Nothing Special, Really

Friday, May 18, 2007

Road Trip, Part 7

The end is almost nigh.

For the Spurs, that is.

And, for my vacation recap as well (is anyone reading this still? Besides my girlfriend?)

After a good night's rest, we were ready to leave Napa Valley and head for our last stop on our trip: Bend, OR. We chose Bend mostly because it was a good stopping point between Napa & Seattle. We could have just tried to drive from Napa to Seattle non-stop, and we probably would have been home before midnight that same day. But we decided to extend our trip one more day to break up the drive, and to see an old friend as well.

There isn't really much to say about the driving portion of the trip. From Napa to Redding, it's basically just open land with periodic sightings of gas stations and fast food joints. Speaking of fast food, since this was our last day in California, we had one more mission to accomplish - find an In N'Out Burger. The last time I had INO was back in Burbank, around this same time last year. I was craving it. We had already passed a couple of opportunities before; of course, we always happened to pass them right after we ate. Wac was certain there was one in Redding, and about 18 miles before we got there, a billboard confirmed it.

I will go on record and say that this day, we found proof of the existence of God, and it exists in the form of a Double-Double. I know these things are good, but when you haven't had one in about a year, it's more than just good. It's orgasmic.

After we finished making love to our burgers, we continued our drive through the lame part of Northern California. Again, nothing exciting to report until we found weed. As in Weed, CA. If you've been to Cheba Hut, you've seen the pictures:

Unfortunately, that sign no longer exists. Apparently, it gets stolen to much, so now the options are "College" or "City Center". That makes the choice a lot less difficult.

Then we drove to Bend. Still, not much to report here. We saw trees, we saw lakes, we saw rivers. Blah blah blah. I know it probably seems like I'm half-assing this recap, but trust me, there's nothing to see there. Move along now.

We finally get to Bend and arrive at our hotel, the McMenamin's St. Francis School Hotel. For those in AZ who just don't know, McMenamin's is a brewery in Oregon that not only runs brewpubs in OR and WA, they also own a couple of hotels. Hotels with brewpubs. And movie theaters. And Turkish bath houses. All for $105 night.

First off, McMenamin's beer is pretty damn special. Wac's a fan of the Terminator Stout, kind of like Guinness. I prefer the Hammerhead, a lighter beer, but not IPA light. They also have the Ruby, a Raspberry Ale which tastes like drinking grapefruit juice without the tartness. It's seriously one of the best tasting beers I've ever had because it just doesn't taste like beer.

McMenamin's food is pretty spectacular. Their tater tots are the best I've ever had. Fried to perfection, I recommend ordering them cajunized, but with the cajun on the side, and a side of ranch. Dip the tot in the ranch, then the cajun spice, and prepare to be blown away. It's almost as good as a Double-Double.

Mmmmmmmmm, cajunized Double-Double. (slobbering & drooling noises)

So, not only does this place have an amazing brewpub on site, but it also gives it's guests free passes to it's movie theater, and free passes to it's Turkish soaking baths. And, the building itself is converted from an old schoolhouse. Wac said it best when she described the place as being a "summer camp for adults". We're already talking about booking a group trip to stay at one of the Parish houses that you can reserve as well. 10 people, $300 a night total. How can you beat that deal?

Of course, we took advantage of the brewpup and grabbed some dinner, along with the requisite pitcher of Ruby Ale. We also took advantage of the Turkish bath house, which was amazing as well. Something about the water seemed very cleansing - we were both silky smooth when we were done. We passed on the movie theater - Pan's Labrynth had already ended, and we weren't interested in seeing The Host. Relaxed, refreshed, replenished, and Ruby ale'd out (had to maintain the alliteration), we called it a night, and spent the last night on the road sleeping in a schoolhouse, dreaming of being back in our own beds.

I'll just go ahead and end the trip recaps now. The next day, we drove to Corvallis OR, which wasn't too far out of the way, to visit Heidi, my old manager back at FACS in AZ. She moved up to OR within the past year when her husband Bill got accepted at Oregon State into their Ph.D. program for something smart, like molecular biology or something, I forget. So we met up with them for some lunchtime pizza along with their 1 year old, Owen. I'm not really excited about the idea of having kids, but if I could be assured that my kid would turn out like Owen, I would have one in a heartbeat. The little dude is insanely adorable. I've never seen a kid that was so happy-go-lucky, so full of laughter, and so personable to strangers. I didn't even mind that he kept trying to steal my pinky finger. Heidi and I caught up on conversations missed, and while it was great to see an face from the past, it was time to head home. So we hopped in the car and made the last journey home, to our own bed, our own apartment, and our own two very upset cats.

BTW, I'll try to post the rest of the pics later this weekend.


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