Kimberly, who takes such good care of the raspberries, strawberries and blueberries here at the K office, picked a big basket of plums from our bountiful trees along 8th Avenue. We the Hive Dwellers bagged a couple pounds for the road Friday morning and hopped in the rental auto, already packed to the gills with drums and guitars. Evan, Gabriel and I made our way through Longview, Washington, where we skipped the traditional viewing of the Nutty Narrows Squirrel Bridge, or even a visit to Lake Sacajawea or Washington Way Circle in haste not miss the ferry from Puget Island. The Ocean Beach Hwy (State Route 4) runs along the Washington side of the Columbia River, 71 degrees and brilliant end of summer sunshine. There is lush wilderness and forgotten river landings, once an economy was based on this river life yet the Columbia rolls on unaware. Fifteen miles into Wahkiakum County an abrupt left turn down Main Street, Cathlamet, Washington (the county seat), which offers a comfy hometown grocery store and a view of an intriguing independent hardware store before we cross a branch of the Columbia onto Puget Island. A change from the rolling and tumbling Ocean Beach Hwy to flat lowlands, fields, some livestock and farm houses, picturesque barns. Norse Hall on the right begs to host a punk show; Our Saviors Lutheran Church on the left is a wooden structure rising above its surroundings with impressive severity.
The Ferry Wahkiakum launches from Puget Island every hour from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM, operated by the folks at Wahkiakum County Public Works Department since 1962. It is one of three ferries operating on the Columbia River (the others are the Martha S. between Lincoln County and Ferry County, Washington and the Inchelium-Gifford Ferry, operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs). We made it to the ferry landing with fifteen minutes to spare. We roll onto the ferry deck and a fellow walks around casually collecting our five dollars in the same manner as the door person at a house show. We are thankfully spare the reminders to “say something if we see something”, report unattended packages and all the other tedious folderal of modern travel.
We cast off with three cars, a utility truck, short bus and two bicyclists on the Ferry Wahkiakum as it cruises the calm and shining Columbia. The last leg of the ten minute crossing is spent forging upriver to West Port, Oregon our landing spot and launch pad of the next episode of our coastal adventure.
We disembark onto Hwy 30 towards Astoria, Oregon where we make a left turn onto 17th St. to do a drive-by the Moose Lodge 408, location or the evenings show, then continued on to the studios of community radio station KMUN-FM, “Coastal Radio”. Our promoter pal Heidie arranged for us to appear on the prestigious Arts – Live & Local! show hosted by the effervescent Carol Newman. At 3:30 PM we drag our amplifiers and drums into the bedroom-sized studio (KMUN is located in an old house, the studio was a bedroom in a former life) and Carol flips on the mics, we run through “A Woman Named Trudy” and “Sitting Alone at the Movies”. Carol asks appropriately disarming queries and made delightful color commentary while also mentioning our two shows within the listening area. Thank you, Carol, for hosting us on KMUN and Arts – Live and Local!
We run across the street to the Astoria Cooperative Grocery for some lunchables, then to Moose Lodge 408 to prepare for the evening’s program. Already present were local duo the Holds (who change their name for each show). Two Portland, Oregon combos also on the bill, EET and Landlines, were straggling in a few members at a time. Co-promoter Nyk brought copious baked goods and humus from his day job at the bakery to share with the audience; dispensers of hot tea, too. Heidie contributed some of the plums we presented her from the K office. A real feast.
The jukebox in the corner was invoked to provide between artist play, a mixture of oldies, classic rock and late 20th century Country & Western. Landlines started the evening with their rolling pop rockin garage of the non-’60s variety. A contemporary sound as timeless as it was mesmerizingly oblique. Next was the Holds, who had done a costume change since the set-up hour and looked quite glamourous. Their R&B bass lines are potent and the accompanying melodica playing sealed the deal: the room was transfixed. We the Hive Dwellers were forced to follow them on the bill and all things considered we didn’t make a poor showing of it. EET wrapped up the evening from the far corner, a duo combining multiple mediums into an integrated whole: sound founds, samples, electronic instruments, dance, poetry, rhythm box, story telling and multiple costume changes. Pretty neat. Here are the Holds at Moose Lodge 408:Here is the K souvenir stand at same:After the Astoria shindig we were scheduled to play the Sou’wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington on Saturday night. Since the Moose event began and ended early (even with four combos playing), and Seaview is only 18 miles away, we left Astoria behind and traveled Surf Route 101 (as Jan and Dean like to call it) north to the Long Beach Peninsula. We cross over the miles long Columbia River bridge then on through Chinook and Illwaco. This is Dennis Driscoll country, and we can smell “Cranberry Road” from the highway as we pull into the Sou’wester Lodge. Built in 1892 as a summer house for a rich Oregon politician, it has cabins added in later decades, trailers from the ’50s and ’60s embedded about the place, a field of RV hook-ups, a pavilion and assorted fire pits strewn all about. Thankfully the Lodge itself has not been renovated since the 1940s so it is deliciously wooden and linoleumed and comfortable and lived in. We arise to another gorgeous day with the ocean crashing in our ears. We wander off in search of a fables breakfast spot Gabriel has been told he must frequent. It turns out to be Laurie’s Homestead Breakfast House, and it lives up to it’s vaunted reputation. A sidewalk sandwich sign announces “Grange Sale” and I’m off to Long Beach Grange #667 for their Indoor Market held twice a month. Within were found some fresh garden vegetables, assorted rummage and local crafts, including some ver colorful socks a fellow knit with an antique knitting machine. Due to a self-imposed ban on purchasing any new socks I was unable to imbibe (or I’d be sporting a pair as I write this).One young woman was offering some compact discs of local music and I could not resist the album Tales from the Bar, sub titled “Songs of the Lower Columbia River”, put together by Maritime Folknet. It contains 19 songs about shipwrecks, fishing adventures, early American battles and other tall tales.
The ocean beach at Seaview was delightfully unpopulated, a few surfers and sandcastle architects, the water was not so cold as you think.
Back at the Sou’wester Lodge we played an early show with Ivy Ross & the Pillowfight, who happened to be staying there for a yoga retreat. A duo that played back-bendingly good tunes. Their Face cassette tape is a pocket musical bouquet. The Hive Dwellers played it out for the crowd which included several ver small children who really knew how to dance!
The next morning Kath of the Sou’wester Lodge made fruit compote with the K office plums we had given them, served over waffles it was quite delicious. The drive home was all cattle and cranberry bogs along Willapa Bay over the Naselle River to South Bend. A right up State Route 6 past Menlo, Lebam, Pe Ell and Adna finally reaching Centralia and Interstate 5 which took us to Olympia, Washington, our home.