Spokane, WA

Washington, unlike Montana, was full of happening peeps. In fact, it was pretty amazing just how many happening peeps happened to be happening in Washington. The first of such peeps was a fellow in Spokane named Steve, who plays a mean guitar.

“How mean?” asks a nearby international student. “Does it trip the old lady and shout at the passing child?”

What a great sense of humor you have, international student. Anyway, Steve, of whom I forgot to take a picture, has his own little music room (about the size of a king-size bed) which is crammed full with a drumset, guitars, amps, and recording equipment. Totally awesome.

“Which guitar was the mean one?” asks the international student.

Um, it’s not as funny the second time.

“Excuse me? I just want to know which-”

Yeah. So Steve and I spent a pleasant evening together recording and listening to each other’s stuff. Steve leans heavily in a metal direction, and he can shred in a way that actually sounds musical! Which is a pleasant surprise because I wasn’t sure if it even could be done. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to work up any harmonized butt-rock guitar solos, but we did put down a handful of various electric guitar tracks.

I had quite a few potential hosts in Seattle, but none in Spokane, and by the time Steve and I finished, it was too late to make a run to Seattle, at least not if I hoped to stay with someone. So, it was Car Night #4. I found an out-of-the-way spot in some incredibly scenic mountains (

Montana's mountains were rugged and dirty.  Washington's were lush and cold.

). It was like a little turn-off had been made for my car.

Probably two cars drove by here during the entire night.  And it only took me five minutes to get back out on the highway from here.

Also, there was entertainment in the form of this sign:

What I love about this sign is that if you read it the right way it means the opposite of what they want it to mean.  Yay English!

This is when I realized several important things:

  • My tour has taken longer than originally planned. This was meant to be a summer project, where I could always wear shorts and get a nice tan. Not freeze to death while trying to sleep in my car. Which I pretty much did.
  • It’s good that I did the eastern half first. That way I could be impressed by the Adirondacks and the Smokies. Then, when I got to the northwest, I could be doubly impressed by the real mountains.
  • The international student actually thought the guitar was mean! I’m sorry, international student — “he plays a mean guitar” is an idiomatic expression meaning that he plays guitar really well.”Ohhh! Thank you!”

    Don’t mention it.


    No, I mean… you’re welcome.

NEXT: If a peep is happening somewhere, he’s likely to be happening in Seattle!


Refreshed from our delightful day on Martha’s Vineyard, we headed over a bridge

A bridge.

and then drove on some roads for a while until we came to Hartford.

Coming up on Hartford. More Hartford.

In my travels, I have noticed a recurring theme about all US cities. See if you can notice it too:

This is probably a capitol or something. Note the recurringness of the thematicness.

Did you get it? That’s right — buildings. Every city I’ve been to so far has buildings.

“That’s ridiculous.”

Yes. In addition to buildings, most cities also seem to have plenty of people, such as the fun person we met in Hartford, known as The Backpacking Granny. She is an exuberant person with a mission to personally start a school in Ghana through networking and donations. Pretty awesome.

She was our first host in CT and we had a blast chatting with her and meeting some of her friends from the Atheist Society. (That may not be the actual name but it was something about atheists.)

In addition to atheists, there were also some crazy people:

The people of the great state of Connecticut.

The two happening girls in this photo were our hosts for our second night in CT.

“Okay,” says AG, “overlooking the ‘happening’ issue for the nonce, you had two separate hosts?”

Funny you would ask! The girl in the middle is Emily Hanink, who volunteered her friend’s house (Megan, on the right) for hosting us both. Pretty sweet. I would love to be able to volunteer some friends’ homes for other people to stay at, since I know some people with pretty nice homes. But it takes a special relationship to be able to do that.

Some sweet peeps in Storrs.

Also pictured above hanging out with Megan is a pretty sweet dude named Tom (right). Tom was a keyboardist, and they had a bunch of instruments set up in their basement. So he and several other dudes recorded some cool stuff for me.

Eric and Tom recording some aural goods.

I also met a great guy named Steve (whose last name I will figure out someday), who is a great classical guitarist. Meaning he plays classical guitar literature, not just the instrument. I also recorded him later that night.

Next morning, we went outside to see the guineas.

Widdow baybies. A vigilant guinea mother defends her chicks from a savage nearby alligator (not pictured).

Here is a closeup of the male eating. He was awesome because he would always run at you to frighten you away from his babies but he would always wuss out and stop before he got close enough to actually scare you.

Male guinea, savagely eating.

Then we headed out for coffee and to visit the farmer’s market. There were some fun signs on the way.

I feel as an ESL teacher that this picture has instructional value.

Not long afterwards, we were on our way to NYC, with no host lined up.

NEXT: NYC just barely avoids making my list of “cities I dislike for relatively arbitrary reasons.”