Mystery Of The Mentally Ill Musician

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 11.47.45 AM

Me and my banjo

June 19, 2016

San Diego, CA

I got this email today, asking me to join a new Meet-Up group that’s forming in my area. It started with:

“I would like to start a Meet-Up group for mentally ill individuals who enjoy music and play an instrument.”

Well, I am a musician, and the thoughts that immediately ran through my brain, in this order, were:

#1. This is a joke, perpetrated by one of my funny musician friends. This is funny!

#2. This is not a joke, but rather, it’s someone asking me to help run a group that will help mentally ill individuals. I would love to help out this great cause!

#3. OMG…someone sent this to me because they think I’m mentally ill! WTF? 

Now, I’m not making fun of mental illness here, so please, no lectures or hate mail. I’m just sayin’, why would I be on the receiving end of that email?

Why does someone think I’m mentally ill?  Is it because I started playing the banjo?

As far as I know, I do not, nor have I ever, suffered from mental illness. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! And not saying that I won’t, someday, acquire a mental illness. Shit happens.

In the meantime, I deleted the email. If they resend the invite, maybe I’ll go check it out.

File this one under, “Things that make you go, hmmmm.”

New Old Bike & Old Beers….The Journey Home

Mark's new old bike

Mark’s new old bike

Day 122      October 9, 2014

Sun City, AZ   to  Palm Springs, CA

We could’ve driven all the way home to San Diego today, but we made the strategic decision not to do so. We decided it’d be better to drive to Palm Springs for the night, and drive to San Diego the next day. That way, we’d avoid driving into San Diego during rush hour, plus, in the morning, at the RV park in Palm Springs, we could dump our holding tanks one last time.

So, not being in a big rush to leave Sun City, we went on a big dog walk/photo excursion around Sis and Rick’s neighborhood.

I like the little cactus

I like the little cactus

Big cactus are cool too

Big cactus are cool too

Cactus and clouds

Cactus and clouds

Sis & Rick's neighborhood

Things are so neat and tidy in Sis & Rick’s neighborhood

Just as we were ready to hit the road, and were saying goodbye, Mark noticed an old steel bicycle in Sis and Rick’s garage. Next thing you know, that stupid old bike was coming home with us. First I protested, but then, it seemed that the mere idea of owning the bike was bringing such joy to Mark, that I gave in, even though I had no doubt that the bike would become a money pit!

Mark's new old bike

Mark’s new old bike

And away we went…back to having three bikes again.

We crossed into California at Blythe. Being back in California was a monumental thing, and bitter-sweet, as it meant the end of our big adventure. It also meant the end of our supply of apples, as they were promptly confiscated at the agricultural checkpoint station.

Sometime around 4:30 pm, we rolled into Palm Springs, and headed straight to the Happy Traveler RV Park.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

We were tempted to walk into town to get some dinner, but instead, on our last night on the road,  we opted to just hang out with the doggies and the Space Shuttle. We made dinner, drank beers, and played music….one last time!

The last couple of beers from  our stop in Santa Fe

The last couple of beers from our stop in Santa Fe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great name for a beer! And a "must" to bring along if you go camping or glamping like us!

Great name for a beer! And a “must” to bring along if you go camping or glamping like us!

“The Dump Station Blues” And Other #1 Hits

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

Day 71   August 19   Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Before we went into downtown Lunenburg, I had one little obligation to fulfill. The night before, our dinner hosts had been begging me to bring my guitar over to play for them, and I had refused. They finally left me alone when I promised them that I’d come over in the morning, with my guitar.

Since I never break a promise, my guitar and I (and Mark) went over to Steve and Janet’s motorhome for a goodbye serenade. And this is when it got weird.

Steve and Janet’s site was right next to the dump station. For you non-rv-ers, a dump station is where you dump the holding tanks in your rv. In other words, it’s where you dump shit, literally.

There I was, standing there with my guitar, talking to our friends, when a guy pulls his trailer up to the dump station. I’m standing right outside his driver’s side window. He’s staring at me with my guitar, and I’m staring right back at him. And that’s when I instantaneously made up, created, and performed for the very first and very last time, “The Dump Station Blues.” Yep, I just belted it out right there!

It was just one of those perfect moments in time when all the stars aligned and an unforgettable moment just happened. I’m pretty sure that it’s the first time anyone’s ever been greeted by live entertainment at a dump station. It’s certainly the first (and hopefully the last) time I’ve ever performed at a dump station.

Sorry, but there are no pics of my dump station performance, however, here are some lovely pics of Lunenburg and the surrounding area……

Lunenburg Academy

Lunenburg Academy

Lunenburg Academy

Lunenburg Academy

Yippeee...found another graveyard next to Lunenburg Academy

Yippeee…found another graveyard next to Lunenburg Academy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quaint, colorful houses in downtown Lunenburg

Quaint, colorful  buildings in downtown Lunenburg

Downtown Lunenburg

Downtown Lunenburg

Downtown Lunenburg

Downtown Lunenburg

Lots of old house renovations going on in the downtown area

Lots of old house renovations going on in the downtown area

Downtown

Downtown. An electrical maze.

Building detail in downtown Lunenburg

Building detail in downtown Lunenburg

 

 

Of course there were old, quaint churches in Lunenburg

Of course there were old, quaint churches in Lunenburg

Pretty church

Pretty church

Pretty church

Pretty church

The waterfront

The waterfront

The waterfront

The waterfront

The waterfront

The waterfront

After exploring downtown, we headed south on the coast, just outside of town. The coastline was stunning!

A cute shack on the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

A cute shack on the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

Mark The Explorer

Mark The Explorer

Beautiful coastline

Beautiful coastline

Interesting rock formations on the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

Interesting rock formations 

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

On the coast

Local art, in a tiny shack, with an honor box to take payments

Local art, in a tiny shack, with an honor box to take payments

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

On the coast,

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

On the coast, just south of downtown Lunenburg

Beautiful coastline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were walking about, I spotted this very elderly couple taking a walk. They walked so slowly, that I was able to quickly catch up with them and talk with them. They lived just across the street from the water, in a house they had built for themselves 50 years ago. Lovely people! Lovely place!

Cute old couple taking a stroll.

Cute old couple taking a stroll.

Late in the day, we ended up at the campground at The Ovens Natural Park. Got ourselves an amazing campsite on the rocky shore.

The Ovens, campground

The Ovens, campground

We made a dinner reservation at the very tiny on-site restaurant, ‘Ole Miners Diner, which proved to be a very cool thing. Not only did we have a delicious dinner, but we enjoyed live music by Steven Chapin, brother of the late Harry Chapin. We were later told that the Chapin family owns the campground, although I never did verify this info.. Either way, it was a wonderful way to end the day.

Earlier in the evening, Mark poses in front of the  'Ole Miners Diner

Earlier in the evening, Mark poses in front of the ‘Ole Miners Diner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plymouth Rock….All A Lie!

Morning walk around the campground. Just south of Plymouth, MA

Morning walk around the campground. Just south of Plymouth, MA

Morning walk around the campground. Just south of Plymouth, MA

Morning walk around the campground. Just south of Plymouth, MA

Day 52        July 31

We were very excited to go to Plymouth today to see Plymouth Rock….the first place that the Pilgrims landed in America. And so, it was with great disappointment that we found Plymouth Rock to be, #1, quite small, #2, locked up in prison-like confinement, and #3, apparently part of the Great American Hoax.

The actual rock. Plymouth Rock.

The actual rock. Plymouth Rock.

The actual rock. Plymouth Rock.

The actual rock. Plymouth Rock.

Most people know about the supposed first steps on the moon…Neil Armstrong, and all that…”One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” (or something like that). I say “supposed” because, according to some conspiracy theorists,  there’s still some question as to whether or not we really landed on the moon.

Well, it ends up that there’s no mention of Plymouth Rock in any of the historical documents, and that the statement that the Pilgrims had landed there, was uttered 100 years after the fact, in some speech.

The big deception...

The big deception…

200 years later, the myth is born.

200 years later, the myth is born.

So it seems that the whole Plymouth Rock story is totally fabricated. Which doesn’t explain why the folks of Plymouth, Massachusetts have gone to such great lengths over the years to move, repair, and protect behind walls and bars, Plymouth Rock.

All this, and, we still enjoyed ourselves, and took lots of pics of the rock!

We took a stroll around the waterfront, and around the town of Plymouth…all very quaint and beautiful. We found Leyden Street too….the oldest street in the US.

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Cool music shop in Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

Our little snippet of American history complete, we then took off on a mission to find a new guitar for me, to replace the guitar that was broken in two by the fine workmen at Airstream.

I was so lucky to find a gem of a music store, about 20 minutes from Plymouth. Tucked away in a little strip mall, was Music Unlimited. Turned out to be a fabulous shop, with all kinds of beautiful Taylors and Martins.

But, I was focused on finding a really cheap guitar. And I did. I bought a 3/4 size Ibanez, for $100. Sounds ok, weird to play since it’s 3/4 size, doesn’t completely hold it’s tuning. It’s upside…it was only $100, and because it’s small, I can play it while standing in the aisle of the Space Shuttle!! The hoedown is on!!!

The day's finale....another fine feast at our campground.

The day’s finale….another fine feast at our campground.

Everyone’s Rockin’, Except For Pokey

Pokey danced so much today, that he pulled a muscle in his hind leg.

Pokey danced so much today, that he pulled a muscle in his hind leg.

Day 48         July 27

Even though it rained for a good part of the day, this final day of the festival, was just as wonderful as the first two days.

The rain brought out a comraderie in the musicians and in the festival attendees that added to the excitement of the day. And it also brought out our rain ponchos for the very first time! Now I was glad that I had bought those things two months ago!

A little rain didn't bother this crowd!

A little rain didn’t bother this crowd!

After two full days of music, and now another full day of music, in the rain no less, you’d think I’d be dead tired, and tired of listening to music. But I wasn’t. The quality of musicianship, and the energy from the bands and from the crowds, was just unbelievable, and I never tired of it! And at the end of this day, I was so sad that it was all over.

The end of an amazing three days!

The end of an amazing three days!

Here are my snapshots, my documentation of the bands I saw, from the final day of the 2014 Newport Folk Festival……

Starting the day with the Berklee Gospel & Roots Choir.

Starting the day with the Berklee Gospel & Roots Choir.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples & Friends

Mavis Staples & Friends

Gabriela, of Rodrigo & Gabriela

Gabriela, of Rodrigo & Gabriela

Rodgrigo, of Rodrigo & Gabriela, on the big screen.

Rodgrigo, of Rodrigo & Gabriela, on the big screen.

Hurray For The Riff Raff

Hurray For The Riff Raff

Trampled By Turtles

Trampled By Turtles

Lucero

Lucero

Gregory Alan Isakov

Gregory Alan Isakov

The Lonesome Trio

The Lonesome Trio

Leif Vollebekk

Leif Vollebekk

The Deslondes

The Deslondes

Nothing Mellow Happened Today. Today We Rocked!

Adult beverages.

Adult beverages.

Day 47      July 26

The Newport Folk Festival 2014…..Day #2

This morning, when we arrived at the festival, the parking attendant thought we were musicians, and waved us on into the VIP parking area. This is what happens when you drive an Airstream Interstate powered by Mercedes! LOL! We set him straight, and went to the “normal people” parking lot.

Legal to drink and legal to listen to music.

Legal to drink and legal to listen to music.

Today was just as spectacular as the first day of the festival. Great weather, food, people and outstanding music!

Again, here are my quick little snaps of each of the bands……

J. Roddy Walston. Also totally awesome. And loud. I lost a little bit of hearing after this one!

J. Roddy Walston. Totally awesome. And loud. I lost a little bit of hearing after this one!

The Oh Hellos. Awesome and a great, fun time!

The Oh Hellos. Awesome and a great, fun time!

Willie Watson (from Old Crow Medicine Show). Star Quality!

Willie Watson (from Old Crow Medicine Show). Star Quality!

Jack White & friends

Jack White & friends

Jack White & the big crowd

Jack White & the big crowd

Jack White

Jack White

Nickel Creek w/ Sara Watkins. Wonderful!

Nickel Creek w/ Sara Watkins. Wonderful!

Nickel Creek & the crowd.

Nickel Creek & the crowd.

OK. We'll do what we're told.

OK. We’ll do what we’re told.

The Milk Carton Kids. Great music, and very funny too.

The Milk Carton Kids. Great music, and very funny too.

Houndmouth

Houndmouth

Shakey Graves. Yet another great artist!

Shakey Graves. Yet another great artist!

Hot Diggity Dogs In Nashville!

Must be Nashville

Must be Nashville

Day 34      July  13

July 13 was a great day because we got to spend it in Nashville. 

Before hitting the downtown tourist area, we made a quick stop at the state capitol building.

Hangin' on tight as we hit a round-a-bout

Hangin’ on tight as we hit a round-a-bout

The Space Shuttle, parked in the spot reserved for the Attorney General. Whatever, dude.

The Space Shuttle, parked in the spot reserved for the Attorney General. Whatever, dude.

State Capitol Building

State Capitol Building

And then we discovered the most awesome public farmers market, where we stocked up on all kinds of fruits and veggies.

IMG_3005

Very cool bike stands outside the farmers market

IMG_3015

Farmers market

IMG_3013

This market was huge!

IMG_3011

Beautiful produce

IMG_3009

And more produce…

IMG_3007

And more…lots more!

Alas, we hit the fun and funky downtown fun town. Even on a Sunday afternoon, the place was bursting with live music coming out of every bar and restaurant. So much energy in this place!

Great use of an Airstream trailer

Great use of an Airstream trailer

Must be Nashville

Must be Nashville

Fun Nashville signage

Fun Nashville signage

The main drag

The main drag

Fun and colorful signage

Fun and colorful signage

Cool building

Cool building

It was one of those super hot and humid days again, and we had to stop frequently to water Dax and Trixie. At one point, when I could tell the pups were a little over-done we actually took them inside the Music City Center building to let them lie down on the cool tile floor and cool off in the air conditioning. Luckily there was nobody official hanging around there to tell us that dogs weren’t allowed inside.

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

Music City Center building

I told Mark NOT to go outside, but he went out there anyway.

It was really hot out, and I warned Mark NOT to go outside.

We were back were back on the road in the afternoon. We made a stop in Bowling Green, KY to see the campus at Western Kentucky University. That is one heck of a hilly campus!

The final destination of the day was Mammoth Cave National Park. By time we got there it was too late to check it out, so we went directly to a little campground nearby called Singing Hills RV Park and Campground.

Singing Hills turned out to be a little gem of a place. The owner was super nice. The park was small, well kept and quiet, and we met some really nice folks there. Best of all, it had a blazing fast internet connection!

It was still very hot outside, and we knew we’d need to run the a/c at night, so we got a site with electric and water hook-ups. With our Passport America discount, our site was only $16. A great deal and a great find!

That night I had what was, and still is, the largest skeeter I’ve ever killed. It was almost the size of a dragon fly. Huge sucker. Yuck!! Good Night Irene!