The Loneliest Roadtrip, Day 3

10 Mar

Day 3: Idaho, Washington

Fleeting moments spent in Coeur d’Alene…

I passed through some more beautifully enormous iterations of the Rocky Mountains, taking great joy in putting the car in neutral and flying down the incline at high speeds. It’s economical! My joy was only temporary, as suddenly and without much warning the mountains disappeared and Washington turned quite unimpressive. Average at best, really. However, there is a charming thing about driving through lesser Washington, and that is the free coffee they give out at the rest stops, as though they truly, truly don’t want you to fall asleep and get into a fiery auto crash as you make your way across the bland road. Additionally, I welcome their ability to admit that said strip of road is literally sleep-inducing. I appreciate your honesty, Washington! Luckily, it wasn’t long before I reached the coast. As I pulled into Olympia, the Kinks’ “Victoria” shuffled onto the stereo. It was epically perfect timing, I promise.

Afternoon in Olympia was quite lovely: girls selling fresh blueberries roadside, stretching my legs in the lovely, hilly little Priest Point Park by the Puget Sound, and literally stumbling upon my beau and the other members of his band, Bad Weather California, on the way to the water.

The Sound was receding and had uncovered stinky sea treasures and dead guppies.


Downtown Olympia was just about what one would expect from a place known for its link to the birth of DIY music and residents like Calvin Johnson, Kimya Dawson, and Kurt Cobain. The main streets are dotted with shops dedicated to handmade and vintage goods, as well as the usual fare one would expect to find in a place with a large young adult population… like, there was a lot of pizza and stuff. Let’s not forget to mention Olympia’s other cultural connotation: the delightfully bland Oly brew (“It’s the water!”). We happened upon one of the fabled artesian wells which provide said water, and let’s just say it was a bit lackluster in presentation.

Artist’s Rendering:

Actual artesian well:

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Why, that looks just like a pipe unfortunately placed in a parking lot,” you’d be exactly right. Throw in a few transients and hoodlums milling about, and you will have an accurate mental picture of “the water.” (Thanks to OlyBlog for making this artesian well comparison possible!)

And then you have this guy, faux napping in his sleeping bag on the lawn where Bad Weather had their show, peacefully resting as cars drove by and fellow alts trod respectfully past. There seemed to be several available (although visibly spider-ridden) bedrooms inside, but he purposely chose the most prominent spot to hunker down, as if he needed to tell the world that he is tired, and he is going to sleep.

I could continue on about how this seemingly small blip reflected the general “Look at Me!” attitude of the Olympian alt-about-town, and about how the majority of those present at the show were trying their darnedest to out-alt those around them, be it via Salt N’ Peppa “Push It” haircut or sheer kimono. I could complain about how I became irrecoverably disappointed in the state of the scene after this point and spent the rest of the night in a bitter, judgey mental state, but I won’t. Mostly because I’ve already glorified this silliness in posting a picture of it on my blahg, then hypocritically contradicted my points by sleeping in a tent in someone’s backyard the very next night. C’est la vie!

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