Our Thanksgiving Road Trip

Eastern Oregon. Credit: Jim Thompson
(The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)

My wife and I took a long road trip to the great Northwest. We passed through lovely farmland of eastern Oregon on our way to visit my parents in Spokane.


Spokane was cold – dropping into the 20s at night. I don’t recall so many homeless in Spokane. I can’t help but wonder how they survive and don’t go south with the Canadian geese. Most of the homeless we saw were arguing with themselves, and we gave them wide berths. I kept my hands free and my head on a swivel when we couldn’t cross the street. Maybe that’s “normal” now. Nonetheless, it’s sad to see so many mentally disturbed people wandering cold streets talking to Harvey the Rabbit. The city of Spokane looks “old.” I’m not looking to move there.

Next, we drove to Seattle. In Seattle’s burbs, new housing is everywhere. Single-family home lots are being bought for millions, just to tear them down to construct multiple condos on that single lot. Most of these new homes are narrow footprints, with three stories and no parking. We drove past one new project with outdoor, uncovered parking. Each parking spot (we were told) was sold separately. If the new home buyer wanted an un-gated, outdoor parking spot, they’d have to cough up an additional $125,000.

One of our nights there, our host found “live music” featured at a local wine bar. The four of us walked to the venue. There was no waiting for a table. When we walked in, only three people were in the joint; the music man, his wife and, I think, his manager. The wine and entertainment were awful, but we only found that out after sitting down. The music guy is “B. Bradford” from Portland. The couple is black, and the manager is white.


Why does “race” matter? It shouldn’t, but everything “B” sang about was about being black. It was like getting stuck in a conversation with some guy who wants to talk about chemtrails and only chemtrails. You can’t just walk away – you need to find a graceful “out.” Our “out”  came after the fourth song. “B’s” fourth tune turned out to be an abomination called “Give it Back.” It’s about reparations. “B’s” pitch is terrible, and his lyrics were worse. His demand for reparations went, in part, like this:

“…They poison you out

and sold all you out

There ain’t nothin’ that can change the fact

That we deserve, reparations

Give me every single dollar

Give me my money!”

The only paying customers were four white people, so I guess we were the target audience. I am sure I don’t have any of his “money,” and his tip jar didn’t see any of mine. We aren’t moving to Seattle “Ain’t nothin’ that can change that fact.”

Next was San Francisco.

A giant, gay flag in San Francisco. Credit: Jim Thompson

My SF relative is gay. I know, shocking for someone living in San Francisco.

We had vowed to drive to whatever restaurant, but he insisted on driving. The last time I was in his car, he scared me to death. Driving in San Francisco is an adventure under normal circumstances, but driving with him at the wheel is like a carnival roller coaster. You’re not sure you’ll survive.


If you were wondering, yes, his car has collision damage. He sat in his car until we got in. My wife got in the back seat because (as she explained later) she wanted to survive a crash. Then, as I said, he drove like a maniac. I held onto the door.

We went to a hole-in-the-wall, seafood place that, depending on his story, has been around since the 1800s or 1930s. He gave us a talking tour of SF, but I don’t know what he said. I was watching my life flash in front of me. He zipped in and out of traffic, and into opposing traffic like a Green Zone suicide bomber on the clock. Then he saw a parking spot close to the location and parallel parked. He was pretty good at that so, props to him.

I won’t name the restaurant. It’s tiny. It’s about 12 feet wide, with just enough counter space for maybe 15 customers, elbow-to-elbow. The counters have stuff on them everywhere you look. The white cabinets looked like they hadn’t been cleaned since the 1800s. I ordered clam chowder because I figured getting something hot would give me a better chance of surviving salmonella. My wife and our host got prawns. Apparently, the prawns were very good. My chowder was awful. It was thin – and it smelled like a dead whale. My wife said it was likely cooked in salt water and clam juice.


We finished, and he drove back to his place. I watched a rerun of my life pass in front of me, as we had a second run of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We didn’t get salmonella, so that was a plus.

Our host is Pelosi-loving liberal. He said this restaurant is his “favorite” seafood place in all of San Francisco. I smiled with satisfaction, because I saw the owner has a bunch of books stacked on the shelf that faced our host. All of the books were authored by conservatives like Mark Levin. I won’t tell him, but if I had, he would have given me a look like he had accidentally voted for Donald Trump. Twice.

Spokane, Seattle, and San Francisco–nice to visit, even better to leave.


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