Our last blog left off at our hotel in Eureka… up next for day 6 was another day off for driving and seeing the mighty redwood forest as we made our way to San Francisco. We were in for a treat!
Redwood National Forest was such a magical place and we all agreed that we wish there was more time to spend there. A camping trip would be nice. However, we did have time to explore and take some photos, get some postcards, and even visit the aptly named “Drive-Thru Tree” (we didn’t even try it with the trailer).
So we made our way back to the highway and continued on to San Francisco. I believe we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge right after rush hour, and entering the city wasn’t too bad. San Francisco just seems so dense, the way the buildings are crammed together, and there was absolutely NO parking on the street. Luckily, we found a lot near the place we were staying (thanks Renee!). As we didn’t have to play until the next night, we used this night to drink and eat (Mexican food in the Mission district). Band friend Joe Varela met up with us later on and took us on an adventure to the Castro and to the Q Club as well as a karaoke bar to end the night.
The next day was started at a sweet coffee shop that played our music over their stereo! We then went shopping and thrifting with Renee’s wonderful roommate Sara. That afternoon we made our way down to Pier 39 by way of the BART (awesome metro) and hit up the shops and food down there. Exhausted from all the walking and sunshine, we finally made our way to our next show at the Grant & Green bar. Though we played with the lovely Ash Reiter, one band didn’t show up, and we ended up playing for a small handful of people. It was a little disheartening after the success of the first shows in the northwest, but we were totally prepared for it. We at least made enough for some gas, as we were headed down to Los Angeles the next day.
We were a little apprehensive about the traffic in the LA area, and sure enough, the highways were jam packed even after rush hour. Luckily, we knew how to man-handle the traffic with our trusty trailer and didn’t run into too many problems. We arrived at Café Cordiale in Sherman Oaks with plenty of time to spare for a grocery trip and dinner in the car. This gig ended up being very special; fancy venue, black widow spider by the trailer, great opening acts (the amazing Bryan Conner and Randy Coleman), and an attentive audience, which just happened to include Katherine McPhee and Jean Hale! So after receiving a very warm and motivating response, we finally made our way to a house in Long Beach, which our friend Billy helped set us up with. There, the wonderfully hospitable David greeted us and helped us settle in.
The next day was glorious. We spent it at a fine coffee shop, getting nails done (Caroline only!) lounging at the beach, eating some great Mexican food, and napping! Best day ever.
However, the day wasn’t over yet. That night we made our way to West Hollywood, to the land of celebrities, the center of the entertainment universe, Sunset Blvd. and more precisely, the Viper Room Lounge.
It was definitely way cool driving by so many famous sights. The toughest part was finding parking, so we settled for a lot right next to the venue and paid 20 bucks. Oh well… The lounge itself was TINY. If you’ve seen the Baby Bar in Spokane, think that, but SMALLER. We set up in a corner with half a drum set and rocked it. The earlier acts were great and seemed to have a great crowd, but in between acts, the room cleared out. Once we started jamming, some more people came back in, but it never got as packed as it was. One highlight was seeing a familiar face in Allen Stone – he’s got some sweet tunes, so check him out! Anyway, the way this gig worked was that we needed to bring a certain number of people in that verbally said they were there to see us; if not, we had to PAY for each person not in attendance to see us. Allen was our only fan that night, so that meant a lot. And LUCKILY, Donovan, the rad dude that booked the gig for us was very kind and let us get away without losing any money! Hooray!
The next couple days marked the last of our tour, and we had a LOT of driving to do.
We made the long drive to Sacramento the next day after another night in Long Beach. We were looking forward to Sacramento because many of us had family there, even family we hadn’t met before. Patrick’s Aunt lives there, so his mother flew down for the show. Caroline met an aunt as well, and Brandon has a brother in Chico. The venue, Luna’s Café, was a cute little place, and we had it packed with family and some new fans. After a great show, Brandon got to go stay with his family, while the rest of the troupe got to stay with Patrick’s aunt. The visit was short though, as we had the longest drive ahead of us in the morning.
We all got up early for the 10 hour drive to Portland. By now, this driving thing had become so routine and normal that the car rides didn’t seem that bad. We made minimal stops and made it to Portland with half an hour to spare to play our last show of the tour at the Ash St. Saloon downtown. All I have to say is, we love Portland. Once again, we had a great crowd and played with some more amazing bands (The Lion the Tamer, Lee Corey Oswald, and our friends in And I Was Like What). The sound was great, response was great, and the food wasn’t too shabby either 🙂 It was agreed by all of us that this last show was our greatest set of the tour. So much energy and chemistry, just how we like it! Afterwards, we made our way once again to Ryan, Katie, and Madalynn’s for one more night.
Sunday marked our very last day and last long drive home to Spokane. Unfortunately we had to leave Kurt behind in Portland for a poetry slam tournament. For us, this was a big loss for our road trip mojo, though it did allow more room in the Rav4. In the end, everyone arrived home safely and we ended the tour on a good note, feeling good about things. We definitely want to do this again at some point, but we don’t know when… for now though, we’re keeping VERY busy with things like ZOLA every Monday again (!!), weddings, Pig Out in the Park, the Interstate Fair, and plenty of other gigs here and there. We’ll keep you updated! And thanks for sticking around and reading all of this if you made it through 🙂
Lots of love,
Patrick, Caroline, Kurt, Brandon, and Svenjamin!