Virgin Tour, Summer 2009

Missoula to Spokane

We began our tour as we begin any show, at Lisena’s brick apartment near the Hip Strip. We had just gotten our van, a green beast with horns on the front and a plethora of religious and voodoo items inside. We packed her to the brim, full of everything we eventually realized we didn’t need. Example: I don’t need a white dress shirt and black chinos I got from Urban Outfitters- I won’t wear them, and they look retarded outside of graduation or a funeral. I do not look like a cool cowboy in them.

The Green Van + healthy, pre-tour members

The Green Van + healthy, pre-tour members

So off we headed to our first stop, Spokane. Over two passes, we break into the doldrums of suburban Spokane Valley, and then it’s our first stop at the Empyreum (sic). We get out, grab a bite to eat, get a couple free beers, and play our first tour show. The sound is great, so great as the curse goes, that I promptly break a guitar string. We stay at Bethany’s friend’s apartment with a white cat that gives Martin the sniffles. Poor Martin.

Spokane to Bellingham

After coffee (the cheapest we get on tour, I think) we take off across the Washington flats towards Seattle and Bellingham. We stop in George, Washington and it takes both Bethany and I a good fifteen minutes to understand why there is a statue of George Washington at the gas station. Sasquatch Festival is happening and we see some sketched out hippie trying to get a ride from the station back to the Gorge.

George Washington, Ben, and Me

George Washington, Ben, and Me

We get past Seattle and reach Bellingham on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. We unload and Sam and I take a walk down to the docks, past hippies in a VW bus, through a fence, and into an abandoned lot. The sun is beginning to set, and I feel a new wave of excitement at the idea of being free. We are on the road, no one to answer to but ourselves, miles from home and that wildness beginning to set.

Bellingham to Seattle

Ah, to write about something a month past. This is what I remember. That night, in Bellingham, we hung out with Rob, formally from Good Neighbor Policy, and drank PBR (or Rainer, or Olympia) and some of us partook in Coos Bay illegals. We went on a hike twenty feet into a forest and got scared. We saw a slug and Jesse took pictures of it. Here’s the slug.

Here is the slug

Here is the slug

We slept in tents that night, and awoke dirty and in dire need of coffee and showers. Four of us snuck into a Best Western inhabited by one of our band members, Lis, and took sneaky showers. Then Bethany drove the big green Beast van around and around Bellingham, trying to find a secret coffee shop that probably didn’t exist, even though we found it. Then we drove into Seattle and met our friend Jeremy up in Capital Hill. We watched a Blu-Ray HDTV with him and got queasy. Then we walked around Pike Market, saw a wall made out of bubblegum, and Martin looked like a European tourist (no photo available). I looked like a country bumpkin in the big city. There was no such thing as the “Seattle Freeze” there, because every single person I said “hello” to waved cheerfully and said back, “hello Nate!” I am extremely well-known in that city. Us and Jeremy We and Jeremy Jeremy and his friends, us, then went to a dark bar called the Stumbling Monk and drank fantastic Lambic beers and were harrassed by a sharply-dressed Hispanic who pounded our table and wanted to take Sam or Martin home with him, I think. I can’t speak Spanish very well, but in all reality, I don’t think he was even speaking a real language.  But Martin, in a clever move, told the sharply-dressed Hispanic that he was, in fact, married to Sam, as Sam showed said Hispanic his invisible ring. On the way home from the Stumbling Monk, Martin told us he would take the Space Needle and use it to sow up a black hole. Oh, Martin!

– Nate

The Coos Bay Encounter

I could go in chronological order here, but I think it’s much better to write about the events in order of how I remember them occurring. Of course what I remember best was our post-Portland drive south along the 101. Entering Coos Bay, OR on a sunny evening, we all were looking forward to a nice evening at a camp-site on the ocean asBellingham didn’t quite give us the view of the ocean we were all waiting for. Alas, our prospects would be postponed by none other than a cop with a gross mustache and an ego like…well a cop (except Connie, whom we love).

It goes like this. I miss the turn for the 101 and we end up in a residential area. I first notice that we are definately headed in the wrong direction. Then I notice that the speed limit is 25 and I’m going 35, maybe more. Then I make eye contact with the enemy, who obviously notices that one, I am speeding, and two, he has a reason to be suspicious of what we might be carrying. So after pulling us over and telling me I was speeding…

“How you doin’ this afternoon?”

“Fine, thanks.”

“Know why I’m pulling you over?”


“License and registration?” I hand it over after confirming that the van is in fact not ours, but also that it was not stolen (because it wouldn’t be anything in between would it?) that we are a band headed for Oakland, CA.

“Any narcotics or firearms?”

Chuckle, “No, sir.”

“Mind if we search the van?”

“Um, not today, thanks.”

“I have reason to believe you might be carrying something illegal.”

“What would give you that impression?”

“I’ve been a cop for about as long as you’ve been alive.”

Fucking douchebag asshole. “You won’t be searching the van.”

“It’d be a lot easier than bringing the drug dog around.” Officer Bag mumbles into his radio about “Code 35 blah blah” – translation, I’m bored and wanna bust these hippies.

Nate was in the passenger seat and took over after I could no longer communicate with the officer. I have issues with officers and law and government, so Nate took the reins, telling the officer we’d like some time to consult with our cop friend, Connie, whom we love. On the phone, Nate copied down a short list of questions for the officer, such as, “Are you audio or video recording these events?” And, “Do we have to consent to a search?” etc.

The cop puffed up his chest but was actually pretty nice to us. We decided to give him what little we had. I got out of the van, unlocked the back and dug around until I found my dirty socks in which I had conspired with dangerous substances. I handed over my dirty socks. “It’s homegrown,” I said, “enjoy.”

“Shut up, Sam.” Jesse 🙂

After giving me the 97$ speeding ticket I got down on my knees and kissed his shoes, thanking him for not writing two $1000 possession tickets. I didn’t do that. I gave Martin the keys, got in the back and sulked for a minute. But soon we found a market, a bunch of food (thanks to the band fund) and found a nice little camping spot on the ocean. Nate and Martin and I went out and saw the wet sand and the sun-set blocked out by clouds but a sunset nevertheless. On the trek back we saw a porcupine! We feasted on shrimp, brats, bread and smores until we were sick and slept like babies, well most of us (who weren’t thinking of ghosts in the ladies bathroom).

All for now, more to come.

– Sam


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