Take that Portland, Seattle, Eugene, and every other town in Oregon and Washington with a McMenamins something or other (pubs, historic hotels, movie theatres, etc.).
You may feel superior to somewhat sleepy Salem in many regards, but we boast the #1, numero uno, top dog McMenamins Cosmic Tripster in the entire universe.
This is a huge freaking deal.
I have no idea why a statue showing our Cosmic Tripster'ing dude hasn't replaced the Golden Man on top of the state capitol. Or why a major street hasn't been named after him.
Regardless, having learned his identity last night, I want all Salemians to bow down before...
Scott Bassett !!!
Now, you might have these thoughts in your mind: (1) I have no idea what a #1 McMenamins Cosmic Tripster is, and (2) Whatever it is, this guy doesn't look like one.
Well, having heard Scott describe his journey to Cosmic Tripster'dom last night, I can assure you that as mild-mannered as he may appear, Scott Bassett is a Cosmic Tripster through and through (did Clark Kent look like Superman?).
Regarding what a Cosmic Tripster is, you will not find a better use for two and a half minutes in your ever-shrinking life span than watching this entertaining explanatory McMenamins video.
(OK, if that's too much to ask of you, Super Busy Person, just watch the first 30 seconds; it reveals the basic mystery of Cosmic Tripster, while bringing forth another enigma: who the hell is Hammerhead?)
Scott held me, my wife, and about twenty other people spellbound in a room at McMenamin's Thompson Brewery in south Salem as he discoursed on how, against all odds, Scott emerged triumphant in what I'm pretty sure was the inaugural Cosmic Tripster event in 2014.
After forking out $25 for a Passport, Scott managed to get it stamped at every McMenamins in Washington and Oregon during five days in November 2013, including one day that featured 16 hours of driving in a heavy rainstorm.
Fortunately for Scott's driving record, consumption of an alcoholic beverage wasn't required at every stop. In general, no purchase is necessary to earn a location stamp.
McMenamin's Bagdad Theatre in Portland, though, was closed on the inaugural Cosmic Tripster/ Passport completing kickoff day. So Scott and other participants had to come back on another day to complete their quest at the theatre.
For Scott, it was two days.
Having consumed most of a Terminator Stout on a empty stomach by the time Scott got to this part of his story, I'm a little vague on the Bagdad Theatre details. It sounded to me like he camped out for that long on the sidewalk outside the theatre, relying on the kindness of other Cosmic Tripster competitors behind him to hold his first-in-line place when he needed to depart for bathroom breaks and other survival necessities.
His herculean efforts -- the brewpub-touring equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest, in my admiring opinion -- paid off big time. One of his prizes was what we and the other folks at the Thompson Brewery were enjoying: drinks, food, and other goodies for twenty people.
Scott generously donated this prize to Progressive Salem for a fundraiser.
Twenty of us paid $50 each for the event, which cost Progressive Salem nothing, leaving them a full $1,000 to use for electing liberal candidates in local elections.
While the general conversation was pleasantly political, I found Scott's Cosmic Tripster talk to be the highlight of the evening. Not far into it, I realized that McMenamins has created a positive "cult" among devotees of their Passport program.
Scott's enthusiasm for the Cosmic Tripster thing was infectious. I felt a brief urge to follow in his footsteps and car tracks, until some sanity burst into my Terminator Stout-infused brain.
But that's the wonderful thing about wild and wacky pursuits like doing all that Scott did to become the numero uno 2014 McMenamins Cosmic Tripster. Like everything out-of-the-ordinary, they seem crazy to those who don't feel the call to embrace the activity, while making great good sense to those who do.
Along with more than 400 other Cosmic Tripsters, Scott was feted at an inaugural Cosmic Tripster Party in a never-before-seen jailhouse at the Edgefield McMenamins.
Naturally I had to search for photos of the party, though I'm sure that non-Tripsters like myself never will be privy to all of what went on, since that must remain within the confines of the Cosmic Tripster initiates.
What Flicker reveals, though, is strange enough.
Several photos of Scott on the page confirm his elevated Cosmic Tripster status. And the gleam in his eyes confirms his happy membership in this McMenamins "cult" (though the beer in his hand provides another reason).
Near the end of last night's Thompson Brewery get-together, a drawing was held for 20 door prizes. I had my eye on a Terminator Stout t-shirt, in part because I enjoyed the beer by that name that I'd ordered.
Pleasingly, in the drawing I was the third or fourth person to choose a prize, and the shirt was available. Guess I've joined the McMenamins cult now also -- though nowhere near the exalted level of McMenamins #1 Cosmic Hipster, Scott Bassett.
(I did put on my best Terminator-selfie-face though.)
Update: Scott sent me links to photos of him in line at the Bagdad Theatre with other aspiring Cosmic Tripsters (second from left), and getting his final Passport stamp. Behold, and marvel: