Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass Journal Entry 08/08/16

We’re not in… oh wait. We are.


Happy Monday to you all! I hope you are all following the Olympics with great fervor and supporting our athletes as they go for gold. I love the opening ceremonies, which is a time to show national pride, teach our kids about other cultures, and (hopefully) mend whatever disagreements different countries may have. I can imagine someone’s heart swelling with pride as they carry their country’s flag into the stadium. Rio has a lot to fix – and it’s a little late for the Olympics – and maybe they can follow their own message of conservation and clean some things up.


When a new tour schedule updates on the calendar, I scan, scan, scan to see if anything cool is popping up. Oh, believe me, Ottertail, Minnesota is a fine town, but when I see New York, Chicago, New Orleans, or Portland, Oregon pop up, my heart flutters a little. (Yes, Mom, I like Virginia Beach too…) This go ‘round, we had a little time in that gem of the Northwest, Portland.


Portland, Oregon has so much going on that gets my senses moving. First, it’s a bike AND dog friendly town. Second, they are some coffee and microbrew loving folks. And it’s a food town. And I eat just about every day, so I am totally fine with getting on a plane to see what the town has to offer.


Since flying the day of show is a risky proposition, we generally get in later the day before. For this trip, it meant a dinner with some dear friends, and I can always count on my buddy MB to take me someplace fun. This time he didn’t disappoint. We hit McMenamin’s Edgefield. I’ve been to Portland a dozen times. WHY IS THIS THE FIRST TIME I’VE HEARD OF THESE PLACES?


In case you didn’t click on the link, the ‘chain’ of McMenamin’s is so in my wheelhouse it’s scary. The locations are built on the ‘bones’ of historic structures, and given new life as a complex of combining a hotel, restaurants, and a microbrewery. C’mon! I think in my next career, I am going to scout locations for them in the Midwest. Brewing laws are softening, so let’s grab some of these buildings before they are lost. I’ll start you all a list. Hello? No, really. Hello?


So we hit the Edgefield location for local fare and scenery. No, we didn’t hit the bath house. We did meet up with Jake at yet another great spot called The Observatory. Again, impressive.


We had a little time to kill before the show in McMinville, so Jeff and I grabbed an Uber to historic downtown Gresham for lunch, a quick stroll through the museum and maybe a trip to iCandy. Don’t judge.


The show in McMinville was a lot of fun – the weather in Oregon in summer is perfect for outdoor shows. The only rub was the flight out the next morning, which meant a 3:45 lobby call. You read that correctly. 3:45. Luckily the flight was direct, and I had a comfy, sleepable seat.


Our day off was spent at Legends Mall, which is a deadly trap for us, especially during sale season. #Back to School sales. I managed only a dozen watches and some Coach bags for my wife. #Just kidding. Maybe. #Baller. I suppose there are worse places to hang out for a day. I managed a little practice time, and made use of the hotel gym (hamster hole).


We ambled into Emporia, Kansas for the last show of the run. There was a ‘bit’ of rain the night before, which left the performance area (AKA rodeo ring) under 6 inches of mud and water. So peep this: We had the bus in the adjacent parking lot, they moved our trailer to the stage with a tractor, and had to lay yards of plywood to give us some sort of footing. Then the area in front of the stage had to be excavated for hours as well, and by showtime it was still muddy, but at least it was a compacted mud(?) Ahh, show business. The good people of Emporia had a good time, as did we.


So there’s the skinny on the fat. Things I’ve learned this trip : Portland continues to impress me, people will move muddy mountains to hear music, and that the Hostess plant in Emporia is reopened, which means good things to eat for all the good girls and boys that live over the mountain… Oh wait. That’s the Little Engine That Could. I gotta get home and read to my boy.


See you on the road!




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