Saturday, September 08, 2007

Floatilla Retrospective

The good news is we're all alive; the bad is that everything is still rocking... the sidewalks, the chairs, the house. Everything is rocking like a sailboat on the river. Surely that will wear off, and we'll be left with the recollections of an amazing trip with some awesome people and alot of water and sand and dampness and sandyness. A good part of the experience was captured by the camera of filmaker Jake Janofsky with his lovely assistant, Heather. We'll see when and if it all gets edited down, but I would say it has the makings of a very fun documentary. A brief rundown of events:
Day 1:
Meeting time is set for 10am, amended to 11:30, we leave at 12:30. Beautiful sunny day, and we're well equipped with J's and half gallon of Seagram's. We cruise for about 4 hours, and pull into a dock in Washougal, WA. We load all of our musical stuff onto a corner stage that is about a 4 foot triangle and proceed to introduce free jazz to the hoards of Labor Day water sporters. Some are appalled, others enjoy it. Afterwards, the band is handed a bill for the musicians meals. After paying for the way overpriced and shitty food, we all make about 20 bucks. Thanks alot Puffin Cafe. We pack up and float on down to a nice little sandy-beached cove, softly run ashore and unload to set up camp.
Day 2:
Everybody wakes up early(9 or 10), ready to pack up and set sail. Plans change quickly, however, as we learn that the mighty Columbia has mighty tides. The boat is approximately where we left, but the water line is not. Our vessel, the Makaleka, is now about 10 feet from the water, up on her side, completely beached. Nobody is much stressed by it; we have breakfast and beach jam session(graced by the presence of Ryan Dolliver, who camped with us that night and met up with us again later in the week). After a day-long effort of pushing our 3,000 pound boat closer to the water, the tide finally comes all the way back in at around 11pm. We load up and float down to the next island, hit sand, set up camp.
Day 3:
We wake up to see the boats again on the sand, but this time much closer to a drop off in the water. Only a few big pushes get us going. We sail 20 miles down the Columbia and take a left onto the Willamette. We pull into the docks under the St. John's bridge in time to take our acoustic guitar, upright bass and accordian to a warehouse that is set up for amatuer professional wrestling every tuesday night. Best show I've every played, even though I lost some dough on 'Tex', who turned out to be a pansy once he was clotheslined a couple of times. Afterwards we have a full on dock party with the songs lined up back to back and the beers bottle to bottle. Before we had run the hang aground we set the boat to sail and headed and hour back up the Willamette til we found a nice island camp site on the Multnomah channel, which happens to be where Cap'n Matt resides in a quiet lil' marina.
Day 4:
After a stellar egg breakfast on the dock and dose of coffee that you had to chew, we kept it rolling towards St. Helens. Just as the myriad american flags of the the little river town came into view, it's possible that your's truly steered the Makaleka into a sandbar, immediately high-centering and maybe, maybe, cracking the wood around the tiller and allowing the process of 100 gallons of water joining us on board to begin. Maybe. After we were pulled of the sandbar by our floating counterpart, 'Surely', we made it the last 150 yards to St. Helens, hitched a ride the the pizza place we were playing and did the gig. Afterwards, we headed to Sand Island right across the channel and set up camp.
Day 5:
As soon as were half awake we were greeted by the Fun Guy with the Fun Gi. That is, Guy Tyler's smiling face holding a mason jar full of boomers. We sat in a circle, to set up the intention and vibe and the group of us planning on it dosed. We couldn't have been on a more friendly island or ingested more friendly mushrooms. While Lauren, Matt and Jake went back to St. Helens to try to patch the boat, the rest of us wandered the island like a bunch of crazies. Top image of the day: Guy sitting on the beach in nothing but a pork pie hat and a bag of potato chips giving a huge passing cruise liner the finger. Thanks for the memories...
We finally got the boats back to the island and loaded up and set course for the illustrious Goble Tavern. We were all tired, and I've never heard anyone bitch as much about playing music as Guy did that night, but it turned into a right sprightly jam session ending with a shout chorus of Heather Hawkins' hit single, Semen Balloons. We also met an old hippy Kerr-vert songwriter who was staying in a little solar-powered trailer behind the bar who gave us some pretzels and raisins for the morning. At 2am, with the thought of floating the remaining 40-mile stretch in a sailboat that had regained it's onboard water by that time while towing the motorless Surely, we said to hell with it and called Floatilla 2007 closed. We pitched tents behind the Goble Tavern and drove home the next morning with a little from our friends with cars.

The stuff of legend, I tell you. Just wait til the Doc is edited, maybe you'll see what I'm talking about!


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