The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Column: Labor Day


September 6, 2017

I think it would be pretty safe to say I had a memorable Labor Day weekend.

I’m usually not one to travel over a holiday weekend, but when I saw that Guns and Roses was playing last Sunday at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to go.

I was planning on possibly leaving Saturday morning and making about a six-hour drive to meet some of my friends from Seattle at Blue Lake. I was going to attend the Whitehall football game on Friday and come back and write the story as well as getting a few more things out of the way. I really wish I could take more than three days off in a row at a time, but I’m afraid if I did this there might not be a paper showing up on Wednesday.

I got back from the football game to find out that a basement window got left open and the sprinklers had soaked my computer and external hard drive. I had taken the computer home to get some work done and was horrified to see it soaking. I was scared I would have not only lost everything I’ve done for the September 6 issue, but about a years worth of stuff saved on the hard drive. It turns out after a few scary moments the only thing that was destroyed was my wireless keyboard. It still kind of worked, but the delete and return keys don’t work and that makes it really hard to write a story. It took about 12 hours longer than I expected, but I got that story online. I had to write some of it on my phone, which made for a really fun Saturday morning.

We were not able to get on the road Saturday, but left bright and early Sunday on our way to what the Wall Street Journal has called one of the best outdoor concert venues in the world.

We had camping passes on the property that was supposed to be a mile walk to the venue. When we pulled into campsite there were thousands of people, and they were packed in like sardines. I wasn’t planning on visiting with many people I didn’t know, but seeing their tent was eight inches from mine I had no choice. We lucked out with some nice neighbors so it was a fun few hours until the concert.

The “tent city” had a little store, a grocery store, food vendors and everyone was blaring Guns and Roses. I wish I could have been in a nice RV instead of my $40 Wal Mart tent, but it was just nice to sit outside and relax. The temperature almost made it to 100 degrees and we were all a little exhausted and not looking forward to the mile walk. Turns out it was over two miles, but we finally made it.

I was hoping the prices might be reasonable for food and drinks, but boy was I wrong. $17 for a cheesesteak, $25 for a margarita, $10 for a soda and they were not exactly giving away water. I’m probably going to be broke for a while, but it was well worth it. Seeing the band for the first time in 20 plus years was an amazing experience, and worth every penny.

We all sang along to gems like “Sweet Child of Mine”, and I also happened to sit right next and chat with Matt Bradley, a member of the Northwestern on one of my favorites television shows “Deadliest Catch”.

I thought the camping section might be a bit rowdy after the concert, but with the heat and GNR playing over three hours, everyone was tired and was for the most part quiet.

As much fun as I had, I was ready to get home Monday morning and we left around 7 a.m. I was also eager to get home because after camping in the heat and a concert, I smelled just about as bad as a human can. It was so bad a few points while in a convenience store I got some really weird looks. It’s not like I had a lot of chances to shower so I just smiled and hoped I didn’t ruin their day.

It was so nice to pull into our driveway until I realized I had to figure out how I was going to put out a newspaper in one day. Well I guess if you are reading this, I figured it out.


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