This report contains 5% hockey, 60% bluegrass, 33% visiting friends
and relatives, and 2% BS.
February 14, 2008
: Looking back, I realize that a small but significant percentage of
my trips begin on a negative note – flat tires, oil leaks, etc.
morning I had a two degree fever, a sore (which I believe may be a
bug bite causing the fever) in a location where it gets sat on all
the time, and the sewer blockage that has become an annual event in
the antique hovel I call home.
logged on to the Kaiser web site, and all my symptoms produced the
advice “Wait a day or two and see what happens.” I found a soft
cushion to sit on, and tried to put the sewer problem out of my
mind, realizing I can’t deal with it now and it will still be
there when I get back.
trip takes me first to
Las Vegas, where my younger grandson, Mikie, is playing in a hockey
tournament this weekend. Then I will head to
AZ, joining friends and former classmates Bryce and
at the Soggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival (hope the “soggy” part
does not come true).
will visit some of mother’s cousins in
Surprise AZ, then drive up to Wickenburg for a couple of nights. Finally I will
go to Parker AZ for the sixth annual Bluegrass on the River
festival, returning home about March 4.
daughter, son-in-law, and grandson will join me in
Friday, and will be staying at the Circus Circus hotel. I'll be in
my trailer in a park operated by the hotel-casino.
been clear and sunny in
Fresno, getting up close to 70 degrees in the afternoon, but it was quite
cool and breezy this morning. That was to prepare me for the weather
in Tehachapi, where it was 45 degrees with a strong wind, making it
feel like about 35.
have so often, I drove south on
highway 99, and east over the mountains on highway 58, planning to
stop (as I have so often) in
Barstow. It was a bit warmer here, about 55 degrees, but the park manager
said they have been having freezing weather at night, which they
don’t like, since it was 70 and sunny here last week.
arrived around , and after setting up, took my temperature, happily finding it was
back to normal (still need the cushion, however). Normally when I
arrive and get set up, I fix a bourbon and soda and read a while. To
demonstrate my present condition, this time I just took a nap. Now
it’s nearly , time for dinner and some TV.
16: I had an uneventful trip yesterday, arriving at the Circus
Circus KOA Campground about
It was cold and windy everywhere I stopped, but much nicer here, so
that I was able to sit outside for a while.
walked over to the casino and contributed a few dollars to the
economy. Actually I doubled my first $5 investment, then lost all of
it and another $5. Back at the trailer I did a lot of resting, since
I’m not feeling 100%, although the thermometer says my fever is
gone. I ate lunch/dinner here and settled in for the evening.
Teri & Mikie arrived about , but took quite a while getting checked in, especially since the
first room they were sent to was already occupied. They explored the
complex and Mikie had a great time at the amusement park and circus.
This morning there was a pancake breakfast here at the park, so I
ate there. We will get together early in the afternoon and head for
the Tropicana, where the hockey tournament takes place. Mikie’s
game today is at 3:20, but we need to get there a little early, and
being unfamiliar with the area, will probably leave by 2 p.m.
we are going to an ECHL hockey game between the Las Vegas Wranglers
and the Victoria Salmon Kings.We
will cheer for the Salmon Kings, since the Wranglers lead the
division and conference that our home town Fresno Falcons play in.
17: It was good that we left early for the tournament. At home I had
printed out driving directions for the Wranglers game location
(Orleans Arena) and the tournament, which it turns out was the
Fiesta. I wrote “Wranglers” on one and “Tournament” on the
other, but gremlins came in and switched the names, so carefully
following the directions marked “Tournament” soon brought us to
Orleans Arena. Once we figured out the problem, it did not take long
to get to the Fiesta in plenty of time for the first game.
an exciting game, but not close, as the Junior Falcons lost 9-2. Once the kids got dressed, we decided to
head for the
Orleans, which is a casino/hotel/etc.like most such places, and have
dinner there. We had the buffet, which was very good, then went
upstairs for the game.
rink was very nice, smaller than the
Fresno, which is too big for the crowds we get; the Orleans Arena was not
full, but was much closer to capacity. The visiting Salmon Kings jumped
out to a two point lead, but the Wranglers came back and ultimately
won 5-3, so it was a satisfying game for the home town crowd.
back around. Mikie spent the night with me at the trailer, but we went to bed
almost immediately, since the game this morning was at . We got up about six and got to the rink in plenty of time, with
less traffic, less people at the rink complex, etc. Our boys lost
again, something like 10-1, despite playing better than yesterday.
It should be noted that the Jr. Falcons are a “house league” team, while the other three
teams in this tournament,
Anaheim, are all travel teams, so we are playing above our level. But as we
tell the boys, you play the team that you’re scheduled to play,
and do your best.
the game we had breakfast at the Fiesta, then came back here for ice
cream for dessert. Later I’m going over to watch Mikie and his
best buddy on the team, Griffin Flores, play Whack the Chicken and
whatever other games are offered at the Circus Circus. By the way,
Mikie scored one of the goals yesterday, assisted by
scored today assisted by Mikie – a fairly normal scoring
combination on this team.
18: I ended up spending the day reading, resting and watching TV.
The kids were riding rides, not something I really wanted to watch.
We headed for the rink a little after five, and were rewarded with a
better game. The Falcons came back to tie from 5-2, although the
Beach City Lightning ultimately scored twice more to win. Mikie
scored twice, and
once, but the big thrill of the game for team members and parents
alike was when teammate John Davis scored the first goal of his career with this team. It’s
great to see the kids celebrate each other’s success – proof the
team concept is taking hold.
at the Fiesta Buffet with the
family. I had registered for a club card, which reduced the cost of
the meal quite a bit, and also gave me $3 in free slot machine
credits. I had to put it some real money first, but I ended up with
a slight win on a penny machine.
dinner we came back to the Circus Circus and I got my first look at
the big attractions – carnival rides including an indoor roller
coaster, and endless midway games. I watched for a while, then
contributed a final $20 to the
economy. Having won elsewhere and only lost here, I decided I was
done with Circus Circus slots. Teri, Mikie and
stayed at the Circus area till it closed at midnight, and
spent the night with them.
morning Tim, Teri & Mikie will check out, and we will meet for
the game at the Fiesta at 9:50. This is the consolation round for 3rd or 4th
place, and seeing how well the kids played yesterday, hopefully than
can pull out at least one win.
The Falcons lost 3-2, but came close to tying it at the end. Another
kid, Maddie Maloney, got her first goal, and the boys (and girl)
played their best game of the weekend. I would be remiss not to give
a shout-out to Bubba the Goalie. The team’s long time goalie quit
suddenly two or three weeks ago, so Bubba Pintor was recruited. He had been playing on the
travel team as a backup, so had very little playing time, and his
inexperience showed, but we had the fun of watching him turn into a
real goalie as the weekend went on. Big things to come!
lunch at the Fiesta coffee shop, and Tim, Teri & Mikie got
started home about 12:30. I went back into the casino and put a $20
into one of the machines. I moved around between several different
machines for about an hour, and in the end, left with my $20.
afternoon I got some things picked up and ready to go, emptied the
holding tank, took a shower, then had a drink and read for a while.
As the sun went down, so did the temperature, so I’m inside for
the night. Tomorrow I head for Quartzsite, which is either 179 miles
(Google mileage calculator), or 235 miles (Rand McNally Tripmaker),
hardly an insignificant difference. Looking at the Google page
again, I see it is calculating air miles, quite worthless for
someone with a pickup and travel trailer. It seems there are very
few Internet sites that let you input two locations just to get road
mileage – the only reasonable one was Rand McNally, which says
it’s 212 miles, still a bit of a discrepancy from their commercial
Tulare. They were making good time on that part of the trip, but traffic
had been backed up for seven miles at Kramer Junction, where US 395 crosses State 58. I’ve experienced this
traffic jam myself, and it’s very frustrating – stop and go for
miles till you get through the four-way stop at the junction. The
traffic was bad on I-15 from
Las Vegas to Barstow also, so I was glad I did not have to head for home.
19: If you’ve been holding your breath, hoping the mileage
question would be answered in the next paragraph, it was 214 miles
from where I was to where I am, which is the Tyson Wells RV Camp in
AZ, location of the Soggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival.
I got a
good start this morning, about 9 a.m., with a coupleof long stops, one for lunch, and one for a nap, which also
involved cleaning up a mess. When I’m rolling, I put the soap
bottle, comb, sink stopper, and sponge in the bathroom sink to keep
them from sliding off. When I made the second stop, I discovered
that the bathroom drawers were both open, and that the stopper and
sponge had leaped into the bathtub. Somewhere I apparently hit a
bump that caused a full five-gallon plastic water container to jump
up enough to let a half case of coke slide partially underneath. It
also broke open another full case that was standing on end and
opened at least two cans, so I had 36 cans of coke loose in the tub.
Something, probably the water jug, hit the shower faucet and turned
it on to a trickle, so everything in the tub was wet with water
don’t remember hitting any bumps that were worse than those
normally encountered here and there on a long trip, but there must
have been a good one. Oh yes, all the clothing in the bathroom
closet had fallen off the hanger bars. Things in the refrigerator
and cupboard shift around even on smooth roads and sometimes fall
out when the doors are opened, so I checked there, but everything
was in its place.
down US 95 from Las Vegas through Needles and about 30 miles south
of there, where I took CA 62 east into Parker AZ. Then I came down
Arizona 95, which joins US 95 at I-10. The festival location is just
a little south of I-10.
and got set up next to Bryce and
residents and former classmates. We went out to dinner with his
cousin, Richard Cook and wife Joyce, and brother, John Upton and wife Marie, who was the person who arranged the
reservation here for me. Now they are trying to set up their
satellite TV. I will be content with my
player, plus working on this report, and getting things set up
inside the trailer for a six-night stay.
February 20: This was a lazy day. With no official performances till Friday,
I had no schedule. After breakfast I walked around the park a bit.
There are a lot of vendors set up, not for the bluegrass festival,
but as a fairly permanent fixture during the winter, in an area that
gets a million seasonal visitors.
than that, I did a lot of napping. I’m feeling pretty good and my
bug bite, although still swollen, does not bother me much.
evening Bryce made shish kebob for all of us, a total of seven
people. He is quite an accomplished cook, and it was excellent.
After dinner we had a pretty good look at the lunar eclipse. It’s
partly cloudy and very windy, but the clouds cleared away several
times, including once when the eclipse was almost complete and the
moon was an orange glow.
too windy for me to hang around listening to jams, so I am in for
the night at a little before
Mountain Standard Time.
February 21: This was my day for exploring the area, something I like to do
on one of the “off days.” This is a big flat valley surrounded
by mountains, so I wanted to find a place to drive and/or hike into
the hills. I went to the Chamber of Commerce, which proved to be
worthless, sending me to a road that just looped back into town.
John Upton had mentioned some areas off the road south of here that
goes to Yuma, so I headed south on US 95, and turned off at the
first road I came to, into the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. After
three miles of dirt washboard road, I found an information center with a
map that showed several other roads into the mountains, including
one that sounded intriguing,
back to the highway and went south another ten miles, and again
headed into the refuge. Seven miles of rough road brought me to the
trailhead, where a half mile trail leads into a narrow canyon. At
the end of the trail you can see up and into a very steep, narrow
side canyon, where there are over 40
palms. The spot they are in is shaded most of the day and has
adequate moisture to support the trees, which normally avoid desert
conditions. Some botanists think the trees are descendents of palms
growing in this region during the last glacial period, and that they
spread into the protected areas of the mountains. Other researchers
say the seeds were probably carried in by birds or coyotes.
Regardless, there they are, and I was fortunate to be there during
the brief period when the sun shines on the trees.
back to town and got gas, ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant,
showered at the Laundromat, and got some groceries. Back at camp,
I’ve just been taking it easy. I had to turn down a spaghetti
dinner invitation from John, since eating again so soon would be bad news for my stomach. I
am feeling pretty good, but still not back to 100%. I have another
apparent bug bite on my hand, which hurt a lot last night, but has
been getting better today. I guess I need to fumigate myself.
marks the official start of the festival, so the days (and possibly
nights) will now be busier.
February 22: Today the Soggy Mountain Festival lived up to its first name. We
had a slight sprinkle Tuesday night, then it was sunny and warm.
Rain started about
today and continued off and on most of the day. Fortunately they
have the festival sound on a low power FM station, so I was able to
listen while staying out of the rain. I did sit out for a while
during two or three groups, but mostly stayed in the trailer.
rain stopped in time for the final group of the day, which was that
group that I always find – not known to me, but way above average.
In this case it was the Wildwood Valley Boys, which is more or less
descended from a group I did know, The Boys from
Indiana. The latter no longer exists, but I heard them on XM Radio,
acquired a reissue CD of some of their songs, and was highly
impressed. The Wildwood Valley Boys includes the lead
singer-songwriter from BFI as well as his son, who does most of the
leads for the current group. Bryce also liked the group, vowing to
buy their CDs tomorrow when they return.
rest of the groups, new to me or not, were mostly average. One that
I enjoyed seeing, although still average, was Digger
Tombstone. He was the banjo player with the Liberty Bluegrass Boys, a group
Texas that I saw twice at Logandale. His current group consists of his
wife, son and daughter, all of whom play competently, but do not
have much vocal strength yet.
always enjoy Cliff Wagner and Old No. 7, who I’ve seen at least a
half dozen times. They were on The Next Great American Band show a few months ago, and returned for
a number of appearances, but did not make the final cut. Actually I
was amazed that a bluegrass band was even on the
bill, but they emphasized their non-bluegrass side on that show.
actually came out during the last ten minutes of the show, although
there’s a fairly cold wind now. They are promising weather in the
70s and 80s tomorrow, so hopefully things are getting better.
February 23: More good stuff today, including two sets by the Wildwood Valley
Boys, plus sunshine, without too much heat – just right most of
the day. A new group that was above average was Stuck in Reverse, a
part-time regional band from
Las Vegas. We also had the treat of seeing Eric Uglam and Sons, who seem to
get better every time. The sons, age 15 and 17, have been playing
for four years, and I’ve seen them from their earliest public
performances. All three of them now play with
and Backcountry, my favorite unknown band, and just got back from a
tour of Europe. The crowd reaction seemed to agree with me, but then, the crowd
claps for bands that I consider average or below too.
starting to get cloudy and cool as the show ended, but there is not
supposed to be any more rain. I’m invited to dinner with the
Greens and their bunch, though having had a barbecue sandwich for
lunch, I’m not as hungry as I’d like to be. But there’s still
some time before dinner to get hungrier.
February 24: It’s
The festival ended with a bang. Eric and the boys were the closing
act, and were better than yesterday. In fact, some of the groups I
call very average seemed better, or maybe I’m less fussy. I
especially enjoyed the set by Flint Hill Special, a traditional band
that I’ve seen a number of times. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable
festival overall, despite the rain Friday. At the end of the show,
many festivals have a bunch of musicians from different bands come
on stage for a big finale, and this one was the best I’ve ever
seen. With 13 pickers on stage, it can be a bit disorganized, but
Bogan would say “you and you sing this” then “you and her sing
that,” and of course, everyone else was able to join in, picking
and/or harmonizing. It was almost like a planned and rehearsed set,
and a great ending to the festival.
barbecued hamburgers tonight, so once again I am too full for a late
night snack. Bryce and Alma and the others have made me welcome and
treated me like family, and as I told them, taken better care of me
than my HMO. Bryce even drove over to the store to get Epsom salts
for me to soak my hand, and every one of them asks how I am doing
every time they see me. They will all be at the Parker festival next
week, so we will have more get-togethers. I told them I am taking
them all out to dinner, since my main cooking skill is pushing
“start” on the microwave.
like to say a few words about the town of
Quartzsite. It is mainly 100 RV parks with a few stores and gas stations, all
of which charge high prices. Gas in
is usually cheaper than most anywhere in
- $2.89 at Parker where I stopped on the way down, but here it is at
least $3.05. A half-gallon of ice cream was $7.50. So by all means
come on down, but bring everything you need if possible.
26: Yesterday I drove from Quartzsite to
AZ, 123 miles, on I-10 and the
Sun Valley Parkway. The latter goes north from I-10 at Buckeye, then east into
Surprise, and was built on behalf of savings and loan crook Charles
Keating, who planned to build housing in the area. Apparently there
was some political payoff involved (in the 1990s several of
Arizona’s governors were charged with crimes and/or went to prison).
Keating’s development never came about, and the 36-mile, 4-lane
divided road has almost no traffic. It’s a great time and
frustration saver, allowing one to get into the northwestern Phoenix
metro area without driving in metro area traffic. With no warning
and no outlying scattered development, it suddenly becomes
in Surprise, with large housing tracts and commercial developments,
after passing through mostly empty desert.
visited my mother’s first cousins, Gloria Samuelson and Jeanette Wittekindt (sisters) and Gloria’s daughter Margaret
Meister, all of whom left the winters of
to live in the Valley of the Sun.
a nice visit and a great dinner, joined by Kip, a long-time family
Jeanette from their days as neighbors in Downer’s
IL. I brought some old photos, letters and other items that I found
while cleaning out my parents’ house, triggering some nice
memories and discussion of various family ties.
about 11 this morning for the 30 mile drive up
60 to Wickenburg, once the main crossroads of the state and an old
mining town that was settled in the 1800s. On US 60 I was following
the path taken by my father and his parents when they first came to
in the winter of 1934-35. Although Route 66 was then, and for many
years after, the main route to the west, wise winter travelers
avoided its 7,000 foot climb to
Flagstaff, and took the more southerly highway 60.
setting up and having a drink, I went to Anita’s Cocina, a Mexican
restaurant highly recommended by my cousins. I agreed with their
recommendation. Then I walked around the town a little, and spent an
hour or so at the
Museum. This facility has various displays of artifacts and pictures from
mining days, an extensive gallery of cowboy art, and a reproduction
of stores and living quarters from the early days of Wickenburg.
There is also currently a major exhibit of Bola neckties, which will
be there only until
September 7, 2008.
stay here tomorrow and plan to do some driving and walking out in
the desert countryside.
February 27: Today I drove north on US 93 about 40 miles. Part of this road
is designated the
Joshua Tree Scenic Parkway, and in some areas has the thickest
of the trees that I have seen. Unfortunately, most of it is fenced,
making it difficult to get out and enjoy walking through the trees.
make three stops, first at a small river (I think it was the
Santa Maria) that actually had water, unlike many
waterways that have much of their flow underground. Then I found a
dirt road that crossed a cattle guard, so I walked in and around a
hilly area, which included a few Joshua Trees, but mostly Palo Verdes and other shrubs and cactus.
Finally I stopped at a “roadside table” (basically a rest stop) where there was an
angled passage through the fence that would allow a human, but not a
cow, to pass, and walked up a rocky hill. This turned out to be a
good place for observing barrel cactus – at the top I could count
at least 25 of them.
desert in most areas is green, indicating a good series of winter
rains. There are some flowers, mostly yellow daisy-type flowers, but
also some poppies around Wickenburg. Also for the first time I saw blossoms on some of the Joshua trees.
way back, about eight miles from town, where the first scattered
housing developments begin, I saw a roadrunner, the first one I’ve
seen in probably 30 years. He ran across the road, hopped the ditch,
and headed on into the desert. I used to see them in the country
roads in the
San JoaquinValley, but haven’t seen one for decades.
back in town, I stopped for a few groceries and gas. I had read that
Wickenburg was once the busiest crossroads in
Arizona, and sometimes I think it still is. The only way to turn left on to
the main highway is to turn right, then go around the block.
the trailer I had a light lunch, then drove up a nearby road for
some more walking. I went to the end of the pavement and about a
half mile beyond, on a good dirt road, and then walked up a wash.
This is almost always easy walking, with wide, sandy flats at the
start, and short steps up where the water (when there is water) runs
down over some rocks. This area had a lot of Ocotillo, Cholla cactus
and other small cactus, and a few Saguaros.
haven’t said much about the weather the past few days, which
usually means it is good – not too hot, cold or wet. This morning
it was 72, and this afternoon about 76 with a slight breeze, very
comfortable for slow walking. It’s been mostly sunny with just a
few streaks of white clouds. Now, all I need is for it to stay this
way during the next bluegrass festival.
29: I had a nice trip from Wickenburg to Parker yesterday, about a
two-hour drive. I went west on US 60, a route I had never taken
before, then turned on to Arizona 72, which I’ve traveled several
times. The road went through several small towns, and down through a
mountain pass from about 2,500 feet to less than 1,000 near
Vicksburg. This is an agricultural area, irrigated by the
Central Arizona Project.
joins AZ 95 a few miles south of Parker. The Greens and
had come to this area Monday, but stayed at the Bluewater Casino,
where they could dry camp for free in the parking lot. It cost $15 a
night at the festival grounds, also with no hookups. Of course,
staying at a casino has its own costs.
stopping to talk to them, I came on out to
Park, with Bryce and
John following in the latter’s pickup. We asked if we could all
camp together, and found a spot, so I set up my trailer and put up a
rope to mark off their space, with plans for them to come out early
in the morning.
Quartzsite I had informed everyone that I would take them out to
dinner, since they have invited me to their dinners every night. We
decided that this was the night, so I went back to the casino around
five, had a drink, then we went in for the buffet. Although the
selection was much smaller than the buffets at
Las Vegas, I thought the food was better. Of course, after dinner we had to
try our luck at the slots, discovering that we had none.
arrived right after
and got their trailers set up with no problems, then we headed for
the festival. The music started late because of a power outage, but
once underway, the festival was good to great. I had previously seen
all the groups that performed today except the Gibson Brothers, and
since I have two of their CDs, I was sure they would be good.
Overall I thought they were second only to the Navy Band, which
surpasses most groups in the bluegrass world. Other performers today
were Honi Deaton & Dream, who I saw at the first
festival I attended, the Bluegrass Brothers, who I have seen several
times, the Chapmans, my third time to see them, and Williams &
Clark Expedition, who were at
a great finish to the day with a steak dinner, barbecued by Bryce,
along with fried potatoes, cheese cauliflower and coleslaw. My
contribution was a card table so we could eat outside, and Reese’s
cups for dessert. We found out that Richard and
Joyce are not coming, so our dinner parties are down to five people.
March 1, 2008: Today was a great day of music, with the standouts being once
again the Gibson Brothers, the Navy Band, and a group I’d heard of
but not heard, Monroe Crossing from the great bluegrass state of
Minnesota. Today was the final appearance with the Navy Band of lead singer
and guitarist Wayne Taylor, who is retiring. He will continue in
bluegrass, but will be missed in this setting. He has written many
of the songs they perform and sings lead on most of them. He
received quite a tribute from several people who’ve known him over
the years, as well as from his band mates. They did an extra long
set to close out the day, and it will be hard for tomorrow to match
today’s show. However, there are a couple of good bands on the bill.
weather has been close to perfect. Last night was probably the
warmest night of the trip, and the first night that I did not close
all the windows. It was still cool, and felt good to get down in the
sleeping bag after getting up during the night. It looked like today
might be too hot, but a nice breeze and some clouds came up to make
the final two hours very pleasant. I even put on my long sleeve
shirt for the last half hour.
once again I am invited for dinner with the Greens and
Uptons, with spaghetti on the menu. It is already smelling good!
March 2: The good weather ended with a bang about
today (Sunday), when a big wind came up and started rocking the
trailer. With my awning flapping and threatening to rip, I got up
and took it down. I also ended up weighting down doormats and a few
other items. By morning the wind had blown over most of our lawn
chairs, and blown trash and some other items, including a
collapsible canvas trash barrel, into our camp. I had left windows
open in the trailer, and had to contend with a layer of fine dust
all over the counters on that side. Bryce had left the windows of
his pickup cracked slightly due to the warm weather Saturday, and
had a major layer of dust all over inside.
wind also took down a large wooden pole, one of six that held up a big
shade over the audience area, and ripped the shade to shreds. The
pole damaged about a dozen lawn chairs, and most of the others were
blown over or even missing. The power went out, and for a while it
looked as if the show would be cancelled. However, the crew got
generators going and the show started about an hour late.
wind died down some, but it was windy and very cool all day, so
instead of trying to move into the shade, people were moving into
the sun, and jackets and sweat shirts replaced t-shirts, except for
lunch break was eliminated so the show ended on time, with good
music throughout the day. Digger Davis&
Tombstonemade their first Parker appearance, and were well received and
sounded better than in Quartzsite. We also had two sets by Frank Ray
and Cedar Hill, an excellent traditional band that I’d seen before
In addition, we saw Honi Deaton, MonroeCrossing, andSawmill
a group that came together just before the Plymouthfestival last September, and includes a bunch of musicians I’m
familiar with from other bands.
again dinner was served by the Uptons,
some especially delicious tamales, along with rice and a beet salad
provided by Alma.
My contribution was to run my generator so the tamales could be
heated in a steamer.
3: Everyone got an early start this morning, although none of us
could match Bryce and Alma. Since he has some business to take care
of Tuesday, he wanted to go all the way home to Cathey’s Valley in
a distance of around 530 miles, and got started at Arizona
No doubt he succeeded, since they were in Mojave well before noon,
about four and a half hours from home. I left at
AZ time, and considered going all the way home also, although
told both of us to stop and relax and not drive too long. John
has the same philosophy about RV travel as I do; anything over 300
miles is too much. He was ready to leave right after I did, but was
only going 30 miles back to Quartzsite. They live full time in their
RV, so they are always home no matter where they are.
have driven all the way from Parker to Fresno,
about 470 miles, several times, but it is about an eleven hour day,
and I know from experience that the last two hours are the hardest.
The mental alertness level deteriorates, and physical fatigue sets
in. Therefore I stopped in Bakersfieldat ,
about two hours from home. Besides the reasons given, this will give
me time to finish up this report without the usual home distractions
of unloading the trailer, getting caught up on stuff that has piled
up in my absence, and getting ready to go to Mariposa on Wednesday.
In addition, I can empty the holding tanks in the morning, and get
home relying only on the one rest stop between here and Fresno.
would like to publicly thank Bryce and Alma, John
and Marie, and Richard and Joyce
for their hospitality, dinner invitations, medical care, and general
good friendship, all the more so considering it was my first meeting
with four of them. Hopefully we can do it again someday.
--Dick Estel, March 2008
14 Update: A few notes on some of the artists pictured but not discussed above: In a band scramble, musicians (pro and amateur)
who want to perform put their names in a box. Names are drawn at random to create two or more bands,
with adjustments as necessary to
give the right instrumental combination. The bands usually have 30
to 60 minutes to pick two songs to perform, rehearse, and think up a
band name. The performance is usually a contest, with prizes for the
Carter Cash Revisited was
a couple who got together recently and found they enjoyed performing
some of the duets made famous by the late Johnny Cash and his wife
June Carter Cash.
Trusting Heart is a group
put together by festival promoter Bill Bogan, who is featured on
vocals. Jay Stewart is an accomplished non-professional who appeared
with some of his friends from jam sessions, and performed five or
six songs that he had written.