A few of my favorite pictures from our trip:
Welcome to the Portland area, where you can get your hair done, buy yourself a high-powered assault weapon, and then have yourself some fresh, raw fish for lunch--all without leaving the strip mall.
This raccoon, and a couple of others, were just hanging out in Vancouver's Stanley Park while tourists took pictures of them. Belle is terrified of raccoons. It was awesome.
It was kind of funny running into the EA Vancouver headquarters by random. But even better was the Mounted Police souvenir store located in the same building, shown here in the lower right. Want a mountie apron and grill set? Or a copy of Need for Speed? Now you know where to go.
True fact: Belle grew up just down the street from the Billy Goat Gruff family. She has nothing to fear from Seattle's bridge troll.
Near the troll, there's the country's largest statue of Lenin, which prominently features this disclaimer. What does it mean that the photo opportunity is (c) Getty? What about the disclaimer itself, is that also under copyright? Suddenly I feel like a character from a Cory Doctorow novel.
How, exactly, do you put a wax statue of Gene Simmons in a museum and not have his tongue sticking out? Luckily, Belle has it covered.
This boutique in Seattle had elephant and donkey masks on the mannequins for the political season. It did not really heighten my patriotic spirit so much as give me the creeps.
In Portland, we visited the Japanese garden, where the two forms of life thriving most were the moss and amateur photographers. We interrupted one on the way up these beautiful stairs, and I got a shot myself.
Belle says: "I didn't know what this was at first. I was all like, look, lots of rocks."
In a real earthquake, as opposed to this simulator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, one assumes that she would not look so thrilled about it.
Completely by chance, Belle pulled me into a music shop near Voodoo Donuts, and they turned out to have a huge collection of pedals, including a whole bunch from Z. Vex. This is me trying out a Wooly Mammoth, which is one of the baddest bass distortions I've ever heard. It was very, very tempting.
Instead of the Mammoth, I pulled the trigger on the Lo-Fi Loop Junky. I dig the blue monster.