There and Back Again

And there, I’ve managed to insert the obligatory (obligatory, that is, if you’re a huge nerd) Hobbit reference. So, we spent a week in Seattle. The weather turned nice just in time for July 4th, and we were able to enjoy a traditional Independence Day feast of crab rolls and quinoa salad. What can I say, they have a distinctive style on the left coast. Or maybe it’s just Mary’s family. Though, since we brought the quinoa salad, I guess I shouldn’t be pointing any fingers, no matter how much fun it might be.

We’re home and everything is as we left it. Well, except for the view, which when we departed, consisted primarily of angry looming clouds of smoke and leaping flames. Now things are back to the usual clear blue skies and white puffy clouds. Oh, and a lot of charred timber. Loads and loads of it, but that’s better than a lot of charred houses. Which our area is totally free of, so that’s cool. Complaining about the view consisting of a burned over wasteland is really petty, so I’ll probably refrain from doing it in public. In private though…… Now we spend our days worrying a bit, that the whole hillside on the other side of the canyon will sweep down in a huge mudslide after a rainstorm. Which has happened once already, since we got back. Small scale so far, but still something to keep the blood pressure elevated more than I’d like.

We took three days to drive back home, and have nothing to show for it except for a bunch of gas receipts, and lots of views of high plains deserts, low-lying deserts, semi-arid grasslands, fully-arid non-grasslands, and heaps and masses of rocks. Rock cliffs, rock bluffs, rock piles – you name it, if you ever needed a rock, the area roughly from Eastern Washington, though Utah and Western Colorado, is the place to go.

Nothing much to report about the ride home, especially nothing as perversely interesting as Lewiston, ID turned out to be, on the ride out. Though, at one point we found ourselves driving through the outskirts of Ogden, UT. And there’s a steakhouse in Ogden that I had mentioned previously, that had tables in faux Conestoga wagons, and life-size dioramas down the center of each room with campfires, prospectors, and enough taxidermied wildlife to populate my nightmares for months. Mary’s interest was piqued, and she decided she wanted to see it, primarily to see if it was similar to a restaurant she remembers from her childhood in Arizona <shudder>. And the time was tending towards lunch. Well, past lunch. But, fortuitously, in Ogden, this particular restaurant, offers dinners starting at 2:00pm, Sundays only. Thus, we had a very, very early dinner.

Extraordinarily early dinner at the Prairie Schooner, as that is the restaurant’s name, naturally, was every bit the experience I remember from those business trips, years ago. And how could it not be awesome, since you are sitting in a genuine imitation wagon, with the iron hoops and the canvas cover, and the seats are huge slabs wood, and the table is every big as you need to cover with a multitude of plates, it being Sunday dinner after all. Either my memory is somewhat faulty, or they’ve added stuff to the dioramas over the intervening years, as we noticed that there were Indians sitting at campfires now, as well as prospectors, and a representative stuffed mammal from every species that can be found in the Western US.

One change that I definitely noticed, was the size of the steaks. The last time I visited, the big steaks had big manly names, like the Cowboy and the Rustler, while the smaller, more effete steak selections carried monikers like the Cowgirl. And the big manly steaks started at 14 ounces, and went up from there to a Flintstonian sized slab of beef called the Wagonmaster that tipped the scales at a very impressive and heart clogging 24 ounces. Now, though you can get the Rustler, for instance in both a manly 16 ounce version and in a more petite and I’m-only-eating-this-tiny-little-steak-because-my doctor-told-me-if-I-didn’t-cut-back-I’ll-die, 10 ounce version.

And that was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened on our trip back home. Next week, or later this week, or maybe next month, as the whim takes me, I’ll go back to writing about things like the connection between prostate medication and cigars. Don’t think there is a connection? Just wait and see.

OK, Mary says this week. Dammit.

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