Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Seattle (SMP)

Dear Reader

It is late afternoon, the Grape Vine is behind me, and it is so named because Interstate 5 winds down the grade like a grape vine. In winter time this pass at 4000 feet turns into a winter wonderland, that means the Grape Vine, the main artery north and south out or in of Los Angeles, closes, usually for a few hours, sometimes days. I live about fortify-five minutes from the Grape Vine, so if I want to play in the snow, I do not have to travel very far for such an experience. The San Joaquin Valley is on my horizon; this is some of the most fertile land in California for agriculture. The ride from the bottom of the Grape Vine to Sacramento is very boring, I use this time to make a sandwich, take a nap, access the Internet, it is amazing how advance cruise control is today.

My goal tonight is to make it to the Flying J, just south of Sacramento, I stop a couple of times to top off my tank and stretch my legs. Around 9 pm I pull into the Flying J, there are several motor homes and trailers parked there for the night. It takes me about five minutes to set up my bed and about fifteen minutes to reach a deep sleep. The reason I like the Flying J, it is very RV friendly; most J’s have dump stations with fresh water, motor home supplies, fuel and a safe place to park overnight.

At 5:15 the next morning I am on the road again, a full tank of fuel and some beautiful country ahead of me. I decide to set the cruise control to 60 to conserve on fuel, for the next eight hours I will be traveling through several passes, unlike my last trip to Seattle, snow should not be a factor in my trip. I fuel up in Weed, California; I will not fuel again until I reach Portland. I can go almost 1000 miles on tank of fuel, usually I fuel up every quarter to a half of a tank, the reason, if I let the fuel tank get under a half, I cannot use my generator and also I do not want the injectors to suck up debris on the bottom of the tank. At 3:30 in the afternoon I reach my destination, Jubitz truck stop, just north of Portland. This is the ultimate truck stop; there is a truck wash, truck repair shop, a restaurant, a clinic, a post office, a store, a movie theatre, a barbershop, a hotel, everything one would want in a truck stop. My motor home was covered in bugs, so I decided to have my rig washed, next I top off the tank, then it was time to fill up my tank, my stomach. I dined on ribs, coleslaw and baked beans, my waitress convinced me to try the apple crisp with whipped cream, and it was awesome. Though, I was tired I decided to see a movie, I watched “Wild at Heart”, I really liked this movie, and I understand why Jeff Bridges won the academy award for his performance in this movie.

If I had wanted to, I could have made it to Seattle that night, my shoot was not until Monday morning and I did not want to pay for an extra day at an RV park, so this why I decided to stay in Portland. After a big breakfast, as Willie Nelson says, “I’m on the road again”, by 11:30 am, I pull into one the few RV friendly fuel stations in Seattle and top off my tank, in fifteen minutes I was in Bellevue. The rest of the afternoon, I clean the RV and pick up supplies, as a light rain falls from the sky.

In my travels the worst traffic I have even been in; is in and near San Francisco, a month ago, it took me four hours to travel sixty miles, according to the “locals” this is normal. In Seattle, no stranger to traffic, the commute to the EMP in Seattle, took me less than thirty minutes to travel sixteen miles, of course I left at 5:30 in the morning, the same trip would had taken me an extra twenty minutes. Last week in Oakland, it took me an hour and a half to travel 6.4 miles; part of the problem is the tollbooth. This is the twenty-first century; tollbooth should be in museums, not on bridges, which brings traffic to a crawl. I think some smart person like Steve Jobs should be employed by the State of California to solve this problem, maybe the “toll pad”? Actually there is FasTrak, unfortunately, it seems most people do not take advantage of FasTrak, instead most pay cash.

A myth about Seattle, Seattle gets a lot of rain. False, Seattle averages 37.1 inches of rain, that is less rain than Atlanta, New York and most of the Eastern Seaboard. Today the weather is a combination, cloudy, rainy and sunny. I set up the motor home, made coffee and get the crew situated. We are located in the parking lot of the SMP (Sound Music Experience) museum, if one has never been to this museum, one should visit it. Seattle is known for music, and this museum exemplifies the music scene in Seattle and how it has influenced rock, folk, jazz and classical music. I could not have asked for a better location, there is also the Space Needle, the children museum, the monorail, which takes you to within walking distance of Pike’s Market and a water front view of Puget Sound. Across the street is the Duck tour; I am not talking about water foul, rather a bus type vehicle that travels on land and water for a two-hour tour of Seattle and the surrounding area.

What makes the SMP so interesting is the design of the building created by renowned architect Frank Gehry, who also designed the Disney Center in Los Angeles. The building is supposed to look like a guitar with a lot of round angles and hues. From a photographic perspective the building gives an abundance of options for shooting. Our team spent three days at this location, with no shortage of background ideas.

I have a music video the next day and back to Los Angeles for my next adventure.