Boise, Idaho

Trading Seattle's moldy summer for Boise's crackling 100-degrees-plus heat is worth one eight-hour road trip with friends. Here's how you can squeeze a Seattle summer's worth of sun into one Boise weekend: Hike in the city's foothills in the morning, drink Budweiser Cheladas while floating in the Boise River in the afternoon, then pack a dinner picnic at the Boise Co-op and drive out to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival's amphitheater for an evening show. Then, on your way back to Seattle, pick up a souvenir skunk hat at the Rocky Mountain Fireworks and Fur Company outside of Caldwell—unless it's burned down again. (Drive takes eight hours. Take I-90 E, merge onto I-82 E via exit 110 toward Yakima, turn left onto I-84 E toward Pendleton, stay left to take I-184 E toward I-184/the Boise City Center. Welcome to Boise—worth one trip, but no repeats) CIENNA MADRID

Chehalis Garlic Festival

For too long, garlic lovers have lived in fear of contaminating workspaces, movie theaters, even bedrooms with nature's most odiferous bulb. But no longer: Chehalis's 16th annual garlic festival is a sanctuary for all, a place where dedicated garlic lovers can hunker down on hay bales and pig out on everything from garlic crepes and bread, roasted and deep-fried garlic cloves, hand-dipped garlic hot dogs, and barbecue garlic ribs to garlic fudge, cheesecake, and ice cream without fear of offending their neighbors. With so much motherfucking garlic at your fingertips, the only thing you have to dread is the drive home. (Aug 24–26. Drive takes an hour and a half. Take 1-5 S to exit 81, turn left under the overpass, turn right on Pearl St, which turns into Gold St, continue south on Gold St, which turns into N National Ave, then take a right into the fairgrounds' north parking lot. 2555 N National Ave, Chehalis. Tickets and schedule at, adults $5/kids 7 and under free) CIENNA MADRID

Get Crabs

Last year, Washington's recreational fisher-folk caught 1.9 million pounds of crab—fresh, sweet, buttery crab. They borrowed rowboats and dumped crab pots overboard. They sat up at night on docks with a six-pack, pointing strong lights into the water and scooping up crabs with long-handled dip nets. They caught crabs in the Pacific Coast, Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and on all the islands. Drive to any salt water and you can catch crabs. Begin your adventure planning at Pick a destination, click on the site's map, and get going! Fact: Steamed live crab with corn, small potatoes, and a bottle of wine is one of the finest meals known to man. (Every saltwater shore in Western Washington) BRENDAN KILEY

Omak Stampede and Suicide Race

The Omak Stampede is one of the oldest and most respected rodeos in the Northwest. It was started by a coupla' Okanogan County cowpokes in 1933. The Suicide Race was added two years later in 1935, and it's been the controversial highlight ever since. Based on 19th-century endurance races held by Native Americans on the neighboring Colville Reservation, tribal riders continue to view the race as a spiritual event. Horses wear sacred eagle feathers as they seemingly fly down a 62-degree near-vertical slope. Horses die. Riders are injured. Everyone witnesses an incredible piece of our state's history. (Aug 9–12. Drive takes four and a half hours. Final destination: 421 Stampede Dr E, Omak—ask the internet for directions; it's complicated. Tickets and schedule at, $10–$25, all ages) KELLY O

Yakima Valley

Only 150 miles from Seattle, the Yakima Valley bills itself as "America's Fruit Basket," and fortunately, a lot of that fruit is fermented. There are literally a kajillion wineries between Selah and Prosser along I-82, along with great, cheap Mexican food and some my-god-I-can't-believe-a-tomato-tastes-this-good U-pick farms. Head out early, spend the day wine tasting and mole munching, sleep the booze off in a rented teepee at the Yakama Nation RV Park and Cultural Center, do some organic U-pick at Krueger Pepper Gardens, and then enjoy your bounty in a picnic lunch at Yakima Sportsman State Park, a lush, wooded oasis in the middle of the high desert. (Drive takes two and a half hours. Take I-90 E and hang a right at Ellensburg onto I-82. More info at,, GOLDY

Soap Lake

People used to go to Eastern Washington's Soap Lake, just north of Ephrata, because they thought its waters would heal them. Folks with psoriasis. World War I vets whose skin had been burned by mustard gas. Some people still believe in the power of the water out there, but personally, I think it's better to place your faith in the restorative properties of the high-desert view, the inspiring weirdness of the town's flea markets and soap-box derbies, and, most powerful of all, the tender touch of karaoke at the Soap Lake Businessmen's Club, where it's nobody's business if you do. (Drive takes three hours. Take I-90 E to exit 151, head northwest along SR 283, then along SR 28, then through Ephrata, take a left onto SR 17, and head into Soap Lake. Map and daylight driving recommended! Businessmen's Club: 14 Canna St N, Soap Lake, 509-246-0130, 21+) ELI SANDERS

Ellensburg Rodeo and Kittitas County Fair

If you feel like avoiding the prices and the lines at Bumbershoot, your best Labor Day weekend alternative is the Ellensburg Rodeo. If you've never been to a rodeo, here's what you need to know: $16 buys you three hours of kids being thrown from the backs of sheep (it's called "mutton busting," and Child Protective Services is totes fine with it) and watching grown men attempt to ride a variety of stock that, on principle, does not care to be ridden. Even better: Fair food and carnival rides abound, pancake feeds are a daily thing, and clowns know their goddamn place. (Aug 31–Sept 3. Drive takes two hours. Take I-90 E, take US-97 N exit 106 toward Ellensburg, stay straight on US-97 as it turns into W University Way, turn right on N Main Street, end at 609 N Main Street, Ellensburg. Tickets and schedule at, $15–$35, all ages) CIENNA MADRID

Robin Hood Lanes

Edmonds is only a 20-minute drive from Seattle, but it feels like a different world. It's slower-paced, lower to the ground, and generally quieter than Seattle. And it's home to great surprises like Robin Hood Lanes, the best damn bowling alley in Western Washington. Robin Hood Lanes clings very loosely to its theme (there are a few green pointy hats and arrows decorating signage throughout the alley, and you can buy beers at the adjoining Friar Tuck Lounge). But that doesn't really matter: It's cheap and fun and only a little bit smelly. Sadly, not all is well in Sherwood Forest: The bowling alley is scheduled to be demolished later this year to make way for a Walgreens. A local treasure being destroyed by a greedy developer—where's Robin Hood when you need him? (Drive takes 20 minutes. Take I-5 N, turn left. Robin Hood Lanes, 9801 Edmonds Way,, Sun–Thurs 9 am–midnight, Fri, Sat 9 am–1 am, $3.75–$4.75 per person per game or $18–$26 per lane per hour, shoe rental $3.50 per pair) PAUL CONSTANT

Vashon Cemetery

Corporate cemeteries look so boring because of their bogus rules about the size, shape, and materials for headstones. (Blame the tyranny of lawns and the profit motive to keep lawn-mowing efficient and cheap.) But the expressive, eclectic monuments of Vashon's county cemetery make it a peacock among graveyards—and well worth the (very short) trip. It has a pair of cast-metal wings on a twisted plinth; two translucent, cast-glass headstones by local funeral artist Greg Lundgren; a seven-foot steel monument with stained glass that the deceased made himself; a concrete rooster; an upright oval with tile mosaic; a headstone with the inscription "DOUBT"; and many more. Take a picnic and celebrate the cycle of life. (Drive takes about an hour. Take the ferry to Vashon Island, drive south on Vashon Hwy SW, take a right on SW 204th St, and another right on Singer Rd SW, end at 19631 Singer Rd SW. Dawn–dusk, free) BRENDAN KILEY