This weekend was a mixed bag. Friday and Saturday afternoons were fun. It's amazing how the desert "dry heat" makes 116 tolerable somehow, as long as you're poolside.
Saturday night was the No Doubt concert and that's where the trouble began. The venue was about 75 miles away, which we figured would take about an hour to drive. We decided to leave even earlier, just to beat the traffic and we'd get some dinner when we got out there. So we left at 5pm and headed out and got about 6 miles away and hit traffic. Figuring there was an accident or something, we got off the freeway and blindly navigated side roads, which only took us about 3 miles closer - but it was still better than nothing. It should be noted that the Hyundai Pavillion is in the middle of NO WHERE and there are NOT any side roads or any streets of any kind once you get about 3 miles out. There we were - 3 miles away in dead-stopped traffic. Still guessing it was an accident, we asked ourselves "how long can it take?" Thinking that even a REALLY bad accident would be cleared in 30-45 minutes, we'd still get there ontime.
THREE HOURS LATER we have moved exactly ONE mile. Everyone is cutting in and out of the lanes, using the emergency lanes. The freeway is packed with kids heading out to the show, everyone is pumped up and full of pee - literally. People are getting out of their cars and walking around, running roadside to tinkle, tossing lit cigarettes into the brush, etc. It was awful. We'd gone one mile and there was still no exit - next exit was 2 miles away. As it turns out, there were not any accidents at all - the back-up was caused by the concert goers themselves, since there are not enough streets to handle the traffic.
By the time we got to the exit ramp, it was 10:30pm - the show started at 7. It took us another 30 minutes to get down the ramp and another 10 to get into the adjacent parking lot, where the restaurants and gas stations were. The place was CRAZY and over-run with people. The lines for the restrooms were 25-30 people deep and certain places (McDonalds & AM/PM) suddenly closed their restrooms when they saw the volume of people coming in. It was sad. Grown women were twisting and turning, trying to hold it and the men were ducking out behind the dumpster, to allow the girls to use the men's room. It was chaos. Tempers were flaring, people were crying. One girl passed us in the parking lot, where she had lost track of her friends and said "it's the night of broken dreams" - she couldn't have been more right.
There were rumors that the show was delayed, which grew into rumors that all the bands would play twice, etc. We decided to cut our losses and head home. We'd been in the car for 6 hours at that point and were tired and crestfallen and were hoping that we could at least make it back in time for some sleep (we had to be up early in the morning).
Tony from No Doubt has since posted an apology to everyone and the venue has agreed to refunds. It doesn't make it better, and they didn't offer any compensation to see the same bands that we all came out to see. 6 hours in traffic just to get that far - and the only reason that we agreed to go see a show at that god forsaken venue was because it was the only "LA area" show and this could possibly be the last tour for No Doubt (Gwen's solo album is forthcoming and who knows what that may bring). My sister was destroyed. She bought these tickets some 4 months ago, and in advance, and has been counting down the days. It was really crappy.
There was more traffic on the return trip home, but it was middle-of-the-night road construction traffic, and fortunately it was in the Redlands area, so there were actual streets so we exited and navigated around it. Still, when it was all said and done, we had spent more than 8 hours in the car, 1/2 tank of gas (and my Civic gets kick ass gas mileage), and more mental anguish then we could have imagined.
Sunday was fun - we made the best of our drowsy day and went to the Soak City waterpark. Man, waterslides are fun. The hundreds of stairs to get to the top kind of suck. In 116 degree heat. Dragging an inner tube. But man, the waterslides are fun. I've got enough of a sunburn to prove I was there, but little enough to sleep comfortably.
What a weird weekend...