"Seriously, it's like 25 blocks from here". - Dis

This was the statement that precluded our two and a half mile hike to the Blue Danube. We were hungry and it was late so we started out for a place called Roadhouse Annie's that was only a block away. It was closed. It only seemed logical to walk 2.5 miles to the next open restaurant instead of walking back a block and getting cars.

The gathering was nothing short of amazing. I considered not doing an aftermath because it seems like no matter what I say, it has probably already been said about other gatherings. Then I decided that I didn't care.

The weekend had its ups and downs. There was the shower of doom at ccunning's place that was supposedly built to be handicapped accessible. Apparently I have never taken a handicapped shower because like everyone else there, I couldn't figure the damn thing out. All I could manage to do on a regular basis was make the handle fall off the faucet. However, ccunning had some wicked powerful air conditioning and a stocked kitchen which made the stay far better than just bearable.

I know I will never forget the gathering but it isn't because of the drinking or the fireworks. It is the people.

enth was my airport arrival buddy and is the only person I have ever met that actually looked perfectly natural with blue hair. He was also all about using people's real names which makes him mondo cool in my book. karma debt came with ccunning to pick me up and it turns out she appreciates good tequila and fresh spices just like me.

There were a lot of new faces and some that I had seen before. I enjoyed every minute playing in the park, getting icy rubdowns, jamming on the sidewalk, sitting on the steps and talking, reading to everyone about the power of playboy, drinking, watching the monkeys, shopping for vegetarian chili ingredients, and getting lost on the way to the zoo and not caring due to the good company and good music. I even got to hang out with a fellow parrothead.

I'll tell you the best part though.

The hugs.

The handshakes.

The smiles.