Wednesday, August 1, 2012

7/24/12-7/30/12 - What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt. I

I've been semi-off-the-grid for the last few days. I've actually still been pretty on-the-grid, truth be told, but without a moment's time to email or blog. Also, without my laptop. I confess, it felt kind of good. Still, I've enjoyed this new blogging habit of mine, and I missed it a little. I will have to do a lot of editing here. So much happened in such a short time!

I had it in my head that I was flying out on Wednesday. That turned out not to be true. Luckily, my mom double-checked my itinerary, and reminded me that I was, in fact, flying on Tuesday. I spent a pretty long time in O'Hare, due to both scheduled layover and flight delays. There are really a lot worse places to be stuck. I went through my second favorite airport tunnel (second to the one in Detroit) to Concourse C.

I got some mint-chocolate chip ice cream, then found this nice little wine bar.

They had 3 oz pours and a self-playing grand piano, so I put together my own little flight of reds, and read Los Angeles Magazine's Best of LA for a while. I chatted with a truck driver and a liquor distributor about scotch and tequila for a bit before moving on to get a bit closer to my gate.

There are really worse airports to be stuck in than O'Hare. They have a Vosges chocolate shop, where I picked up a black sea salt and caramel chocolate bar (for later), and all kinds of interesting things between Concourses E and F.

I really wanted to get in on the airport playground action, but I figured it might be frowned upon.

This was actually drawn by a set of twins I went to high school with - Ryan and Trevor Oaks - using a perspective drawing technique they invented themselves.

Not quite sure what Lincoln's doing there.

Their medical center really has your bases covered. Whooping cough vaccines and teeth whitening can all be achieved, at the airport, no less.

I discovered as I wended my way towards Concourse F that O'Hare has its own aeroponic garden that actually supplies herbs, greens, peppers, and tomatoes to some of the airport's better eateries. How cool is that? Obviously I had to take a look.

I even had time to check out the sunset and get a pretty decent meal from Cibo Express.

Greens, roasted root vegetables, and red pepper salsa. That's something I'd actually make myself!

Finally, FINALLY made it home. In case you were wondering, this is what the Roanoke airport looks like at 1:30 am: deserted.

I got to bed around 2:30, then my sister woke me up about 8 to go to Floyd with her. She was working on this big puppet to parade around Floyd Fest with a group of kids from an art camp she used to go to. I wanted to hang out with her, so I said I'd help. There was a ton of work to do, but it was really fun. I haven't papier mached in years! It was hot and thirsty work, but I really enjoyed it. Haley and I even rescued a hummingbird that got trapped in the studio. I bailed around 6 when my mom picked me up and took me back to Blacksburg where we saw a rockin' set from The Guilty Pleasures while we ate some tasty grub at Gillie's. I had salmon with blackberry sauce. It was the bomb. Afterward, I followed Patrick to his next gig at  The Cellar where I met up with Catherine Bernard. She and David and Patrick and I ended up gossiping about high school until the bar closed. It was so much fun. Amazing how much we didn't know about what was going on with each other!

After going to bed around 3, I was roused at 9, this time by my mother. We had to go to Floyd Fest! I slathered myself in sunscreen, put on my bikini top, and prepared myself for a long day in the sun. We parked in a field, and as I walked up to the shuttle bus blasting country music I thought, "I couldn't be further from LA right now." It made me smile.

It's pretty much hillbilly Burning Man.

Lady in a crazy costume: check.

Fanciful art car: check.

Tons of people camping: check.

Here's my sister with they're puppet from last year.

The thing moved beautifully. I took video, but I'm having file format issues with that.

Here's the main stage:

This festival is definitely more hippie than hipster. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:
Check out the guy in the purple t-shirt. Classic.

The band is Ha Ha Tonka. I thoroughly enjoyed them, mostly because they sound very very very similar to Band of Horses. They did a sweet acapella version of a folk song about going to the gallows.

Overall, I saw a lot of good, but forgettable music. Sara Watkins was good, but I think I might like her better when she performs with Tom Brousseau or the Decemberists. Dawes was pretty good. There was a band who's name I've already forgotten that sounded like The Wallflowers with a more country accent. Actually a very charming Raleigh accent. Lots of Americana roots rock, lots of fiddles. Lots of sameness. I was kind of hoping for a little more variety. That said, it was still nice to be able to hang out somewhere so laid back, but still be able to get things like kombucha and artisanal popsicles.

There was some pretty good food options, although Chateau Morrisette's "Southern Sushi" was a bit disappointing. They definitely get points for creativity, and it was almost really good, but the rice wasn't sticky or moist enough to hold together, and the whole thing lacked flavor. I'm not even sure what the dipping sauce was supposed to be. It was almost like tzaziki, almost like ranch, but with none of the tanginess of either. It's a shame. Pickled beets and green tomatoes wrapped in collard greens should have been awesome. It was pretty at least.

I hung out with my mom in her boo boo tent in the children's area.

 A woman Mom was working with gave me a feather extension in my hair. I wanted to keep it, but after a couple days it started to stick out all crazy.

I amused myself as long as I could, but I was exhausted and a bit tired of being covered in sunscreen, so I headed back to Blacksurg around 9. Sorry Jackson Browne, I just didn't care enough about your music to stick around. I still had 3 more days of intensive family activity ahead of me. I needed sleep!

Stay tuned for Part II!


  1. I agree about the homogenaity of this year's Floyd Fest. We have had greater variety in the past. I am not sure what happened here. What they are doing now and maybe did before was have "Below the Radar" bands that the attendees of the Fest and vote on and the prize is main stage next year. I found the BTR bands that I heard very interesting AND since I could not stay for all of Jackson Brown I did get his new CD to listen to on the way home, Love is Strange. He is playing music with some interesting people and the music is very rich and beautiful. I like how he is evolving. Good lyrics, better than usual.