A vacation adventure in The Gorge

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By Stevie Lowery

“Celebrate we will, cause life is short but sweet for certain.”

- Dave Matthews Band


Life is short, but it can be very sweet.

I was reminded of that recently when I was able to escape reality for a few days and go on an adventure. Normally, I would say I went on a vacation, but I don’t really think this trip could be considered a vacation. The word vacation for me usually coincides with sleeping late, laying out on the beach, eating way too much food, etc. My recent trip was not a vacation at all.

Like I said, it was an adventure.

I joined one of my very good friends, Ann, and we traveled to George, Wash., (no, really, that’s the town’s name) for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan. By day we enjoyed numerous concerts at The Gorge Amphitheater, one of the most beautiful venues I have ever seen. We enjoyed music by The Roots, Blind Pilot, Dispatch, Warren Haynes, Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band, TR3 (Tim Reynolds’ band), the Dave Matthews Band and many more. By night, we camped out. And, while neither of us are “campers” per se, we survived. Heck, we even managed to shower while roughing it in the Washington wilderness.

After I returned from our adventure and managed to sleep off the jet lag, I jotted down some observations I had while celebrating life at The Gorge.

I thought I’d share.

Thoughts from The Gorge:

- Four days of using a port-a-potty taught me something very important about mankind... most people actually do still wash their hands. I was pleasantly surprised (at the hand washing, not the port-a-potties).

- Speaking of port-a-potties, here’s a word to the wise. Make sure you lock the door when using one of those things. If not, two or more people could be scarred for life.

- When camping, mobile showers are AWESOME! Having to get up at the break of dawn to use one before they become overcrowded is not so awesome, however. 

- Peanut butter is still, hands down, the perfect food.

- El’ cheapo air mattresses are the pits. Especially ones that refuse to stay inflated. FAIL.

- A grown man who brings two little girls to The Gorge in a van is just downright creepy.

- Gorge must be short for “Gorgeous.” The Gorge Amphitheater is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The scenery is truly breathtaking. There is definitely a reason Dave Matthews refers to it as “Heaven’s Amphitheater.”

- Being in “the pit” at a concert is just not for me. Sure, standing a few feet away from The Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, and other famous musicians was pretty darn cool, I must admit. Dave Matthews puts on a great show. His music and his humor are definitely worth experiencing in person. But, being pelted with glow sticks and not being allowed to take a bathroom break wasn’t much fun. In the end, however, it was worth it. My new friend, Mary from Idaho, caught not one, but two drumsticks on her birthday from The Roots and from Carter, the drummer for the Dave Matthews Band. It was very cool, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. 

- Dave Matthews Band fans are some of the most unique and friendly people I’ve ever met. They are also some of the most dedicated fans. I’ve never seen people so devoted to an artist before. There were thousands upon thousands of people at The Gorge, and they were all there for one reason and one reason only: to see (some might say worship) DMB.

- I have to go back to Seattle. I was only able to grab a quick bite for lunch at Pike Place Market, and tour one of the local neighborhoods before it was time to begin the pilgrimage to The Gorge. I definitely must go back and experience more of that city.

- An important part of life is experiencing new things. This trip was definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m not a camper (although I used to be when I was younger), I’m not a party animal, and I’m not a die-hard Dave Matthews Band fan... but I’m better for having experienced The Gorge. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see that part of the country and meet some amazing new people. While I prefer to take real showers, use real toilets and sleep in real beds, I am grateful for the experience. It was an epic adventure.