

After arriving at Matt and Erinas we all decided to hit up Seattle’s Middle eastern food. I got a gyro, Maddog had a gyro and lamb meal, and Abercrombie ordered a chicken parm. That’s right he ordered his favorite, Italian, at a middle eastern restaurant. It made us chuckle.

For dinner, we went to a sushi bar, which was amazing! We ordered salmon, eel, red tuna, smoked eel, turbot, scallops, and ten others. Each had amazing flavor, texture and beauty; the chefs were clear masters.

During the meal, Maddog notices the chopsticks are for sale. Preparing to buy one set for a steep price, Maddog chooses to spend 20 dollars. The waiter arrives and tells us they are 2 dollars a pair. Maddog one ups expectations and asks how many sets do you have? The waiter responds with enough. Maddog buys the 20 sticks, and we head out.

Abercrombie, aka Ken, and I believe Maddog wanted drumsticks for the trip. He’ll probably play Phil Collin’s song in the Hangover, and use the chopsticks as a prop.

More info on the sushi bar at SushiWhore.com . I kid you not!

Afterwords, we met up with Margot, Ben’s cousin, and had drinks at a bar which reminded me of an old steel town bar, kind of retro 70s without being retro. Pinball, pool, shuffle board and more….

Couer d’Alene and The Pickup

We made it through Wyoming. Wow…
The hot winds and cool breezes made driving interesting, and enjoyable.

About a half hour into Wyoming Ben took over, and drove us to Billings Montana.

I drove there to Superior Montana… It’s a stand in for the Rambo First Blood movie. We ate at Jackies, for 6 bucks each we ate an amazing breakfast.

Ben drove from Montana to Couer D’Alene, Idaho. It was the steepest mountain I have ever driven down. When we reached Couer D’Alene, we went to the Visitors center. With the lay of the land, we decided to get two rooms at the Couer D’Alene Resort. We talked them down from 159 a night to 119 a night.

With fresh showers and a nap, we headed to the Couer D’Alene Brewery. food is amazingly good. Unfortunate that the idiot landlord is shutting the down to open a wine and spirits bar in it’s place.

We parted ways and met for breakfast, which was fantastic… And I drove to Seattle Tacoma Airport where we picked Mr Abercrombie, and met up with Matt and Erina.

thanks to you for the hospitality!

Less than 72 hours

After Rushmore we headed towards crazy horse. Just a few miles from Rushmore we found a lake at 5000 feet. Naturally fed this lake was perfect. We jumped in, chatted with other cross-country tourists, and cooled off before heading to crazy horse.

If you want to find the lake it is at 43 degrees 53.595 minutes North 103 degrees 28.816 minutes West.

We packed up and hit up the tourist trap of the 21st century, crazy horse. I am not going to say much more than call it a huge tourist trap.

Maddog and I cruised from Mount Rushmore to Rapid City. It’s shabby sheik and ended up at the Firehouse for a decent ribeye steak, and a birch beer.

Ben enjoyed it so much he picked up two growlers of beer, and they are on ice to save for future celebrations and libations.

With dinner done, we fixed up the van with a hot rack. A bed which is long enough for one person to sleep and the other to drive.

ready to go We drove through the rest of south Dakota, all of Wyoming, we passed over the Continental Divide at 5am, and I finished driving in Superior, Montana.

Superior is the kind of town which First Blood was filmed. Wow, I had to take a photo, it was cloudy, chilly, and quaint. We decided we had to eat, and found Jackie’s which was a hole in the wall diner. It was great, I had BGE – biscuits gravy and eggs.

Maddog drove from Superior down perhaps the longest steepest grade I have seen, wow it was cool. We ended up here Idaho, Couere d’Alene.

We visited the visitor center, and I managed to get us into the casino hotel resort for two rooms at 119 a night. It’s normally 159 a room.

We chose a room as it looks like a localized tornado struck a 8x4x6 space…. I think, following current naming conventions, they called this a maddog-Pablo phenomenon.

More adventures to come after a nap!!!

PS I almost didn’t read the sign that said 6 ft clearance to the rushmore parking garage!

Ok… Ok… We are a bunch of tourists

We are the type of people that head East to go West…. Trust me it’s faster than the alternative…..

We left the Badlands and drove 160 plus miles to Rushmore and are sitting at 5200 feet eating a sandwich before taking obligatory pictures of picking Roosevelts nose.

Rushmore is a must see, and fantastic.

Note, I am posting pictures of the badlands and Rushmore tomorrow…

We are off to crazy horse and firehouse brewery for dinner…. It was the 1000 signs on the side of the road and the fire engines…. Who doesn’t like fire engines!

The Z was good

About 5 minutes ago, the only thing making noise out here was me. Now an owl, turkey, cricket, a few birds and others have joined the chorus

I awoke at 3:30, silly animals… The coyotes or wolves were howling in the distance. I checked our camp which was miraculously still there.

That’s when I looked up…. I was able to see so many stars in the night sky! If it wasn’t in the 40s last night I would have retrieved the camera.

Now sitting here after getting up at 5:30 to see the Sun come up, I can finally reflect on last night.

Maddog and I get to the Badlands and of course choose the campsite without potable water, or water that I would jump in. I see the campsite from the 13 mile road and think well that desert looks promising, let’s camp at the far end of the ring away from the setting Sun.

I grab the two collapsable chairs and we grab our drinks and sit in the shade of Bessy.

After an hour of chill-in, Maddog sees another truck of his dreams; the picture is attached. He wanders over to introduce himself to our other neighbor. Maddog gets the new age brushoff,” I am on the phone, aka my truck rocks and you don’t make enough to warrant my time.”

Maddog comes back, and we begin to think what-the-he’ll, is everyone this bad…. I thought the Midwest was fun, and polite.

Maddog is persistent and greets the next folk who drive in, two burning-man cuties, who instantly hooked on the mountain man charm. I think The collective 6 week beard is what does it. They then drive up a little hill and camp. ( worry not fellow readers He tries tries again)

We get diner started and meet our neighbors to the right, two post-grad dudes with tunes and an idea to play bacchi ball. They bring the tunes over, and we chill, and the first of the two girls arrive and lay down a fun story.

They, one German 26 year old, and one American are on a “road trip” on the way to burning man. You should look on NPRs website to learn more about burning man.

The American girl has just returned to the US after disaster relief in Africa, Peru and Haiti. She previously worked in Alaska at a cannery in Anchorage while going to school, and leaving with one semester left to Graduate.

She is about to work for Raytheon in Antartica and had a brainstorm of going to burning-man. The German girl gets wind of it, and asks to come to the US and join her. She gets a one way ticket, and tries flying over, the immigration officials don’t let her on the plane, and she buys a second flight back to Germany from NY. The German girl now has 30 euro on hand and flies over to begin the trip.

Can you see the foreshadowing? American girl prepaid for burning man, has just enough cash to avoid toll roads and get to South Dakota. She leaves from NY goes to Ontario visits a friend, drives around Chicago, and drives to South Dakota. She only pays for gas, begs for water, and looks for ways to get food. The German girl is freaking out, and overly pessimistic, and brought the moral down for their trip.

She comes to hang out, and we invite both of the girls for dinner. Note, the way Maddog and I pack we always have plenty. They join us for dinner, and we talk. We all rave about the zuchinni.

Mister Opportunity, aka Mister Persistent, cracked the shell, the story told and a good time had by all.

Now to pickup the site and move on!

Posting pics on Monday!