Friday, July 31, 2009

Book time

I haven't written a long saga in more than a week. For those that missed it (all one of you), I will try to make up for it just a little.

On the 20th of July, the year 2009, I prepared as best I could for a Kutless show that was looking like it might be cancelled, then it was on again/off again since it was scheduled to happen the day after my return from Creation NW in WA. I was to be there bright and early at 8 a.m. I also had a ticket and meet and greet for Switchfoot the same night, so the plan was to have friends hold a place in line while I worked and then to cut out early for Switchfoot's show. I had some of the food items and the water for Kutless and company, gift bags for Esterlyn, and other things laid out and ready on the table. As for my trip to Washington state, I really hadn't had the usual time for planning and it just really snuck up on me. I made a list and did the best I could and started throwing everything in the car. The plan was to leave on the 21st, drive about halfway to Ontario, OR and sleep a few hours at the local Motel 6 and leave for The Gorge at 4 a.m. I knew 4 a.m. was going to come really early (doesn't it usually?)

On the morning of the 21st, I got up and finished loading the car and coolers, made a pit stop at Smith's for ice, dry ice and gasoline and headed out: Creation or Bust. Since I did not plan to return to my tent during the day, I hoped dry ice would last a bit longer than the regular variety. (It did only slightly, and not enough to make it worth the extra expense, really.) Then I finally headed out on the road. The drive went pretty smoothly for the most part. The first half of the trip is really a pretty straightforward drive. I stopped in Twin Falls for gas, and something to eat and then headed back out towards Ontario. Once I arrived at the Motel, I checked in, put a few things in the hotel and headed over to Wal Mart to get something to eat, and a few small forgotten items I thought I'd need, like a bathing suit and cover up. I picked up some Double Bubble for Luke of Esterlyn and some Lemonheads for Joel, as well. The hotel is pretty convenient being within a short walking distance of Wally World. LOL I had hoped to get to swim a little, but by the time I finished my trek to Wal Mart, eating and showering, it was 8 p.m. and time for some sleep. As I mentioned, 4 a.m. came early. By 4:30 a.m. I was on the road again (cue the Canned Heat tune....)

The last half of the drive is trickier. There are all sorts of smaller highways and byways I had to take to get to my destination. A few are pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The only hitch on the way up was one highway where the directions said to take 225S instead of 225N, but I was sure I was going the right way. I stopped at a "Desert Oasis" (I think that was the name of it) and asked direction, but the gal had no idea. I noticed a real estate office just behind the gas station/convenience store and a guy outside. I figured they'd know the area. He directed me, and I was going the right way. IN fact, I wasn't that far off from the next freeway entrance (90) and not all that far from The Gorge, really. I arrived at The Gorge about 10:30 a.m. which is right about when I'd hoped to get there. Of course, there was a long line of cars in waiting, as there usually are. The plan was to have my tent set up by noon, and make it to the gates and be first in line (as I have been every year that I've been so far - since 2006.) I was on a time table. I had everything ready to go. Imagine my dismay when I was told to park in the shortest line near the end of the stretch to be behind three vans who were not at all ready. They still had to fill out forms, pay and figure out what they were doing. Staff kept going back and forth to their vehicles. This all took 1/2 hour while the other three lines kept moving. So much for the shortest line. LOL That behind me I headed off to park and set up my tent. I pulled in and was instructed to go around the corner and told I would then be directed to my campsite. I kept driving and saw all of the people in the orange vests in one big group. No one directed me. I saw empty lanes, and the exit coming up. All I knew was that I missed the entrance the first year and they made me start over at the beginning. That wasn't in my plans, so I turned around. They fumbled a bit and finally directed me to a lane behind a small group with two vehicles. They were setting up camp, so I proceeded to put my tent up behind them. Just as I pounded in the last stake, we were told that our tents were on the wrong side. I had to pull it up and move it. I wasn't feeling terribly Christian at that moment, trust me. LOL

As it turned out, I still made it to the gates at around 1 p.m. and was, in fact, the first person in line. I waited, and waited, met people, talked to anyone who wanted to chat, took turns on potty breaks, and tried to stay as cool as possible while lathering on my sunscreen. Finally, it was time for the gates to open. There are two gated areas before you enter. When the first gate opened, the crowd rushed and knocked me to the ground. I picked myself up and still made it through to the front of the tape, barely. Once you get almost to the bottom, they turn everyone loose and people are instructed not to run, and people always do. The hill is so steep at that point that you almost need a "runaway truck ramp" to stop. I am old and slow, and made it to the barricade, but barely. I keep thinking there has to be a better way, and I will give it some thought, but not sure what it is. Sending runners to the back of the line like first graders crosses my mind. LOL

Anyway, I was in place now, a bit more relaxed and ready for the concert to begin. It was hot, but there was at least a little bit of a breeze. be continued...

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