Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bocktoberfest Review

i skipped outta work friday so we could get an early start. since i had no real plan of where to stay i figured we should get there early in case we needed to try a few things. but I asked God if he'd take care of it and he said no prob so i had no worries. we picked up bigray then rick and we made our way down to austin. it was a pretty uneventful drive, no crazy people or wrecks or even cops. we drove around austin, i pointed out stubbs where i saw the deftones last weekend and the marriot that i stayed at and all the significant sights and streets. none of us were really hungry and didnt care enough to stop to see anything so we continued on with our driving. one of these days i'll actually go and spend a weekend in austin just to see the tourist b.s. after getting hung up in traffic for about a half hour cuz they were repaving the road south of austin, we were once again on our way. i'd seen signs for palmetto state park last weekend when i was driving around so we stopped there. i didnt think they would have anything cuz i checked the web the night before, but it couldnt hurt to ask. after finally getting the old peoples attention that work there, they did say no, everything was booked. so i asked them if there was anywhere around that we could camp for a couple nights, and they directed me to an R/V park right around the corner. it was perfect. it was literally right outside the park, right around the corner from the office where we stopped, and apparently brand new. all the slabs looked new and there was a little sign that said 'now open, park yourself', so we did. the sign said it was owned by the elks club, which sat across the street, and they asked for a nominal donation for the use of a sight. i tell you what, the clean bathrooms alone made it worth the price. this was obviously a privately owned facility and not some state park, cuz there wasnt one bug in those bathrooms. usually when you're camping you gotta worry about all the bugs flying and crawling all around you and it can be a little distracting when you're trying to do your business. not at the Elks R/V park, they had clean stalls and plenty of tp and soap in the dispensers as well as several bars sittin out if you wanted to use one of the nice clean showers. you get the point, so i digress. for the first time in all of our camping trips, we got to set up camp in the daylight. actually when we went to big bend we got there right after sunup, so we had light then. anyway, we pitched our tents and spread our chairs and set the table. there was a nice little fire pit for us to build a bonfire in and i brought my grill so we could do some grillin. after realizing that the half used bag of charcoal no longer contained any of its match light quality, i hopped in my truck to go get some more. i was actually kinda happy to cuz i really wasnt done driving yet. i'd only gotten to drive for about 4 or so hours and i still had some cruisin left in me. later we cooked some steaks and a can of corn and shot the shat around a nice big campfire. one other person did show up at the r/v site, but it was an old lady by herself so i knew she wouldnt bother us. we were able to be as loud as we wanted and drink and have a bonfire, all things we couldnt have done in the state park or in the shiner camp grounds, so we really made out. and did i mention the clean bathrooms? we'll probably go back to the same spot next year, but by then it will probably have been discovered by others and be packed. the sign said no reservations were taken, so we'll just have to get there early. eventually i did pass out in my chair and wake up and make my way into my tent. it was cold that first night but i had my sweatshirt and sweats and even slept with my shoes on. that was kinda outta being too tired to take them off, but partly cuz it was cold.

the next day we were up early, ready to rock and drink shiner bock. we cooked up some eggs and bacon and potatoes to fill our stomachs before the day of barley and water that lie ahead. gates opened at 12 and we got there around 1230. i kinda expected a traffic jam gettin into the place, but apparently most people decided to wait till later. gettin out was a whole nother story, but you'll have to wait for that. cuz we were early there wasnt much of a line to get in and not a whole lotta people when we di so we were able to find a pretty good spot to park our chairs. according to the announcer guy that would come on in between bands, the field they had set up for the event was new. i mean it wasnt a new field, but it was new for the fest to be at that spot. it was really nice, and it did seem like new grass, so maybe it was a new field, who knows. anyway the state was at the front and concessions on the sides and the whole bakc was porta potties. of course you can never have enough porta potties and by the end the wait was painfully long, but thats just part of it. the first guy was some old country guy that was nothin special. next up was corry morrow, and though he was country he was good toe tappin rockin country. i enjoyed his set. next was asleep at the wheel. these guys are what you would see in the dictionary under 'texas country music'. these guys were a little much for me, not really my type. time to start slammin beers. next was lyle lovett. i really meant no disrespect to lyle, as he's famous and i was interested in atleast hearing his set. but after 4 or 5 beers, taking 2 allergy pills cuz 1 just wasnt working, taking off my shoes and sox to let my feet feel the grass and mud, and with the sun beatin down, about halfway into his set i passed out. i didnt even know i was tired, one moment i'm watchin lyle, the next i'm wakin up as the crowd is cheerin him off the stage. nothin like a nice nap on a warm sunny day. i was like, 'did i pass out?' and rick was like 'yep'. 'interesting' i said, 'who wants a beer?' havin rested i was once again ready to do some drinkin. now shiner beer is great to start with, but imagine beer thats brewed right down the road, that day or maybe the day before. no travelin a long way in a truck, no sittin on a shelf for a while. fresh beer is good. and they had all their flavors, bock, blonde, light, hefeweizen, winter stock, summer stock, it was great. next up was kenny wayne shepherd. not surprisingly he was really good. by now the place was really startin to fill up. i loved the fact that it was in a field, so i could walk around barefoot, it makes for a better music fest woodstock type of feel. after kws it was time for some real rockin. i put my shoes and socks back on and left my hat at my seat and made my way to the front. first i tried the left side of the stage, but the crowd wasnt gettin into it much, so i moved over to the right side. there was much more excitement over there, maybe one side was the country side and one side was the rock side, i dunno. anyway, staind rocked the house as expected. they played all their favorites and sounded great. i made some friends and was able to position myself well in the crowd, meaning i surrounded myself with little girls instead of big stinky guys. in between bands i chatted with some people around me and found out where various people were from, mostly just around texas, tho there were some from ok and some from la. kid rock came on in style and kicked it like i imagine kid rock always does. i'm not a huge kid fan, but i like some of his songs and i knew he would put on a good show. i actually had a better time then i anticipated, and he really did put on a good show, complete with daning girls, that i'm guessin were not locals, and fireworks and some mad drummin from his crazy big black female drummer. kid played for a long time and i'd definately say i got my moneys worth out of that show. i had a great time, definately up there in my list of top 10 concerts of all time. eventually tho, the show did have to end. its amazing how fast 11 hours can go by. they had fireworks at the end but we didnt stay around to see them. we'd all had enough for one day.

the line out, like i said earlier, was crazy. now i'm not good with the whole being patient thing, especially having to wait in lines, especially in traffic. so instead of going right out to the main road, i go left, figuring i can find my way out thru the country roads. wrong. that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. well atleast in the top 40. anyway, we drive around and take a left and theres a car in front of us and a car behind us that both have the same idea, and evetually we hit some road closed signs. dammit. so we weave our way back the way we came, but instead of just going back to the line i go straight where we turned first to head further west, further into the depths of the country road maze. funny thing about country roads, they dont go straight, they just turn and zigzag and curve and uturn till if it werent for the nav computer you'd have no way of knowing what way you're facing. oh and theres no signs either. and they're not on maps. so we drove and drove and drove, always turning south when we had a choice to try to get back to the main road. eventually, after helplessness had settled nicely into the backseat and i had called on every saint i could think of to help us out of that texas chainsaw massacre outtake, we finally found our way back to the main road we were looking for. and my plan worked, no traffic. probably cuz they had all passed long ago, but thats a minor detail. i wont ever try that shit again, even tho i do know my way out now. eventually after a little more than an hour of wondering the country roads, we made our way back to camp to sleep off one helluva day.

it was definately a trip to remember, and definately a trip i will make again.
now for the pictures. we werent allowed to take cameras in, but rick smuggled in his little keychain camera.
i'm thinking its time for me to get that camera phone i've been thinking of. i've had my phone for well over a year, maybe two, and thats way too long for a hip guy like me. and theres always times when i wish i had a camera but dont want to carry my nice camera around to worry about. maybe next payday, i spent all this months money on shiner.

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