Friday, July 8, 2016

4Peaks 2016

Today's post is dedicated to the road trip to Central Oregon for the last 4Peaks Music Festival to be held at the Rockin' A Ranch.

The Going
I had taken the travel day off, with this hope that we could get out of town earlier than we had last year. We did, and we arrived earlier, but not without having a few adventures along the way. The night prior, I drove from work to the mega-market to get food supplies for the trip. Out of nowhere, a large crow dive-bombed Hapy, taking out his front driver's side turn signal. Knowing that we were going to see some rain, we set a course out of town past Discount Import Parts for a replacement lens. They didn't have the bolts to mount them, but Orchard's across the street had something suitable (10-24 X 2" Phillips Round HD Machine Screw).

We headed out of town before 4, but the weekend rush hour had already started. In classic Oregon form, there was a 45 minute backup heading South because of an accident on the north-bound side of the freeway. Traffic lightened up around Wilsonville, and Hapy drove like a champ the rest of I-5. We left the speedy folks behind and turned east on OR-22. Traffic fell away soon after we passed the jail, and we entered the forest and foothills
of the Cascades. Detroit Lake looked much fuller this year versus last year and we hit steady rain after leaving Idanha. By the time we passed Hoo Doo Ski resort, though, the rain had stopped and the cold air was noticeable. I still haven't put in the door seals, so the windwhip is loud (and cold sometimes). The heater was blowing warm air, though, so Boo was able to wrap a blanket around her floor vent to keep herself warm. We arrived before nightfall, but the place was much more populated than the year before. I guess word got out about how great waking up there on the first full day is.

The Scene
The parking folks helped us find a relatively flat spot, and with the use of a 6x10 block of lumber we nicked at the NW String Summit last summer, we were able to get Hapy's rear end pretty level. While meeting neighbors, we set up our now-usual festival spread: camp couch, rug.. but we had some new things this year. We brought the 10x10 popup canopy that we got on the way home from Montana last summer, and set up a fancy BBQ that my dad gave us. We filled our large Coleman 5 gallon water dispenser too. All of these things, when added to the camp table, multiple coolers, etc made for a pretty crowded space. We had spots of rain all weekend, so moving things around took on more meaning. Some things, like the water dispenser, could sit in the rain. Others, like the BBQ, fit under the bus when not in use. The old BusDepot canopy, however, was no longer water-resistant, so it will be landfill-bound soon. In the picture below, you can see how we resolved to use it solely as a bridge between the bus and the pop-up. Even in that way, it didn't work too well. Still, by the last day, we had our systems running smoothly, and there was room to sit and watch the rain.

rain-adjusted, Hapy @sunset
The main festival area was very similar to last year, but there were more vendors. Down in the gully, they had added a coffee stand and a tea-yurt for sitting with your beverage and a few friends. Boo and I liked that addition very much. Of the vendors up above, I didn't recognize many from before, but then we really didn't do the vendor scene last year. Boo found a pair of sandals that are crazy-comfy and hand made. Karen, the booth owner, had been at 4Peaks for years. We spent a bunch of time with a couple different folks, a printed drawing booth owner and a teacher-turned-potter. Both were very open to talking about things and weren't in any rush to end conversations or push sales. So mellow and kind.

After walking the scene for a bit on Friday morning, we could hear the main stage fire up with JED. From our camping spot, we could hear the main stage very well and chose to stay with Hapy more than at the main stage. As Boo puts it, "I think we're the only people we know who go to music festivals to get rest".

The Bands
raging into the rain
Mid-afternoon Friday, we heard a band starting to get their mix before kicking off their set, and Boo and I stood straight up. Their sound was amazing. We were pulled to the main stage like the didgeridoo pulled us down the bowl at our first Hootenanny. We were pulled all the way to the front of the stage, and then the skies opened up. It poured rain, and the band kept wailing. The harder it rained, the harder they played and the harder the crowd danced. It was some kind of energy feedback loop happening, and we all just rode it. For their second to last song, they pulled the horn player from JED up on stage with them... and then they jumped into the pit between the stage and the crowd. And then raged into the rain, blowing the crowd away. The Stone Foxes. Best Band of 4Peaks 2016. We decided we're going to McMinnville for their August music festival simply because Stone Foxes will be there.

Stone Foxes at 4Peaks 2016
Semi-spent from the Stone Foxes, we got a smoothie and walked vendors while the stage switched over for the Jeff Austin Band. We didn't stay for more than a couple of songs, hitting Hapy for food and rest in anticipation of the highly hyped Poor Man's Whiskey show in the Side Stage tent at 10. They were good, but it didn't seem like they had put much thought into their set list. Their songs seemed all over the place in terms of tempo and emotion, leaving the crowd genuinely confused. The songs they hit, they hit well. Most of the rest of the set was kinda all over the place. We left before they finished.

On Saturday, we heard (and liked) Della Mae from the bus while we did morning dishes and later watched Robben Ford and Poor Man's Whiskey on the main stage. After Poor Man's Whiskey, we listened to Chris Robinson while eating candy under a blanket and looking up at the stars (the clouds had rolled off).

Sunday morning, we visited the Side Stage tent, not wanting the festival to be over. We were treated to the Students of String Theory: kids playing some classic, and some modern songs on acoustic guitar and fiddle while singing. They were fantastic.

The Return
home bound
Sunday was the only sunny day, so lots of folks took their time leaving. We did too. as we packed up, we saw many of our fellow festers leaving by a different direction than we had come in. Thinking that they knew something, we fired up the google maps app and turned the same way out of the Rockin' A Ranch. The Google map was wrong and we found ourselves on a gravel road marked "Private". Awesome. From now on, I'm using Waze. Not too proud, I asked a couple who were leading their horses back onto their trailer, and received viable directions. A few twists and tuns later, and we were having a Dundee-like experience crawling through Sisters. Just like the year before, the drive out of the festival ground had shaken a fan wire loose, so we pulled off at the same viewing spot as the year before and fixed the wire. After that, the drive through the Cascades was fantastic. The day was beautiful and traffic light, allowing us to really enjoy the drive, until we arrived at I-5. There had been multiple accidents and rubber-necking opportunities like the drive out of town, so we found ourselves nudging along for about 45 minutes. During that stretch, Hapy would drop into the 1200RPM "limp mode" often. Additionally, the engine would act like there was a sporadic miss. We got home through promises of repair (like John Muir used to muse about in his Complete Idiot book).

That's it for today. Lots of repair adventures to follow. Like always, when I'm not posting, its because I'm out in the world, creating future content :) Thanks for following along-

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