So last weekend was Labor Day weekend, which we celebrated by driving for hours to the middle of nowhere and camping in a big wagon-wheel campground. We did this with I don’t know, several thousand other like-minded individuals from every walk of life. We camped and then in the evenings we went to see some music. Some Brandi Carlile and some Dave Matthews Band.
You may recall that I am now lightly disabled in that my glorious feets decline to carry me for long without discomfort that progresses into bona-fide pain. I’m still adjusting to this idea. But in the interest of being able to go to the zoo, the fair, Disneyland, etc, we purchased a scooter off of Craigslist recently. And I now have a disabled parking pass, because on a bad day a trip to the grocery store is pretty iffy and every step saved is a blessing. It’s kind of ridiculous. And sad. And it really, really pisses me off.
But it is what it is, and so because I didn’t think I could manage the long hike to and from the campground we inquired as to what accommodation could be found there.
So it happened that we found ourselves in the ADA part of the campground, which is closest to the general store and the shuttle and so forth. And as I understand it, it’s somewhat quieter than the standard campground, although a surprising number of people have zero compunctions about having loud conversations at 7am in a campground full of sleeping campers. More on that later.
If you’ve never been to the Gorge Amphitheater, you’re missing out. It’s pretty much perfect.
I’ve seen DMB here on a couple of other occasions but had reserved seats each time and stayed in hotels. This was totally different.
For starters, we got lawn tickets. Above the flat area where the reserved seats are, where there would be balconies in a theater, is the lawn. It’s a terraced hillside and it’s general seating aside from a small reserved area. We had intended to sit on a blanket in this area, perhaps with event chairs, and while away the afternoons.
But then we saw the ADA section. If you camped in the ADA section or parked in ADA parking, you got a wristband like so:
… Which in turn enabled you to sit in the ADA section of the amphitheater, and also to use the ADA restrooms which are quite nearby. The top photo shows the view from the ADA section. It’s not bad, right behind the reserved boxes, and nobody stands up and obscures your view like on the lawn. It’s first come first served, but this wasn’t really an issue if you got there in time to see Brandi Carlile perform, which we did.
The shows were amazing. DMB performed Long Black Veil which I am told they NEVER do, and also Crash, which they NEVER play, and also Spoon, which THEY DON’T EVER PLAY IN CONCERT OMG.
We had our personal fanboy Robert along, and he was very enthusiastic about the aforementioned factoids.
Robert is a bartender and all around awesome guy, and we had a great time camping with him. For starters, we found that we could bellow ROBEEEERT! at him very satisfyingly. He showed us the ropes of camping and was a delight to have around. This is him:
The Lovely Rhonda was also in attendance, of course, and our friend Joni whom we know from nursing school. Here they all are at the first night’s show. Note how tidy and well-groomed everyone looks.
They may have sold some adult beverages at the show, which we might have enjoyed. Maybe.
The real fun, however, was in the camping.
For starters, TLR is not a camper. I was told early on that she required hotels, hair dryers, lattes, etc. to travel. There will be none of this “camping,” so I was told.
Then Robert said we should camp, so suddenly we were camping.
Yeah, I’m not sure what happened either, but there it is.
We actually purchased a tent. And these foam futon-y things we found in the As-Is section of Ikea. Originally we were going to sleep in the back of the Minivan of Justice, but then we got the tent. Why? I don’t know. It just kind of happened. Because TLR said so, that’s why.
The ADA section is interesting. It’s also overflow for “Premier” camping, which is basically ADA amenities for 75 dollars more per night and a fence around the area.
Behind our site was a big fifth-wheel trailer. After a while a guy who we named The Nicest Man in the Whole Wide World ambled over. He was from Montana, and his son has had ALS for seven years. Here they are:
This is not the best photo of them, it must be confessed, but it’s the only one I have.
The son can barely move or speak. This is what he wanted to do, said TNMITWWW, So here we are.
They managed to get a message to Dave Matthews asking for an autograph, and Dave signed the freaking set list for him. Because Dave is awesome.
When it was time to pack up we shook TNMITWWW’s hand. We said we hoped to see them all next year. But I’m not sure we will.
Elsewhere in the campground we saw so many interesting folks. Like this lady, who spent the majority of all three days wandering the ADA section of the campground talking on her cellphone. From the bits of convo I overheard, it was all gossip and chit chat. WTH lady?!
Hastily snapped photo with finger.
At one point I did attempt to shower, but the line just to get into the shower, disabled or not, was at least an hour long.
Welp, looks like another layer of deodorant it is! The Lovely Rhonda stayed for the shower but I just couldn’t sit there that long.
By the time we got home, my hair was starting to form actual dreadlocks and TLR stayed carefully upwind of me at all times.
Next: Going Home