Tag Archives: Oregon

Summit of Neahkahnie Mt. October 2019

Spending a week back in Virginia for work I was excited to get home. There is just something about being back in Virginia that is soul sucking. Midway through the trip I got an email from Jenny. She wanted to go for a hike along the coast and wanted me to come along. I was already starting to miss home so I jumped at the chance to go for a hike with her when I got back. She found a few spots and a tourist information site for Cannon Beach so we were ready as we could be for the adventure in front of us.

We got a super early start on Sunday, meeting at my house at 7am. The night before I saw the New Mastersounds at the Wonder Ballroom so I was pretty tired. The drive out to the beach was only 1.5 hours and it was actually a pretty good one. The fog was super dense around town and as we headed up into the mountains. Half the trip we couldn’t see 100 yards in front of us which was cool.

Jenny picked the trail heading to the summit of Neahkahnie Mt in Oswald West State Park. I think round trip it was about 6 miles. I was more concerned about the elevation change then the distance. Looking at the trail map the lower section of the trail was all switch backs. They only use those when the grade is steep. Ugh. In the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I had no problem keeping up with Jenny that morning as we hiked up the mountain.

Along the coast the fog was already gone but that didn’t mean the trail wasn’t beautiful. Going up we didn’t run into anyone. On occasion we would stop to look at nature and I always noticed how quiet it was. Lower elevations you could hear the cars from the highway but this quickly faded away till we eventually only heard the rustling of the trees.

The view from the summit once we made it was amazing. From the top we had a perfect look down the coast line as far as the eye could see. We could also see a little into the ocean from the vantage point and of course a good view of Neahkahnie. We were shocked at the number of people at the summit but after spending some time I understand why. We just hung out eating the lunch we brought, enjoying the view.

I like the mural and you get a good view of the kitchen too. Wood everywhere and a huge ceiling.

The trip down was pretty easy compared to going up. We ran into way more people hiking up as we came down. Getting that early start was really paying off. The parking lot was full with people were having trouble finding spots by the time we got back to the car. We cleaned up a little and decided to head to Cannon Beach for lunch. We decided on Pelican Brewing for a well deserved beer and food.

I have been to their brewery in Pacific City and I was impressed. The food was creative and both the food and beer were good. This being the flag ship brewpub it was also well appointed. No parking to speak of but the architecture more than made up for it. Lots of exposed wood beams, open and airy is how I would describe the feeling. Huge vaulted ceiling, concrete floors and wood tables all over the place. Bar area is pretty big with lots of bar stool seating. You have a decent view of some large brewing equipment. You also get a nice view of the kitchen and all the activity that is going on there.

After some good food and a well deserved beer we headed down to the water for a walk. It was only early October but the weather was already pretty cold. It was mostly the wind that made it so cold. We didn’t even bother getting our feet wet as it will be way to cold. Lots of other people out that afternoon enjoying the beach which was nice.

A great time along the cost when I got back into town. Trips like this remind me all the time why I enjoy living out here in Portland so much. In less then two hours I an get to the beach and have a change of pace. The same distance the other direction I can be at 10,000′ in the mountains. The view from the summit was amazing, the beer was cold and the walk along the beach magical.

Billy Cobham Star Theater Tuesday, October 8th 2019

Not sure how I saw the show alert but as soon as I did I was interested. It has been 17 years since I last saw him on a whim. Back then I was taping a lot of live concerts and a friend ask me to tap Billy Cobham at The Birchmere. I love music so I was interested. Jeremy and I arrived late as Billy was already on stage playing. We walked into to see him just whaling on the drums. That show was so good that night so when I saw him coming back through town I just had to go. I asked Jenny if she was interested and we made it a date.

First time seeing a show at the Star Theater and it is an interesting place. Doing a little reading on the venue it is long been known for porn, strippers and burlesque. Here recently it has been turned into a music venue and a pretty nice one at that. It is narrow but long with the front taking up the box office and bar area. The stage is elevated and for tonight’s show it was fully seated show which was cool. Some long benches on the side of the venue and additional seating upstairs but not sure how much.

Funny thing is I arrived a few minutes before Jenny did that night and ran into Andy from my last job. Honestly I wasn’t surprised to see him that night as he is pretty into jazz like me. He totally lucked out and was able to get one of the limited walk up tickets as this show was sold out. It was so great catching up with him and talking about Billy. I relayed my story of seeing him 17 years ago and we both were super excited to see him.

Jenny arrived and we chatted before the start of the show. There was a sign on the door saying the performance would start at 8:30pm and with no opening act I didn’t think it would last very long. It was actually a pretty packed stage with all the band members. It was really Billy’s drum set that took up much of the space. That set is just crazy when you look at it.

I gotta say the show itself was pretty damn good. It started off rather well with some pretty upbeat stuff. It was mostly the fusion style of jazz that I was expecting to hear that night from Billy. He was promoting a new album that just went on sale so it was a pretty heavy rotation of those songs. The middle section of the show was rather slow and melodic which I didn’t care for but the end of the show brought the energy back.

One thing that bedeviled me all night was the sound. Jenny and I were positioned right by the sound board and all night the two guys running the board kept tweaking and working on things. At one point it looked like the monitor for the keyboardist died. To their credit they worked out all the issues but it was annoying seeing them constantly going back and forth from the stage fixing and adjusting things. There was even a medical emergency that night but the show went on despite it.

Such a great time seeing Billy Cobham play again. I loved running into Andy and geeking out about jazz. Seeing it with Jenny and how much see enjoyed it made it that much better for me. A good night of fusion jazz in a great looking venue. Can’t wait to see him again. Hopefully I won’t wait 17 years to see him next.

Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project Featuring Randy Brecker
Tuesday, October 8th 2019
Star Theater – Portland OR

Show starts at 8:33pm

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House lights at 10:13pm

Grand Prix of Portland August 30th to September 1st 2019

Last year was the first time back to Portland International Raceway for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland in many years. That was a good event and I was excited to attend again this year. Just like before it was over the same Labor Day weekend which was convenient. I could enjoy the race all weekend and still have a day off on Monday. The big change for me this year was a cheaper ticket. I just didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth with last years ticket and extras. This year I still got a grandstand ticket but along the front straight right in the middle. Cheaper overall ticket and I thought a better experience for me.

Still couldn’t make it to Friday practice even thought I get off mid afternoon from work. I had a date Friday night to the Portland Art Museum which I thought was a better use of my time. Five dollars after 5pm on Friday’s, best deal in town. Anyway I headed out at a reasonable hour on Saturday morning and spent all day at the track.

First on the schedule was practice three for IndyCar. I don’t like going to my seat the first day so headed down the back straight and posted up under a tree to watch the final practice. The weather was perfect all weekend in fact. Pretty cool temps even in the sun with a slight breeze and mostly sunny skies. The hill on the back straight is nothing exciting but does offer some good views of the cars going their fastest around the track.

Indy Lights Race 1

I ended up staying under the tree for several of the support races who were racing all Saturday. One new addition that I really enjoy were the stadium trucks. I believe they generally run on dirt but making a few spot appearances across the nation at select IndyCar and NASCAR events. I really enjoy the sound. They also have a few jumps along the front straight which is cool. They will barrel down the straight at full speed and launch the trucks a good ten to fifteen feet into the air.

Mostly the same kind of atmosphere as last year. One nice addition this year was additional food vendors. More choices and shorter lines. The retail vendors I think are a joke but that’s just me. I keep comparing this even to my experiences at Circuit of the Americas and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and I shouldn’t. Fan experience and ticket prices are so very different.

Ended up not walking the full track this year. Did walk through the support race paddock for a closer look at the cars and teams. Got up close and personal with the stadium trucks, again just so cool to see run.

Race day and the track was a lot less packed than last year. Getting there was pretty easy thanks to Max. Not having an IndyCar paddock pass things just seemed more casual along the front straight vendor area. Lots of people but not really crowded. My seat was in section G and when the race started it almost completely empty. Last year at turn one every seat was taken. Section G no one seemed to care.

Decent race and again when I think of the ticket price a great value for my money. Another incident at turn one lap one this year. That took out several cars and caused a safety car to be deployed for about fifteen laps. When the race restarted another crash at turn one that caused another safety car but not nearly as long. From that point forward it was a pretty much nonstop race to the end. Things just hummed along with not a lot of strategy necessary, just pure racing. As the race neared its end another quick safety car really changed things up. Strategy finally came front and center. Will Power started second but lead the majority of the race. Most importantly across the finish line to win the race.

A good race and a way better experience this year over last. Just a better value for my money and I think next year I might just go with a GA ticket. I like being at the track but IndyCar is not something I really follow. Hard to justify spending all that money on a ticket if I don’t have to. The sound of the engines screaming down the track on a perfect late summer afternoon is what keeps me coming back. They announced during the race on Sunday that a contract for 2020 has been signed so maybe I will be back for a third straight year over Labor Day Weekend. Till next year…….

Kamasi Washington Oregon Zoo Saturday, August 17th 2019

Oregon Zoo Saturday, August 17th 2019

Several months ago the Oregon Zoo started announcing performances for their annual summer concert series. Eventually something I was interested was announced and I was excited. Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington would make a stop at the zoo during their 2019 tour. Kamasi I have heard before and seen recently. That performance blew me away so I was excited to see him again. And Herbie, I mean its Herbie Hancock so yeah I was excited to see him too.

One perk of the concert ticket is free admission to the zoo but unfortunately I was unable to partake in this added bonus. Getting to the zoo is still on my local tourist list. Arriving to the venue I highly recommend you take the Max. Either the red or blue west and get off at Washington Park. From there its an elevator rid up and then right for the zoo entrance. Can’t beat it considering the parking lot fills up quickly on the weekend and sold out concerts.

One of the elephants came out and joined us for part of Kamasi’s performance that night.

The stage is set all the way in the back by the elephant enclosure. The zoo has been doing this since 1979 so now they have a permanent stage and facilities which are nice. It is a smallish outdoor amphitheater which is perfectly proportioned I think. Up close they have a traditional reserved seating area. Most of the venue is grass. You are allowed to bring blankest and low chairs so of course do that. Get there as soon as the grounds open to secure a spot on the lawn. I arrived 45 minutes before the show start and it was already at capacity. Lots of food options around the venue which was encouraging to see.

Right on time Kamasi Washington and The Next Step took the stage for an hour long performance. The first time I saw Kamasi his performance blew me away. This time I would say it didn’t have as much energy as the Crystal Ballroom performance. I think it was just the intimacy of the crowd that made the Ballroom a better performance. Still a good crowd but not the same as being packed in with your fellow fan listening to Kamasi groove.

Still a very good performance by everyone. He even brought his father who played with the band all night. He hit some of the classics that have made him famous. Not so much talking this time around, more straight and to the point. I think it was a great opportunity to expose Kamasi to new fans who may not have heard him but wanted to see Herbie. Even one of the elephants managed to come out and see him play.

Next was Herbie Hancock and it was cool to see him play after hearing his music for so many years. He has a talented group of band members but none of them are originals or long standing. They were all good at what they do but if I had to rate the performance I would say average. Herbie was into the music but the other guys just seemed to be playing along for a gig. It was lacking energy. Even when they did Watermelon Man and Cantaloupe Island, it felt forced.

Again, it was great to see Herbie but the performance was lacking. I was here to see Kamasi to be honest and even that performance was just ok. Great venue and I look forward to coming back. I also hope to see Kamasi do another tour and hit a smaller venue in the Portland area. Let’s pack the place and have a groovy time.

Kamasi Washington
Saturday, August 17th 2019
Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR

Set starts at 7:00pm

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  7. Fists of Fury #
    Set over at 8:02pm

Note
# with Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
Saturday, August 17th 2019
Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR

Show starts at 8:31pm

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  4. Actual Proof
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  7. Watermelon Man
    Set over at 938pm

Encore starts at 9:39pm

  1. Cantaloupe Island #
    House lights at 9:50pm

Note
# with Kamasi Washington and his dad

Silver Falls State Park July 2019

The weather was finally starting to turn hot during the late afternoon hours. Its weird but for me when the weather gets like this I just want to get out and do something. The early morning hours are still very cool and if you go up into the mountains, its cooler yet. I can beat the heat naturally for a while and get out side to enjoy nature at the same time. This time around I just didn’t have enough time to research a place so I went back to Silver Falls State Park which I have been to before.

This park checked all the boxes that I wanted in a hike that weekend. Its a good hour and a half drive from the city. It is also pretty deep into the boondocks so a nice quite drive down two lane roads for the most part. Not so many mountains along the drive but you do get some good driving through the forest. It was also a place I was familiar for so plenty of parking and hikes of various lengths. I could do 10 miles and see all the falls with all the crowds of people or go on a shorter hikes and avoid the crowds.

The drive down was pretty easy, its just far. Getting into the park turned into a cluster. It was a beautiful day so the entrance was smashed with people. A ranger was asking everyone what they where doing and directing them to a specific lot depending on what activity you where doing. The F lot was for hiking and a little deeper into the park.

Upper North Falls

From here I headed north to the Upper North Falls which I am pretty certain I skipped last time. When you do the loop trail you skip this place since it is an out and back. I mostly didn’t want to fight all the crowds that would be along the trail so decided on this hike which worked out. It was still a little busy till I got the North Falls and from there it died almost completely.

Once I finally got to the water falls there were only a few people hanging out. I spent probably 45 minutes at the falls and the entire time no more then 10 people where around. Most wondering over the rocks, some along the waters edge, some didn’t move much past the end of the trail.

The waterfall itself is pretty impressive. Not as good as some of the others in the park but it was serene. I sat on some rocks not far from the base of the pool. The canyon trees where tall enough to provide shade so I could enjoy the sight and sound of the waterfall without roasting alive. It also allowed me to rest and cool down. I took the time to do some writing to family. I love being in beautiful spots like this and writing letters.

The Upper North Falls hit the spot that weekend. I got a good drive in, a decent length hike an lots of natural beauty. You throw in some peace and quite and it was a perfect afternoon. Even when its warm outside, in the shade its generally comfortable. Its great weather for getting out into the mountains and hiking.