This is the final installment of the Loch Lomond tour diary (going up a bit late). We'd like to thank the band for the awesome entries these last few weeks! -Ed.
After our multi-caguama night in beautiful Visalia with the face-meltingly awesome Futurebirds
, it was high time for us to wave goodbye to the stifling air of central California and once again bask in the wonder, freshness and light of the Pacific Coast. Not that I have anything against places like Fresno, Bakersfield
or Stockton, BUT in some cases you just have to take Urban Dictionary's word
Heading west on CA-198, winding our way up through the golden hills and valleys of the Diablo Range, the upright bass slipped and slid all over the back of the van as Perry guided us expertly down to a semi-relaxing arrival in the Salinas Valley. Steinbeck country!
Our eyes were getting the usual afternoon heaviness—a perfect time to pull off and see what a town like Salinas has to offer in the way of almighty Caffeine. Passing numerous Steinbeck-themed shops (Steinbeck Breakfast Blend at Cherry Bean Coffee, anyone?) and homey restaurants the author had supposedly dined at, we arrived in front of the Steinbeck National Center. Packed full of memorabilia, permanent and rotating exhibits, original manuscripts, drawings, letters and the Holy Grail of touring automobiles (Rocinante, Steinbeck's truck which took he and Charley all over the country 50 years ago in the classic Travels with Charley). This was not your average museum. Our eyes lit up. Until we heard the price of admission, that is, at which point we slowly turned and hopped back in the van to head on down the road. Luckily, Perry Pfister is a true gentleman and suggested that it "never hurts to ask" in situations such as these where you are a broke touring musician who has a serious affinity and love of Steinbeck's work...
So, we asked if we could have a quick look at the truck. Lo and behold, we were whisked to the back entrance, free of charge and treated to a full view of the mighty green GMC! Shined to perfection with only a few hints of the wear and tear it must have endured on the 11,000 mile round-the-country journey, the vehicle would have been a really fun ride and incredibly fuel inefficient. Looking into the interior of the slick wood-finished camper one could imagine Steinbeck typing away, sipping on a little whiskey to take the edge off a cool night out in America.
Driving down the 1 to Big Sur took us past herds of cattle grazing in the fields by the ocean and over bridges suspended in the mist. That drive always leaves me spellbound and trying not to careen off a cliff into the great blue yonder. One of the most scenic and beautiful drives in the country, I recommend it to all. Just watch the corners.
We had a really fun show in Big Sur at Fernwood, with a lively crowd who really wanted to dance the night away. Brooke Parrott got the crowd's hips gyrating and swaying back and forth and Loch Lomond swooped in for the late night Love TKO.
Let's just say the mirror ball was spinning and certain individuals (who shall remain anonymous) slept with their shoes on. Again.
A Sunday morning, and we were treated to yet another literary highlight—the Henry Miller Library! Part museum, bookstore and music venue, this summer alone the HML has played host to such small-time acts as Phillip Glass, Bill Callahan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's only a 300-person capacity lawn so you can imagine the intimacy of these huge bands coming through and playing their sets tucked into a huge stand of enormous redwoods.
And north again we went! With Pacific sunshine and the dreamy pop perfection of the Range of Light Wilderness
filling the van, we set our sights on San Francisco. We abided with an obligatory In-N-Out Burger stop. Some burgers, some laughs. Spirits were high and aside from the questionable smell coming from the back of the van (what IS
that?) the tour had been a really fun and worthwhile endeavor.
First stop in SF was to play a stripped down version of a newish song called 'Made of Ink' on a dead end street for Sadie Magazine. Check out the site
in a few weeks for the video!
We ascended to the heights of Twin Peaks and watched the fog quickly roll in and envelope the city below. Such a crazy view of nearly all of SF - makes Portland look like a one-horse town! On the way back to the venue we were treated to a parade of ass-less chaps, sweet handlebar mustaches, bondage gear, and a guy in a diaper as the Folsom Street Fair dispersed into the night. We all wondered why we don't live there.
A solid last show of tour ensued, with Tiny Television opening at the shipwrecked Hotel Utah. Great folks and a wonderful sounding room.
Sadly, every tour has to come to an end (unless you're CJ Boyd
) and thus after a wonderful morning coffee at Remedy in Oakland we piled in for the 10-hour drive back to Portland. A lucky break with a Lake Shasta skinny dip and we kept truckin' back to the great state of Oregon. To no one's surprise, it began to drizzle and then we all knew we were home.Stay tuned for Loch Lomond European Tour Diary in November!