Plaid shirts, Starbucks and Pearl Jam – Welcome to Seattle

Seattle was both amazing and defeating all at the same time. We followed our map to an address on capital hill, the heart of old town Seattle. We arrived at a pre-midcentury abode, home to the Beery family. The Beery House has become quite a fixture of the local music scene, hosting legendary house concerts for more than 20 years. Their modest home stands high on the hill, dwarfed on either side by multi-unit, state-of-the-art housing developments where single-family dwellings once thrived. 

Out front of the house there was a set of saw-horses tied to a stretched out rope – a make-shift blockade. This was the handy work of Max Beery, assuring that we’d have a place to park the Winnie when we arrived. It wasn’t long before we were greeted by the man himself – a chatty, kind-hearted fellow who instantly made me feel at ease. Within 15 minutes of us getting parked we were standing in his living room as he handed over his transit passes and gave us the lay of the land. There was a dog park right around the corner, so that was stop number one. After Winnie and Hank had burned off their pent up energy, Brad and I set out on foot to check out the Pike Street Market. After what seemed like 1500 city blocks (actually, only 8 – but still) we arrived at the bustling and chaotic market. Fish vendors, flower merchants and artisans galore – this place was crazy busy with a mix tourists and locals. As we made our way through the busy market, we looked up and were standing face to face with Jim and Judy. We both had that “you gotta be effin’ kidding me” look and were laughing and hugging as if we hadn’t seen each other in years. Neither we, nor them had any plans or idea to meet in Seattle….

After we finished exploring the market we headed back to the Beery house to start prep for the show. When we got back we met The Lasses – a female duo from Amsterdam who were also on the bill for the evening. Around 6:30pm folks started showing up and before our eyes the Beery house transformed into ‘the spot to be’ in Seattle that night! By the time we took the stage there were approx 60-70 people crammed in the upstairs loft with smiles from ear to ear - this is a house where music brings a community together – it’s more than just people sitting in chairs listening – it’s a place where friends are made instantly and invited for dinner the next evening, a place where people come for the first time and are immediately asking when the next show is, a place where we will definitely return to next spring and for years after – as long as the invitation is open. To Max and Theresa, thank you for including us and letting us come along for the musical ride, what you have created is nothing shy of legendary.

We hung around Seattle the next week, awaiting our next show at Cafe Racer. Brad and I are not city-folks, so we headed for the hills in search of space, quiet and flat ground to play some competitive badminton. We found a fantastic lake-front park in the town of Auburn and spent a few days playing in the sun and taking the odd dip in the frigid waters – it was just what we needed, hypothermia aside.

The morning of our last Seattle show, we headed into the city and hung around until load-in time – only to find that the bar had forgot we were coming (despite having our posters on the wall…). A local guy was playing that night and had lined up a bunch of other local bands to help fill the night. We were offered a 30-minute set for no money, we declined, then hit the highway. We pulled into a rest stop a few hours later, downed half a bottle of pecan whiskey and hit the hay. The next morning we continued on our way, a little foggy and still a little bummed but all that changed when we pulled into Winthrop. Hours of climbing steep hills and curvy mountainous terrain, through sprawling valleys where cattle and horses roamed, we arrived at the most picturesque, right-out-of-a-movie, old western town – Winthrop – it was incredible. To top it off, we were playing at Old Schoolhouse Brewing, located in the heart of the town. The show went great, we had a few tasty beers and we found a place to park and stay the night in town – beauty.

The next day we set our GPS for Republic – the last show of our four month tour in the US. That night we were set to open for The Ben Miller Band who were on a night off from their regular gig opening for George Thorogood. It was also a hometown show for the band and the 65 tickets sold out in less than one hour. We played to a fantastic crowd and spent the rest of the evening drinking great beer and listening to awesome music – it was the perfect way to cap off the tour.

Sunday morning we got tidied up, organized the RV and headed for the boarder. We were a bit nervous about the crossing and were expecting to be held-up for a lengthy inspection. To our total and utter surprise, we breezed through in less than three minutes – we didn’t even have to wait in line. WTF?!?!?!

So here we are, back on home turf –  it feels good to be “home” yet strange and unfamiliar all at the same time. We’ve spend the last few days roaming around the Okanogan Valley, getting acquainted with BC – a place neither Brad nor I have ever been. We broke down and booked a night at an RV park for this evening to get caught up and to recharge our batteries. The past four months have flown by and as we crossed into Canada I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Our time in the US had been the start of something so much more than just a music tour. We’ve learned many things, met many incredible people and shared in so many unbelievable experiences. I look forward to our time exploring the West coast but to be completely honest, I can’t wait to hit the "road" again.


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