Friday, August 11, 2006

So Close, and Yet So Far....

First things first (and click on pics to make them bigger):

This is my car. You can't really see me, but I'm sitting in the driver's seat. That would be the Sanders Co. Sheriff parked behind me. Can't tell, but the lights ARE flashing. State highway 200, between Plains and Thompson Falls. After he's stopped me for going 83 mph in a 70 mph zone. In my defense, I had just passed someone, but hadn't slowed down yet. I saw his lights go on, but he was in front of a long lane of traffic, so we were at least a mile apart by the time he got turned around. I just pulled over and waited for him. He walked up, and before he even asked, I handed him my brand new driver's license, my new proof of insurance, and my registration for my brand new license plates. He thanked me for my cooperation, and for not making him chase me, and, being the nice guy that he is, only ticketed me for going 80, instead of 83, which saved me a few bucks, and was technically a lesser charge. I was able to just pay my fine right there ($20--just.a.girl paid it for me!) and we were on the road again! LESSON: ALWAYS HAVE YOUR INSURANCE, REGISTRATION AND LICENSE UP TO DATE!!
SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR...That would explain alot of our trip. Just.a.girl and I drove to Sandpoint, ID to see Nickel Creek in concert. We got into Idaho, and set up her tent (much bigger than mine) near beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, possibly the most beautiful lake in the Northwest (maybe even more than Lake Coeur d'Alene...). Anyway, we had about 90 minutes to kill before I thought we needed to be in line, so we head into Sandpoint.

As soon as we got there, I wanted to get to the concert site just to scope it out. What we found were 500 people, already in line! And the gates didn't open for well over an hour! We weren't quite prepared to stay, but figured we'd better grab our place, so I dropped of J.a.g and left to find a place to park. By the time I got in line with her, another 100 were in line behind her.

By the time the gates opened, there had to be a couple thousand waiting in line, winding around the park. But a very civil crowd! The people showing up right at six were cursing loudly. Kudos to the numerous volunteers who made sure that late-comers went to the back of the line! In hindsight, it was easy to say--SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR...

What all this meant is that we were farther from the stage than I would have liked (all general admission). SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR... I, who have generally had great luck getting center section seats, was relegated off to the sides. Not a great view, but the great sound made up for that. And the free beer. Yes, FREE BEER! They had a complimentary microbrew tasting before the show. And lots of food available. Here's J.a.g munching down on stir-fry while in line for beer. And here's the view of the stage from where we were. Note how small the guitars look.

The primary drawback to our seating was the inability to take decent pics. These were as good as I could come up with. SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR... Too much distance, not enough light, too slow shutter speed. As for the concert--easily in my top 7. Far more talent than I anticipated. It's not easy for a neo-bluegrass group to cover a Britney Spears song, and make it sound better than the original. Well, it's not that hard, but these guys (and girl) are tight! They have now made it onto my "must-see" list whenever they're nearby!

SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR...After the concert (which started a full hour later than advertised), we were so tired that we decided to bag the post-concert beer place, and just went back to the tent. Not that anything would have happened, because we're not like that, but SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR... One thing we didn't anticipate was that the campground we were at had us less than 50 yds away from railroad tracks. We didn't think anything of it. Until about 1AM, when a train went through, complete with horn blaring for half a mile due to the multiple crossings it was going through. We thought we were on the tracks themselves. My initial thought was that when it derailed, we would be instantly killed, so it wouldn't hurt at all. SO CLOSE, AND YET NOWHERE NEAR FAR ENOUGH AWAY! Six different trains during the night, yet she only heard two of them... But the brief rainstorm that we had woke her.
SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR... One of the most personally anticipated blogger meets didn't actually happen. SO CLOSE... On the way back this morning, I was excited to hand deliver the OsShirt to one of my (our) favorite HNTers, the Queen of HNT herself, Crimson! Plan "A" was to meet her, get some pics taken with her (not nekkid ones, ya pervs!) and post them and let you all be jealous beyond words. Plan "B" was to leave the OsShirt in her mailbox. I called her before we left Idaho, and got no answer, so it looked like "B" was winning out. But maybe she was out chasing the horses or running after a bear, so I tried to call when I got to the mailbox, but I had no cell service. So "B" did win out. I left the shirt in her mailbox. We could have driven up to her place, but then the creepy stalker persona factors in, so we turned around and got back on the road. Here I am delivering the OsShirt, and a view down the road that she lives on.

SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR AWAY... That's where she lives. Way at the end of the road. We do plan to meet this summer or fall. I'm sort of glad that we didn't today, simply because we had to get home by the early afternoon, and any visit we would have had would have been unacceptably short. The rest of the trip home was uneventful, thought we did see the following sign on the side of the road. A portable sheep sign!

J.a.g just spent the four prior nights camping in Glacier Park, and one of the local lakes, then with me. Tonight she's down on the river about 90 minutes from here at a music festival for three more days. She's a better man than I! I'm sore, not from the camping, but from sitting cross-legged on the ground for hours on end. And bad shoes. And old age. Thank God I have the weekend to recuperate!

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