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Archive for May, 2019


Heading out to Georgia and Tennessee last week I stayed in KOAs when I wasn’t staying with friends. As a member, I get 10% off every night and points for every stay. I got a tent site with hookups, pulled the van into the site, plugged in my power strip, and settled in.

An ill-fated trip to Colorado where I made it no farther than Amarillo in late April began with a stay at the KOA in Abilene. The staff was very nice and helpful. The high temperature of a warm 80 dropped when the sun went down to the 60s and made for a pleasant night.

I was remembering that night with fondness as I pulled into the Toomsuba, Mississippi KOA on Tuesday the 21st. Before I left Farmers Branch, the Weather Channel was announcing a coming heat wave that could possibly set records – the center of which was right around Atlanta, Ga which was where I was headed. What they didn’t say was that the humidity percentage was going to rival the temperature.

Fortunately, it was not yet that humid in Toomsuba, even though it was in the middle of a large wooded area. But it was upwards of 90 when I pulled in about 6:30. The woman in the office/store greeted me and checked me in.

“Nice to have you here. The store closes at 7.” She checked the time again. “Oh good, you made it before the mosquitos come out.”

Well, good. I put the extension cord through the slightly open passenger front window, then stuffed my towel in the crack. Fortunately, mosquitos don’t care for me much, but I’m not immune. I have an Arctic Air that Cameron loaned me. It doesn’t work like they say on tv. It worked okay sitting behind my fan blowing cool air into it, but it wouldn’t have cooled the van by itself. Hell, both together were struggling against the heat before the sun went down. But after the sun went down, I had a peaceful night.

I stayed with friends, Joe and Lisa Catanese, while in Athens. Joe and I played at Akademia Brewing Company on Thursday. On Wednesday and Thursday in Athens, the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was 89%. Fortunately, on Friday afternoon when I pulled into the KOA in Cartersville, Ga, the humidity was only about 50%, but at 92 degrees at 6 p.m. the Arctic Air and fan had more work to do. I worked on the computer and watched a movie sitting in front of the fan(s) moving as little as I needed to. It’s the only time I wear shorts. And again, after dark it got cooler and relatively pleasant.

You never can depend on the weather. But you can depend on KOA camps. It costs considerably less than a hotel room, it has a bathroom, shower, and sense of community. Keeping costs down is essential to any possible monetary success for a touring artist. I utilize travel centers and rest areas as well. I couldn’t stay every night in a KOA on a two week tour. But it’s nice to know they’re there when I need a break, electricity, and a shower.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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Our youngest son, J.D., graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University on Saturday, May 18. Cyndy and Cameron went out to Nacogdoches on Friday and stayed at J.D.’s apartment. Most of what had been in the apartment was in a rented truck in the parking lot. Cyndy was to get up at an obscene time to save our seats in the coliseum.w

I stayed at the house to take care of the dogs and pick our oldest son, Conner, up at the airport at midnight on Friday. I think we got a few hours sleep, but I wouldn’t swear to it. The rain was holding off. We had a chance to let the dogs out. We left them inside with food and water and headed out.

The trip out to Nacogdoches was thankfully uneventful. We arrived in time to find a parking place reasonably close and get there in time to say hi to everyone before the ceremony began. Which was none too soon. It was a nice ceremony, but it always seems to take longer than necessary. After the graduation, we all gathered for pictures – family and friends.

Then we all headed home. Conner and I were apparently the first of the family getting out of town as we found out later. According to the forecast a couple of days earlier, we should have been in pouring rain all morning. All we got was the humidity.

At one point on the way back we drove through rain. Then it was just overcast. After passing Tyler, we got some more rain, heavier that earlier. Then around Canton the bottom dropped out. I couldn’t see anything but water and the windshield wipers were out of their league.

I actually had to pull off the highway and take cover at a gas/travel station. We took a pause for the cause before Conner told me he’d drive. Mother nature had decreased the rain’s intensity. Besides, Conner has driven in circumstances I hope I never will.

It took some time after we got home to be certain everyone was okay. Then we could get back to being proud of J.D. and settling back in. J.D. will say things about his graduation. He already has. But he’ll never say his graduation day was uneventful. You know that truck in the parking lot that they loaded from the apartment? They unloaded it and a couple of vehicles of stuff at San Marcos in the rain that night at his new apartment.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Okay, so now to catch up after the whirlwind of the past two and a half weeks.  I returned to Gilmer Brewing Company on Friday, May 10. But before talking about the brewery, an update on a subject of great concern to craft breweries for their continued success.

The Texas Senate passed an amendment to current laws that would allow craft breweries to sell beer to go from the breweries up to approximately a case per customer per day. The House is expected it to pass it as well, and the governor is expected to sign it. Breweries should be able to sell beer to go starting September 1st. This has been a long time coming, considering Texas is the last state to allow breweries to sell beer to go.

Gilmer Brewing Company is a small brewery on the square in downtown Gilmer. Playing there is always a fun time, even when the crowd is not as big as other times. The regulars at the bar are dedicated supporters of live music. The owners, Drew and Ruth Emory, are sweet people and they know how to brew beer. After working at their “day jobs” during the week, they throw themselves into running the brewery on weekends.

The first time I play at Gilmer after September 1st, I plan on bringing home their current newest beer, Upshur Amber. It’s a smooth full-bodied lager with a nice taste, named after the county of Upshur by the winner of the contest for the name. But don’t just go by me. Besides, I like the Peacemaker and Buckeye beers- a pilsner and blonde, respectively – as well. Pritchett Fog and Shrapnel are distinctly different takes on an IPA with the former an NE IPA. If you have a preference for a stout, Big Woods will smooth your weary palate and ease your mind.

Visit Gimer Brewing Company when you have a chance. There is live music most weekends – please tip to support live music. Have a flight of four beers and see which beers you prefer. And tell the Emorys I said hi!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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