The Blue Beats Reunion 2008
Left to right: Dennis, Kim, Scott, Steve, and Spencer
"Forty Years After"
DATE: October 3rd through October 6th, 2008
PLACE: Rented Beach House, Seaside, Oregon
Most of the surviving members of The Blue Beats came together in a reunion, for the second time since the band dissolved in 1968. In attendance were Kim Peyton, Dennis Snell, Steve Burtless, Spencer Stinson and Scott Stinson.
This The Blue Beats' second reunion was essentially a celebration of us all just being "Still Alive and Well" (more or less), ready to play some music, and, to a lesser degree, a 10-year anniversary remembrance of fallen band member Richard Stacy, who passed away mid-summer 1998. Everyone, once more, did their level best to make it to Oregon. Unfortunately, Phil had obligations and duties to the military and our country, which prevented him from making the trip, and we missed him.
Kim was able to secure the very same vacation beach house, (#521), from Roger's Inn Vacation Home Rentals in Seaside, Oregon, where we held the first Blue Beats reunion in 1998. Everyone would stay at the house and the musical instruments and equipment would once again be assembled and played in the expansive living room. The nice thing about this reunion weekend, compared with the first, was that no one would have to negotiate the roughly 2-hour drive, back and forth to Portland each night and day, as had Phil and associate. But this is jumping ahead just a bit, let's back up...
Dennis and Spencer made their way to Portland on Thursday night, October 2nd, 2008.
Dennis wheeled into town on his Harley first, arriving at Scott's home at 9:10 PM Pacific, after riding all the way from Ogden Utah. His trip began much earlier that same day, at about 6:30 AM Mountain time. Toward the end of his trip over, Dennis managed to get himself lost and misdirected, on the Portland-area highways and byways, (again), which added an hour or so to his butt-numbing trek, and he was some the worse for wear for it.
Dennis's Harley, in Scott's garage
Next it was Spencer's turn. Spencer flew into Portland International, shortly before 11 PM Thursday night, after a 9-hour sojourn from Winchester, VA. Dennis decided to accompany Scott in his van, on the trip to PDX, to retrieve Spencer and his luggage. Spencer had not seen Dennis for 40 years and wasn't necessarily expecting Dennis to meet him at the airport. As Scott's van neared the curb-side pick-up lanes, just outside the various airlines' baggage claim areas, Dennis exited the vehicle up-stream of Spencer and began making his way down the sidewalk, through the crowds of arriving passengers, toward the Southwest Airlines sign. Dennis was still dressed in his motor cycle leathers and sported a red and white bandana tied around his dome. By the time Dennis reached Spencer's pick-up point, Spencer had already spotted Scott's van, thrown his luggage in through the side door, and was just strapping himself into the passenger seat. Dennis quickly came up to the passenger side of the van, peered in the open window and said, "Hey, can you guys spare $5 bucks for some gas?" Spencer looked at Scott in bewilderment, as if to say "Should I give this Grizzly-Adams-looking dude some cash?" Scott was already cracking a grin, as Dennis continued to lean into the window on Spencer. Scott told the-still-unidentified-Dennis, "Sure! We'll help you out, man. Jump in the back!" Apparently that was too incongruous for Spencer, under the circumstances. His expression changed to one of acute skepticism and then a flash of realization (and probably some instantaneous synaptic version of photographic aging, against mental images of a younger Dennis and memories of Dennis' incessant practical joking) washed over Spencer's face. The jig was up. (Good one, Dennis!). Dennis, Spencer and Scott proceeded from the airport to a Denny's Restaurant, near Scott's house, and had some late-night nosh, along with conversation and a few laughs. Then it was home, to crash, for the bedraggled trio.
Kim was third reunion attendee to arrive, via a flight from Houston to PDX and a rental car. Kim drove himself from PDX to Scott's house and met up with the others. Shortly thereafter Kim, Dennis, Spencer and Scott headed out for the afternoon, to kill some time, while waiting for Steve, the fourth and last of the travelers, to arrive at the Amtrak station.
First, there was a meal at Tom's Pancake House in Beaverton, followed by a trip to Northeast Portland's Hawthorne District, to pick up a keyboard amp rental from Showcase Music and Sound, which naturally included some browsing through the store. Next, Scott took everyone downtown to Portland's Apple Music Row, just to look around at all the vintage guitars and gear on display, as well as all the other quality instruments, amps and equipment for sale. While at Apple Music, one of the salespersons recommended a Samson Tech ZOOM H2 Handy Recorder, to accommodate the group's need for a quick and inexpensive solution to a lack of recording equipment for the weekend. The ZOOM H2 gave us the digital equivalent of setting up a couple of mics in a room to capture live music. It turned out to be an excellent suggestion.
Finally, it was late enough in the afternoon to stop off at a nearby Irish pub for a pint of Guinness. Steve's train, which he had been riding from Los Angeles for 24 hours or so, was scheduled to arrive at 3:40 PM, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, his train didn't pull into Portland's Union Station until after 6 PM. By the time we collected Steve's luggage and got back to Scott's, it was 7 PM. It took about an hour to get all the gear loaded up and by 8 PM we were finally off to Seaside.
Left to right: Steve and Spencer, outside Scott's garage, watching Scott load equipment into his van
Left to right: Dennis and Kim, in Scott's garage, admiring Dennis' bike and watching Scott load the van
We all arrived in Seaside, on Friday night, around 9:45 PM and checked into with the rental office to pick up the house keys. At rental house #521, we unloaded the gear and luggage, decided the sleeping arrangements, and then Spencer, Kim, Dennis and Scott headed to the grocery store to stock up on food and drink.
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