Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Camping @ The Gorge


Back in early April I ordered the tickets to Dave Matthews Band using ticketmaster online. I bought two tickets to the show taking place on Saturday September 2nd, the second of three shows. I knew I wouldn't want to drive back home, or anywhere, after the show, so Biscotti and I decided to camp there, and drive back on Sunday. For camping tickets on ticketmaster, there were three options:
  1. Three nights ($120)
  2. Two nights ($80)
  3. One night ($40)
Which would you have selected? I selected the one night option. I selected wrong. The tickets got mailed to us a few weeks later. Two tickets to Saturday's show (yes!), and one ticket for camping on Sunday night (wha??). I went back online and discovered my error. Either the instructions weren't present while I was ordering or they weren't obvious enough (or I'm an idiot, but let's skip that part), but if we wanted to camp for just Saturday night, I was supposed to buy two nights of camping, and then get a rebate as we left the campground on Sunday. Interesting.

I called ticketmaster, waited on hold for a while, clumsily attempted to explain the situation, gave the order number, and was told I would have to call the Seattle ticketmaster as the event was happening in the States. I was given two different numbers, and over the next week neither number resulted in talking to a person. I told Biscotti that I wasn't too worried. We would try to work it out when we arrived there, and if worst came to worst, bye-bye $40 and hello back of our Tracker. Hopefully there weren't a limited number of sites, à la Alice Lake or other BC Provincial Campgrounds.

Upon arrival, we were told that we just had to buy another night. Simple as that. I went over to their credit card swiper, and the girl punched in $80. No, I said, I just need one night; I already have one night. She quickly canceled the transaction and punched in $40. She took the ticket I already had then gave me my receipt and a purple doohickey to hang on the rearview mirror.

Back in the car, we followed two cars who were heading into the camping area. It wasn't immediately clear that it was a free-for-all. Driving on a "road" that was feet away from parked cars and pitched tents on both sides, there was a staff person about every 50 meters who pointed us in a direction. We had thought that eventually a staff person would point to what would be our "campsite". Instead, the staff persons eventually stopped existing.

The two cars went on ahead, and we saw a spot between two cars that was wide enough for our car, so we pulled in. Turned off the car and sat there, wondering if we had just done something wrong. Got out, looked around, and figured that we'd start setting up the tent and one of the many people in close proximity could come and set us straight. Sure enough, a girl in shorts and a bikini top came over. She had the words "birthday girl" written on her chest, and "need ticket" on her back. You two just getting here? Welcome! I guess we were fine.

The show that night was phenomenal. More than phenomenal. A DMB @ The Gorge show is pretty much indescribable. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Walking back to our tent, we were a little worried. We hadn't even had to find it in the light, how could we find it in the dark? It was surprisingly easy. Retraced our steps, took an unintentional shortcut, and voilà!

Sunday morning we packed up and drove towards the entrance/exit, curious as to how this whole "rebate" thing would work. Behind a couple of cars, I saw the drivers hand over the mirror doohickey, and a staff person hand them a couple of slips. Can't be forty bucks cash can it? Sure enough, pulled up, handed him the doohickey, and he gave me two twenties. Is this really the best system for camping at the Gorge? Let's say someone is camping for just Friday night. They pay $120. They leave Saturday morning and get handed $80 cash? Strange.

All in all, it was a very fun experience.

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