Monthly Archives: January 2014

Heading Home

To condense over a week’s worth of stuff into a short sentence:

I visited a bunch of breweries, a couple of wineries, and some friends.

Check out this view from my friends’ backyard, just outside of Reno:

Deserts are cool.

Deserts are cool.

On my way across Nevada (I’m taking the interstate back to speed things up a bit), I passed this sign (I didn’t stop to take the picture; I figured, correctly, that someone had already posted it on the internet):

I find your lack of trees disturbing.

Tonight, I’m in Salt Lake City. As I discovered on my last adventure, Utah does, indeed, have good beer. But they have weird laws about them. Still, I was able to find a brewery, Red Rock, and sample some of their delicious beers – and I even brought one back to my hotel, one of the few Russian Imperial Stouts I’ve seen apart from Old Rasputin.

There are quite a few breweries here, actually, so I’ll have to come back sometime.

Tomorrow, I don’t know where I’m going, apart from eastward. So much depends on weather.

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California

On New Year’s Day, I drove through Nevada. I wanted to make it all the way to Livermore, California in one day – possible, but a longer drive than I’d gotten used to. Instead of my usual leisurely pace of about 6 hours in a day, I was looking at 12. Nothing I haven’t done many times – just not this trip.

Area 51 has a gas station.

Area 51 has a gas station.

This put me on top of the Sierras well after sunset.

It’s cold on the Sierras. It’s dark. It’s empty. So of course, despite being pressed for time, shaking from what I thought was exhaustion and fatigue, I had to stop for just a few minutes.

The stars, when seen from that altitude, with the air clear from being cold and dry, can only be believed if seen. I’ve looked at pictures, too, of course, but none of them come even close to capturing the sheer awesomeness of the night sky from a high mountain range with no Earthly light to drown them out.

I stared into infinity.

Fortunately, it had the courtesy to not stare back, or they’d have found my cold, stiff body by now.

On the other hand, I can’t think of too many better ways to go.

Spoiler: I survived and made it to my friends’ house, where I promptly infected everyone there with a cold I didn’t even know I had until later the next day.

So I haven’t been doing much, this last week. Quick trip to the pit known as Stockton and to Lodi, which is much nicer than CCR would have you believe; I wouldn’t mind getting stuck there. One trip to San Ramon to a place with really, really good beer – but mediocre food, and way too many TV screens.

So many TV screens, in fact, that I made a discovery. I’m sure everyone reading this already knew about this, but remember, I don’t watch sports and I don’t have cable. So the only way I could be exposed to this atrocity was by sitting at a sports bar, which I also tend to avoid.

The discovery?

There exists a GOLF channel.

There is a channel, on cable, devoted entirely to GOLF.

I do believe that this is one of the signs of the apocalypse. Of course, as I write this, we’re watching a TV show where paint is drying – but that is less boring than the golf channel.

But I have the antidote, if only people will listen to me. And this is it:

There is desperate need for a Drinking Channel.

Think about it. We already have golf channels and fishing channels and probably channels devoted to grass growing. The Drinking Channel would be WAY more interesting than any of these. They could go into how various fermented and distilled beverages are made. They could spotlight a different brewer, vintner, or distiller every day. There could be bartenders making their favorite drinks, much as the cooking channel does with food. They could follow around some guy who’s trying to visit every brewery in the continental US.

There is NO downside with this.

“But it will promote drinking!” I hear from that little voice in the back row.

Why, yes. Yes, it will. That’s why there’s no downside to this.

Well, okay, one downside: Cable TV will soon go the way of the video rental store, and this is also a good thing. There could still be a Drinking Channel on the internet.

If I weren’t so lazy, I might even consider working for them.

Another Year, Another Beer

Now, look. I know some people have to travel with kids. I mean, sure, one of the reasons I like to hang out in casinos is there aren’t that many kids around being obnoxious. When I do see them, usually they’re being controlled by their parents lest they wander out onto the casino floor or into a bar and see adults actually having fun.

But then, sometimes, I espy a vile abomination such as this one.

One's bad enough, but now they're cloning them??!

One’s bad enough, but now they’re cloning them??!

After seeing the horrible visage of the mouthless one (twice, even though I was sober), I really, really needed a beer or six. Fortunately, there was Triple 7.

Beer at the bar. Bar beer. Beer bar.

Beer at the bar. Bar beer. Beer bar.

It is, as I post this, already 2014 back home, but here in Nevada there’s still over an hour to go, so I’m still in 2013.

New Year’s, of course, is traditionally a time of introspection, retrospection and whatever you call looking to the future spection. It’s also a time for getting drunk.

Because I’m a contrarian, I’m not drunk tonight. As for the other stuff, well, I’ve had a lot of time to think while I’ve been on the road, just me and the music and the scenery. I’ve thought about my triumphs and failures, wins and losses, and I thought about how I might work on improving myself in the coming calendar year. What I could do to make myself a better person, be more sociable, have more fun, do more things, be kinder to children and be a positive force in the world…

….nah, fuck it.

Too much like work.

Too much like work.