Trip completed. Check. Plants survived. Check. Didn’t kill each other. Check. Tried the local beer immediately upon arrival. You betcha.
The trek across the country from Appalachians to Rockies is over. For those of you scoring at home, the numbers look like this:
- Miles traveled – 2,676
- Days traveled – 10
- Days arrived in advance of our furniture – 4 (and counting)
- Hotels slept in – 5
- Tents slept in – 1
- New beers tasted – 21
- New burgers tried – 5
- Breweries visited – 7
- States entered and/or exited – 9
- States crossed without stopping – 1
- Different state license plates seen and recorded – 48
- Most number of states visited in one day – 4
- Times crossed the continental divide – 5
- Former grad school colleagues visited – 2
- Former grad school colleagues not visited who commented on my posts – 2
- Former grad school colleagues not visited who did not comment on my posts – 17.4285 (rounded up)
- Times visited the gym – 0
- Weight gained – 8.17
So, yes, the pants are a little tighter than when we began this little odyssey. But that didn’t stop us from waddling down the street to the neighborhood restaurant the first night in town.
There the waitron took our drink orders – the Hopzone IPA from Bozeman Brewing Co. for my hop-headed little friend and the Cold Smoke Scotch Ale by Kettle House Brewing Co. out of Missoula for me. She then
proceeded to inform us that the evening’s special was a basket of 20 spicy buffalo wings (aside: calling chicken wings buffalo wings is dumb because everyone knows buffalos can’t fly) and a pitcher of beer.
“But that won’t work for you,” she said, “since you two are drinking from different pages.”
Ah, yes, drinking from different pages. Ranks right up there on the list of mixed metaphors I’ve actually heard individuals utter in my presence, along with such classics as:
- “I’ve got something right up your ballpark”
- “We’re just scratching the iceberg”
- “This isn’t rocket surgery”
and the all-time winner:
- “The ink is in the pudding.”
The best thing is, our waitron was exactly correct. We’ve been drinking from different pages for 15 years now, and expect to until one of us drops dead. As I’ve said numerous times, we’re like left hand / right hand. Each one works well independently, but both work better together.
Why should we expect our beer drinking, and burger eating, to be any different? I like malty and sweet, she likes hoppy and bitter. I like ground beef medium rare, she likes chicken sandwiches marinated in teriyaki.
Yet somehow it works, and is probably how we survived 10 days in constant company with one another trapped in a Mini Cooper and surrounded by plants.
I did get a break from IPA-lapping traveling companion the two times I went to baseball games. Or, a more accurate way to say it, she got a break from me.
But we all made it to Bozeman, Montana in one piece – people, plants, and Mini included. Not sure I’ll be able to say the same for the furniture, which is, according to the moving company, still in Virginia.
Upon arrival, we did try a few new beers. She has sampled two IPAs, the Deschutes Pinedrops and the Horse Thief from Sheriff Harry Plummer’s Outlaw Brewing. I, on the other hand, have enjoyed the Madison River Oatmeal Stout and Outlaw’s Pugilist Chocolate Porter.
At the same time, we’re taking in the dry air and cool nights, along with the 360-degree view of mountains. And even though we know we’re in for a long, cold winter, there’s something comforting knowing that a town of just under 40,000 residents has four local breweries, and perhaps up to three more on the way.
Perfect fodder for plenty of posts by the entire staff at Beer-and-Burgers.com. You can definitely count on more to come. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them all, no matter which page you are drinking from.
— Eric Van Steenburg