Adventures on a San Juan Island tour with Skitnik

Hooo boy! It’s been a while. Life has been cray-Z. Here is my attempt at keeping this post to one topic: TOUR!!!

That’s right…I got to go on an amazing San Juan island tour with my band Skitnik. Have I mentioned how much I love Skitnik? Haha…I’ll probably stop saying that one of these days, but today is not that day.

Thanks to the hard work and connections of a couple of my band mates, we were able to play three shows on three islands in three days and it was totally awesome!

Waiting for the Ferry

We had a little fun exploring during the wait..
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Bates

This trip however, did not start out totally awesome for me. I had some type of weird stomach thing going on (food poisoning?) and I threw up three times that morning before we even hit our first destination. 

Here we are playing on the ferry. That’s me on accordion. Maybe you can tell by the look on my face that I’m not feeling in top shape. 
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Bates
On our way to Waldron Island, all of us plus a few more AND all of our gear, crammed onto this little boat. 
And here are my feet on the way to Waldron 🙂
I think this photo speaks for itself!
Photo Courtesy: Alex Larson
Our first destination was Waldron Island where we held a music workshop for the school there. There are 14 kids, grades K-8 (I think) in one school. This place is awesome! If I had to go to school all over again, this would be the place. I could go into why but I think that would be another blog post entirely. 
The first thing I saw as I walked into the school was this beauty! Upon which my band mate immediately placed our band sign.
Waldron Island is like stepping into the 1940’s. Its a totally different world there. People are very much who they are. There is a totally different level of living and simplicity when there are no paved roads, everyone uses outhouses, only private boats can access it and well I could go on…these are really only the superficial differences about living on this island. There is a feeling there that I can’t quite describe. Giving it my best shot: real, calm and slow. There is nowhere to get in a hurry there and there is only so much you can hide on an island of about 85 year-round inhabitants. And really, they just don’t seem to fuck around while at the same time being totally welcoming and engaging. 
That evening we played a show in the school (which is the town’s main gathering place) with the band Los Hermanos. It was absolutely lovely to play for 3/4 of the entire population and to be a part of giving them some entertainment that they don’t often get. 
Here is the view from where I slept on Waldron. It is also very similar to the view from the outhouse. I can’t think of a more lovely place to back one out!
Next up was Orcas Island. We arrived on Orcas with plenty of time to get a good soak in at the Doe Bay Resort before our performance. I was still not feeling really well and this was a splendid way to get some serious healing on. 
There are no pictures allowed at the clothing optional hot tubs and sauna but here are a couple from the cliff near by.
 Life is rough, I tell ya!
Our show that night was at the Odd Fellow’s Hall. We (ahem) didn’t do a very good job advertising this particular gig. We ended up playing for and a grand total of 20 (including the other band). Despite the small number, we spared no energy. We gave that tiny crowd all we had and by the end of the night, everyone was on their feet. The energy in the room was fantastic! 
Some Los Hermanos and juggling on Orcas Island.
That night we decided to round out the night with a little karaoke at the local dive bar. Skitnik is fortunate enough to have some pretty talented friends. One of those amazing people is JustinCredible! He often does a couple of acts to our music in the middle of our set. He decided that he wanted to do his sword swallowing act during karaoke. One of our friends sang “Fame” by David Bowie, and Justin did his thing!
After the crowd went wild and the song was over I quote the seemingly perma-drunk karaoke host, “That’s not fair, not everyone has a fucking sword swallower with them.” Haha…I love it when we steal the show!
Photo courtesy: Alex Larson
The last day of tour was on Lopez Island. We arrived on Lopez early enough to meet some great people who allowed us to essentially take over their cozy yet amazing house and rest for a bit. I don’t have words to describe the absolute loveliness of not only this house and property but even more so the people that inhabit it. 
No words. But here are a few pics.
This. House!
Chillin’ out and playing a few tunes.
Rj being silly out on the part of the property where they hold “Brew Fest”
Our show that night was at the grange hall. I have no idea where it was exactly but it seemed to be almost in the middle of nowhere. The middle of nowhere…amazing! 
We packed the house and made them dance until the walls were sweating! 
When we were packed and cleaned up several of us ended up on the front steps of the grange hall. As we were out there chatting and admiring the unpredicted clear skies and almost full moon, every time someone would step out of the building onto the steps, they would stop mid-sentence and comment on the moon. So much so that at some point, we all started howling at it. 
After the Lopez show we were blessed to get to hang out with Los Hermanos at one of the member’s home. What started out (for me) as an excuse to get in a little more hot tub action (still not feeling too well), turned into an amazing evening of getting to know and connect with some pretty remarkable people. It was 2 am before I even dipped a toe into the hot tub. Again, words cannot describe how absolutely lovely these people are. No. Words. 
We went to their place for breakfast the following morning and I was able to take a few pics. 
Here is the backside of the house designed and built by it’s inhabitants. 
Tour dog! She’ll fetch all night…literally!

You cannot resist the rope swing…
The trip was wrapped up by a fitting 6 hour wait for the ferry home. It didn’t matter because I was tired and in great company. 
Other than performing and traveling the highlight of this tour for me was meeting so many wonderful new people. Seeing how they live, using their outhouses and connecting with them over the food they prepared with love for their guests, most of whom they’d just met.
Being in the band is awesome…there are a lot of perks. Especially being a part of a large, close-knit one. People are so willing to help out the band. But what I love more is being a part of what the band has to offer in return. We bring our best to the table, to entertain you for an evening, to make you dance, to help you experience your life with a little more creativity, energy and joy you may not have had otherwise. 
I was sick all weekend and was forced to forgo experiencing some of the wondrous things the San Juan Islands have to offer in exchange to have the energy to give the audience what they came for, and then some. A lot of the time I felt like a nauseous lump, hardly able to stand for more than 5 minutes, let alone carry all of my gear from one place to the next. But when it came close to time to go on, the energy would come. I can honestly say that I don’t know exactly from where. Somewhere beyond me,  because when we were performing no one (not even me) was able to tell that I had been feeling terrible for the entire day before the show. The music gods, the muse, the universe, whatever it was clearly wanted me to be “on”!
I love playing music and I love playing music with Skitnik. But this tour was so much more than that. We all got to know each other better as a band and as people. It was a great way to see how well we actually all work together. And yet again….no words to describe how amazing it is to create with these six incredible people. We have something that I can only best describe as magic and I absolutely cannot be in the presence of Skitnik and not feel like the luckiest girl on the planet! …Seriously!

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