Friday, September 19, 2014

What I Did This Summer by Bigfoot

by Bigfoot

     My summer activities fall into two categories: 1) checking out some local things in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula and 2) traveling to and from and staying in Bend, Oregon.  

     One thing I got to do this summer in the Bitterroot Valley was check out some local breweries' tasting rooms which I hadn't been able to go to before.  One interesting thing about alcohol laws in Montana as compared to Oregon is that in Montana a business serving alcohol does not have to serve food.  This is especially case in tasting rooms which have a 3-drink limit.  It also means that dogs can work there and that you're welcome to bring your own food from home or from a local restaurant.

Here I am at Blacksmith Brewing in Stevensville.  The brewery is housed in an old smithy that then became an industrial laundry.  

Lolo Peak Brewing is newly opened in Lolo and claims to be adding a kitchen this autumn.  The beer is okay and the atmosphere it really good.

     Another thing I got to do this summer was go to the Paul McCartney concert in Missoula!  It was held at the University of Montana's football stadium and was supposedly the largest music event ever held in Montana with 25,000 in attendance.  Whoa.  Missoula's population is under 70,000 and the "Missoula Metropolitan Area" has less than 112,000 people, so 25,000 is a big chunk!  Of course, people traveled from out of the area to attend and rumor has it that hotels were booked up before the tickets even went on sale.  I stayed with friends in Florence, so I didn't have to sleep rough just because I got my ticket at the last minute.

I had a pretty good seat, too.  Not up front, but plenty close and with access to a VIP box with food and beverages... all for FREE!
Seeing a Beatle perform was not the only non-beer excitement I got up to, I also got to see the tail end of the 102nd Annual Creamery Picnic Parade in Stevensville complete with Shriners in fezzes driving wee cars.  

We lucked into the end of the parade route when we walked from our car to the Stevensville Library book sale.  Never miss a library book sale if you can help it.

     While traveling to and from Bend, Oregon, I tried to get there as fast as possible, but made sure to stop at some of the more interesting rest stops and sites for necessary breaks, especially places I didn't visit last time I was spending time in Bend.  Ahem.  

Overlooking the Columbia River from the Oregon side, on I-84 somewhere between the I-82 and US-97 interchanges.

There is a very windy rest stop near Sprague Lake in Central Washington along Interstate-90.  This particular trip was very moody weather-wise.

I  kept meaning to stop at the Mountain Identifier on US-97, but would either say "next time" or not notice it coming up and zoom by.  On my last trip, I ended up having to take US-197 in order to meet an old pal in The Dalles for breakfast and was disappointed in myself for having put off this opportunity.  What a nice surprise that US-197 has its own Mountain Identifier!

The view from these spots is great for seeing the mountains, at least a half-dozen of them.  This view is sort of southwest-facing, but the Mountain Identifier does nearly 180 degrees of identification of Mountains.

     I was so busy in Bend, Oregon that I didn't get to do much site-seeing or attend to much that was photogenic.  There was a lovely view from the job site, however, and I would frequently eat lunch while taking it in.  Verizon ate the photo of that.

On my last trip my colleague forgot to pack her work shoes, so we had go get her some.  Of course, even on Saturday our workday starts well before shops open so we did what we could wearing sandals, then drove over to the mall.  We got there several minutes before they opened and walked around.  We came around a corner to this beast and I had her get a shot of me with it.  Pretty impressive for a mall Mexican restaurant.

El Rancho Grande was not open for business at 9:55a on Saturday.

Another interesting thing on my last trip was that my colleague had a wedding reception to attend in Portland, so we took a couple of days off to do that and so she could see some more of her friends and family.  Days off are not something we did really, so even driving 3 hours each way was worth it.  First thing she did was meet her friend at Ikea.

She was very excited to get in there and pick up some things like wooden hangers, shadow box frames for her foreign  toothpaste collection, and some other odds and ends.

     After that she ran some work-related errands and hung out with her mom on the Westside.  That night, though, she drove back into SE Portland to meet some great friends at another great friend's restaurant, Taqueria Nueve.  All her friends were very welcoming and didn't mind that I tagged along, but I tried to just sort of blend into the background and let her catch up.

Everyone raved about the food, as she knew they would and the staff did a great job of accommodating a party of an unknown number of  people showing up at various times.  The drinks were also delicious and thanks to Dale's permanent status as the Designated Driver, my colleague was able to partake of a few margaritas.  Thanks to her mother, she was able to retrieve Khan the next morning.

   Again, I held back while she caught up with some her long(est)-time friends and "newer" friends, too, but I could not resist getting one photo to document my time there.  Of course the happy couple had a professional photographer there to document their special time and we all couldn't resist getting all meta about it.

My colleague was wearing a dress so she didn't lay on the ground like the pro who is not naked despite what it looks like.  If only there had been another photographer stander behind her to capture the whole moment to take the meta to another level.
   Now that I'll be spending the autumn and winter in the Bitterroot, I hope to get out a bit more to the local sites.  There are more breweries here and in Missoula to visit, after all.

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