Travel

Records and Root Beer From Coast to Coast During An Alaska to Atlantic Epic Family Summer Vacation

Craft Root Beer from Coast to Coast Fitz's St. Louis

We found local root beer in St. Louis, MO at Fitz’s during our 2015 cross country road trip.

The skeleton of our two week drive from Washington state to New Jersey has been assembled for sometime but now the connective tissue and some of the joints of those 14 sunny summer days we’ll spend behind the wheel of what will surely be a jam-packed Kia Sedona are finally, and excitedly, coming into view.

One of my own personal plans for our 2nd one-way cross-country road trip involves a lot of vinyl and a fair amount of really, really good root beer.

While my wife, daughters and teenage nieces will be buying sentimental bric-a-brac (and, possibly, getting commemorative tattoos) to remember forever our great American road trip adventure, I intend to collect and savor mementos and moments a little differently. I’m going to visit an indie record store in every state which we’ll be spending a night to buy one LP of a band from that state. I’ve already got record stores picked out in Seattle WA, Missoula MT, Coeur D’Alene ID, Minneapolis MN and South Bend IN, and I’ve got bands in mind that I’ll hopefully find some vinyl for: Modest Mouse, Silkworm, Built to Spill, The Jayhawks, Houndmouth, respectively, although man is Washington and Minnesota going to be hard to decide upon a band to represent. I mean, Seattle was and is a hot bed of musical genius and Dylan, Prince, Replacements, Soul Asylum, and so many greats have come out of the land of a thousand lakes. Montana and Idaho and locked and loaded though, as Silkworm and Built to Spill are two of the most special and important bands in my musical timeline.

The root beers might be more difficult to come by than the records because while vinyl isn’t exactly mainstream, people don’t give you strange looks and try to hand you a cassette tape in its place (cassette tapes being the Hines or A&W of the music format game, in this case). There are without a doubt more and more fine craft root beers being brewed from coast to coast and I intend to find as many as I can from the states we are visiting. Those states being, in order (and this is for me every bit as it is for you, because I am having trouble keeping it all straight): Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey.

Oh, nearly forget to mention, we’ll be in Alaska too, on an epic Carnival Cruise before the road trip even begins, to make this an Alaska To Atlantic summer vacation to remember…thanks to independent music, craft root beer, adorable magnets and, gulp, freshly inked tattoos.

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4 Comments

  1. Bradley Grimes says:

    If you have a little extra time in Indiana, or you’re already planning on being near Ft. Wayne, I would suggest a quick stop at Neat Neat Neat Records; great little record store in downtown. This sounds like a fun trip and an awesome way to remember it by!

  2. Hi Bradley, You know it’s funny, I was just approaching by the Ft. Wayne tourism people but we can’t make it work on this trip (SO CLOSE THOUGH!). I’ll get there eventually and I’ll absolutely seek out Neat Neat Neat Records! Do you have a favorite Indiana band?

  3. Bradley Grimes says:

    I hope you can make sometime, it’s a great city! Sadly, I’m a little out of touch with the local music scene. Metavari and Unlikely Alibi are two of my favorites that have been around awhile. If you’re talking big name bands; I feel like I’m obligated to say Michael Jackson or Mellencamp even though I’m not a big fan of both. I used to Listen to Petra a lot when I was growing up; my dad actually helped run sound for one of their early shows.

  4. You are gonna friggin’ LOVE Alaska!

joc