Leaving Klamath Falls, I headed up into Oregon where the landscape changed from prairies and hills to pine-covered mountains. Climbing past 5000-ft elevations, the temperature dropped and I started missing the heat I'd grown accustomed to. At the higher altitudes, the roads became more winding, and the clouds were down below the mountaintops, creating areas of mist and fog. In Portland around 6, I checked out the location of East End, the club where Mad Juana would be playing that night, and set off to find a motel. The iPhone still read "No Service," which was mysterious, so I located a Comfort Inn a few miles from town on a computer at a downtown hotel and checked in. The clerk told me they should have normal cell phone service, so in my room I reset the iPhone (keep forgetting I'm carrying a Mac in my pocket) and when it came up it connected to AT&T; so I got the last several days' worth of voicemails and contacted the band.
I joined them at the club for sound check, and hung out there for dinner until their midnight set. It was great to see them all again, including Fernando Apodaca, who directed their Valhalla video last year in which I appeared during last year's trip, and had joined the band playing electric violin. His addition, plus a newly added bass player, gave the band a richer fuller sound, and the crowd was ecstatic, smiles and dancing everywhere throughout their show. I had ONE glass of wine at the bar (rare for me), and on the way back to my motel I was alarmed to find myself zipping along at 85 mph on the Interstate. Pulling it way back, I was reminded of why alcohol is so perilous to mix with driving (esp. for me with my apparent sensitivity to it). That certainly won't happen again!
In the morning I joined the band at the house of a friend for brunch, and I offered Marni (the accordionist) a ride to Seattle in the Caddy to give them all a break from their tour travels with 8 people in their van. It was also a nice break from solo driving to ride with someone whose company I enjoy.
We met the rest of the band at the Seattle club, where I helped them load in, and then found another Day's Inn a few miles north of downtown. Back at El Corazón, I got a bad feeling about the club when the doorman wouldn't let me bring in a coffee, and signs like "No Smoking within 25 feet" outside and "Absolutely no drinks" at the entrance to the room where the bands played conveyed an oppressive vibe. Tight ship, alright. This show was on a higher stage, with better lighting than the night before, but the crowd was way more subdued (the other bands had been hard rock/metal). I tried to help them get loaded out after the gig, but no, the doorman wouldn't let me back in, so I stood and watched them lug their gear, shaking my head at him as they trudged past making more trips than necessary. We all hugged goodbye, hoping they'd be in San Diego when I made it down the coast in a few weeks.