2010 USA Tour : March 29th, Yamhill OR

Churchstorm or no storm

After a night of heavy rain and strong winds the morning was still, it had stopped raining and the sun was trying to peak through. I went for a walk by the river in the state park of the campsite. The river was flowing fast, red from the stirred mud and many fallen redwood logs floating along. Some of them had birds sitting on them floating along for the ride.

Before leaving we had to visit Bullard’s Beach itself which had quite a haunting beauty in this rough weather. There was a quaint 19th century lighthouse on the headland and a lovely beach that was littered with trunks and branches of redwoods carried ashore in storms. This would be a wood carver’s paradise here, all this free quality lumber for the taking.

So, we set off up the 101 coast road north. Unlike the previous day the road was a little urban with frequent small towns with the trimmings of modern franchise eateries along with motels and RV campsites competing for business.

Eventually, past Florence, the road reached the rugged and more isolated Oregon coastline. Fortunately, though the sea was roaring and waves high the wind on the road was light so driving was easy. The sun was also out and it was much warmer. We believed this was the setting for another wonderful day.

Claire was in the mood for coffee and cafe lunch so we stopped off at a lovely restored olde world cafe in Yochats.

Before going in I thought I had better get online as I had not done for almost 2 days. There was usually a few inquiries about upcoming gigs. This time I was received with emails form folks who were coming to our Yamhill OR event but claimed the weather was impossible to travel in, and they could not believe we could be able to travel in it either. As I was reading this during some warm sunshine I was confused about what these folks were writing about. Did we really have this awful weather, they spoke of, to greet us or were these folks over reacting.

This concerned us because getting to Portland was the reason our tour was extended from 3 to 5 weeks as almost 30 people had written to us to ask us to come to Portland to perform. We took the chance knowing the long extra drive was a challenge on the tour budget but the adventure was calling. We did have a Portland venue but the host of this dropped out and we could not find anyone with an alternative, hence the choice of Yamhill.

Anyway, after some online work we went into the charming cafe for some stunning seafood and very stunning coffee, their own labelled brand. The owner asked about why we were passing and we talked about the tour. The owner then begged us to stay on for the evening to perform at her place as there was a good audience coming. After reading the “can’t travel” emails earlier it was tempting, but we had a loyalty to our host Ronica for the evening so we turned down the offer. I’m glad we did, for now ….. as you will read.

concert in Yamhill

Reaching Lincoln on the Oregon coast we stopped for a break by the shore for a symbolic farewell as this was the furthest North West of USA we were to travel. From that moment on it was the start of our journey east and journey home.

From Lincoln we took the road east towards Yamhill across very different countryside, tame, very fertile, and abundant with grape vines of the wineries along with fields of several other crops.

Yamhill is a beautiful small rural town like something out of Little House On The Prairie. We immediately loved being there.

The venue, the Christian Church, was a dream. We received a warm and very helpful welcome from intern curator Aran who carried the harp and set up a wonderful sound system on the church stage. At this point it was still warm and dry outside

Ronica and family then turned up, a smiling and delightful family group that truly revealed the homely humble good living, good neighbour spirit of Yamhill.

Charlene and Quinn then turned up, having travelled 5 hours from an Ireland in the Seattle Sound to completely fictionalize the “no go, no travel” emails received earlier. However, when they turned up the heavy rain did fall again.

Yes, it was a small audience, about 25 people, but a wonderful, wonderful audience of many ages and mainly young. Overall it was so warming to be in a beautiful church with such beautiful people. There was a lot of love there.

For some reason both Claire and I gave weaker performances compared to the rest of our tour, I think through tiredness from a sequence of long drives, but the audience did not know any different and they still loved and treasured the evening

One man there, I believe was called Goldman, but I’ll have to check on it, a luthier and maker of all kinds of string instruments, also arranges gigs up the Pacific North West. He loved what Claire performed and said there were many, many venues suitable from San Francisco to Seattle and urged we consider a future tour just of those. I think we will :-)

to Chapoeg and bed

Champoeg State Park was our overnight destination, another superb Oregon State Park. Not as well wooded as Bullard’s Beach but still wide spacing, privacy, wide spacing and incredible facilities, all at a very low price. This completed another wonderful day on our tour, and good dreams for the days to come.


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