Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hard at work.

Putting up posters for our show at the Clam Digger in Mckinleyville, CA The boss lets me drink on the job too!

Friday, September 19, 2014

8 am! KPOW 1260am Powell WY.

Our first ever radio show debut! Man, it's early for us, but what a fun experience. We napped afterward and then darted off to Billings for our last show in Montana before we left to head West!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Red Ants Pants Festival!

 Our first time attending Red Ants Pants Festival and our first performance at a major music festival. Wow, what a "Great Time"!  We played 7 songs and the energy from the crowd made us feel awesome and we left the stage high on good vibes. The hometown Red Lodge crowd came out in full force and made us feel like we were headlining the main stage. Thank you guys!

From Thursday night to early Monday morning I played, sang, drank,  and played, sang, drank til almost dawn every morning (hopefully not to the dismay of other campers), met some really talented folks and got a chance to hear some really cool music too. We hope to be back again next year.


Pre show Pendleton warm up!
Meysa is belting it out, Anton and Daniel are getting down!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Alive After 5!

We had a great time opening for the Clintons at Alive After 5. This is probably the biggest crowd we've played for. We made some new friends and got a lot of positive feedback. It was a great time!

On state at Alive After 5!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Montana; it's good to be home!

Friends, faces and the air were all fresh, welcoming and long awaited. Canyon Creek Brewery was our first show back in Montana and the official end of our four month, ten state winter western journey.

It's hard to express the gratitude we feel to everyone that came out and gave their support. We are definitely glad to be back in Montana.

Perfect spring weather and a whole bunch of great people made our last show and our welcome home complete with joyous resolve. We had a really great time and are going to frequent the "Beer Henge" as often as we can.

Let the good times roll. - D

Feels good to see that sign!

Playing at Canyon Creek Brewing!

Rumeysa makes The Blonde Ale official at Canyon Creek Brewing!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Grand Canyon!!!

Spring Break 2001 I took my first road trip across the grand landscape of the western United States. New to both living in the United States and also independently, I was in awe of the sense of freedom I felt as I watched the miles of highway escape into the distance and the unimaginable space and vastness of this country open up with each passing hour. The Grand Canyon was a halfway point to California and one of the most impacting sights I had ever seen, so much so that the rest of the trip seems a mute point more than a decade later. Short on time and money as twenty something college students, we just stared for hours, took photos and camped in the frigid near zero temps before heading on. The Colorado river, majestically prominent with it's shades of aqua blue and green stood out amongst the dry red rocks and desert landscapes. It seemed so far and unreachable, but yet realistic. The type of goals I always seemed to reach for. Since I was a child I have always wanted to hike to really faraway points, say that tree on top of that mountain. Probably possible, but unlikely without preparation. I have wanted to hike to that river since March of 2001. And I have thought about that river, in that canyon countless times in the last 13 years and talked about hiking to it, someday. So, that's how important this was for me. And I finally got to do it with the love of my life and the partner of my dreams.

Getting the permit was a bit of a hassle since we didn't have previous reservations. Day 1 we got on a waiting list and had to arrive at 8 in the morning the next day to see if we got a spot for two days later. They only gave away 4 per day. Luckily we made it and got a permit for two nights! We meandered around the park for a couple of days learning about geography and what not. Camping was free right outside of the park.

7 miles in and 10 miles out. Two nights of camping. The rangers made a really big deal about hiking in the summer due to high temps, but we were there in the middle of spring so the conditions were near perfect. Hiking in our energies were high, going downhill was swift and we often stopped to just look around and take it all in. There were several occurences of a pack of mules either with or without people coming up or down the trails and oftentimes we'd have to scramble to the side as to not spook them.  The further down we went the higher the walls of the canyon loomed over our tiny existence. Incredible and humbling.

We quickly learned that hiking downhill for 7 miles gets to be very painful as evidenced by our burning calves and the huge blisters on our big toes. All I could think was how amazing it would feel to just go up, even just a few minutes. Who would of thought. The next day we would get our share of up! The end of the hike was extremely satisfying as I finally got to touch the Colorado River! Goal accomplished.

We want to do it again, but a longer hike, more nights and away from the main trails. I guess ten years ago I wouldn't have known the difference, but after all the time spent in the Montana wilderness it was a little disappointing how much "backcountry" hiking was full of people. The first nights stay at Phantom Ranch was literally a rustic resort with a restaurant and cabins for all of the group tours. (We camped in a separate campsite, but we were right next to the cabins and bathrooms). The second night was just a campsite, but still pretty developed. We learned that if you want to get into back country you have to take the less popular trails. Good to know for the future. All in all an unforgettable experience and one that we are looking forward to doing again with a little more planning.


Colorado River Bridge

The Greener Side

Dusk from the Rim

Hiking Up!


Almost there!

Through this tunnel will be rest, food and  cold stream in which to soak our aching legs!

Descending the desert!

Seriously?! Our calves hurt already!

We made it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Crossing into the desert

Nearly two and a half weeks in California and one thing was for sure. There are a lot of fuckin people in California. Whenever there is an abundance in people, there is limited resources at exorbitant prices. We were feeling the brunt of that limitation in multiple ways.

Water: once free and accessible in rest stops in Oregon. Now, non existent or costly.
Free parking: Our usual nightly parking at trucks stops like Flying J and Pilot were suddenly unavailable do to the endless numbers of truck drivers driving anything and everything to and from the bustling, overpopulated and extremely productive state of California.
Dump stations: Again, often free or for a nominal fee. Now hard to find and unneccesarily expensive. (It's just poop!)
Gas: Expensive! Especially when you only get 8 to 10 mpg.
Beer/Entertainment: Apparently you are only allowed to have fun in California if you're rich.

Food: The only thing that wasn't unrealistic. In fact, it was at times down right dirt cheap and delicious. You just had to look in the right places. And those right places were Authentic Mexican places and Taco Trucks. Oh boy. We were in the heart of Mexi-Americana and the food was amazing.

We might have been broke, not buzzed, and sleeping on side streets hoping not to get busted by cops, but we were high on hot salsa endorphins, which was good because we needed the extra happy juice to get us through the stress of an impending lull in work. We were at a crossroads and unsure of our next step.

Luckily, we have good people skills or phone etiquette, or something, but we booked two gigs in Arizona that weekend, so we were high on life again with a plan for at least the near future. We knew two things, well three. One. We had money coming in. Two. In was in the direction of the Grand Canyon (which was part of the loose original plan.) And Three. We had a friend in Lake Havasu that we were going to see.

So, for the third time since we left we got to see a familiar face! Specifically, a familiar face from Daniel's home town and childhood. Joanna had been living there full time for the last several years with her now fiancee Roy and as it turns out, the two of them were a ton of fun. We partied for two nights straight, drank every bottle of liquor within our vicinity (Roy encouraged shots, lots and lots of shots) and ran around the house like children playing random games and laughing hysterically.

(On a side note, as it turns out, Lake Havasu was getting primed for it's yearly Spring Break Party, a fact we were unaware of until we arrived. Although it wasn't the main week for it, we got a fair dose of half naked, twenty something, extremely drunk and relatively annoying people congregated in the 100's on the lake shore.)

Desert sunset in the rear view, we're headed east!
We were scheduled to play Mike's Route 66 Outpost and Saloon in Kingman, AZ on Friday March 14th for their St. Patrick's Day Party. We were feeling a little rough after our Thursday night of random shot shooting, but excited about a new gig. The people were as nice as can be and excited to be having an out of town band in their middle of nowhere off of Route 66. It sat isolated in the barren desert landscape, halfway between two towns that most people have never heard of. The place was packed with locals, mostly an older crowd and they all were attentive and listened. Probably one of my favorite shows so far.
A highly recommended watering hole on Route 66.

The next day with came into Williams, AZ and it practically like being back in Red Lodge. A quaint little town on the brink of a National Park and a total Tourist-ville. It was kind of a disappointment in comparison to the wild nature of the preceding AZ towns and it's people, but it was nice to get a good cup of coffee and micro-brewed beer. The landscape was shifting from desert to forest and there were small patches of snow reminding us of our increasing elevation. The show went fine, although it was pretty slow. The owner/manager was a total meat head, asshole  and although I clearly explained that we were a two person band that did a variety of music, he booked us for this huge venue with no promotion except a sign that said "dancing tonight". Kinda misleading. Although the small group was into it, even danced and bought CDs the guy had the nerve to ask us to stop 30 min before we were scheduled to finish. We silently packed up, clearly upset by the figurative slap in the face, but then silently satisfied when the remaining crowd, including the bartender, was appalled at his behavior and proceeded to leave the bar with us. Their positive remarks and support were a nice lift, but the experience was still a little hard to shake.

Deflated and frustrated we leave Williams to head into wilderness, natural beauty and hopefully solitude for the next week or so. Perhaps connecting with nature will reset our internal struggles.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Shenanigans in Modesto and Fresno

We start heading back inland and although it's quite a struggle giving up the beautiful energy of the coastline we are psyched to see our old friend, Scott, in Modesto, CA.  With nothing to do for a day or two as we wait for our friend to finish up some work, we find an open mic at a cozy little bar nestled into the perfectly gridded landscape of almonds and winegrapes in  a strip mall area that was a perfect place to hang for the night. And by perfect I mean there was a bar, a discount grocery store, a delicious Mexican Restaurant, a Glaceau water dispenser AND a real thrift store, at which I purchased 7 articles of clothing for 10 dollars. That, my friends, is what a thrift is supposed to be like.

"The Cow Track"  bar was full of eager musicians hoping to share a song or two, but the man running the show couldn't make it and nobody was really sure what to do. Capitalizing on the situation we offered to set up our gear in return for some beer and in turn saved the show. We met some really nice people and got a show out of the deal! We were set to play there Saturday night!

By the next day Scott was able to hang out so we head into the town of Modesto and spent the next couple of days, well drinking. There seems to be a running theme here? . Jeez. I gotta start writing about all the days inbetween these stories where we are doing yoga and booking gigs in our RV so we don't look like lushes, but that doesn't sound too exciting so I'll just get back to the story.

Scott is a fun guy. The type of person that makes you laugh so hard your sides are hurting the next morning. We had a nice time catching up. He gave us a painting that he called  "The Trumpets of Tonavich". I dont' know what that means, but it was funny. I guess you had to be there.

The second night in Modesto we went to watch Scott's friend's band: Greg Scudder and the Beer Thirty, whom we had actually met in Nashville some few years ago when we all lived there at the same time. We did some dancing to their nice country tunes. And since no evening is complete without a visit to another place, we went to "the Other Place" which was an interesting place to be, but not one in which we were extremely welcome. So we taxied home with an Iraqi man with whom I had a wonderful discussion about Turkey and Islam. Thankfully we were all experienced drinkers and nobody was a puker (note the fee).

Saturday, March 8th, in Oaksdale CA, we finally played another show at the Cowtrack. It felt like a millenia since the last time we played although realistically it had been a week and one day. The show went well, we sold some stuff, made some contacts and were happy to just be sharing our music with a new crowd.  We hit the sack early since we'd had a late night last night and had to be up early tomorrow to play at Sequoia Brewing in Fresno.

In Sequoia there seemed to be more talking than playing. We played, and people listened, but we also had a lot of interrupters who just wanted to ask us this or that, or perhaps wanted to tell us a story. Just as well. Sometimes it's nice to rest the vocal chords and listen to someone else's story. There was the groovin' Native man who insisted that we when we get to New Mexico " go find "Rolldy" and do the Peyote, to take your music to the next level" and he bought us beer before he left. Then there was the balding, overweight middle aged white man who was sad. His wife had left him after he'd worked so hard to make her happy. He paid prostitutes just to be held. He said he felt comfortable telling us this. He was lonely. Deep, dark and lonely and maybe just needed to hear that he was good. But I lost him in the crowd before I had a chance to tell him, which I regret. The Mexican dentist with the long, dark hair and laughing moustache, he by far was the most enlightening for my personal growth. He was happy and it was contagious. His very being was a lesson. And I left with a smile on my face knowing that I could do anything, but I should always be happy.

That night I drove the RV for the first time because Daniel had a few too many. In his defense people kept buying them for him, and Daniel has never been one to say no to a beer.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Old Princeton Landing and Recovery in Salinas

     Our next booked show was two days later giving us time to mend our livers and get some decent sleep. It was a sweet little spot right by the sea owned by a guy with a passion for surfing and music. He had no clue who we were. Our friend Moe recommended us to a man he knew, who told his son, the captain of a fishing boat that supplied the venue owner's restaurant with fish, who ultimately mentioned to him to expect a call from us. In some round about way here we were at a venue in which Neil Young had graced the stage 14 times or so, indicated by the owner, whether to boast or to intimidate us I am not sure, but I was hopeful for the former because he just seemed like a super friendly guy who wanted to have a good time, and good times are something to which we can relate. Admittedly, I did feel a little out of our element (I can't speak for Daniel), but not enough that I wasn't psyched at the opportunity. After Wednesday, we were not eager to imbibe alcohol, but sensing the oncoming tingling nerves and mild anxiety we didn't hesitate to except the delicious "liquid courage" both in the form of local micro-brewed beer and top notch bourbon. Needless to say, we were feeling nice when the show started and considering the relatively short two hour set ahead of us we played every favorite song with our best "knock em dead" approach.

It was a happy hour crowd melding and mixing with a late crowd, the already tuned and tuning up, some intently listening, some howling after every song. We felt good and the music flowed nicely with the only exception being the washboard insistently being turned up by the sound guys despite our request to not do so. I couldn't tell if was in the monitors or the mains, but it was a slight deterrent to an otherwise fun show, but once it was finally addressed properly, I felt much better and was able to let go.

The end of the show was flooded with many, many purchases of CDs, stickers and the like, tips and invitations for breakfast at people's restaurants. Oh you know, my restaurant down by the beach. It was definitely an affluent crowd, but an affluent and appreciative crowd at that.

We have found on our travels that once people discover that we are staying in our RV out back, across the street or in the parking lot etc, we are expected to get hammered with them. Period. Why wouldn't we? We just get to walk home! That's their take, not considering how awful hungover driving is, not  to mention dangerous. There insistence wasn't strongly opposed, as, well hell, we like to drink. We were invited to go skeet shooting or targets, or something which sounded sooo fun, but considering I could hardly stand, we graciously declined, only to stumble back to our RV at  11 pm? Shit. It was early. I guess that's what happens when you start drinking at 5 pm.

We had big plans for the next day to go to a place called the "the General Store" but all we could muster the energy to do was eat breakfast, mine being a delicious squid steak and eggs* and find a place to relax. Apparently the universe had alternate plans for us. Just as we were walking back to our RV from breakfast a dozen or so lamborghinis just drove by. You know, just people cruisin' around on their many hundreds of thousand dollars vehicles and they all park right.behind.us. Apparently, the Lamborghini Club as in town and there were having a Lamborghini Lunch in the restaurant behind this lot. So, we decide to hang in town a little longer  in favor of not accidentally bumping into one of these as we maneuvering our 25 ft RV out of the lot.

There's the back of our RV on the right side and many very expensive vehicles being gazed upon right behind us.

Here they are closer up:

Daniel's favorite of the bunch probably because it looks like the Bat Mobile.

My favorite. Classic Red Ferrari.

Checking out the Marina.

Leaving Half Moon Bay and on to Salinas to get some rest at a nice little RV spot we found.

The Story of Salinas
Day 1
Slept in. Watched movies on netflix. Sat in our RV and booked shows next to a nice little lake. We went out in search of a grocery store and got lost in a mini mountain range of tiny windy roads that we should not have been on. We found a grocery store only to realize that our phone GPS led us miles in the wrong direction, but since we had already trekked up the before mentioned mini mountain we decided to go to the little town of to buy our groceries.

Day 2
Slept in. Booked shows. Drove around all day looking for propane because we were out. Apparently the town of Salinas must not have many RVers pass through because although every gas station had propane, none had it available to put into our RV tank, and nobody spoke enough English to explain this to us. Nor was my Spanish good enough to convey this specific need of propane for an RV.

During our random driving around we did stumble across this gem. Awesome Taqueria in Salinas. I have a feeling this was once an Arby's. LOL.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

High from Humboldt County


Our return to Northern California welcomed us with warm weather and abundant sun shine. This would be our second repeat venue from last year's tour and we were happy to be back in this sleepy coastal town mostly because we had fun last year plus we had a friend to see. Friends, whether you see them everyday or once a year or hardly ever, they are still your friends when you see each other again. On the road we meet people, sometimes as briefly as over a beer at the bar, but our paths intersect like invisible endless strings that cross and they stay connected forever even if they travel away and never cross again. John was such a friend and we were happy to be able to hang out with him again.

The owner of the Logger Bar had us last year on a whim after hearing about our show at the local brewery. She had opened up her venue to us as well as her house for the day and without question or concern had left us there to use her laundry and kitchen when she went to work for the day. It has been moments likes this in our travels that renews my faith in human goodness. Not that it had been completely lost, but it has been seriously weighed down with occasional undesirable encounters and experiences. But it's these moments when I'm reminded that most people ARE good. And most people have faith that other people are good. And THAT is a good feeling. We didn't get a chance to see her this time around but we were happy that she had us back. The crowd at the show was eager and attentive. There is nothing better than having people genuinely and actively listening to what we are playing and this night we had just that.

We stayed in the RV that night across the street from the venue since we'd had our share of drinks but we parked it up at John's house the next day. Within a few days we had gotten to know his room mate and some friends and felt so welcome that we almost felt like we lived out in his driveway.

And as if life might actually be a series of planned events with certain situations triggering a tangent experience, we went out to The Lost Coast  to watch John and his friend Dave hang glide, a mind boggling encounter in it's own right (people flying for goodness sakes) only to meet a new person that ricocheted us to the tiny coastal town of Petrolia.

People Preparing to Fly


Talk about a place tucked away into the countryside. This little town was snuggled between the hills and western coastline so comfortably that I could have just stayed there forever and been content. The people here were has as comfortable and welcoming as the scenery, perhaps the outcome of a symbiotic relationship between the two. We met our new friend Yarrow on the hill where we were all watching people fly when it came up that we were traveling through playing music. She literally made our show happen. Through the small and tight knit community, using word of mouth, posters and some internet advertising the town of Petrolia knew that we were booked to play at The Yellow Rose the next Wednesday.

The Yellow Rose, Petrolia, CA

This has been one of my favorite shows thus far. This town, as cliche as it sounds, practically lost on The Lost Coast didn't get a lot of live music from what we heard. And it wasn't a huge surprise considering the miles of tight twists and turns winding you nauseatingly to your destination. But it was well worth the travel. Despite the last minute promotion for a last minute show people came out and appreciated the music. They seemed to have a blast as did we. I had some genuine connections with people that I very much hope to see again. The bar fed us well and made sure we were well lubricated well into and after the show. Thanks to our new friend, the bartender, Dan. Well, we were thankful, until the next afternoons hungover and naseous drive back down to sea level. LOL. It was worth it.

Winding Roads Leaving Petrolia

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Edge of the World

There is something utterly humbling about the ocean. It's existence is practically incomprehensible in comparison to our ephemeral human lives. As far as our human history and beyond it has been there and always will be, giving and taking to our kind. I am energized by and yet fearful of it's power. Subdued by it's presence we often found ourselves just sitting, listening to the ebb and flow of the tides powered by forces unseen but obviously present, a reminder of the moon, the stars, and the vastness surrounding us. We listen and are reminded to be present..even if just for a minute.
As much as we enjoyed the richness of city living for a few days we were relieved to be back where there were fewer people. More space, less cars, less stress. Our next show was Saturday the 15th at MeKeowns Irish Pub in a sleepy coastal city called Seaside. The weather wasn't cooperating and it rained incessantly the entire drive with a few intermissions of sunshine. But worse than rain was the seemingly hurricane strength winds that threw our 25 foot sail of an RV around like a small boat in a turbulent ocean. We practically lost our awning over the Astoria bridge. Beautiful as the scenery was here the stress of the awning rattling around tainted the experience with stress.

Bridge to Astoria.

But we made it and were positively welcomed by the new venue. The weather was a bit frightful still. You could barely get through the front door without the wind slamming it back into you and the rain kept on and unfortunately dampened our potential of a large crowd, but the people who did make it out expressed genuine interest. The owner liked it so much they asked us to stay for Sunday! Memorial Day should bring more people if the weather cooperates. It didn't cooperate, but we still got folks out and shared some music. We parked our RV in the lot behind their venue where it was directly confronted with the high winds and rain which actually rocked us to sleep like babies in a bough, except for the few violent shakes that woke us up, similar to earthquake thrashing. Yikes! We met some nice guys the next night who offered to let us park and hang out at their place in exchange for a ride home. We agreed and learned a valuable lesson. Don't let drunk people in your RV, or at least have a Puke Potential Test before they enter. One of the guys vomited under our table on the ride over. So gross. (We want to exchange the carpet for flooring anyhow). Fortunately, his extremely nice and responsible friend cleaned it up meticulously.

We love cheese! Who doesn't like cheese?? We made a fun little stop at the cheese factory.


Finally got in a very overdue hike on the beach.

Lincoln City is a relatively new city for me although I have been there once before during a trip we took from Billings for my 28th birthday. For Daniel, however, it is a little bit like "coming back" not quite like "coming back home", but definitely brings up an upheaval of old memories and feelings. He spent some time here in his late teens and early twenties, a time wrought with emotional turmoil for most people that age, but particularly for one with as much questions as he had about what life is supposed to be and who he was. He may not have found it here, but it definitely helped shape who he is today. But that's another story.

The hike was amazing! It was a scattered rain sort of day with more sunshine than we could have hoped for and the rain that did fall wasn't even close to being able to dampen our moods or motivation. We soaked in the energy from the strength of the ocean, talked some, but kept quiet the most. A couple of hours in, as the rain got a bit stronger and I needed to use the restroom, Daniel remembered a casino near the beach. Although we are not big gamblers, it is fun to put a few bucks in the machine from time to time and have a little fun. We got free five dollars worth of pay, a bunch of free coffee and sunny D and about 3 hours of entertainment. I suppose the hike got cut a bit short, but what they hell. It was fun. We hiked the beach back in the dark , with nothing but the sound of the ocean to our right and the glimmer of human existence to our left.

We got to visit an old friend of his, Mary Jo. An awesome, old soul who I immediately felt a kinship with. They reminisced about old times, some changes in town, a few sad stories and more happy ones. It was an early night as she had to work early and we were tired from the long hike and needed to get up early to get to our gig in Brookings, OR on time. We finagled our RV into her front driveway with only a little corner peeking out into the usually uninhabited street. The 5 hour drive in the morning was a bit longer than we would have wanted, but the beauty of the scenery made it better. Taking breaks to boil water for coffee and eat a snack right next to the ocean made it easy.
Daniel experimenting with phone camera options.

Apparently there is a panoramic option on there.

I say hi while making coffee! :)

We made it to Brooking, OR to play at the Vista Pub just in time. The owner and the employees were all very friendly and helpful. The owner mentioned enthusiastically that he was psyched about the "write up in the Pilot" and asked if I saw it. I was smiling enthusiastically in return, mostly because of my empathetic nature when I realized I had no idea was he was talking about. Turns out the emails we sent to the local paper inquiring about a potential article worked out and we had a nice little write up about us playing at the Vista Pub, not that they emailed us back about it or anything. LOL. The show went well. The place was full for most of the show, but we lost some of the older crowd later on. We had some truly lovely conversations with some of the people who stuck around, particularly this English guy and his girlfriend who were particularly intrigued with Daniel's original songs and the lyrics behind them. We finished up the night with some on the house mushroom burgers and a few pints of delicious brew and hit the sack parked behind the venue.

Photo of the venue as we are leaving. You can barely tell but the sign says "Vista Pub".