Just for the Fun Of It: Seattle, WA

Friends Reunited With:  6

This weekend in Seattle, we were fortunate enough to stay with four Colgate alum in their lovely house in Capitol Hill—Dave, Sebastian, Sarah and Greta, thank you so much for the hospitality!  We also hung out with fellow Colgate classmate, Abby Callahan, and Katie’s high school bestie, Jeff Nichols!

Bars in Which We Imbibed:  4

We enjoyed ourselves at quite a few local Seattle drinking holes, ranging from large beer halls to intimate, Christmas-lights-lit hole-in-the-walls.  If you’re ever in Seattle, make sure to visit Von Trapp’s Beer Hall, Montana, The Unicorn, and Cha Cha’s!

Local Not-For-Profits Visited:  1

The Locavaux Project sat down with Beth, program director at the Seattle-based Vera Project, an all-ages volunteer-based music and arts venue.  We got a tour of the facilities and learned a little bit more about the all-ages venue that hosts up to 100 concerts each year, most of which are local Seattle groups.  They also provide classes in screen printing, sound mixing, live recording, musical journalism, and even lighting.  Sign us up!  Check out everything awesome about Vera Project here!

Number of Pickle-Back Shots Taken:  too many

We learned of a new trend while in Seattle:  pickle-back shots!  A shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice.  Great?  Awful?  We’ll let you be the judge of that.

Millionaire’s Parties Attended:  1

Drew, we might not know what you do, but what we are certain of is that the party you threw at your rather large home on Mercer Island is one for the books.  Thank you for hosting the Locavaux Crew and entourage, giving us rides in your epic golf cart, and allowing us the chance to jump into beautiful Lake Washington!  This Seattle Seafair spent at your home will not soon be forgotten.

Local Food Hot Spots Eaten At:  6

If you haven’t noticed, we folks here at the Locavaux Project like to eat.  But hey, when it’s local fare, why not?  We tried noodle dishes at Chungee’s Drink ‘n Eat, burritos at Rancho Bravo, cheese curds at Beecher’s Cheese, Cuban sandwiches at Paseo, pho in Chinatown and coffee at Bauhaus Coffee!  But seriously, if you need a food lovers guide to any of the cities the Locavaux Crew has visited while on tour, holler, because we always find the best eats.

Touristy “Seattle” Sites Seen:  7

I mean, when in Seattle, right?  We checked out Fremont, Ballard, the Space Needle, Seattle City Center, Pike Place Market (Beecher’s Cheese!), Queen Anne’s scenic lookout and the Ballard Steps.

Dogs Met:  2

We got to know Lucille, aka Lucy, Dave’s loyal furry friend and Finn, Postmadonna’s camera-loving canine.  Can the Locavaux Crew get a dog for the bus now?

New Music Scenes Discovered:  1

While in Seattle we discovered a musical genre none of the Locavaux Crew was remotely familiar with: Math Rock, a rhythmically complex, often guitar-based style of experimental rock and indie rock.  Math rock is becoming a burgeoning experimental rock scene in Seattle, providing a new musical outlet amidst a sea of flannel-wearing, Fleet-Foxes-wannabe singer-songwriters.  Postmadonna, a math rock group of pretty major influence in the local Seattle music scene, was kind enough to play a few songs for the Locavaux Project and answer some questions about this progressive music style.  Check out some math rock for yourself, and give Postmadonna a listen here!  If you’re ever in town, check out The Comet, a bar and math rock concert scene.  You won’t regret it.

Meals Cooked by Chef Greg:  2.5

Greg, aka Chef Greg and host Sarah’s main squeeze, did not shy from showing the Locavaux Crew his culinary skills.  From French toast and home fries to eggs benedict with smoked salmon, we wouldn’t complain one bit if Greg found himself on the Locavaux bus cooking dinner for the crew.



So thank you Seattle, you showed us what it means to be an exciting, enthusiastic and energetic local music scene full of fun and supportive people.  We’ll be back soon, we couldn’t bear to think of being away for too long.

Washington Wilderness (and Wackiness)

We left Portland filled with donuts, faint memories of craft beer and shirt taking-off competitions, and a new travel companion:  Nora Edmunds!  We set off for the coast once again, anxious to get back to Route 101 and those vast, never-ending Pacific coast horizons.  Our first day back on the road we drove through beautiful Astoria, Oregon and hurtled across the incredible linkage of bridges that connects the North Western tip of Oregon to Long Beach, Washington.  We camped in Cape of Disappointment (we hope this is a sarcastic name, as its really quite beautiful out there!) National Park that evening and enjoyed our first official round of campfire s’mores.  We continued north throughout the week with the ultimate goal of reaching Olympic National Park in northern Washington by mid-week, parking the bus in the sand and camping on two beaches mere feet from the Pacific Ocean tide.  Early Tuesday evening, we stopped in Copalis Beach and wandered into The Green Lantern Tavern.  We made friends with some wonderful locals, got talking to the new owners of the bar, and even became addicted to a gambling game of sorts.  After spending $8 with no luck, the owners took pity and gave us the price for free:  a box of 48 poptarts was ours for the taking!  Thanks Green Lantern for providing the Locavaux Crew with breakfast for the next two months!  As we journeyed north the next day, we came upon Pacific Beach, Washington, a small fishing town and home to Wacky’s Warehouse.  Wacky’s Warehouse, owned by none other than Mr. Wacky himself, is a hole-in-the-wall oddities store that also features a donated open mic area that is often frequented by locals.  The Locavaux Crew was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Wacky play some songs on the piano and hear about his days as host to a pirate music radio channel straight out of the back of his store.  He also treated us to tales of his own cross-country trip in the 1960s in a renovated postal service truck!  What a life Mr. Wacky has had—we’re pretty sure he’s the perfect “This American Life” material for NPR. Speaking of lives we wish we led, fate led us to a gas station just outside of Olympic National Park in which we met Rhodes, a member of the famous 1960s Hog Farm gang and friend to Ken Kesey!  For those of you who know any member of the Locavaux Crew, you know that we’re incredibly inspired by and big fans of Tom Wolfe’s novel, “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test,” a journalistic recount of Ken Kesey and his attempt to spread LSD across the United States by means of his gang of friends, The Merry Pranksters, and their beloved bus, Furthur.  Upon meeting Rhodes, we immediately tackled him with questions of his own adventures on Furthur, what type of man Ken Kesey was, if Neil Cassady, the driver of Furthur, was as cool as he seems in the novel, and so on.  Rhodes, if we could have, we would have had you recount tales of Electric Kool Acid Tests for hours on end, but I guess we’ll just have to wait until our next chance encounter.  Georgia sure was proud to get a few compliments from one of the more famous bus passengers of our time.  We made it to Olympic National Park’s Lake Quinault that afternoon and explored a few of the nearby trails into the famous rainforests of northern Washington.  We ended the evening with a drink on the lawn of the beautiful park lodge on Lake Quinault and made it to our campsite, where we made a few new Canadian friends, jammed on the guitar, and made s’mores over an open campfire.


We drove on towards Seattle the next morning, deciding to stop outside of Olympia, the state’s capital, to try and find a little local music and celebrate National IPA Day the right way.  Luckily enough, it didn’t take long until we happened upon Buzz’s Tavern, a small sports bar and home to weekly open mic night.  We enjoyed an incredible selection of talented local drummers, guitarists, vocalists, and bassists, all hosted by the friendly and attentive Scott (who makes his living in the area setting up high quality open mics for all).  Our favorite act?  A family band, consisting of a father and his two children, entitled, “Me and My Dad.”  We even got to interview them following their first Open Mic ever!  And so after a week of beaches, rainforests, Merry Prankster run-ins, IPAs and open mics, the Locavaux Crew was content and ready for the next big weekend stop:  Seattle!

Bros, Beers and Bands: Portland, OR

You know it’s going to be a good weekend when, upon arrival, you’re met with a kegerator.  Georgia rolled into Portland late Friday night and arrived at our good friends (and fraternity brothers of Pat and Chase’s), Mike Dineen and Bobby Legaye’s apartment.  The boys ushered us into their apartment to a welcoming party in our honor, fully stocked with a kegerator of Natty Light (our favorite!).  The night was spent meeting Bobby and Mike’s friends and coworkers, giving tours of the bus, maybe, just maybe, partaking in a few beer bongs, and enjoying late-night drinks on the bus rooftop. The next morning, we hobbled over to a local sports bar for a glamorous $2 breakfast and, once filled with pancakes and eggs, made out way to the Pearl District for a scheduled interview with Ben Weyerhauser of Rags & Ribbons, a favored band among the local Portland music scene.  The interview with Ben, which took place in one of the Pent House lofts of the Pearl District apartment building (those views!), was extremely informative and eye-opening as Ben spoke to the saturated Portland music scene and the benefits of working within a community of musicians and artists.  We said our well wishes to Ben, afterwards heading downtown Portland for the annual Oregon Brewer’s Festival.  For the entirety of the afternoon we tasted local Oregon beers and enjoyed getting to know a few new favorite breweries.  Hey Ninkasi, Hallie and I see you…  As the evening wore on, we made our way back to Bobby and Mike’s apartment to greet two more Colgate friends and alum:  Mack Woodruff and Sam Leff!  Remember Sam from Pittsburgh?  Mack and Sam are in the midst of a cross-country road-trip towards Los Angeles, where Mack starts work at a talent agency in just a few days.  The gang, once reunited, enjoyed a few drinks and made their way to the bars on 21st Street in Portland.  The evening was spent enjoying a few “local” musicians take on some karaoke songs (Mack and Sam’s rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever” will, for lack of a better word, forever be engrained in our minds), hosting countless rounds of “who can take their shirt off the fastest?” and subsequently filming it (over and over and over again).

The next morning was made more tolerable with another $2 breakfast and a trip to the NIKE campus, where both Mike and Bobby work.  Our personalized tour of the workspace ended with a trip to the employee discount store—the boys were finally given their ideal shopping trip!  Newly outfitted with swag, the gang made its way back to the apartment.  While the boys visited the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, Hallie and I met up with Hallie’s friend from camp and Sasquatch festival friend, Katie Kelly, for dinner at Por Qué No? Tacos.  We reminisced on our first year at Sasquatch Music Festival together (four years ago!) and learned about the “real” Portland, hipsters, weirdness and all.  We met back up with the boys for a Sunday night locals concert at Rontoms bar—Hands In and Hustle & Drone, both Portland-based groups, rocked the house with synth-fueled beats and indie-electro hits.  We had a few drinks, took a few photobooth pictures, and ate a slice of pizza (because honestly, there are way too many pizza places in Portland to not eat some pizza).  It was a great end to a weekend well-spent in Portland.  The next morning we said our goodbyes to Bobby, Mike, Mack and Sam, and headed out towards the coast once again.  Of course, we had to stop at Voodoo Donuts and the food carts of Portland to get in our fair share of locally famed foods.  Thanks for a great weekend, Portland—we couldn’t have asked for better friends to spend the weekend with while in your fine city.  Stay weird, Portland!  We’ll miss you.



Hot Springs and Hippies

The coast came and went, and by Thursday evening we traveled inland towards Eugene, Oregon.  The bus was met with applause and thumbs up as we traveled further into what we now like to call the hippie capital of the United States.  After a quick quinoa dinner (admit it boys, you liked it!), we made our way to Luckey’s Saloon for a concert by Eugene locals, The Long Hello.  What great female vocals and jazzy guitar!  Ellie Schmidt, our good friend and Colgate graduate, arranged for her cousin, Mac, to meet up with us and hang out at the concert.  Nice to meet you, Mac! We hopped on the bus late that night and began the journey towards Cougar Springs, a local hotspot (literally) that we had been turned onto by a passerby in Mill Valley. That morning, we hiked in along the beautiful coast of Cougar Reservoir and were met by a series of cascading pools fed by a cavernous hot spring.  We made friends with an older woman who captured our imagination with tales of her young life living in the Haight in the 1960s (quote of the week:  “I saw the Beatles a lot back then, but I don’t really know what they were like.  I was on too much acid!”) and luxuriated in our newfound natural spa.  We then jumped into the more temperate waters of the reservoir, jumped off some boulders, swam under a waterfall, and ate lunch while listening to a man play guitar on the cliffs near our parked bus.  An afternoon for the books, we’d say.  And off to Portland we then went!

Cruisin' the California Coast

Despite being bummed to leave San Francisco and say goodbye to our friends, we had one thing on our mind that kept us traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge and onto the 101: the coast. Having all grown up in either the Midwest or on the East coast, the Locavaux Crew was ready to explore new territory and see the sights. We stopped quickly in Mill Valley to have a drink and enjoy some late afternoon snacks with friends Jimmy and Emily Hughes, took in a few Open Mic Night acts at the local (and famed) Sweetwater concert hall down the road, and eventually got on the highway for Napa Valley. Mr. Scribner, who works at two vineyards in the Napa Valley area, kindly offered dinner, beds and even a wine tasting to the bus crew—it was an offer we couldn’t resist. Papa Scribs bought us a delicious dinner of burgers at Gott’s Roadside stand, took us to the company house where he works during the week, and we called it a night. The next morning, the Locavaux Crew took a tour of both Rutherford Hill and Chimney Rock wineries, learning from each of the winemakers at the vineyards all about the winemaking process and upcoming harvest season. After buying a few bottles of wine (when in Rome, right?) and regretfully dropping off Meegan at the bus stop, we packed up the bus and headed for the coast. Meegan, we miss your late-night bus renditions of Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Tracey Chapman already! We arrived to the Pacific Coast late that afternoon and ogled the incredible shoreline from the awe-inspiring vista that is Route 1. We stopped in Mendocino, home to the most western point in the continental United States and, conveniently, Hallie’s uncle! Our visit to Mendocino was sadly short-lived—Mr. Jetton treated us to dinner, a tour of the quaint town of Mendocino and a peek into their music festival tent before we said our goodbyes and headed out in search of a camping spot. We pulled off of the side of the road a few miles down the highway, engulfed by darkness as soon as the bus lights went off, and hit the hay, unsure of what we were going to be met with when we woke up. What did we wake up to, you ask? Only a vast, cliff doted view of the coast with giant boulders lining the beach. It was, you know, decent. The rest of the week was spent zig-zagging along the coastline on Route 1, enjoying the small beach towns that continuously populated the Pacific coast and gazing in wonder at the beauty of the California and Oregon wilderness. We made our way further north towards the California-Oregon border as the week wore on, exploring the Redwood National Forest and visiting one of the country’s famous Drive-Thru Trees (sadly the bus didn’t fit—but we crew members walked through for kicks). We spent our evenings singing along to Hallie’s guitar, enjoying some homemade bus cooking, tasting some local beers, and sitting in wonder at the Pacific ocean sights immediately in front of us. Everything is just bigger out West—bigger beaches, bigger boulders, bigger cliffs, bigger trees... It’s breathtaking. There’s a saying we’re reminded of as we look back on our time on the coast: “In the east, man is God, but in the west, nature is God.” Judging by that beautiful stretch of coastline we were lucky enough to experience, we couldn’t agree more.

San Francisco, CA

Our arrival into the Bay area started out with a beep.  Literally, a beep.  About 30 miles outside of San Francisco the brake line warning went off, beeping at an irregular pace that not even the loudest dubstep song could cover up.  We were perplexed:  we had just gotten a new brake pad and the brakes seemed to be doing just fine.  We drove on into the city, Chase keeping his nervous anxiety to himself, when all of a sudden, on the Bay Bridge, it stopped.  We were home free!  Apparently Georgia likes San Francisco.  That evening we arrived to Colgate friends Ally Latta and Bailey Hagan’s apartment in Nob Hill, weary from a long day’s drive, but managed to muster up the strength (and thirst) to hit up their favorite bars on Polk Street.  Our good friend Jess Leslie even tagged along!  It was a Colgate reunion, west-coast style. The next morning we gathered the troops to visit the famous San Francisco farmer’s market in the Ferry Building.  Kristen Weiner, a sophomore at Colgate and good friend to all, joined us—Colgate reunions continued!  We (well, largely the girls) walked around in awe as we ogled stand after stand of fresh produce.  After gorging ourselves on free samples and some tasty Chinese food at Out the Door, we picked up a few pounds of tomatoes and peaches (in preparation for a homemade dinner the next evening) and... wait for it… had another west coast reunion with Chase’s childhood friend, Chris Maddox, on our way back to the apartment.  The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering the Mission district of San Francisco, exploring thrift shops and local bars (conveniently around happy hour time—be sure to check out West of Pecos and Zeitgeist for some great deals!).  That evening we wandered to a cheap sushi joint to treat Chris to dinner as a reward for his Kickstarter donation (thanks Chris!), closely followed by another trip to Polk Street for some late night bar-hopping.  Ally and Bailey seemed to find their new favorite haunt at Kozy Kar.  Sunday was spent exploring even more neigborhoods—while Chase and Meegan rented bikes and trekked across the Golden Gate Bridge, the remainder of the Crew walked around the Marina district and logged a few miles of city walking.  The evening coalesced with a dinner of homemade shrimp tacos and farmer’s market fresh tomatoes and peaches salad, and ultimately led to a Sunday night concert series at San Francisco’s renowned music venue, Bottom of the Hill.  The Crew listened to some fantastic folk-rock and jam inspired tunes by San Francisco locals, Anju’s Pale Blue Eyes and Shady Maples!  Both groups were incredibly friendly, gave wonderfully informative interviews, and wished the Locavaux Project well on their travels up the coast towards Portland.

San Francisco, you’re one cool cat of a city.  We like you a lot—you’ve got great food, great bars, and great music.  We like you enough to maybe even move back there…  Georgia was even a big fan of you—so many new colorful and painted bus friends, she didn’t stick out nearly as much as before!  But we haven’t gotten to Portland, OR yet, and that’s home to the most famous bus of them all…

Alright Nevada, We Feel You.

We're not going to lie, Nevada.  We were dreading the long drive through the entirety of your state we had last week.  We were dreading the one hundred plus degree temperatures.  We were dreading driving through the night (in order to stay somewhat cool) as Chase cranked up the electronic music on the bus and cracked himself out on energy drinks.  We were dreading running out of water and sweating in places we didn't even know existed.  We were dreading rattle snakes and tumbleweed.  But then:  we spied the beautifully pristine and vast Salt Flats in the nighttime distance.  We came upon an amazingly delicious little tortilla factory in Winnamucka and subsequently had an incredible taco night on the bus.  We found an oasis of murky blue waters at Rye Patch Reservoir and spent the afternoon cooling off in the lake and sipping on Mike's Hard Lemonade Margaritas.  We watched the sunset reflect in purples, pinks and reds on the surrounding canyon walls while perched on the rooftop in the middle of a desert.  We jumped into the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe! So Nevada, we're sorry for ever doubting you as a state.  You proved yourself a pretty neat place for a gang of friends to drive a bus through and hang out.  You might have proven to us that hot wind does exist, and your unreal daytime temperatures might have caused Hallie to have a tad bit of heat exhaustion, but overall, you were pretty swell.  Thank you, Nevada, for proving the Locavaux Crew wrong in all the right ways.