For our last leg of the tour we got up stupid early to get the first flight out from Minneapolis to Seattle. I attempted to get some sleep but failed. Upon landing in Seattle we found a Mexican restaurant to have breakfast and then dove right in to being touristy. We parked at Pike’s Place and took an uber to the Starbucks Reserve. Since I am not a coffee person I perched myself on what might have been the most comfortable stool ever and got the setlist from the night before posted. Then we headed back to Pike’s Place, wandered around a little bit, saw the gum wall. (I am not sure why I was thinking that was a good idea but I also wasn’t thinking the whole city was on an insane incline) We sent a friend up a million stairs to a nice view of the city and then headed over to see the Freemont Troll. For dinner we tried to time a seaside dinner at Ray’s with the sunset and were pretty successful.
The next morning we made our way to Vancouver. The questions at the border were pretty quick and when we said we were entering for a concert and leaving Saturday morning all we got was “OK bye” and we were on our way. We headed straight to Granville Island to wander around a bit before our whale watching excursion. We did our tour with “Prince of Whales” because in addition to not tracking or getting to close to the whales, they have a photographer on board. I knew if I went I’d want to try and get a great photo and miss out on the actual experience so it was nice knowing that I could just sit back and watch and we’d hopefully get some decent shots from the pros who know what they are looking for. While I really was hoping for some orcas, we ended up spending about an hour with 5 Humpback Whales. One of which completely came up to the side of the boat and blew out its blowhole and scared the crap out of us. When we got the photos, I realized that on the other side of the boat one had breached out of the water a whole lot as opposed to just the tails and dorsal fins we were seeing on our side of the boat. We did end up circling around where the orcas were known to hang out, but none of them were spotted. (And a PSA to parents out there, if you’re taking your small child who might be newly potty trained on a 3-5 hour boat ride – you might want to ask him regularly if he needs to use the toilet before he starts screaming “I pee peed!” over and over and you have to yell at your friend to jump up off the bench she was sitting on before she gets hit with a stream of pee.) After the boat we ate at a restaurant right next to the boat dock but it turned out to have some pretty nice views. (Of our waiter.) We made it to the hotel just in time to see sunset out of our window.
The next day was show day and pretty dreary. We had already decided we’d be trying for front row balcony at the venue and had no plans to get there early. The groups split up with 1 going to a suspension bridge and the other 2 doing the hop on hop off bus tour – which included a drive by Hanson’s tour buses. I find the hop on hop off buses to be a fun way to see a lot of the city without needing to do a lot of walking and we didn’t hop off but ended up finding an Orca statue I had wanted to see as well as some of the more (and less) touristy areas. After dinner we got to the venue about 3 hours before doors and ended up being 1, 2 an 3 in line. Unfortunately there was no way I could stand for 4+ hours in the front row so I was stuck back in the seats. It was really weird to watch the crowd from the middle and it was even weirder how even when I stayed seated some songs I could see all 3 band members clearly and others I could see none as well as the overall reactions of the crowds throughout the setlist. We were keeping our ears peeled for Taylor playing my request – so when he came out and said he was changing up things for his solo and needed the guys to pay attention – I was curious what got skipped. Taylor ended up changing his solo to Truth and then following it up once again with “With a Little Help from my Friends”, my friend snagged the setlist from the sound booth on our way out and his solo was supposed to be SAVE ME (ugh) followed by… LOST WITHOUT YOU! Was he not sure if I was there because I was back in the seats hidden? Or did he just decide they weren’t ready to actually play it yet?
After the show we went to wait by the buses and I was approached by a young man who wanted to know what we were doing and if we were waiting for a club. Zac came out and I was able to get a photo with him so I got one solo shot with each of them throughout the course of the tour which made me happy. When we got back to the hotel we doordashed some A&W and there’s nothing better than post show poutine.
The next morning we woke up and hit up a grocery store to get every ketchup chip imaginable and some other snacks and drinks. We won’t mention how much we ended up spending. (But it was in Canadian money so not quite as bad as it sounds.) Then we waited to cross the border back to the US. While we were waiting, a familiar face jumped out of the van next to us to relieve himself on the side of the road. One of the members of the opening act. He gave us a smirk as he got back in the van but we weren’t sure if he recognized us as fans or not. At this point we were considering renaming it the RGPee tour.
Two hours later we crossed the border and the agent asked us if the concert we went to see was The Weeknd. When we said no, it was Hanson, he asked if they were still alive. I’m not sure what other band (that became famous in their teens, mind you) gets this kind of reaction. It’s not like they were senior citizens 25 years ago?
We made it back to Seattle but the first option we had picked for dinner was closed so we had to go to a more upscale version upstairs. So upscale they had minimal non-seafood entrees and as not the biggest seafood fan I was going to get just a salad – but then I noticed they had pasta with mushroom, asparagus and crab. If I just got that without crab on it, I’d be all set. I asked if I could and the waitress said they can do a vegan veggie version and I said just the pasta and mushrooms and asparagus would be fine. Well, it came and had 0 mushrooms and was full of cauliflower, brusselsprouts, squash… and I’m not vegan or vegetarian – the opposite in fact – and I’m just picky. (It also came with some cheese so it definitely wasn’t vegan) I ate around all the veggies and just ate the pasta – the waitress was pretty confused when half my plate was left and I didn’t want a box and I was done with it. Maybe if you listened you’d not have been so surprised? (And maybe I should have ended up asking for the kids menu)
Seattle was seated so we got there just after doors and got settled in to our spot. The show was pretty usual, but when Zac came down for the acoustic set he seemed extra smiley our way. After the acoustic set ended (with Write You a Song as Isaac’s solo?) they started a song I didn’t quite recognize at first. Could it be? Nah. Did they? YEAH! Lost Without You! My request had made it into a set!! And the encore included I Don’t Want To Go Home which we had been mentioning earlier in the day as something we’d like to hear. After the show the bus situation was a mess so we opted to get to our hotel that was about an hour out of Seattle on the way to Portland.
There was only a couple of sightseeing things I wanted to see in Portland – the Keep Portland Weird mural and the White Stag sign, but unfortunately that was on top of a building and we couldn’t quite come at it form the right angle to get a good shot of it. We grabbed a bite to eat a couple of blocks from the venue (And spotted Zac wandering around while we were trying to park the car) and then headed for our fun evening at the haunted Crystal Ballroom. My friends had their BTTI M&G Photo make up and would end up in the front row, so I got a front row balcony ticket for this show.
I ended up going in at the tail end of ADA and rode up the (totally haunted) elevator by myself and then had to do 1 flight of stairs up to the balcony. The balcony was 21+ and when I mentioned I had a seat the guy at the door said he didn’t know anything about them. This led to anyone trying to come and sit in them whether they had a ticket for them or not. At first, it didn’t bother me – I was in my seat so it wouldn’t be an issue of someone taking my spot from me – but then people kept asking me if the seats next to me were taken. I told them they were assigned and they went a few seats down and climbed over the seats to sit. Eventually, the people who rightfully owned those seats showed up and they came to exit the row – but stood next to me and said nothing. When I didn’t get up (because I wasn’t ASKED to get up) they said “You know you could try moving”, well I don’t know how it works on the west coast but on the east coast when someone sees me sitting there with my cane they typically a) ask if I don’t mind getting up OR b) tell me not to move and they’ll jump over me. Neither came out of their mouths except attitude – and if they listened to me when I told them the seats were assigned – they’d not have been in that predicament! (The Portland venue had a LOT of attitude and as it was nearing the end of our trip I was exhausted and NOT HERE FOR ANY OF IT.)
The Grand Southern flubbed up and initially said “Hello Seattle – Portland” but we had done so much traveling ourselves that I honestly wasn’t sure they were wrong when they said Seattle at first. They also had a friend join them on stage for one of their songs.
Hanson started the night differently with Can’t Stop and I thought we were on our way to a pretty big setlist shake up, but it settled back into the usual right after. During Rambling Heart Taylor looked like he was going to stand, but also looked like he was motioning for the roadie to give him a stool (he has sat every time he has played the song, as far as I know) but the roadie seemed like he had no idea what he wanted, when we all knew it was the stool! Also of note the venue splits the floor down the middle for drinking and not drinking. The stage is fully on the not drinking side and then there’s a little cat walk. Anyone who wanted to go from the drinking side to the other had to finish/leave their cups on the drinking side. The floor is also springy so it was fun to see when random people out on the floor were trying it out and bouncing.
After the show we tried waiting for the bus but then got security-splained what a corner was and by that point I was over everything. The venue was on a huge incline and my brace kept feeling like it was going to snap because I was standing so unnaturally on it. I ended up going back to the car while my friends waited for Zac as they had items for him to sign. Turns out only Isaac came out and was in a rush so I didn’t end up missing much.
The next day was our last full day and was set for sightseeing. First we headed to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and did their self-guided tour. You can have samples of cheese and see the process of making the cheese from milk to being packaged. Also on site is a cafe for all your cheese needs and ice cream too. And of course, a gift shop full of all the cheese and dairy products you could ever want – which of course we couldn’t buy as we had no way to keep things refrigerated. (But I did stock up on socks and magnets and postcards!)
We then headed to Canon Beach to see Haystack Rock, aka the beach from The Goonies. The Goonies is my all time favorite movie so when I knew we were going in that direction I knew we had to hit up the beach and Astoria, OR as well. After admiring the beach for a bit, we headed to the old Oregon Jail which is now the Oregon Film Museum. This is seen in the opening scene of The Goonies and they have the Fratelli’s car outside and there’s some goonies memorabilia (And Free Willy!) and you also get a “Set Pass” which allows you to make 5 minutes of movie footage in the room that has 3 sets set up with various scenes that were filmed in Oregon you could recreate. It was a fun idea but I think we all decided we probably don’t have a future as an actress. Next we headed to the Flavel House Museum Carriage Shed which housed the penny machine. The museum itself is where Mikey’s Dad worked in the movie and is actually directly across the street from the jail, but the movie has magic editing so you’d never know that from watching. Then I had to decide if I wanted to see Mikey’s house or not. I knew you couldn’t drive right up to it and needed to walk, but not having watched the movie in a while I wasn’t sure how much of a hill it was situated on. Turns out, quite a hill and all gravel. But we made it up, laughing about the seal that were barking SO LOUDLY the whole time, despite the water not even being all that close to the house. There was another group coming down when we were going up and the owner came out to grab her mail and tell us to be careful because the walk down the hill could be “treacherous” (We were being super careful because hills and gravel any other time are something I absolutely would have passed on attempting) We asked her about the seals and she said they leave for the month of July and then come back and are so loud 24/7 and it’s not so bad during the day, but at night it’s not so great. She also pointed out where the Kindergarten Cop school was and said that the house from Short Circuit was nearby as well.
I had gotten word Astoria had a new penny machine at a Brewery and while we weren’t yet ready to eat, we stopped in to grab the pennies and while we were there, were told that they had bought TWO penny machines and the 2nd was just across the street – and unreported! That was the first time that I had ever found an unreported penny machine before so that was pretty exciting, unfortunately one of the pennies was not rolling properly based on the markers in the machine and I wasn’t able to adjust to fix it after 2 tries but hopefully someone else will come across it in the future and be able to figure it out and get me a full roll.
For our trek back to Seattle, we decided to add 15 minutes to the drive and continue to go along the coast. This meant we went across the Astoria-Megler Bridge which was super high off the ground but lended itself for some amazing views. The extra 15 minutes we spent driving was absolutely worth it as the views were so amazing they often looked fake. We ended up stopping at a hole in the wall restaurant for way too much food for dinner and continued on to Seattle with a beautiful sunset behind us.
When I woke up the next morning to get ready for my flight, my 2nd leg was already delayed. It ended up bouncing from 30 mins late to an hour late to not late at all over and over again all day. My first flight to Chicago was fine, though seemed extremely long and I was struggling to sleep because of the woman next to me. The Chicago to Hartford flight in the end was delayed due to not being able to catch up from the initial delay of the morning but then we also had a flight attendant arriving late in another terminal and had to make her way over to us. My 12:30am landing time ended up more like 2am and all I wanted to do was hit up the 24 hour McDonalds by the airport and finally get some food! But when I pulled in everything was dark and they were closed for a steam cleaning! The McDonalds by my house is also 24 hours so 3am cheeseburgers it was and then immediately to sleep as I had a 10am work meeting to attend the next day.