Well on Wednesday I went to UPS and sent posters down the coast to help promote for upcoming shows, and then I decided to print some more posters while I was there, but it turned out to be a bit of a headache. Nonetheless, I got things sent out and taken care of, so I should be set for another couple weeks. I didn’t get started until late, so by the time I finished there it was already late afternoon, and I decided to head to the Alberta Street Pub a little bit early. It was on my plans to go there for the open mic again, so because of the timing I thought maybe I’d make it in time for happy hour. I got lost on the way again, which is a trend that followed me all throughout Portland, and by the time I finally made it to the bar I was frustrated as hell. So I walked in to the mostly empty candle-lit bar and had a much needed drink, and just hung out with the bartender for a while. I felt better within a little while, and then decided I should try and grab a shower before the open mic, so I hit up a friend that lives in that area, and he said to come on by and hit the rain. So I headed that way and somehow got lost again in the mile and a half that lies between the bar and his house. This was getting old. Anyway, I made it there and got cleaned up, hung out for a little while on the porch, and checked out the jam space in the basement, which was awesome; pretty much soundproofed and full of keyboards and guitars and a beautiful drum set. We talked for a while about all sorts of stuff, and then I said thanks and headed back to the pub to play some music. Somehow I got lost. Again. I did find out in the subsequent days that I’m not the only person who tends to get turned around in Portland, and I met a handful of people along the coast who avoid the city for that very reason. But whatever the case, the open mic was chalk full of some great talent again, and a whole different set of people from the week before. The only other person I recognized was the guy with whom I had switched places on the list the week before, and this time he had been there early enough to be first on the list. Even the host had changed out; this time it was cute girl who had apparently been running this open mic for years, but had taken a couple weeks off. When I first got back to the bar I opened the door and almost bowled over a cute redhead with my guitar, but she just smiled and then held the door for me. We both went in looking for the list, and she said it was her first time at an open mic, but she was friends with the hostess from another job. Then we split off and I didn’t talk to her again until the end of the night, but I sure talked to a hell of a lot of other people. The music was awesome though; there was a guy in a straw-like hat that played a classical guitar and he started his set with a Leonard Cohen song, which of course was badass. Then there was a guy I had been talking to in the crowd who got up and played two lesser known songs by Bob Dylan, and then played a couple originals as well; talk about some fancy fingerwork. He happened to be sitting next to me in the crowd, so we had a good conversation about music and life, and he pointed me towards some artists I’d never heard of before. There was a whole handful of great musicians there, but the act that really hit me was a guy named Josh Hoke, who had just moved to Portland from the fields of Indiana not four days earlier. He played some really neat folk music with some tasty licks and a feel sort of like Ray La Montagne; almost a whispery voice, but with soulful projection and some really good lyrics. It was pretty badass. There were plenty of other acts throughout the night, including another acoustic/electric duo that played some indie-rock stuff, and then the girl I had bumped into at the beginning of the night went up and performed some rap that she had written. It was not at all what I would have expected from briefly talking to her earlier, but she was pretty good at what she did and sang along with some beats that one of her friends had helped her put together. I talked to her for a little while after she performed, and it turned out that she’d been featured on several hip hop songs for various artists, but she rarely performed live. Overall, it was a much slower night than it had been the week before, and the hostess got up near the end and asked if anyone on the list would be willing to perform again to keep the night going. I was still there, and figured why not, so after a couple more acts I got back up on stage and played for the seven or eight people that were remaining around midnight, and then most of us just ended up hanging around for a while afterwards. All in all it was a pretty good night, and when everyone started doing the leaving dance, I too did a little jig and then headed back to the van to pass out.
When I woke up in the morning, I decided that it was high time to do a couple loads of laundry, so I stopped to get some breakfast and looked up a local laundromat. I found a place nearby that got some great reviews and had free WiFi, so I headed that direction to get things in order. I cleaned out the van a little bit and then went inside to plug in the computer and charge up, and while I was there I looked up the weather forecast in both Portland and Cannon Beach, where I had another show coming up in a couple days. The weather for Portland was rainy; Cannon Beach: three days of solid sunlight. So I decided right then and there that I was tired of getting lost in Portland, and that as soon as my laundry was finished that I would head back to the coast where it was sunny. I had already played in Cannon Beach the weekend before, but I had a great time that night and the bar asked me to come back, so of course I obliged and Saturday was the best night for me to come and provide some entertainment. Besides, I had recently been talking to a friend about driving along the coast, and he said that his favorite section of highway was between Cannon Beach and Lincoln City. So when I got a call and an offer to play on Saturday, I was stoked to have an excuse to make that drive, especially since the weather was supposed to be nice. So the bottom line is that I finished my laundry and headed westward, and sure enough, I got lost one last time trying to find the highway, which had me yelling at the roads as if they could hear me. As soon as I was on SR-26, I let out a huge sigh of relief and tried to leave all my frustrations behind in Portland. I mean don’t get me wrong; I had a lot of fun during my time in Portland, but I was really sick of getting lost several times a day.
So when I left on Thursday afternoon, I made it to a rest stop just before dark. I recalled from my last visit that it was illegal to sleep in your vehicle in Cannon Beach, so I purposely looked up the rest stop closest to my destination to camp out for the night. That worked out beautifully, and then when I woke up in the morning I got out the camping stove and set up shop at a nearby picnic table. I really didn’t get up until almost noon, so I just skipped straight to lunch and made some Campbell’s Chunky Soup and sliced up a potato to throw on the skillet. I met a whole bunch of puppy dogs while I was there cooking lunch; people would stop and let their dogs out on the way to the coast, and they all came over to say hello and see what I was cooking. After lunch I grabbed some dish soap and washed the dishes in the bathroom sink before packing everything away. Usually I just use boiling water and then wipe it clean, but I had a sink at my disposal, so I figured I might as well make use of it. Then I continued on my way, about another forty minutes to the coast, and this time I went a little north to Seaside because I’d already explored most of Cannon Beach. Seaside is a little bigger; they have a McDonald’s and a Safeway along the highway, and they have at least as many small shops as you work your way to the beach. It was Friday, and the weather forecast proved correct, but once I had explored the area I was pretty exhausted from the whole week, so I decided to charge the computer at McDonald’s and then pass out early in their parking lot.
On Saturday morning I woke up and drove the last seven miles south to Cannon Beach, and this time I went straight to the beach itself. It was beautiful out, and I spent most of the day out on the sand and wading in the water. For some reason that I can’t explain, the ocean seems to move in slow motion in that area. The water wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought it would be, and I got to notice something that I’d never noticed before; I saw backwards waves. Basically, the tide was coming in, and it would have swell that goes thirty or forty feet up on the shore, and then it would drift back to the sea. And when the water going back to the sea had more power than the waves coming towards the shore, then it would literally overtake the crest of a small wave, and the wave would crash in the opposite direction, even though it was still moving towards the shore. It was fascinating, and I stood ankle deep in water and watched this phenomenon for what seemed like hours. After a while I walked back to the van and got out a sand bottle that I had purchased from an antique shop two weeks earlier. The plan was to write a note of some kind, cork the bottle and throw it out into the sea. The only problem was I couldn’t figure out what to put in the bottle. Part of me wanted to leave a contact number, an email or an address so that when/if this bottle was ever found, I might hear from whomever had found it along the shore, and maybe get an idea where it had traveled. At the same time, I had to have something meaningful in the note, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around what to say. In the end, I wrote a poem while sitting on the shore, and signed it A. Krekeler, rolled it up like a tube of toothpaste and corked the bottle. Tightly. I figured this bottle might mean something to someone down the road, and it really doesn’t matter if I ever hear about it; to me it means something just to throw it out to the sea in the hopes that it reaches someone somewhere someday. So once I had it ready to send off, I walked down the beach past Haystack Rock, rolled up my pants legs and waded out into the water. I went out until the water was at my knees and I had to jump to keep the waves from soaking me, and then I launched the bottle as far as I could throw it, off into the ocean. It was immediately lost to sight, and when I turned around to come back to the shore I realized that the current had taken me south quite a ways, and I was right next to another monolith, much smaller than Haystack Rock itself, but nonetheless the tide had created a deep recess around the rock, and no sooner than I had turned around I was suddenly chest deep in water. I stumbled out of the hole and worked my way back to the shore, far wetter than I had intended on being, but strangely comfortable in the fact that I had sent out the bottle far enough that it wouldn’t just return the shore. I figured that if the current had taken me as far as it did, then I felt fairly certain that this bottle will travel southwards for quite a ways before it comes back to a coast. In any case, it’s out of my hands.
By the time I made it back to the van, it was time to change clothes and go back to the Lush Wine Bar. I was set to play at 7pm, and it was already 5:30. So I changed into some warm, dry clothes, and headed to the bar to have a glass of red wine to help warm me up. It was a really good day, and after two glasses of wine and a huge cheese plate, I pulled out my guitar to get to work. It turned out to be a pretty good show, and more and more people came in as the night progressed. I made quite a chunk of change in tips, and made friends with some locals that were there to enjoy the evening, and then afterwards I went out to have a drink with the waitress at the wine bar. She was a surfer who grew up along the Oregon coast and spent a couple years living in Portland, but ultimately decided she wanted to live by the ocean. We had a couple drinks at a bar down the road, and then she had me follow her to the highway, where she went north and I headed south. I made it to the pull off along the ocean where I had slept a couple weeks earlier in no time flat, and then realized that it was only midnight, I was hungry, and that the bar where we had just been served all sorts of food. So I turned around, went back to the bar and walked in, and there were only two guys sitting at the bar. The bartender gave me a funny look since I had just left 15 minutes earlier, but I ordered a burger with fries and had a quick conversation with the guys who were sitting there. It was kind of awesome, cause one of the guys was contemplating buying shots for everybody, and so he asked what liquor each of us would drink. I told him I’m a whiskey drinker, the other guy said he was all about tequila, and the guy who had asked said he wasn’t sure, but he was thinking gin. So we talked for about 20 minutes while the bartender went back and forth cooking food and serving drinks, and we never learned each others names, we just referred to each other by our liquor of choice: “Hey Whiskey, where are you from man?” When the burger came out, it was in a “to go” box, so I said goodbye to Tequila and Gin, and rolled back to my parking spot along the coast.
I woke up early on Sunday because I still had alcohol in my system, and decided that I should try and take a shower at that same RV Resort that I had stopped at two weeks prior. It was only a half mile away, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, even though I knew it would be packed because of the good weather. It was 7:30 in the morning though, so nobody was awake at the RV camp, and I had full access to the showers. It was a good way to start a Sunday, and then I drove down the most beautiful stretch of highway that I had ever driven. I was on the 101 South and kept going through small beach towns, so the speed limit changed an awful lot, but I didn’t mind in the least. It was beautiful and sunny, and I must have stopped off at six different viewpoints along the way to Lincoln City. I got there at 11am, and I didn’t have to play a show until 8:30, so I decided to hit up the beach for a couple hours. I can never get enough of the beach. I made a couple calls, and then thought I should charge up the computer before the evening, so I stopped at a coffee shop and put together CDs to have to sell at the bar later. I had already printed out all the album covers, but I hadn’t taken the time to fold them all and put them in cases and burn the actual CDs, so I did that while the computer was charging. I moved on at about quarter til six, and made a stop at the Snug Harbor Bar & Grill to see what kind of place I’d be working with later. I walked in with the guitar, and the owner was sitting at the edge of the bar, and immediately introduced me to the bartender, saying, “this is Anson, he’s our entertainment for the evening!” I was a little taken aback, but it was kinda nice. I hadn’t even talked to her yet. I went over and had conversation with her, and we ended up talking about music and guitars and fishing and waves and how she came about buying this bar. It was great, and the bar had more character than Tom Sawyer. It was made almost entirely of giant timbers from the Oregon forests, and had been in operation as a bar or speakeasy since the 1920’s. I walked outside and up to the balcony and met and talked to a guy who studies and documents ancient Indian art in caves and other places; he grew up in the 60’s and 70’s so our musical taste overlapped all over the place. He turned me on to Savoy Brown and some other good stuff to check out, and although he had to leave before my set to have go dinner with his wife, I gave him a CD to take with him. The bar fed me though, so I had fettucini alfredo with chicken and garlic bread, and then played a three hour set at the Snug Harbor. It also became more and more packed as the night went on, and it was just a hell of a lot of fun to play that show. I had a great receptive crowd and an awesome house PA system, and I kept playing with the reverb on my voice. Afterwards I split a pizza with a group of people who were there hanging out and listening and kept inviting me out for cigarettes and such, and then we went back to one of their houses to close out the night. So we had something of a small after party in a beach loft, and then around 2AM everybody headed out and I retreated to van to pass out heavily. It was a damn good weekend on the Oregon coast.