We spent the first night in Albany, Oregon I believe, which is a bit south of Portland. We hung a right at Portland and found ourselves in the Columbia River Gorge. Which is full of those "wow, this is really gorgeous" moments. The gorge system is basically what the Columbia River has formed over thousands of years, sort of like the Grand Canyon. It's 80 miles long, and is the boundary between Oregon and Washington. It's one of our new favorite places. There are a lot of sports to try (kiteboarding anyone?), cute towns to stop in, and there's lots and lots of wine. Random, I know, but there are wineries all over the place up there. Good times. We found a little town that we're already trying to find an excuse to get back to called Hood River, where I think I can lay around in a bed and breakfast and read while Dan does various active type things.
We highly, highly recommend Springhouse Cellars as they have some very unique tasty wines, at very reasonable prices. But they make our favorites list, even more so, for being very personable, incredibly small compared to our CA wineries, and beyond incredibly kind to us. They even ship to just about everywhere (sorry PA and MD folks reading this). We drove and drove and drove. We ended up driving directly to the first concert because it just took us longer than expected, and we didn't have an extra 2 hours to get to our hotel and back. (Yes, the closest hotels to the concert are about 45 minutes away). We had no idea what to really expect, especially when we parked the car and we didn't even know which direction to walk because we couldn't see anything that looked like a stage. It was weird, but we followed the crowd over along path, up a slope and then at the top of the hill, looked down on this:
That's the stage there in the middle, with the gorge and the river behind. This picture is taken from the top of the lawn, and you can't see where we sat at all because the lawn is so freakin steep. The whole setup is literally built into the side of a cliff and is beautiful and wonderful and my happy place.
Closer up of the stage itself. The seats below are where we sat - two nights off to the right, one night almost dead center. Right now, you can see through the stage setup to all the scenery behind, but there were screens there once the band started.
For the next two days (days 3 and 4), we spent the night in a lovely little hotel out in the middle of nowhere (Moses Lake, WA) listening to trucks drive by on the interstate, and eating all the food we brought with us and then going to the concerts at night. It did not at all resemble real life.
We got pretty lucky in that the people sitting around us were cool. For me, if you have a jackass guy next to you or a drunk chick who can't stand up, it takes away from the whole experience you know? Actually, we spent a couple of nights near the same people, as they had also requested their tickets through the fan club, so that was nice. The first night we had one woman almost throwing up, but her boyfriend wisely decided that they should leave before any actual incident. The second night we were sitting next to a father and son who had driven in from Seattle, and they seemed very low key and calm, so we were excited to have more normal folks to sit next to. And....then the band came out and the son lost his shit. Seriously. You can hear him on some of the video we took that night, it was intense.
The other thing that is awesome about concerts here is if you drive, parking really isn't an issue, and neither is the wait after the concert to get out of the lot. Thousands of people camp at these shows. Because it's a multi-night event, and it's so far away from civilization, there are campsites much closer to the venue than hotels. And wow do people camp. You can see the tent cities from the lawn, and they are huge. Originally, I got Dan interested in going by telling him we could camp...and then I read stories of all the drunk people, and stuff getting stolen, and no showers, and no shade and...then we went to a hotel. Once he saw the tent city, especially in the rain on the second night, I don't think he felt like he was missing out.
So yeah, the Gorge. 3 nights. Favorite.
And here we are, also on the second night, grinning like loons.
Next time will include highlights of our outings: Spokane, a short jaunt into Idaho, Multnomah Falls and strawberries on a stick.