Day 1 wrap-up:
I began the tour at the Railway Club in the back stage, where we filled the whole room. It was a sell-out kind of vibe, just a very memorable evening. I was lucky to have Island standout Cameron Gunn open for me, and he laid down some great blues licks and politically charged originals to warm up the crowd. We had to run our own sound in the back, so fans were treated to a few embarrassing squeaks of feedback, but ultimately I'd like to think we sounded pretty good! Many thanks to everyone who came out, and it was a great feeling to be sent off on the tour by so many well-wishers.
Cath had an appointment to get to in the morning, and we rushed out of the house early so that I could drop her off. In my haste, I forgot about half of the things I had intended to bring. No laptop, no phone charger, no cookies baked especially for me by my loving wife, and perhaps most egregiously, NO CHANGE OF CLOTHES!! It's a good thing at least that I threw the guitar along.
I hit the ferry at Horseshoe Bay and sailed to Nanaimo. Getting into town a little early, I thought I'd take in a hike and headed up towards Nanoose Bay. I strolled around the beaches there and then headed back into town for some dinner - a friend recommended Gina's for Mexican, which turned out to be bang-on! Hot sauces and salsa flowed freely.
I got to the Vault Café a little early and met the owners. If you go to Nanaimo, stop in at the Vault - it's one of the most eclectic rooms I've ever been to. Vintage decor, couches, board games, open kitchen, good food and drinks, and good company. I asked the manager what I could do around town before the show and he gave me one of the most unique recommendations I've ever received: "why don't you challenge someone to a game of chess?"
The show was a lot of fun, the crowd was into it and the banter flew freely till midnight. I was lucky enough to have a friend of a friend of a friend to stay with - this tour is becoming one of my first real experiences with the generosity of strangers, and gosh is it ever a powerful force. I can't say enough good things about Nanaimo! It was a day I'll always remember.
Day 3 - no show today, so I headed down to Victoria to meet up with some old friends. I hadn't seen much of Victoria in my life, but what I had seen was the Legislature and the tourist-swarmed bay. Spending time in the actual city itself was a pleasant surprise. It reminded me of visiting Portland and Bellingham - a really earthy, West-Coast vibe pervades the streets. It was the first warm sunny day I've seen this year, and so we sat outside and even worked in the garden for a little while before heading downtown for the evening. We ended the evening at a late-night joint called Logan's Pub, perhaps most notable for its use of a trough in the men's room and its universally tattooed clientele. A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.
Day 4 brings me to Port Alberni and Char's Landing, but as I write this I'm in Duncan grabbing a coffee. The plan is to do a hike somewhere along the drive, and I've been told Englishman Falls is worth a stop. I'll be back in Vancouver in a couple days before heading out to Squamish, and I'll thankfully be able to grab what I forgot to pack - and this time I think I'll remember those extra clothes.