Three long trips in five weeks implanted powerful reminders that Clark County is the best place in the world. I often wonder if the grumpiest people around here are the folks who don’t travel much. When you hunker down in your comfort zone, you lose a point of reference. Slowly, the nest becomes not so comfortable, and complaints come too easily. Traveling allows comparisons.After each of the first two trips (six days in Dallas in mid-May, then three days in El Paso in early June), I could not return home quickly enough. On the PDX approach of the late-night flight from Dallas, I suppose not every passenger knew or cared that Mount Hood was passing by in dark secrecy to the left of our plane. But through hands tightly cupped on the window, I beheld an unprecedented sight: the faint vision of the snow-capped peak trying in vain to sneak by undetected. Such magnificence at midnight!The unrestrained joy of returning from these trips confirms that I am nearing the completion of my rehab as a recovering Texan. After 9 1/2 years, I declare myself an Official Northwesterner, free of the demon that stalked me for five-plus decades. Granted, I’ll always be recovering, never fully cleansed. The temptation to fall off the wagon will linger. And I’ll suffer occasional relapses, probably waking up in some gutter in Dallas or El Paso, acting and sounding like a Texan. But just one gully-washing thunderstorm in Big D, or one sniff of New Mexico wildfire smoke wafting into West Texas, will coax me back toward recovery.Warning: Tolls ahead!The third trip (three days in Boulder, Colo., last weekend) reminded me that different places sometimes aren’t so different. Like some people here, Coloradoans are racked by the modern affliction known as Toll Derangement Syndrome. They’re several years ahead of us, but they seem just as bitterly divided in debating whether drivers should suffer the indignity of having to pay to drive.