We hit a bump in the road and I smashed into the roof of Megataur. There wasn’t a ton of room in the sleeping alcove they built in the back of the van, but it was a cozy little spot. I was wide awake now, somewhere in Oregon, and fucking starving. Luckily, the rest of the van was feeling the same, and when we drove by a highway sign that said a Dairy Queen was coming up, we were stoked. Turns out the Dairy Queen was a couple miles off the highway, forcing us to drive through the shanty town of Cottage Grove, Oregon. But we got our breakfast fried cheese curds and chili dogs, goddamn it. We were sitting out in the van in the parking lot taking a smoke break, when we saw what looked like a bike gang of possibly twelve year olds possibly taunting a possibly mentally challenged person trying to walk home. It was hard to tell as they were down a bit on the other side of the road. We thought about intervening, but again, they were kind of far down the road. Didn’t stop us from fantasizing about starting a rumble with this Rad reject crew.
We were about to pull out, when one of those little dorks pulled up to a skid right behind the van. He was filthy, with a buzzed head and a cast on his arm, questioning us about who we were and where we were going. We asked him what happened to his armed and he “biffed” it on his bike. He wasn’t comprehending our sarcasm and feigned interest in his backwoods life. We had enough of this young yokel, so we just kind of scooted around him and hit the highway, Portland bound.
We stopped for a pee break at some rest stop. It was surrounded by those giant Oregon trees. They’re not quite a forest, but are dense enough that it looked pretty cool to a California idiot like me. Inspired, I cracked open the first PBR of the day. Three or four beers later, we were in Portland at the Analog Café, unloading gear. I was disgusting and smelly, so I hit the bathroom to shit and take a ‘whores bath,’ hitting every nook and cranny with a wet wipe. It was refreshing to finally be able to change my underwear.
The Analog was actually having two shows that day. The early show in the Café was the local Portland School of Rock. We sat amongst the parents drinking beers and watching these future shredders power through covers of bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. It was actually kind of tight as the kids switched out after every song, some switching instruments, some taking a break, and killing every song they played. The future of music seems to be in good hands.
We weren’t here to watch a bunch of kids play covers of contemporary rock acts though. It was time for the punk rock concert. Beach Party and Save Bandit opened up the show. Save Bandit was fun but I didn’t watch Beach Party because our buddies Brittany and Josh showed up and I was outside catching up with them. They were nice enough to let us crash at their place that night, and Brittany was nice enough to take me to go get some poutine from a food truck I remembered eating at one of the last times I was in Portland. The show was over kind of early, so we dropped our stuff off at their place and hoofed it to a local bar around the corner. Heartsounds even showed up to hang out!
That’s when tragedy struck. While Shane was off doing consensual adult activities in the bathroom with a local individual and earning his nickname ‘Clean-Take,’ Heartsounds had their van broken into. Some fucking dink smashed their window and ran off with a couple of backpacks and computers. Luckily, they found some of their stuff in a bush around the corner, but the damage had been done. The night had been ruined and Western Settings was getting nervous about leaving their van back at Josh and Brittany’s. Not even trying my first Filet O’ Fish sandwich from McDonald’s could salvage the mood. The balloon of joy had been popped.
Megataur was fine of course, but paranoia sets in when something like that happens. As soon as we stepped inside the house, the exhaustion set in. I was done. Brittany and Josh offered up a bed in the upstairs area of the house, and when everyone just kind of just sat there dead eyed, I said “Fuck it. I’m taking it.” Never pass up the opportunity for a bed on tour. I had the best sleep I’ve ever had in my life*.
*definitely not true, the plush ass goose feathered bed spread at the Hilton in Ybor, Florida probably wins that award, but it fucking felt like the best night’s sleep, goddamn it.
An ongoing anthology of tour diaries.