Pretty much every year since we’ve been together, Justine and I have done a road trip down to Washington State and Oregon. This year was no different, except that we managed to arrange the trip around a couple of major events - Pearl Jam playing a live show at home at Safeco Field, and the Whitecaps playing their annual away game in Portland. So we decided to take those two events and add a stop in Hood River for a few days of camping and road riding. I’m not sure how many posts this will end up being, but I’m going to try and keep up while we’re on the road.
We left around lunch time on Wednesday, after getting all of our gear together for camping, as well as our road bikes and assorted gear. We headed out pretty much on time, which was good and we’re through the boarder with minimal wait. Our first stop was Aslan brewery in Bellingham for some lunch.
And yes, I do think it is named for the lion in the Narnia books. The food there is really good, and we like their ginger rye ale. So we got some to go for later in the trip.
With the concert being in downtown Seattle at Safeco Field (baseball stadium, 55,000 people completely sold out for 2 nights), we decided to book a hotel a little south of the city, closer to the airport. We were going to park near the stadium, see th4 concert then leave, but they wanted $50 for parking, so we headed to the hotel to figure it out.
That ended up being a good choice, as the hotel was a short distance from the light rail station that has a stop right by the stadium. So for $12, we got downtown and didn’t need to worry about the car full of gear.
The last time we went to the Seattle stadiums was for a Seahawks game, and we got caught out by their ludicrous security policies. Not going to go into it, but Justine was very diligent bout going through the rules and know exactly what was allowed, how big a bag could be and the like. Considering the only big they were allowing was 4x6", there were a lot of people frustrated about not getting in. We were pretty smug until they wouldn’t let us take in Justine’s small point and shoot camera. The web site clearly stated only “professional" cameras were forbidden, but the security guys woundn’t budge. They’ve built a whole industry around temporary locker rentals, since this causes so much trouble.
Once we got that situation dealt with we went inside and found our seats. When I bought the tickets, these were the only seats I could get (barely minutes after they went on sale), and they said "obstructed view" on them, so we were a little worried. As it turned out, needlessly.
Not knowing what to expect with the train and security, we were (despite our issues) quite early. So we walked around the venue and checked out the stadium. Justine and never been there, and it had been quite a few years for me. It’s a great ballpark, and there’s lots of concessions, and some views out over the city and over the water to the west that gave us a decent sunset as we got close to show time.
When we had arrived at the stadium, the roof was closed. I found that a bit odd, but didn’t give it much of a thought. We were sitting in our seats having some food when the roof started to open. It was a huge relief, as it had been really warm, and it was a bit stuffy inside. Once the roof opened up, after the sun had set, it was really nice.
And not long after, it was show time! As expected, there was no opening act, and the band made a big deal about being home. They played for over 3 solid hours, and did a real mix of old and new, stuff I didn’t know as well as the big hits. They also mixed in some interesting covers - The Beatles, Pink. Floyd and of course, Neil Young.
After the show, we joined the crush of people headed for the train. While it was busy, it wasn’t as bad as we expected. We got on the first train that came (it looked like they were smart and add extra trains in each direction after the show ended), and were back at the hotel in under and hour. it was a good first day of our vacation!