I only have scattered impressions at this point:
1. The stores are so big it is scary. There is so much stuff yet it is so alike. I do not like the size because I do not like having to take so much time locating the right aisle to find what I want and get out of the store. I had never gone to a Target before and found the one in Cleveland Heights, Ohio particularly intimidating. I visited no Walmarts.
2. My kids and I bought Harry Potter the morning of the 16th of July and had all read it, in turn (though I cheated by sneaking it while the kid whose turn it was was doing something else) by the 22nd. The coverage of the Harry Potter release in the papers was very amusing. I am torn between recognizing slick marketing and being happy that kids are still so into reading a book - any book.
3. The Pacific Northwest is still the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and if you have never been there before I highly recommend Klamath, Oregon and the surrounding countryside (comprising the Redwoods national park (?) forest (?) monument (?)) and visit the tacky-outside, very-wonderful-inside "Trees of Mystery" with the huge statue of Paul Bunyan visible from the highway. It has an amazing collection of American Indian artifacts.
(EDIT: Oh God, I can't believe I said Klamath is in OR. I spent most of my time in OR (in the Kalmiopsis and in Portland) but Klamath is in Northern California. Apologies.)