Drive-thru everything

I think I’ve mentioned before that there is a whole different concept of space out here west of the Ye Ole Mississippi. That is, space has space here. There’s no bragging about one’s luxury 800 sq. ft. apartment. No sucking in your gut to pass a person with a grocery cart in the aisle of your local market. No squeezing by the jackass in the H2 on 9th Street Northeast when you’re just trying to get home after an annoying day at work, and they’re trying to break the land speed record for an oversized SUV.

Out here, they don’t know what to do with all the space. Small plots of land grow wheat. Drive-in movie theaters are not an extinct species like they are back east. Abandoned buildings sit and slowly crumble for years because there’s no hurry to use their old footprints for the next gentrification effort. Actually, they wouldn’t know a gentrifying neighborhood if it bit them on their collective butts, even though we all know that gentrifying neighborhoods go out of their way to get all bitey and nasty.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a bus, come to think of it. There are a couple of those trolleys on tires that roam around the downtown, especially on the weekends, when downtown looks particularly picturesque.

Small glimpse of a beautiful car

Small glimpse of a beautiful car



Adding to the picturesqueness of this weekend was a classic car show that occupied most of Main Street by the farmer’s market. All of the angle parking was taken up with about 100 cars from the 1950s through the 1970s, yet there was still plenty of street parking for the folks who came to see the cars. That wouldn’t have happened on even a Wednesday morning in DC. That’s how much space they have.

Everything that we’re used to on the East Coast has its component over here, but the counterpart here comes with a “drive-thru” option, in case you’re too damn lazy to get out of your car. There are, in no apparent order:

Drive-through pharmacies

Drive-through espresso shops

Drive-through supermarkets

Drive-through auto parts stores

Still to discover are drive-through furniture stores, but they can’t be far behind.

In case you don’t have a problem with commitment and instead prefer to drive-in and hang around for a while, there are plenty of drive-in restaurants, and I’m not just talking about A&W. Fast Eddie’s here in Walla Walla was presented to us after I was whining that I wanted a malt. They had 20 flavors of milkshakes and malts on the menu — and by “menu,” I mean oversized white board that doubled as a sun-blocking device while you’re sitting in your car with the food on your window, like Fred Flintstone in the show opener. While I wouldn’t actually call them fast per se, for it took about 15 minutes to get a burger, hot wings, and two shakes (my craving was contagious, apparently), the food was tasty and the eating-in-the-car novel, at least for now. There weren’t serving on roller skates, but at the Sonic in Richland, they are.


For Jody -- a 1965 Mustang

For Jody -- a 1965 Mustang

We drove down into Pendleton, Oregon, to see what was there and to check out a restaurant we learned about last week. We picked the wrong time of day for the eatery, since it wouldn’t open for a few hours, but we got to see the town a bit. Pendleton is pretty well known for its wool blankets and other fabrics, at least say Susanne and my mother. And I am not about to disagree with either one of them! Pendleton also hosts a rodeo Round Up every year in September. We found a quilting shop, a caramel popcorn shop, used bookstore, and loads of western wear stores. I may have to pick up a cowboy hat at some point. Not sure if black or white is more my style, though.

Since Raphael’s was closed, we ate at the Hamley Steakhouse, which tells a lot of the history of Hamley & Co., which was very tasty and very cowboy. We actually sat right next to the old bank counter front of the First National Bank, which was held up by Butch Cassidy and the Kid — that was pretty cool. I don’t think of Oregon as the old west, but I suppose it was here. Silly northeasterner, am I. Susanne put back most of a plate of baby back ribs and I went for a medium-rare gaucho-style rib eye steak. Definitely recommended if you find yourself in Pendleton. Though I’d stay away on Sundays, since most everything else is closed.

Hey, they like to enjoy the space around here, okay?


Classic Car show in Walla Walla

Classic Car show in Walla Walla

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Categories: driving, transplanted


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