The Tree Ring has been a home-bodied band in terms of performing almost exclusively in San Diego over the past few years, but the truth is that everyone except Darla grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We've talked for a long time about making a pilgrimage to visit friends and family and share the music we've been working on down south. In July, we finally got everyone's schedules to accomodate a two-week trip up to British Columbia and back with shows of all sorts and plenty of time with family, friends, and greenery.
This trip was first and foremost a tour, but we made our schedule as relaxed as possible so that we could enjoy the amazing summer in the Northwest. The hike to this waterfall in the Mount Hood wilderness was the first of the trip, and we ended up getting a lot of time outside on hikes, picnics, boat rides, and so on. Jon took this photo but isn't in a lot of these photos because he had to work in Oregon while we took our lap up to Canada and back - he was badly missed.
We have heard that small-time band tours are supposed to be sustained by fast food and sleeping bags on dirty floors, but we were pretty spoiled on this trip by the relentless hospitality of friends and family. These are Doug's grandparents Stan and Ramona Kern, who stuffed us full of good stories and homecooking.
Our first night in tents was in Vancouver, B.C. when we were too late to catch the last ferry to Victoria. We camped at a pretty sketchy campground right at the ferry landing and when we woke up, Kelly realized that we had fulfilled a childhood dream of hers by sleeping on the property of Splashdown Park, where she rode waterslides growing up. Everyone besides her was considering how much cooler the park would sound if it was called Splashdown USA, which led us to realize that Canadians don't have the good fortune of getting to add "USA" to the end of things. We did the Great White North a favor by starting the tradition of adding "USA, B.C." to anything that needed emphasis, as in "Splashdown USA, B.C."
Two pairs of bladeskates were floating around the van for the whole trip and were pulled out occasionally at pit stops during long drives. People in most places where we bladeskated gave us an annoyed look like we were just trying to be funny, but when we got to Stanley Park in Vancouver, we remembered that bladeskating is the preferred method of travel around the seawall and were put in our place by aggressively fast and committed bladeskaters all afternoon.
On Darla's birthday, Kelly's dad Gary and his good pal Barry took us salmon fishing between Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula. It's a rare treat to get to be on the water at all in that part of the world and even more so to put some lines in. Gary and Barry did all the dirty work and helped us pull in a dozen fish, two of which we ate for Darla's birthday dinner that night.
Since Kelly's family lives on Vancouver Island, we had to take ferries to get out to see them. The network of islands in the Puget Sound hosts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and since riding the ferries often means waiting in line, planning patiently around schedules, and sailing for an hour or two at a time, you're forced to slow down and enjoy what you are surrounded by. This is en route to Orcas Island, which you can only get to from Victoria once a day by taking an afternoon ferry to Friday Harbor, waiting for a few hours, and then taking the last inter-island ferry to at 11:00 PM, and we had no complaints.
We stayed two nights and played a set at a beautiful resort called Doe Bay on the far east end of Orcas Island, which is less like a resort and more like a campground with some extra amenities and an a heavy dose of spirituality and weirdness. It's pretty far away from anything else on a dreamy piece of bayfront land and we got to play outside for people eating dinner, people hanging out watching the sunset around the property, and people opting one way or another in the clothing-optional soaking tubs.
Swimming and jumping off of things into water were supposed to be two of our main activities for the trip, but cold weather the first week and a busier-than-expected schedule left us at one of our last stops without having done either. On Orcas Island we did a short but kind of brutal hike from the top of Mount Constitution that dropped 1500' in elevation to a couple of lakes and so, knowing we were going to have to chug back up the hill, we made the trek worth it by finding these cliffs above a pristine freshwater lake.
Every show on this tour was different, spanning from a big show at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland to smaller venues and cafes to a couple of intimate house shows. This show at Jordan Karnes' house was our last night before heading to Hotel Cafe in Hollywood and then home to our beds, and it was a good reminder that the best thing about playing music is that it gathers good company for good times. Cheers, Oakland.
The Tree Ring performs as a part of San Diego Museum of Art's Summer Salon Series this Thursday, August 25th, more information here. View more photos from their trip below in the Photo Gallery: