Category: travel


So I left Colorado on Friday morning – a beautiful day. The traffic was still rather light, but had picked up a little each day. It was a nice day for a drive. A damn long drive, but there you are. The weather warmed up, the air was clear, and the clouds were seemingly drifting through space and time. 

Radio reception cut out on the drive through New Mexico. I listened to the latest mix Conner sent me of the songs for the LA Session cd to be released later this year on Refrigerator Records. The songs sounded so good I was tempted to release it earlier, but everything in its own time. It is good traveling music.

The timing worked out perfect. Radio reception kicked back in when I finished listening to the mixes. A couple of hours later I was past Amarillo. Weather warnings began to interrupt the radio show. Rain, ping pong ball size hail, and sixty mile an hour winds were attacking the panhandle behind me. I was appreciating the fact that I had dodged that particular bullet. 

I appreciated that fact all the way to Hwy 380. The wind had picked up considerably by that time. Then I hit a little light rain. No big deal. I called Cameron to see if he was at his apartment in Denton. I was going to stop off, say hi, and use the bathroom. But soon after we hung up, the bottom dropped out. God’s way of telling me he didn’t appreciate my over confidence. 

On 35, visibility was reduced to having to turn on the flashers to warn those behind us. I worried about those whose common sense seemed lacking. I had to go around two accidents, the first of which I was almost in. But I arrived home with no incident in which I was involved.

I’ve been wearing a mask and social distancing the whole time. On one level of my conscience I’m getting used to it. On another level, I’m kinda tired of the whole damn thing. I would like to have a beer at the bar and then finish my show when the break is over.

In my dream last night, the trip – as well as events of the past few months – invaded that same conscience. There is a lot of jumbled parts that made an impression, but I don’t remember what happened. However, one scene struck me vividly. 

I was at a gathering of some sort. It was obviously pre(or post)- Covid 19. While the groups were away from each other, it was closer than six feet. I was walking through the crowd, saying hello to what seemed like everyone. I wasn’t shaking hands, but I was patting everyone on the shoulder. I got halfway through the crowd when I became horrified at what I was doing. Yet I couldn’t stop. Then I suddenly woke up with a shake.

I’d rather not have that dream again, if it’s all the same.

_____________________________________

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

I had planned on publishing a post yesterday. But with social distancing and so forth on the road, There just wasn’t a convenient time to whip out the laptop. I’m getting used to the WordPress app on my phone – I just hadn’t taken the time to check it out. Which is odd considering that time is the one thing I have too much of.

With states taking steps to open up, Sally and I didn’t know what to expect in the way of traffic on the way to Colorado. Of course Dallas and Denton traffic was increasing. Not too much traffic through west Texas, but then, why would there be? The rest areas had very few people, most of whom were either wearing masks or kept their distance. When we stopped for gas, the employees were wearing masks as were most of the customers. Most, but not all, were social distancing.

From Trinidad, Colorado north through Colorado Springs the traffic kept picking up. Enough so that we were caught in bumper to bumper traffic for a time in Manitou Springs. People are still being sensible here for the most part, but there are always those people. Some people were getting back to work in Colorado Springs which caused quite a bit of the traffic.

As for me and mine, except for the masks and social distancing, with the accompanying fear and paranoia, basic life has not changed much. Thankfully, Cyndy is still working and I have writing projects. Granted I’m not playing any live shows at the moment. But I can record videos, do some streaming, and work on new songs. My point is that we have always washed our hands. We have always been careful of door handles and so forth. And we keep a distance from people on a regular basis.

Be that as it may, we’ll see what unfolds. I don’t know if I will get to play what would have been the last show on my tour the end of the month. I’m going home the end of the week. Cyndy and I will come back up here the last week of the month for Cyndy’s vacation and what would have been my shows. We may not be doing much.

Governor Polis of Colorado has said that he would make a decision on restaurants on the 25th. The show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City  is scheduled for the 29th. Since I can set up back in a corner alcove, easily leaving 6-9 feet, I would really like to play the show. The customers are mostly local and probably haven’t left.

But after that, who knows? I have a few shows booked for July that I hope to play. But I’m getting recordings ready to release, writing new songs and other things. I’m not in that much of a hurry if it keeps me from being sick.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

So I spent last week social distancing my butt to Colorado to pick up Sally and bring her back for her brother, Sam, to be interred in Ft. Worth. Due to Covid-19, it will only be Sally and her cousin at the graveside. Her older brother, Kenny, lives in the area, but he doesn’t get around well.

It was odd, but pleasant, making the long drive with very little traffic. You can make really good time when you rarely have to pass anyone. Driving through New Mexico – in the middle of freaking nowhere – two other drivers and I played a casual vehicle, bored drivers version of leap frog. In other words, we took turns passing each other.

The day after I arrived, we drove into Colorado Springs to pick up the death certificates. The traffic was not as heavy as “usual,” but considerably heavier than on the highway. We picked up barbecue from Front Range BBQ. I highly recommend them should you find yourselves in the area. We picked up a few more things on the way back to the house for the evening. On Thursday we headed back here to Farmers Branch. Sally took the first shift until her eyes went “wonky” as she put it.

It was nice to be in cooler weather before coming back to Texas heat. Sally enjoys the heat though- having been stuck in the house most of the winter. We’ll head back to Colorado when things are taken care of. I’ll hang out a couple of days – leaving time between driving days. Then I’ll come back here until Cyndy and I go up the end of the month. In the meantime, I’ll try to get back to the projects I was working on when we heard the news that Sam passed away. Stay tuned – it’s going to be interesting!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

[If you like what you read and/or enjoy my music and what I do, feel free to let me know – Paypal.me/danroark]

I was driving to Chattanooga last Wednesday for my show on Thursday at Big Frog Brewing. I was approaching West Memphis when I put the window down to get something off of my hand while I kept the other hand on the wheel. I tried to put it up when it stopped and slowly went all the way down. In the midst of the up and down movement of the window, I heard a crunching sound in the door. Which couldn’t be good.

So I’m driving down the road at 70 miles an hour in 34 degree weather with no window. I pulled into a Love’s and parked in front of the door. I ran inside to the restroom and back out as fast as I could. I called my son, Cameron. He called around and found a Firestone on the east side of Memphis that was still open. If they couldn’t fix it, they could get the window up and tape it in place.

Another 50 minutes of driving in decreasing temperatures and I was at the Firestone. I just asked if they would get it up and tape it. Cameron and would fix it after I got home. They did the best they could – they said – but there was still a gap at the top. I stopped at a larger Love’s. It was either duct tape, electrical tape, or packing tape. A few minutes later, I was taping my window like the last package I mailed – except sloppier because of the angles. Yet it worked.

I drove on to Chattanooga and checked in at the hotel. I spent the rest of the trip feeling like I was driving inside a wind tunnel with the radio cranked.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

No power needed in a pioneer kitchen!

Now, if I may continue after being without power for over two days. And may I say – being without power sucks!

Moving on, after I left Hendershots coffee, with a large coffee safely snuggled in the cup holder, I headed for Cartersville, Georgia, where I had a reservation at the KOA. When I registered at the KOA, I asked if they had information on things to see in the area. He picked some brochures off the rack on the wall and handed me a few.

One of the brochures was from the Bartow History

Right half of room

Museum. I’ve spent a lot of time in museums in my life. Learning about history was a family project when I was growing up, and likewise in my family now. The museum about Bartow County sounded interesting. That, and it was a good place to hang out in air conditioning for a while.

The people who put the museum together did a very good job. It was, of course, based on the people of Bartow county, whom I knew nothing about. I was focusing on the history of the county as a microcosm of the country’s history.

Left side of room

There were artifacts I had never seen before. I’ve been in most of the museums in the east, northeast, and south. Many of them, particularly related to the Revolutionary, and Civil, wars, mentioned saltpeter. It wasn’t until I happened to drop by the Bartow museum, that I actually got to see a container that held saltpeter in it – with the saltpeter still in it. Saltpeter was one of the bigger businesses in Bartow county during the Civil war.

In the picture of the right side of the room is a loom. When I was in elementary school studying spanish/Spain, I made a serape on a loom a bit more modern than the one in the picture, but it functioned exactly the same. Unfortunately, our house burned when I was in high school. The only proof is a picture in the archives of the local newspaper.

I left the museum cooled off, entertained, and informed. The block by the museum looked the same as in the pictures I had just seen – albeit with different establishments. I walked to the first place that looked like it had a cold beer. Turns out it was another historical place of sorts. It was a crowded little pub with a friendly vibe. It was called The Ate 8 Track Bar & Grill. The walls around the bar had shelves filled with – you saw this coming, didn’t you – numerous 8 track players of all types and kinds. Nice place to have a beer and think about all I’d seen at the museum.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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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