A few days after Phantom, we headed down to the Verizon Center in DC to cash in Mrs. Link’s birthday present, tickets to see John Mayer’s Continuum Tour with Ben Folds. Mrs. Link is a huge John Mayer fan but she’d never been to see him. I had heard that he played a mean guitar.
I bought tickets on eBay and they were supposed to be front row right off the stage. The tickets included an explicit statement that cameras were allowed, so I was excited to bring my big ol’ camera to take some concert shots. As it turned out, not everything was quite as advertised.
When we got to the venue, they searched my camera bag and notified me that “professional cameras” were not allowed. They defined “professional” as any camera that had a detachable lens. Flattered as I was, I wasn’t really pumped about their demand that I check my camera in an expensive locker for the duration of the show. And so, banking on the stupidity of the average person, we tried a different approach. I took the lens off the camera and stowed it separately from the camera. No modular lens, no “professional” camera. We never got to try our strategy out though since they didn’t even bother to check our bag at the next entrance we tried. The seats weren’t quite first row either. That is to say, we were the first row in the stadium seating off of the main floor, so no one was really in front of us but we weren’t on top of the stage either.
The show was really good and Mrs. Link loved it. Ben Folds was amazing – the guy had a ton of energy and played a lot of different instruments. He also danced on top of his piano. Mayer was, in fact, very good with a guitar. All the 13-year-old girls loved him and Mrs. Link didn’t mind him that much either if you know what I mean. Overall, it was a fun night.
A little while after that Chris, Mrs. Link and myself did our final hike before the great summit of Granite Peak. It was a little trail along the Potomac River called Billy Goat. The trail follows a tow-path (which is a pathway that was once used by mules to tow barges up the river channel through a series of locks) for a mile or so and then up and down over the rocks on the banks of the river. There’s not a lot of vertical challenge, but we did all 3 paths so we covered some good distance.
There was one place in particular that involved scaling a rock face on a diagonal fault. It wasn’t too difficult, but it was the toughest part of the hike by far. The fault wasn’t wide enough for people to pass, and when we got to the bottom, there was a large group descending from the top so we had to wait. The last lady in the group, a middle-aged Cuban woman provided one of the more memorable quotes of the summer. In a thick Cuban accent: “Ooh, if my mother could see me now, she’d say look at that Cuban billy goat!”