Happy Birthday Tim!!! Portland Town into Boise into China Cat Sunflower into Spokane. Back into Portland and then finally into Dupree’s Diamond Blues

Alrighty… we got on the road the night of the Santa Barbara show and started heading north to Santa Cruz where we intended to celebrate Tim’s birthday. Unfortunately our crap brakes chose to whine and violently shake the van anytime we attempted to utilize them during our natural acceleration down the mountain roads. Deciding not to unnecessarily press our luck, a pit stop was made in Santa Maria for slumber and destruction of In and Out Burger. Void of a beach to entertain Tim with, we settled on the Santa Maria ChuckE Cheese instead.

Since I last roamed the festive confines of ChuckE Cheese, a lot has changed…

1. There are no balls to jump into (WTF???)
2. The “show” which used to be the puppets is now just a lame reinactment on DVD.
3. The actual, real life ChuckE Cheese oversees said DVD beneath a psychedelic light show which was easily the afternoon highlight.
4. Skee Ball still dominates. Great game.

Following a brake repair, we were back on the road and making fantastic time to Portland when we caught the unmistakable aroma of garlic. The scent became so intoxicating that we had to investigate its cause…

Matt, who is smarter than all of us, informed his travel mates that we were in Gilroy, CA. which is the “Garlic Capital of The World.” Surrounded by miles of garlic crops, the entire town reeks of the taste bud friendly spice. We found the Italian restaurant responsible for catering the annual Garlic Fest and filled our stomachs with garlic bread, potatoes, noodles, fries, chicken, etc.

Eventually we made it to Portland where we were about to enjoy one of my favorite crowds of the tour. Our first couple stops in Portland were marked with small crowds making up for what they lacked in attendance with a good vibe. Tonight’s crowd was READY TO DANCE and they pogoed up and down on the spring loaded (actual springs are under the floor) dance floor in Lola’s Room for us. An interesting tidbit to the show was that Modest Mouse was rehearsing for Sasquatch in the bigger Crystal Ballroom upstairs from where we played. In between our songs and throughout our load-in and sound check, we were greeted with hot Mouse jams leaking in from above.

Chris Cank and “Vort,” are a pair of painters who recently moved to the west coast from Philly. They attend rock shows and set up their paints and canvases on the floor of venues while they “paint the show” alternating control of the paintbrush between one another each song until the painting (and show) are complete. They called us up to see if it was cool for them to paint the show and of course we were happy to grant them permission. Below is “our show.”

A self anointed donut connoisseur, Voodoo Donuts in Portland brings pain to corporate assembly line donut houses such Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts. Holy crap these were good…

I ripped M&M only to be upstaged by Tim who took down the delicate beast pictured below…

We arrived in Boise only to find our keyboard broken. In the past, Julian has somehow been able to fix the thing but this time was having no such luck. Borrowing a piano from What Made Milwaukee Famous, we played our second fun crowd show in as many nights with the Boise faithful rocking out and dancing with one another during the Whigs set. Hats off to the city of Boise and their rock fans.

With Sasquatch Festival only a couple days away, we quickly became worried about our malfunctioning keyboard and decided to pull an all-night drive to Spokane after the show. I steered the entire 430 mile, 8 hour mountain jaunt through the night arriving in Spokane at 9 AM a coffee loaded monster. Below is me at sunrise and after 3 or 4 cups of trucker fuel…

After a couple more cups…

Sleep was a stranger to everyone but Matt who found it underneath his bench seat…

Luckily I had Joel to keep me awake…

After dropping the keyboard off to be repaired, we scrapped a few hours of afternoon sleep before our engagement at Spokane’s 105.7 the Peak. I deleriously performed “I Never Want To Go Home” and “Like A Vibration” live on the radio summoning the power of our favorite modern recording artist (this is no joke) Tobe Keith.

30 Million??????? Are you kidding me???? What a BAD ASS.

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