The verdict is in. For five years, I've been a smug Northwesterner, convinced that Oregon is the greatest place on earth. Mountains? Got 'em. Ocean? Check. Desert? The deepest canyon in the US? The biggest group of high waterfalls in America? World's largest Sitka spruce? Check, check, check, check. The most microbrews and adult entertainment locations per capita? The least polluted air in the country? Need I go on?
So what's changed? Well, after last weekend's mini-tour of the Northeast, I'm still convinced that Oregon rocks.
Where am I going with this? Well, even though I didn't get to see all of New England, I did notice more than a few similarities between the Northeast and Northwest. Not only does natural beauty abound, but the people simply rock.
I spent Saturday night in a motel in Concord, NH, then drove to Providence Sunday morning. I spent some time exploring the city's parks. Providence has a lot of geese. I also made an appearance at a college radio station.
Sunday night found me at the Celtic Pub in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, just minutes from downtown Providence. I played for a small yet receptive audience; I couldn't help cracking some Olive Garden jokes to all the servers present who had just gotten off work. I sang a couple of impromtu duets with Caitlin Callahan, a talented local musician. After wrapping up the show, I still had some more left in me, which I unleashed upon a neighborhood karaoke bar.
After three hours of sleep, I hopped on a plane for Portland. A flight attendant asked me to serenade all of first class. I declined. A large, well-meaning woman who was sitting in my row talked my ear off about how great Portland is and all the things that I needed to see when I got back. What part of "I live in Portland" don't you understand, lady? If you are reading this, ma'am, I'm sorry for putting in my earplugs while you were still talking.