Tag Archives: Washington

Snow Moon at Cape Disappointment

North Head Lighthouse on the cliff warning boaters.

Oh the winter months here in the pacific northwest. They are cold, rainy and you can go for days without seeing the sun. Honestly it can be depressing so when an opportunity presents itself to camp in winter I was in. Just getting outside for a night with friends and family, sit by the fire, it was something I needed.

Razor clams where in season and low tide coincided with a Saturday night. The Calizon’s were heading up and invited Jenny, I and a few others. I needed out of the house so I was in. Jenny was able to switch around a few things so it worked out that we both could go camping that weekend. Look up at the stars next to a warm fire.

Bobby booked camp sites at Cape Disappointment State Park next to the beach. the spot was large enough that we could pitch our tent and everyone had plenty of space. I couldn’t wait to leave my apartment and get some fresh air. Even better would be the salty ocean air which I rarely get to experience.

We couldn’t leave till early Saturday morning and the park is 2.5 hours away. We got on our way mid afternoon. For part of the trip to the coast it was pouring rain. I had been checking the weather the last week and it was going to be clear. We just had to get past a little rain on the way out but after that it was clear.

Before long we made it to Long Beach and met everyone at a scoop shop in town. I knew Ras and Amanda were coming but I was surprised to see Mark and his daughter. Everyone was sitting outside devouring ice cream when we walked up. We quickly said hello and headed to camp.

That night we got our own spot instead of doubling up with Bobby and Tracy. There were spaces next to everyone and we felt it was the least we could do. We were happy to be there so $30 for the night was a bargain. We quickly put up the tent and joined everyone at the camp fire. We didn’t have it lit but we where getting our chairs gathered for later in the evening.

Low tide was going to be around 6:30pm that night. As the sun started to set we put on our boots and headed down to the beach to hunt razor clams. Soon the sun set over the horizon produced a spectacular light show. As the stars stated to come out we got to digging.

Finding the little buggers is much harder than I expected. I still don’t know what I was looking for but with the help of Jenny I dug up two that night. She was an excellent spotter and I was quick with the shovel. I think collectively we caught 5 or 6 which isn’t that much. We were not going to feast at camp with what we caught that night.

North Head Lighthouse

The weather got cold quick when the sun disappeared. Not being very successful we headed back to camp to get a fire going. A fire was starting to sound real appealing. We spent hours that night around the fire cooking all sorts of stuff. Spam in a can in a can as Tyson pointed out. Hot dogs and even some hobo chili. It was awesome just hanging out with everyone by the fire under the stars. This is exactly what Jenny and I needed. Get back to nature for and recharge.

The next morning we packed up and did a hike in the park before heading home. We hiked to North Head Lighthouse which was a good hike. It was an out and back of only a few miles. The lighthouse has been there since 1898 and is still active today. Like all or certainly the majority of lighthouses in America this one is now completely automated.

After the hike we headed to Astoria for some coffee. We lucked out and found Columbia River Coffee Roasters right under the bridge. Standing in line I recognized the coffee bags. Grendel’s serves their coffee at their cafe. My cappuccino that day tasted just like it does at Grendel’s. We hung out here for a bit enjoying the passing scenery.

We squeezed every bit of time together we could that day. By the time we got to Portland we were hungry and I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. We went to Rams Head for a late lunch. I had a craving for a burger which I am happy to report was satisfied that afternoon.

A really great weekend hanging out with everyone at Cape Disappointment State Park. Sitting in front of the fire with the ocean waves in the back ground, roasting hotdogs looking up at the stars really was what we needed. I look forward to doing this again and simply getting out doors with Jenny more as the weather warms.


Dave Matthews Band Sunlight Supply Amphitheater Wednesday, September 4th 2019

I can’t tell you how long it has been. Actually I can, it has been over 20 years since I last saw Dave Matthews Band. I stopped going to shows when the crowd and vibe started going in a direction that I was not comfortable with. The day before the show Tracy reaches out saying she has an extra ticket to see Dave Matthews at Sunlight Amphitheater the following day and if I was interested in going. I was actually just reminiscing about seeing Dave so I was in.

Never been to Ridgefield or a Dave show recently so this was a totally new experience, I didn’t know what to expect. Traffic going north at five can be a bear and the night of the show was no different. I was going to meet Tracy at the venue since I was never going to make it to her house in time to hitch a rid to the venue. While traffic did slow my progress I still made it to the venue with plenty of time before the show started.

It was funny as I was driving into the lots Tracy spotted me and yelled my name. The afternoon weather was perfect so my windows where down and I could clearly hear her yell, “Hey, Justin!” I parked and we walked to the entrance. The doors opened late so the lines where a little long. Getting through security was pretty straight forward since I didn’t have a bag.

Come to find out the venue had all sorts of delays with the show that evening. Doors opened later then expected and access to the lawn was delayed by at least an hour I heard. The common area at Ridgefield was packed with people just waiting to get to their seats and more importantly the lawn. The venue allows blankets and low back chairs so everyone was waiting in line to get a good spot on the lawn.

Tracy and I had pavilion seats so we took the opportunity to lounge. We got some food and drinks before heading to the lawn to hang out with some of her neighbors. Jason and his wife I knew so I talked with them for a while before the start of the show. Tickets said 8pm start time and no one could tell me if they are late like Phish is. Not wanting to miss anything I headed to my seat a few minutes before 8pm.

The pavilion seats we had were pretty good. It was not worth the $115 face value but then again I am not a Dave fan so for me that was a price to high. The show didn’t sell out that night but seamed close. They just finished a three day run at the Gorge Amphitheater over Labor Day Weekend so I have a feeling many fans skipped this show. Guess Dave really wanted to show some love for Portland by coming to Sunlight.

The show got started pretty close to on time and the pavilion started filling in. The fans really did take their sweet time getting to their seats. I guess because they know Dave will play for nearly three hours so missing the first few songs while standing in line for a beer is not a big deal.

Overall I thought the show as pretty good that night. It started off with a really good song That Girl Is You which was new to me. It then meandered all over the place from really fast songs to super slow love songs. You and Me is everyone’s wedding song according to the couple next to me. Cool…now pay attention you drunks and don’t fall over while trying to slow dance in the aisle. They did a cover from the Talking Heads, Sledgehammer, which was awesome to hear. Then some really rowdy tones like Too Much and Samurai Cop.

A really interesting performance that night. The performing lighting could us some work but it was decent. Looks like the stage setup hadn’t changed in many years. They have a video board that would display music videos for some songs or a traditional light show other times. New members in the band then before with a few old members leaving for various reasons. I miss Boyd Tinsley on violin but such is the way with artists.

The fans are much older now, just like me. It is funny that everyone that was a fan when I started, is now old and still into the scene. Fewer kids then I expected but generally a good crowd. With age comes wisdom and that means not being an asshole and getting drunk at the show. The venue operations could be smoother but whatever. I got free parking which was nice. Access to the lawn was a joke but lots of food and beer options. Getting out sucked balls but after over an hour I finally made it to the high way and a quick 20 minute trip home.

On balance a good show. Certainly not worth the full asking price of the ticket but worth the $60 I paid. If I do another show I think I would prefer to be on the lawn. Cheaper ticket and a better experience, especially if Tracy’s neighbors are going as a large group again. I think hanging out with everyone on the lawn while DMB is playing in the background would be a lot of fun.

Dave Matthews Band
Wednesday, September 4th 2019
Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre – Ridgefield, WA

Set 1 starts at 8:15pm

  1. That Girl Is You
  2. Rooftop
  3. Anyone Seen the Bridge >
  4. Too Much
  5. Do You Remember
  6. Louisiana Bayou
  7. Come Tomorrow
  8. Minarets
  9. You Might Die Trying
  10. Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)
  11. Warehouse
  12. Lying In the Hands of God
  13. Sledgehammer
  14. Here On Out ^
  15. Don’t Drink the Water
  16. Write a Song
  17. You and Me
  18. Corn Bread
  19. Grey Street
    Set over at 10:30pm

Encore starts at 10:38

  1. Everyday >
  2. Ants Marching
    House lights at 10:57pm

Note
^ Dave solo acoustic

Garage-A-Trios Nectar Lounge Sunday, February 3rd 2019

A while back, late last year probably, I stumbled across Garage-A-Trios playing a two nights in Seattle at Nectar Lounge. By the time I found out Friday and Saturday was sold out so they added a third performance on Sunday night. I immediately started contemplating a trip to see them.

We grabbed dinner before the show and managed to watch the end of a very boring Superbowl.

Garage-A-Trio is three members. Charlie Hunter, Stanton More and Skerik. I remember seeing and hearing about them back in the early 2000’s. The last time I saw them perform was at Bonnaroo in 2003 or 2004, it was time to see them again. With only a few days of thought I planned out a rough schedule for the weekend and decided to travel that weekend to Seattle.

When I told Jeremy about it he was in so he came up for a long weekend. He arrived Friday night and left Monday. Sunday was the show in Seattle and we hung out on Monday as well. We got a pretty late start to Seattle but honestly we where not in any sort of hurry to get there. The weather ended up being bad all weekend and we got caught in blizzard conditions driving north on I5. It was crazy getting to Seattle that afternoon.

We checked into the hotel and started looking for dinner. It was Super Bowl Sunday and we managed to find a good place for food and caught the last half of the most boring Super Bowl ever. Duke’s Seafood and Chowder was a little difficult to find but well worth the effort because the food was really good. We loaded up on some pre-show food and finished out the Super Bowl. It really was a crappy game and I was glad we where in Seattle for a concert and not a Super Bowl event.

The Nectar Lounge wasn’t far from the hotel so it didn’t take us long to get there and find parking on the street. An interesting venue to say the least. It has a couple huge garage doors that get opened during nice weather. The stage is actually on the side of the venue right in the middle. This makes the audience area narrow but super wide. Part of the floor area spills into the outdoor seating which is cool. There is also a balcony. We tried to make it there but couldn’t. As we tried to get up top I panic and just had to get out of there. Memories of Robert Walter’s 20th Congress flashed through my head and I just had to go.

As for the performance it was a really good show. I just saw Charlie a few months prior for his most recent incarnation of the Charlie Hunter Trio. For me this was a throw back to seeing them at Bonnaroo in 2003 or 2004. Lots of good energy and a good mixture of songs. Some really good jams and interplay between everyone. Skerik was the front man all night playing MC. For much of the second set they had a guest trumpeter which was cool. There was no opening act but they did play two sets which was nice.

The show was Sunday night but we where in no rush getting home so spent Monday in Seattle before heading back to Portland. The next morning we woke to the city blanketed in snow. It was a pretty amazing sight to see to be honest. I have seen snow before but it doesn’t snow like this in the northwest. It turned into a major snow event over the next few days, setting records. Let me tell you it was interesting navigating the city streets in my car that morning.

Pike St and 1st Ave

We left the hotel and followed directions to downtown. The first thing it said was turn right, which I did, and then start up this long hill. Well that I couldn’t make and eventually had to turn around. This was an indication of how the rest of the day would go.

First thing we did was hit one of the first Starbucks located on Pike Street. We warmed our hands and body with some coffee before heading back out. We then walked across the street to Pike Place Market and walked around for a bit. Jeremy is a huge fan of comics so when we found Golden Age Collectables by dump luck it was a good day. This place is incredible and I recommend any fan of comics, even just a little, check this place out. Lots of cool stuff here.

We hit the road home by mid-afternoon. It is 3 hour drive and I personally didn’t want to get home to late. I had work the next day and Jeremy was flying back to Texas. Driving to Seattle we hit a major snow storm and leaving Seattle we hit another. It wasn’t as bad as getting there but still pretty dangerous. At times it was near white out condition and tracks in the snow you had to follow. God help you if you wanted to change lanes.

The time was all to short having Jeremy in town. As always it was a great time with an amazing side trip to Seattle to see Garage-A-Trios. It brings back memories of road trips to see shows in our younger days. The nice thing now is we can afford to have better accommodations. We can fly to where we want to go and stay in hotels, not our car. Next is is Montreal to see the Grand Prix du Canada. Really excited for that.

Dead & Co. The Gorge Amphitheatre Friday, June 29th 2018

Dead & Co The Gorge 2018

The Gorge Amphitheatre has been on my bucket list for years. Like over 20 year it has been on my list. I remember seeing pictures from the lawn and it just looked amazing. The back of the stage opens up to the Columbia River and the sun sets to the west. It is wide open spaces and a beautiful sight to see. I read that original it was going to be a winery. Glad they decided to make it a music venue instead.

From my house The Gorge is a four hour drive. It is very close to Yakima and Spokane with the larger cities of Seattle and Portland as outliers. Now the great thing about this place is you can camp which makes perfect sense because it is in the middle of no where. How else do you expect to get that view.

The Dead & Co. show was a Friday night so I took the whole day off to travel, setup camp, and chill out a little before the show. I took my time getting up and getting packed which was great to just relax during a weekday. After the four hour drive I got onsite and setup camp. By the late afternoon I was tired from the heat and took a nap. Nothing like a nap in the middle of the day.

I really kept getting lost just looking at the surounding landscape. Such a great place to see a live concert.

The crowd and people here were pretty cool. It was a great seeing all these like minded people camping and getting ready for the show. Lots of older people like I would expect, many around my age and even some “young” folks as well. My camp neighbors looked to be in their early 20’s. The lot was also a happening place with your traditional vendors and shakedown street setup. People everywhere just hanging out.

As night wore on I started making my way to the venue. I had a lawn seat and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. The lawn is a really weird one. You are so high and there is no direct access to the seating area below which is probably 50′ or more down. Then in front of that they have a large orchestra pit area. Dead & Co. offered all sorts of ticket packages. I was cheap and just went with the lawn seat which was already pretty expensive.

I actually arrived late to the lawn. It was easily 80% filled when I got there and that was with 30 minutes to lights out. I managed to find a decent spot and then got lost by the landscape. Despite it being warm out it was an amazing view from the lawn. As the sun set over the gorge the light played some amazing tricks on the canyon walls.

Dead & Co. started just before 7:30 and played for rather short set. I have been watching Bob Weir over the last few years and this night was another example of him showing his age. At times things seamed force and awkward  in his playing. At other times he would have moment of brilliance. It was awesome to see John Mayer as well. Always thought he was a great addition to the group and can really get into some guitar solos.

By the second set the sun was really getting low on the horizon till it was finally slipped below the horizon. Even with the sun gone the full moon really lite up the valley. I was texting a friend back and forth during the entire show and I remember saying at one point it was so peaceful. I really found myself getting lost just watching nature all around me and the crowd on the lawn.

Second set was ok. I thought they really killed the mode with Comes a Time and they never really recovered. I was talking with my other camp neighbors and one of them strongly disagreed with me on that last point. He loved the Jerry stuff and couldn’t get enough of it. One thing that never lost my attention, the scenery.

After the show the party kept going. I got back to my campsite and cooked some food while I watched several fireworks displays in the lot. Highly illegal and dangerous considering the the dry conditions but still fun to watch. I wasn’t for certain seeing fireworks on the fourth so this was a welcome sight. That night I slept well despite the party raging for hours deep into the night.

The next morning I planned to camp at Pine Flats Campground a little further north and east of west. I just wasn’t feeling well and decided to cut my losses spending another long day in the heat and felling like shit. It was a lazy morning packing and getting out of the campsite. I did take the time to make some coffee and have a cigar which was awesome. After four hours I was back home. I was up long enough to have some food and then take another well deserved nap.


Dead & Co. Friday, June 29th 2018
The Gorge Amphitheatre – Quincy, WA

Set 1 starts at 7:23pm

  1. Mississippi Half-Step
  2. Bertha
  3. Tennessee Jed
  4. Mr. Charlie*
  5. Loser
  6. Crazy Fingers >
  7. Cumberland Blues
    Set 1 over at 8:26pm

Set 2 starts at 9:07pm

  1. Playing in the Band >
  2. Eyes of the World
  3. Comes a Time (really kills the mode)
  4. Terrapin Station >
  5. drums >
  6. space >
  7. New Speedway Boogie >
  8. Black Peter >
  9. Playing in the Band reprise
    Set over at 10:53pm

    Encore starts at 10:54pm
  10. U.S. Blues
    House lights at 11:01pm

Notes:
* live debut by Dead & Co.

Beacon Rock July 2018

Beacon Rock

The weather had finally started to change and I wanted to get out for a hike before things got to hot. I mentioned this to Tracy and we ended up doing a hike with Ellie to Beacon Rock. I was thinking Silver Falls State Park to the south but because of logistics we decided that was not the best park. I was able to hike this park on my way down to see SCI so it all worked out.

The park is only 40 minutes or so from Vancouver and it is right on the highway. The parking lot and trail head are steps apart. This is a well maintained path that while steep at times, almost everyone can complete this hike. Plenty of railings to hold onto. It is interesting seeing how they engineered the trail and all the barriers. There are even a couple of footpath bridges which are really cool. Lots of bent railing speak to the ever changing mountain.

Nice hike up the side of the mount with a ton of switchbacks. Its the only reasonable way you can get up there otherwise it is to steep. Once at the top you get some great views of the valley below. The time of day we went the sun was bouncing off the water and it was bright as crap. Still an impressive hike to a really close park. Once we climbed down the mount we continued to the day use park and the boat launch along the water.

You actually walk downstairs to the brewery.

During the hike we worked up an appetite and headed to Walking Man Brewing in the near by town of Stevenson. I had been here once before many years ago when visiting. It was just like I remember. Some really good beer and creative food which was all very good. The weather was perfect so we sat outside and had lunch on the patio.

A great hike that is rather close to the house. There is another hike close by that goes up another mountain and offers even better views of the valley. I will have to try this trail next time.