Spokane ruled. The promoter, Alex, let us jump on a pre-existing show which we *thought* was going to be an ambient metal show, but turned out to be his band (Whale Limb) opening (3 person power violence), then Head Hunter (ex members of Furious Styles and current members of The Warriors), and a bunch of west coast crustmetal bands that were all really good but whose names escape me.
It was a cold night. The whole midwest had been cold, but this night was like New England winter. Motherfuck. After a bit, it started snowing. At first, the sky just spat snow here and there, so we got to planning...
See, we had been counting down the days until we could get ourselves to Seattle to eat at the world-famous (the vegan world, anyway) all-you-can-eat all vegan thai buffet, Araya's. The problem with Araya's buffet though ("Um, how can a buffet have a problem?", you're probably thinking) was that it closed at 3 pm, and Spokane was 5 hours from Seattle, and our show the next day was not in Seattle, but Tacoma. Fucking geography. Fucking time. We decided collectively that there was nothing on or above this earth (!) that could stop us from northwestern gluttony. So Dave (the only driver) crashed in the freezing van after our set and I called my old roommate Tyler who lives in Seattle and made plans to sleep on his carpet sometime very late that night.
All was going great. We had a fun show, met lots of really rad people, saw sweet bands, had our merch table flipped during our set, and our stomach boners were growing as each minute passed.
As the night wore on, the flakes became larger and more frequent, and soon the ground was blanketed in snow. We had been offered a place to stay in Spokane, but Dave, sleepy, hungry, and hellbent on thai, was not hearing my suggestion to stay. Despite warnings that the mountain pass to Seattle may be closed due to the snow, and that we may be required to get snow tires to cross it, we left the show.... at a whopping 20 miles an hour. As the snow thickened and cars became less and less frequent (and more and more terrifying as they veered into and out of the darkness over the white highway where lanes were being guessed at), and we dropped to 10 MPH, and became very sleepy (remember the 11 hour drive the day before, followed by a 9 hour drive to Spokane), we finally gave in- not to geography or time- but to nature, and to our own droopy eyes. A few restless hours of van sleep were had and we started driving again at 4 am after the snow had stopped. Dave was determined that we were eating all we could eat, telling me over and over his plan to drive, arrive at such-and-such time, sleep until exactly noon, and then get to Araya's before the food was old and dry.
I slept until we got to Tyler's house, and then while the dudes crashed I took a shower then went with him to The Wayward Cafe (an all-vegan cafe) and met up with Metal Mike (of This Time Tomorrow fame) and got what could easily be my final meal on earth, if I needed to pick one. Tofu scramble (that was actually delicious), toast, hashbrowns, and a bottomless cup of coffee. Lordy.
Immediately after digesting that, Tyler and I met up with the dudes, opened a bank account (Kingdom just got real official), and busted ass to Araya's... arriving past Dave's ideal noon, at a still-fresh 1:30 pm. Then we ate, and ate, and ate.
I don't do well on no sleep. I require 8-10-13-15-24 hours a night, and without that I do not fare well by the end of the day. I was on several shitty hours of van sleep when we got to the venue. We arrived at Coffee Strong as they were in the midst of a Veterans Against the War meeting. We tip toed in and I started fading. That night is a blur to me. I know that an amazing band called Outlook (from WA) opening and sounded a lot like older Reagan Youth and was (obviously) amazing. I'd be on the lookout for them. Then we played, and I remembered something about the west coast. It's fucking weird. It was so silent between our songs I thought something was wrong. Everyone stood still, watching intently, listened closely to everything I said, then clapped politely after. I instantly assumed they hated us (why was the merch table still in place?) I was proven wrong after we stopped playing and everyone talked to us, bought our records and t shirts, and did sweet things like give us their band's demos, or extra money for coming out. (woah!) Shortly after we played I was so tired the room was spinning so I found my way to the van and fell fast asleep. I woke up as we were arriving in Portland, Oregon (we drove the 3 hours that night), and this was such a crucial time with so many photos, I'll just go ahead and save it for next time....