Tag Archives: Washington

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.

 

Packwood Flea Market Memorial Day Weekend 2018

This aint no museum this junk is for sale.

Earlier this year I caught word of a giant flea market in the middle of no where Washington. The city was called Packwood and twice a year during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend the city throws together one hell of flea market. The city doesn’t shut down but it’s population swells each weekend to unimaginable levels. Between the shear number of vendors and all the people wondering about it is a sight to behold.

Friends of Bobby and Tracy have some family land right in Packwood and each year they gather to celebrate and have fun. We were invited to join in the festivities this year and it was a blast all weekend. We camped outside and I must say the weather for me was perfect. It was breezy at times but during the night it was nice and cool. It also never rained which was awesome. Only for like a half day on Sunday was it actually sunny and warm.

As soon as we arrived one think I noticed was the communal atmosphere. All weekend everyone helped each other out. Food was the coolest thing as everyone shared what they had. No one went hungry and for the most part we all ate together which considering what coordination is needed that is pretty cool.

Mt. Rainier National Park

The flea market is a huge event. I walked for miles over three days and didn’t see everything. Not only are there vendors along the main highway but you can go down any road and find even more vendors. Most I will admit stuff is junk but if you find the right buyer it can be worth gold. I ended up not buying anything but I was amazed at all the stuff I saw over the weekend. If you are a creative person you can find that one amazing little widget here that will just make your design. I did spot two classic typewriters and thought about them for a hot minute but decided against it. That is still something I would like to own but this wasn’t the right place to make the purchase.

A big to do all weekend was corn hole. I don’t know what it was but Bobby and I played a lot of it all weekend. We would practice and practice. Get confident in our skills and challenge the same two people all weekend. I think we won one game and that was it. Still a lot of fun and we will see about a rematch next time. We talked about making our own board too. Pretty simple design and it would be a great opportunity to practice my knuckle ball.

Everything we needed was at camp and we could walk to the flea market so no reason to leave. Our only adventure out all weekend was to Mt. Raineir since we were so close. I have never been to the park and neither had the family so it made for a great day trip opportunity. Getting there we took the long way around and unfortunately it took about an hour to get into the park once we made it to the entrance. It was such a great day that everyone was coming down from Seattle causing a huge delay getting into the park.

At higher elevations you can still easily find snow. We had a quick snowball fight at the fails. I mean, why not.

Once we got in we hit a ranger station and found a quick but scenic hike to Carter Falls. This is a series of falls along the larger Wonderland Trail. First you cross the Nisqually River on your way up the Wonderland Trail. Its crazy seeing the river bed and its ever changing flow. I think its about a mile up the trail and there are the falls. Nothing that impressive but still a nice little hike up the mountains. It was crazy to still see snow at this elevations, around 3600′. We even had a snow ball fight……in June.

Actually some of the best scenes where on the drive down the mountain. We passed this waterfall tucked under the road which was really cool. At one point we rounded the corner for a long straight and the mountain just opened up. All weekend we couldn’t see the mountain and even now while hiking it was covered in clouds but at that moment, things where perfect. Mr. Raineir is certainly an impressive mountain.

A great and fun weekend. Lots of relaxing, cigars, walking and food all weekend. Over Labor Day weekend I am going to see the Indy race here in Portland but there is talk of going up again that weekend. I won’t be able to make that but it would be a fun weekend. If you get some good weather it can be a lot of fun.

 

Hoh Rain Forest Tom’s Creek May 2018

With the weather finally changing there are less excuses for not getting out. This month I have some free nights at Marriott that will expire so this weekend I booked a trip up to Olympia to burn through one of my nights. Years ago I saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning that talked about the quietest place in the continental US and since then I have made it a point to check out the spot. Now they didn’t say exactly where it was but I think its in the Hoh Rain Forest some where in Olympic National Park.

Lots of drift wood has washed up on this section of beach.

I would have much rather camped in the forest but the hotel worked out. Its only a couple hours from home but much closer then my house to the hike. The first real hike of the year and I knew I would be exhausted afterwards so closer was better. On the trail I ran into many people that where out for the weekend hiking. From the Hoh Rain Forest visitor center you can head deep into Olympic National Park. There are really only foot trails into the interior so if you want to go exploring, you better start walking.

From my house I got an early start and left just before 7am. The park is pretty deep in the interior but you are still only barely in the park. Its amazing how much of this park is not accessible by road. You really must hike if you want to get anywhere. There was certainly no shortage of 20+ mile hikes starting from here.

From the visitor center I headed down the Hoh River Trail. My time was limited and in the end I only got two hours to hike into the forest but I managed to make it to Tom’s Creek and hung out there for a while before turning back for my car. Next time I am planning on an overnight stay to really enjoy the park. It was still early afternoon when I had to head back with plenty of daylight left.

So the whole reason to come out to this park was to find some peace and quite. It was a beautiful day so I expected the trail to be busy with hikers. Despite being so hard to reach, the weather was to perfect to pass up. First off in the lower section of the trail you are walking right along the river for the most part. This provides a huge amount of noise as the water rushes over the stones and debris. This isn’t that bad but what I kept noticing was the air planes. At least this part of the park is right over a flight path which is super annoying. Even when I found a nice quite spot near Tom’s Creek to get some writing done I could hear the planes over head.

The hike itself is great. Now and again you get a cutout in the trees so you can see the river below and in the back ground are snow capped mountains. It was so crazy seeing the snow topped mountains.  Coming from the mid-Atlantic you never see anything like this. I have hiked in the Shenandoah when it has snowed but that disappears just as quickly as everywhere else in Virginia. The forest was also just starting to come to life. The ferns and other leafy trees are starting to bloom. Not many flowers were blooming so not sure if I missed them all or just early. The temps on the mountains are probably in the mid 60’s so might be a little early still?

Along the trail there are also two small waterfalls. One you has a pretty good view from a small foot bridge. The second is approximately 200′ further down the trail and is much harder to see. You can hear it and that was the only reason I noticed it. The first has a pretty well defined trail to it. The second, not so much.

One thing you notice walking in the forest is the size of the trees. There are many huge trees in the forest and pictures don’t do them justice when you have no scale for reference. They really are amazing and it’s one of those things you just have to see and experience for yourself.

I had a free night at Marriott that was about to expire and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Olympia had the closest. Who knew that I would have difficulty finding a place to eat after my hike. By the time I got to the hotel and cleaned up it was almost 9pm. Not to worry, its a Saturday night in the capital city of the state of Washington. Surely something must be open. Boy I couldn’t have been more wrong. The entire city shutdown at 9pm it seems. I ended up with fast food because I couldn’t find anything else open.

Originally I planned to hit Three Magnets Brewing Co. close to the hotel but wasn’t feeling it that night. Thankfully nothing to worry about because on Sunday at 8am and start serving breakfast and beer which is awesome. I got their BLT Benedict and their Robust Porter. The place was really busy for a Sunday morning which was nice to see. I took the opportunity to sample a few beers and get some writing done. Olympia isn’t that far from home so there was no hurry to leave.

After breakfast I explored some of the city. I found some great chocolate at Encore Chocolates & Tea. They reminded me Ranger Chocolate is just down from my house. The small art supply shop Olyphant Art & Media was tiny but I found a pen case here so another score. They even had a decent record shop. Rainy Day Records didn’t have anything to deep but certainly a well rounded collection of music. They have a movie club which I thought was cool. A bunch of cheesy 70-90’s cult classics. What a good idea.

Last thing on my list was stationary. What I found was more of a gift shop but Compass Rose had a good selection of cards. I bought a bunch of post cards and a couple note cards and got to work writing at a local coffee shop. The shop overlooked a small park. With such a beautiful day the park was alive with activity.

I really want to go back to Olympic National Park and camp next time. I loved the huge trees and the weather is pretty good for hiking out that way. With such a large park there is a lot to explore so I have a feeling it will keep me busy for a while. As for Olympia I thought that was a great little town. Sunday morning and the place was busy with activity in downtown. I have one more free night that’s about to expire……where to next?