Portland, oh Portland. One of my best friends lives in Portland so I got dropped off at her house for the night and the dudes continued on to Friendly Dave's house (he plays bass in Death A.D.- who played the show that night and fucking ruled.) So I can only tell you about what I did, which mirrors what the dudes did more or less precisely.
But first let me tell you what a lovely thing it is on tour to stay apart from everyone else. There is one couch in the living room, and it is yours. No floor sleep. No chorus of snores. There is no one waiting for the shower, so you can take all the time you want AND have hot water, with your choice of showering in the morning or at night. Add to my morning coffee waiting for me and toast with earth balance and nutritional yeast (breakfast of champions). Now don't get me wrong, I love that tour is like a traveling summer camp, and I like the bunk-mates aplenty, but a break from time to time is a very welcome thing.
Liz and I had hours to hang out before the show. Obviously, our main priority of the day was to consume food and beverage. (If you've read this blog at all you'll know that food and beverage is generally always the priority.) We started at the vegan strip mall (yes, this is a real thing). Coffee and mini-cupcakes at Sweet Pea Vegan Bakery , then some window shopping at Herbivore , then on to Food Fight Vegan Grocery to look at vegan cheeses and soy jerky.
After that, I had a meal that ranks in my top 10 best meals EVER. It happened at Los Gorditos 2. Here's the story of Los Gorditos:
A family moved from Mexico to Portland and opened one of the city's many Mexican food trucks. One day, the daughter of the family decided to become a vegan. After a time, the family started offering a few vegan options at the truck and the people of Portland, Oregon (a massively vegan-friendly city) went ape shit over it. The menu expanded, and eventually a separate vegan menu was offered. One by one, the family became vegan. Dad, uncle, aunt. Such was their success, the family opened a second truck- this one all vegan, called Los Gorditos 2. It's just a few blocks from the aforementioned vegan stripmall. Burritos run $4, Tacos 2 for $1.75. Who says veganism has to be expensive?!
I got a soyrizo burrito with extra avocado, soft spanish rice, cilantro, and fresh chopped onion, all wrapped up and almost as big as my forearm. Unreal.
From there I met up with the dudes and we went to the show. There was a pink box on the floor next to me that read, "Good things come in pink boxes", which made me giggle. My smile fell quickly to slack-jawed awe when I saw what was inside- a plethora of vegan donuts. Maple filled. Jelly filled. Coconut. Rainbow sprinkles. (available at Voo Doo Donuts) Help.
The show ruled, as Portland always does. Back at Liz's house we drank homemade ginger ale and she showed me photos of urban decay in downtown Detroit (there's an abandoned school you should look up on flickr!)
In the morning me and the dudes swung by Los Gorditos 2 one final time before we left town, and started our 6 or 7 hour drive to Redding, Caifornia.
(liz at LG2)
Up until this day we had spent more or less every day of tour cold. The heat was always on, hoodies zipped, my single pair of pants filthy from being the only thing I had to wear. (I had been cursing myself daily for bringing 3 pairs of seemingly useless shorts.) But on this glorious drive, the tides changed. Sleeveless shirts and shorts were unearthed from our bags and we ran wildly around a lush and green flower-speckled rest area, sunning our embarrassingly pale skin and making elderly rest-stoppers uncomfortable.
As we drove through mountain forests we came upon a weird gas station that also functioned as the town's grocery store, hardware store, cafe, AND restaurant. Pierce was accused of stealing ramen noodles that he brought in from the van by a man who was the all-in-one clerk/cashier/manager of this odd log-cabin style everything-mart perched atop a wooded Californian mountain. That same man later snapped at me, when I had tried to ease the obvious tension between he, Dave, and I by saying, "Boy... I'm sure glad this place is here. Our GPS said there wasn't gas for miles!",
"Well your 'GPC' was WROOOONG."
Then he continued to look around with shifty eyes and ring us up silently. Okkkk.....
Across the street was a thrift store that contained nothing of interest other than a most interesting litter of kittens that I ooohed and ahhhed at for a solid 5 minutes. But, kittens aside, as I poked around the store I realized more I hate about the West Coast, the world, and myself.
The man running the store stopped his conversation with another browser to make small talk with me.
"Looking for anything?"
"Let me know if I can Help!"
Will do, thanks
"....sooo, where are you from?"
"...sooooooo, what are you doing here?"
GOD DAMN IT STOP TALKING TO ME!
Friendly-ass motherfuckers. This is what I hate: People on the West Coast are genuinely interested in you. They want to thank you for existing and shoot the shit with your uninterested self about cameras and their great uncle so-and-so and whatever else pops into their dogishly happy minds. They do not pick up on how little you care, even if your hints are not subtle. And you cannot escape their seemingly endless barrages of hugs, and you'll never be able to wiggle out of under the arms they put around you. They will not notice your discomfort. They think the world is a place where everyone should touch and talk to each other all the time, and I fucking hate them for it. I'm from the east coast where the most common interaction I have with a stranger is mildly abrasive at best. Silence reigns, and personal space isn't so much respected as that each person is regarded with such disinterest or disdain that the idea of invading their personal space with a hug or good-willed arm around the shoulder is as likely as everyone breaking into song and dance in the middle of the street. Shit ain't gonna happen. But the thing is, minus the invasion of personal space which I could just never accept or tolerate, I think the things I hate west coasters for I SHOULD like. It's a nice way to be. The world SHOULD be like that. I would like to be like that. I would like to talk to every stranger I see. I would like to wish them all lovely days and sincerely mean it. But I can't, I just can't... no more than I can listen to Dave Matthews or call someone "brother".
The show started late. A one-man black metal band called Mania opened (you can see him in our first video tour update on youtube), as well as Run With The Hunted- a vegan straight edge band from Phoenix, AZ, and a band from Redding called The Separation (who did a Hatebreed cover!)
The show was eerily quiet between songs and despite the fact that a mowhawked middle aged toothless drunk man had me sign his arm and claimed he was getting it tattooed the next day (oh, the fame!), this was our worst merch night of all tour. We sold A cd. Our gas tank cringed.
That night both us and Run With The Hunted stayed with Ben from The Separation and a friend of his made 2 HUGE batches of delectable vegan mac n cheese, and we gorged ourselves while watching "Honey I Shrunk The Kids". I was starting to get sick that day and barely talked to anyone, spending the majority of that cr00sh hang out night like an antisocial asshole in pink gingerbread man pjs, curled in a sniffly ball, alone. I woke up hacking up green gak and saw a cat catch a tiny lizard and parade around with the mini reptile in its' mouth which was a comedy/tragedy that I (guiltily) chuckled at. Then it was back in the van on on to Reno...