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".

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thai Food in Plenty and Coffee that's Tasty, Beer that is Brewed Just for Us and Our Friends: These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

SEATTLE! Oh, how we love Seattle. Brimming with fresh, authentic Thai food, fresh roasted coffee and locally brewed beer. It's a haven for the lover of finer things. We have been waiting patiently for amazing Thai food for over a year. (The last time was during a layover in Seattle in July 2012.) Coffee tastes like coffee is supposed to taste, even at Kiosks. And there is a brewery seemingly on every block. We basically just walked around really full, caffeinated and buzzed the entire time.

Panang Curry, brown rice, phad thai and eggroll. Mmmm..

Other Things That We Love About Seattle Besides Things That You Consume:
You can walk everywhere.
Transit System that works.
Can we say most likely the Greenest City in the USA? (This is not a looked up fact, just an assumption).
Open minded and forward thinking people.
Close to the ocean and the mountains.
Mild weather
Fresh food. Ok we already talked about food but seriously, you can get fresh produce, fish, beer etc.

Downside, Because Nowhere Can Be Perfect:
It rains frequently, particularly in the winter
There is a lot of traffic (but that can be offset if you use public transit!)
Some people can be a little snooty, but hey, those people are everywhere.

Overall, we love this city.

A Spontaneous Show at The Outlander Brewey
Our friends Amy and Jessica suggested we try to play a random show at a local brewery and it worked out. We went there strangers, but by the time we had a few beers and played our show we felt like we belonged there. Everyone hugged on the way out. We're big fans of hugging, so that just sealed the deal on this place. It was a small but appreciative crowd that genuinely listened to our acoustic act. The shape of the room made for great acoustics. Thanks to the random group of friends that showed up!  (Bryce, Amy, Jessica, Brian and  Jackie) There were a few faces I hadn't seen in years.

First RV Park Experience
Finally out of the below freezing temps we were able to fill our water tank and use our RV to it's fullest potential. It really feels like home now. We learned how to drain our gray and black water.
Gray=sink and shower water. Black=toilet stuff (yuck). Kinda sketchy, but it seemed to go fine. We are thinking in investing in an expensive sewer hose to minimize the chance of any unwelcoming leaks or accidents. Lucky for me (Rumeysa) this is Daniel's job.

We have unspoken designated jobs. Mine revolve around cleaning, cooking,  laundry, cold calling for booking, organizing bills. His falls under repairs, yucky things, jobs outside in the cold, technical and mechanical things, emailing for booking.  Perhaps a little conventional, but it works.

Onward we go.

Photo of us getting free water at a WA rest stop just outside of Seattle! Thanks to the State of Washington or providing free dump and water stations! Hi Daniel!

<3 ~ Rumeysa

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ellensburg, Where the Party's At, Apparently

If you book it, they will come. At least in Ellensburg, WA they will.

Daniel and I have been notorious lately for bringing bad weather on this tour, or good weather, depending on how you look at it. Let's just say we bring change, and I can't say that's a bad thing. So, if you need rain or want snow, book us in your town!

To Ellensburg we brought snow, and a lot of it. Allegedly, it was the first time it dumped that winter and there we were driving 25 miles per hour on the highway because, as it seemed, people in Washington cannot drive in the snow. It wasn't quite as bad as, let's say, Texas, but it was still mildly annoying, mostly because we were behind schedule due to roaming around aimlessly in a grocery store for two hours.

A side note about us and grocery stores.Grocery Stores: According to Daniel and The Blonde

We arrive on schedule, but without ample time to relax properly and prepare our mental space before the show. We are greeted by smiling, happy owners and bartenders which immediately put us at ease. I can honestly say it was one of the nicest towns I have ever been in. Check out: *Top Nicest Towns: According to Daniel and The Blonde  As we are trying to maneuver our monster RV into a back alley parking lot behind the bar there comes a small group of young college guys, possibly a little drunk, but enthusiastically happy. They bound over and immediately start helping us back in and upon discovering that we are the band playing tonight express their excitement and tell us that they came to see us, which is always a good indicator of a potentially fun evening.

Halfway through the first set the place was full. And they were drinking. And, damn it, they were just having a great time, which made us have a great time. I wish I had a picture to insert here of all the people having a great time, but I don't, which is a reminder to me to take more pictures, or get a photographer.

ISO: photographer willing to work for space in RV, coffee, occasional meals, a lot of snacks and beer.

Luckily, we met this awesome gal in Ellensburg, who not only wrote one of our favorite articles about us in the local newspaper, The Daily Record, but she also happened to take pictures during the show. Credit to Lauren Takores for the pictures. Link to Article

And, I can't forget this extremely humble and friendly fellow who jumped up and played some tunes with us on his fiddle. (Thanks to his brother who called him up and told him to come down). We were told he played at Carnegie Hall, and I believe it because he was pretty damn good.

Thanks you Ellensburg for being so fun and we'll see you around next time!

Friday, February 7, 2014

West, Where the Weather is Warmer

Washington. The temperature finally got above freezing. Although they were just shaking off their first big dump of snow we were thrilled to actually be warm in our RV. Our first night was at  the Pilot Truck Stop right past Coeur d' leone, ID. We got use to truck stop stays through Montana as they were free, had internet, showers (we still cannot put water in the RV due to freezing risk), and food for late night snack attacks. This was the first truck stop where we were had the sudden realization that it was, in fact, a truck stop. The lot was huge and there were a lot of trucks, I mean A LOT of very big trucks. We were kinda intimidated. Our 25 footer looks puny next to these giants. And we seem like wide eyed babies newly exposed to the elements in comparison to these hard traveled drivers.

500 miles from home , tucked into a corner lot in an ocean of pavement, surrounded by grumbling, sleeping giants and a blanket of snow, we close our blinds, make dinner and watch a movie. And it dawns on us that we are home. We are home.

The Checkboard is our first out of state gig. It's a small dive bar shedding some old skin to open up to a fresh image as a music venue.  The new owners seem active in bringing in acts of all kinds and tonight was engineered  for acoustic, songwriting music. The local acts' love and enthusiasm for meeting new people and hearing new tunes was extremely welcoming and we,  in turn enjoyed a good night of meaningful music, good people and free beer.  Check out the music of our new friends in Spokane Sweet Rebel D and Gardening Angel

Washington, Where the Weed is Legal. Like, recreationally, legal. Young people rolling joints in the bar. Old men, retired, lonely and getting stoned in the gazebo outside discussing there personal favorite strain. Apparently, flushing the plant creates a paranoid free smoke.  I won't say that it's not true.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Music and Bartering

Our preferred method of pay for service is cold hard cash, but we're willing to make exceptions. Booze tab, food and a plug in? Sold. When you're on the road amenities can be just as helpful as money. In the case of the unabating sub zero temperatures, sleeping anywhere inside with heat was an acceptable form of pay. When my cold call to Symes Hot Springs to inquire about a last minute show paid off with a free room we were thrilled at the opportunity to warm up, because, as we regrettably learned, RVs have a hard time staying warm in arctic temps. Empty propane tank lights in the wee hours of the frigid cold morning are not fun to see. So we drove our way through the whip cream coated hills, glistening in the frosty stillness and played for the few brave locals who came out.

Being near naked in -15 degrees is an experience. I can't describe it any other way. Nothing is comparable. Your body seems to go immediately into survival mode and all you can do is just run and utter obscenities.

"Shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"

You can't even muster the few seconds it takes to relax and take a full breath so you're basically just hyper-ventilating and cussing the entire little jaunt from the hotel to the pool and then.... It's ecstasy. Just pure goodness enveloping your entire body.

We soaked and we slept. For 12 hours we slept. And we were warm. Too bad we can't take heat with us, store it up in our bones, because the cold isn't over yet. But for the moment we were warm and rested.