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On the Road: Danny’s going back to Cali to soak up some more sun

Beautiful L.A. Coliseum on Sunday morning. (Danny O'Neil)

To declare one burger better would be a mistake.

They’re just different.

As different as Seattle and Southern California, and before we debate the merits of the Dick’s Deluxe as compared to the In-n-Out Double-Double, it’s important for me to sketch the broad outline of my weekend: I watched two football games played more than 1,000 miles apart in one 24-hour period, attending the first as a fan, the second as a member of the working press, which I’ve always thought is a funny term along the lines of jumbo shrimp.

Danny’s travel photos

But I’ve now worked in media for 20 years,  from ESPN.com to The Seattle Times (where I’ve worked three different times) and this is my fifth NFL season at 710 ESPN Seattle. I’ve covered a team that no longer exists (the Sonics) for a newspaper that no longer publishes (the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

Traveling across the country has helped me see how big the world actually is, but this weekend is one case in which Alaska Airlines made it small enough for me to cram more football into one weekend than anybody has a right to see.

On Saturday, I watched Washington play Cal at Alaska Airlines Field in a game that kicked off at 7:45 p.m. By 10 a.m. the next morning, I was at the L.A. Coliseum for Seattle’s divisional game, part of my 13 hours and 28 minutes on the ground in California before returning back to Seattle.

In this case, it was worth the stretch. The Huskies were playing their home-opener in the conference, the stadium clad in purple for a team dressed entirely in purple. It was awesome. Well, not the helmets. Sorry, but I can’t see a purple helmet without thinking of those lost seasons of the mid-‘90s even if this version was polished to a fine metallic shine.

I was there wearing a purple Washington T-shirt, a purple rain jacket, and silly Husky stocking hat that was definitely intended for a child.

It’s a huge difference from the suit I wore to Sunday’s game in Los Angeles. That’s my work attire, though. Saturday was for fun and experiencing the enthusiasm that only fans feel.

That enthusiasm is something I’m reminded of each time I fly to one of Seattle’s pro-football opponents, inevitably flanked by Seahawks fans aboard an Alaska Airlines flight.

That was true Sunday morning on Alaska flight 286. Everyone was just a little more sleepy than usual. It was 5 a.m. after all, which was disappointing in only one respect.

It was too early to stop by In-n-Out burger upon landing. They don’t open until 10:30 a.m., which meant that In-n-Out was my last stop before returning to the airport. It  made for a nice bookend since my trip to Husky Stadium started out at the Dick’s Drive-In on Capitol Hill where I met my friend David Keenan, who goes to Dick’s every year on his birthday. Saturday was his birthday, which was news to me given my very, very sporadic use of the Facebook.

He pointed out that comparing Dick’s to In-n-Out isn’t really fair. They’re different burgers from different cities with entirely different histories.

This weekend, they were both part of my a pretty incredible 24 hours of football.