Sunday, December 19, 2010

Population growth

I had some deep thoughts as I was driving for many hours. Partly about the differences between Arizona and Montana. Both were settled initially because of mining and then cattle/agriculture. Both have lots of wide open space, a history that is similar and so on.

I think that Montana has more natural resource to offer, with actual rivers with flowing water, more grass and fewer thorny plants and our most unpleasant insect is the Mosquito. But Arizonas population has boomed, with two very large cities (Phoenix and Tucson) and several which rival our "big towns" of Great Falls and Billings.

Why all the industry and growth in Arizona compared to Montana? The most obvious answer is weather. People seem to be more comfortable in the extreme heat of Arizonas summer as opposed to the extreme cold of a Montana winter. Actually, the southern Arizona winter weather is pretty much what I expect during a Montana summer which brings up the old joke: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in Montana."

Since I am not what you'd call a big fan of cities, I'm all for some more cold and snowy Montana winters. Yay for sub-zero temperatures!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home from Arizona

Well, I finally made it home from my journey around Arizona. It was a good trip. I had a great time, learned a lot and maybe even lined up more for next year which was the whole idea in the first place.

I left Townsend on the 3rd of December, right after getting back from the hunting camp and I headed to Wayne Nelson's house for the night. As usual, Wayne and I talked until way late before we finally gave it up and went to sleep for a while.

The next evening, I played at the Cowboy Corral in Elsinore, Utah, along with several other great poets and pickers, including Sam DeLeeuw, C.R Wood and David Anderson. I didn't make anything there but we had a great time together. I played pool for a while at the Detour bar in Richfield, Utah but couldn't get any cash games going so I gave up and went to my room.

The Days Inn Motel in Richfield was the most expensive room I payed for on the whole trip at $49.60. I managed to stay under $40 everywhere else. In figuring my total costs for the trip, if I had used my pickup camper, thus not staying in motels or eating out, the added gasoline costs would have doubled my total trip cost. If I were staying down there longer or going farther, maybe it would be worth it but the better gas mileage from taking the camper off made it actually cheaper to stay in motels and eat in cafes.

Anyway, I had moved on from Richfield on sunday morning and went to Flagstaff, Arizona. On the way, south of Page, AZ, there is a senic lokout where some Navajos have a jewelry and crafts stand. They were all huddled in a shelter made of umbrellas, wearing coats with hoods, wearing their gloves...all of that kind of thing. I was in jeans and a T-shirt. I teased them a lot about being cold at somthing like 60 degrees.

I like Northern Arizona a lot. It's empty, pretty and wild. Lots of open empty dessert populated by primarily low income people. I fit right in.

In Flagstaff, I went to Uptown Billiards and rented a table. I was just practicing by myself and noticed another guy doing the same. I asked him if he wanted to play some for a little bit of cash. He asked me how much and I said: "Cheap. I don't have a lot. How about a race to 5 for $20?" He kind of laughed at me and said: "I might for $200 or $100 but not that cheap." I told him I'd play a race to 5 for $100 but he just kind of waved me away so I went back to practicing alone. About 20 minutes later, after watching me practice, he came around and said that he'd play for some if I wanted. That kind of scared me a little. He's obviously wathced me practice and then offered to play so I only played a race for $50. The guy was terrible. After the first two games, I started laying back, giving him some room to play cause I wanted to keep hiim at the table. It didn't work. I won 5-3 and he quit and left.

I made it to Mesa the next day and settled in at Bev Hunsakers. She was nice enough to offer me the use of her trailer, parked in the back yard so I could afford to hang out for a while.

I won 3rd in a 9ball tournament at Main Street Billiards in Mesa collecting a few bucks and meeting some of the local players. I like Main Street Billiards. It's a nice, open, clean, upscale pool room with (I think) 42 tables. Mostly 8' or 9' rentals and a row of bar boxes. The tables are all well maintained and the whole facility is clean and pleasant. There are a few people who play for cash but I didn't see any big games and never managed to get any cash games there but it sure is a nice place for practice. Check their website for tournaments and specials.

A guy I met there recommended Kolby's Corner Pocket on University Ave in Tempe. I checked it out and it is a really good room also but for different reasons. The tables aren't as nicely maintained and the room isn't as clean but the prices are good for both table time and food and there are a lot of cash games there. I was watching some guys playing One Pocket for $200 a game and I got a few low dollar games there. Won sopme, lost some, came out even at the end of the stay. Nothing memorable.

Wednesday, I played my gig at the Palmas Del Sol East in Apache Junction. The activities director is new and was not the one who had heard and hired me so I could tell she was a little apprehensive about what my show might be like. Everyone had a great time, though. I sold some CDs and she invited me back next year so I must have done something right.

I went out to the Queen Valley area and got some pictures of the dessert and the Superstition Mountains. It would be nicer country if it weren't so close to the Phoenix area. Big cities do not endear me to an area.

Thursday, I played at ElDorado of Sun City in Sun City, AZ. It was another great gig and everyone was happy. I met a couple of ladies there who are from here in Townsend! What a small world! I know their family well.

I headed south Friday, down from US 60 to Florence and then to Tucson. It was a great drive with lots of dessert vistas to enjoy until I got into Tucson. Some of the worst traffic I dealt with on the whole trip was in the Tucson area and I was really glad to get to I10 and head East on the freeway. I went to Sierra Vista and stayed the night then went to Tombstone for the day. Tombstone is like a SW Virginia City except that it's a little more commercial. I talked with the managers of a couple of bars/restaurants there and might be setting up next winters gigs.

I went straight from Tombstone to Flagstaff and stayed there for Saturday night. I couldn't get any cash games so I just gave up and went to bed.

Sunday, I headed north again. Just south of Page, I took 89A to Kanab instead of staying on 89 to Page and Kanab. What a great side trip! Vermillion cliffs, Glen Canyon, the Kaibab plateau! It was really pretty and well worth the little bit of extra time. If you're going that way anyway, take that cutoff and bring your camera.

I checked into the Days Inn in Richfield, Utah again. I told the lady there that even if she did have the lowest rates in Richfield, they were still more than I had paid anywhere else. I was thinking about going out and shopping around a little more but it was too much trouble so I accepted the rates and went to the room. It hadn't been cleaned! I went to the top of the stairs and asked the lady if I was the only one staying in that room. She said: "Yes, Why?" and I said: "Because somebody's been sleeping in MY bed." This was at 6:00PM. Anyway, they put me into another room so they could clean the first one.

Monday was a 12 hour run from Richfield to Helena and then home, getting home about 10:30PM and thus winding up my journey.

I posted pictures on my facebook page but some of them are here also.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Home again for a day

It's been a fun week in Hunting Camp. I was only cooking for four this week so it was a lot easier than the first week. Also, shooting time is later so I get to sleep in until 0500hrs each day now! Of course, Daylight saving time will screw that up this weekend.

Tuesday morning, I had gotten everyone fed and out of my tent and had gone back to sleep for a while. They had all left. I awoke to grunts, squeels, thumps and clatters outside my tent. When I went outside, I found that a small herd of elk had come within 20' of my tent before they realized their mistake, then with a hearty "Oh Shit!!" (in elk, of course, but I understood the sentiment) they took off for the timber. In this picture, the elk tracks are circled and you can see my tent in the background.
I'm home for a day. Getting laundry done and cleaning up a little before I head back into the mountains. I'll probably be gone two weeks this time unless this new batch of hunters fills out their tags quickly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First week in Hunting Camp

I posted some pics of this last weeks hunting camp on my facebook account: It was a lot of fun and I learned a bunch of stuff. All of you who know me and my habits would have been astounded at my delight in being able to change my routine a little and sleep in until 4:30AM!

I get up at 4:30 and start the coffee brewing. NOT in a drip coffee maker, you modern types, but by starting the burners under the coffee pots! Then, I go out and fire up the generator so I have a little better light to work by.

Breakfast has to be on the table at 5:30 and even the big group I had last week would be done eating within 15 minutes or so. Then they'd all load up and head out to go hunting while I got the breakfast dishes and mess cleaned up. I'd try to get a couple hours nap before I had to prepare lunch which had to be ready at Noon. Then, after cleaning up the lunch mess, I could really relax for a while ( as long as I had planned and prepared well for dinner) because dinner didn't have to be on the table until 8:30PM. I'd get all the final cleanup and preparations for the next days breakfast done and be in bed by about 11PM, ready to start all over again the next morning.

This first week, I was cooking for 12 people...13 counting myself, although I really didn't eat much. Too busy fixing it to eat it. So, planning was everything. We have a freezer in camp and several coolers. Each morning I would get the next days meals out of the freezer and thawing. I would prepare as much as I could at least several hours if not a day ahead. Things like boiling and slicing potatos, making salad, pre-cooking bacon; that sort of thing.

We also have fresh baked bread instead of store bought but I cheat a little by using the frozen bread dough. I kept fresh baked cookies handy all the time, keep the coffee pots full and so on.

Most of the clients were guys from Pennsylania. I had a lot of fun with them and we had some great conversations. I played a little music in the evenings and even sold a few CDs.

It's 10 miles of tough road to a cell phone signal and 35 miles to White Sulphur Springs, MT. No running water or bathroom facilities, no TV, no internet. Many of you are not any more shocked at these deficiencies than I but there are also lots of my firends list who will have a hard time grasping these concepts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2010 current summer report

Well, things have been going fairly well this summer. I've kept the road warm between Parade Rest Ranch and Virginia City so far, playing Mondays and Fridays at the Parade Rest cookouts and every other possible day at the Virginia City Cafe. I've had lots of fun and met some great people.

I had a special treat this last Saturday (the 24th) as John Westbrook flew out from Virginia to join me at the West Yellowstone Historical Center annual dinner. We had a good crowd early on and then a small group stayed as long as we wanted to play. The event people finally had to throw us all out!!

The first hour we played was during the coctail hour and we did this accoustically in the Firehole Room at the Old UP Dining Hall. There were so many people, all talking and visiting, that after a few minutes Westbrook and I had a hard time even hearing each other, let alone much of the audience being able to hear us. Anyway, John started playing "The Wonderfull Wizard of Oz" and I was the only one who noticed!

After dinner, we plugged into our sound system and stared doing the real show and it was a blast. This is always a good show for me as I get to visit with so many of my ole friends who I rarely see any other time. Speaking of "old", I mentioned to one of my HS classmates that everybody I know in West Yellowstone any more is...old. Doug looked at me and said: "Check your birthdate lately?" Good point.

Westbrook caught a 5AM flight back to Virginia this morning and I headed on home for some catch-up and resupply before I head back to Parade Rest tomorrow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

4th Annual Historic Ritzville Days Western Art Show

By Smoke Wade

Ritzville, WA: Sadly, the train doesn’t stop in Ritzville these days. It has been a number of years since the passenger trains gave up on Ritzville. Established in the 1880’s, Ritzville, Washington was once the largest wheat shipping point in the world. While the wheat industry is still booming, much of the grain is transported by trucks these days. Then the Interstate by-passed the quaint farming town of gracious homes and graceful brick buildings that bear silent witness to the prosperity of times gone by. Slowly, the historic downtown, rich in pioneer heritage, slipped into a slumber brought about by a lack of business and tourism.

But, even though the trains no longer stop in Ritzville, that doesn’t mean She’s not a train town. Over sixty trains a day blow through the heart of town with whistles blowing, and the ground shaking, as long freight trains hurry past to unknown destinations. And it is these very trains and their endless clickety-clack that connects the soul of Ritzville to it’s prosperous past.

It was just a scant one hundred feet from the historic Ritzville train depot that the outdoor main stage was set for the 4th Annual Historic Ritzville Days Western Art Show held May 28 – 30, 2010. As the trains rumbled by, the talented cast of western entertainers that performed over the weekend quickly learned to adapt to the deafening noise. The 2010 Historic Ritzville Days Western Art Show was sponsored by the Ritzville Downtown Development Association as a means to help revitalize the historic downtown business district. The three-day event encompassed downtown Ritzville as it featured inside and outside venues including a street fair of over 60 renown artisans - western artists, sculptors and, authors, along with food booths, youth activities and live entertainment.

The performing artists for the 2010 Art show included Cowboy Celtic, Alberta, Canada; Dave Stamey and Sourdough Slim, California; The Rockin HW and Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue, Washington; Barbara Nelson, Oregon; and The Copper Mountain Band, Montana. The performing cowboy poets included Jessica Hedges, Del Gustafson, Orvil Sears, Robin Dale and Dick Warwick, all from Washington; Van & Kathy Criddle and Duane Nelson of Oregon; and JB Barber, Idaho. Smoke Wade, Nevada, emceed the street festival event.

The festivities got under way on Friday night with an Artists’ Reception at the C. J. Newland American Legion Memorial Hall with musical entertainment provided by Barbara Nelson. Street fair art exhibits, art auctions and cowboy entertainment ran throughout the day and evening on Saturday and Sunday. Up on Main Street, one could here the occasional sounds of gunfire as members of the Ritzville Community Theater troupe staged old west gun battles on a regular schedule. The out-of-town visitors wandered through the art booths sipping from a cold bottle of Sarsaparilla or blowing the steam from a cup of cowboy coffee that was offered for sale from an authentic chuck wagon.

And the music and poetry seemed to waft through the streets in a non-stop fashion. Sourdough Slim was at his best delighting audiences throughout the weekend. Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue wandered the streets on occasions as western singing minstrels. Cowboy Celtic brought their own unique music to the festival – reminding us about the roots of cowboy music. Cowboy poet, Mike Whitaker and musician, Alan Halvorson of the Rockin HW pulled double duty as sound crew and performers. The Copper Mountain Band played country music for a wonderful street dance, and Dave Stamey lived up to his Western Music Association 2009 Entertainer of the Year Award by dazzling the audiences with his music, singing and naturally engaging personality.

Somewhere in the midst of it all some folks spent time at the classic car show up in the park, dining at the local restaurants or attending a special Memorial Day service at the Ritzville Memorial Cemetery. Others scooped up collectable art from the many artists, or toured the museum at the historic Ritzville train depot.

It was perhaps ironic that even though the entire festival was free of admission, the chilly and windy weather kept crowds lighter than the organizers and entertainers would have expected. Still, the event coordinators headed up by the energetic group of Stephen McFadden, Jim Lisk, Lavonne Saunders, Jennifer Larsen and many others, stormed through their duties in a tireless fashion. And the entertainers entertained – and the trains rolled by.

When western art and music festivals come to an end, the organizers, audience and entertainers alike all experience a deal of bittersweet remorse. They are often relieved the event is over and know they can soon journey home, yet they are saddened to part company with new and old friends alike. In Ritzville, they left reluctantly. They left wanting more – more of Dave Stamey’s ballads, more of Van Criddle’s poetry and more of the quick draw artist competitions. They left with memories of a wonderful weekend, of cold sarsaparilla and cowboy coffee – memories of the 4th annual Historic Ritzville Days Western Art Show and Music Festival. But mostly, they will remember the trains – those wonderful trains that no longer stop in Ritzville.

Smoke Wade

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spring is finally here!!

Officially, today is the first day of summer. For those of us in Montana it's finally springtime. Temps into the 60s, only a few clouds and a very nice day.

I'm at Parade Rest Ranch, near West Yellowstone, Montana for only the second cookout we've had this year. The weather just hasn't been condusive to cookouts. I've been in Virginia City a few times this last couple of weeks and only had semi-good luck there as it has been cool and wet. My show in VC is also outside so weather makes or breaks me there, too.

When I came over here from Virginia City yesterday, I stopped in Ennis and made a few bucks playing pool there. Why is it that the only place in Montana where I can get even very low money games is in Ennis?

I'm also doing some updates to my pages at , putting a couple of demo songs up so maybe I can get a few more gigs through the website. I hate having to "snail-mail" promo packs to places when they can just go on the internet and get all the info that's in the mail packs.

Anyway, let's hear from some of you other summer travelers about your gigs and experiences.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Townsend Gathering 2010

Well, we had a great time here again this year. Not lots of performers or audience but lots of enthusiasm!

Fridays Day-shows were practically empty. Basically, we played for each other during the day on Friday. The good news is that the Day-show performances give us a chance to work the bugs out of the system and get things working right.

The Friday Night-show audience was one of the smallest we've had since we started this, nine years ago. About 50-75 people in the audience. But they all seemed to have a great time and we still saw about 20% CD sales. Since the audience was small, that translates into not very many CDs sold but it still is a good ratio.

Saturday, everything went much better. We had audience in the Day-show all day and about 100 more in the Night show audience. Again, decent CD sales from them and the other things, like the dinner and the silent auction went well.

I wish to thank all the performers who showed up. The talent that we see at these little local shows is incredible. I'm not going to try and name everyone as I'd wind up forgetting somebody but you can't go to Elko, Santa Clarita or anywhere else and see better shows than were presented here in little Townsend, Montana last weekend.

The jam sessions were a blast! We got together and shared music and stories into the late hours and when everything was over and we all said our goodbys I knew that we had at least had a lot of fun. Having fun with our friends is why we all do this. It sure isn't for the money!

I had set up a video camera attached to a DVD recorder. I even had the sound being recorded directly from the sound board so the recordings seem to be pretty good. Now, I need to get the time to set down and edit things a little and I'll have DVDs for the performers.

One lesson learned (very forcefully) is that I can't be an organizer of the show and the sound guy at the same time! The equipment seemed to work well but I was often not manning it properly. IF (note the "if") we do this again, I'll either have to run sound or handle the show details. Not both.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day weekend

Wanye Nelson, his son Erik and I played at the Bale of Hay Saloon in Virginia City Saturday.

We had a great crowd right from the start and held most of them there for the night. Erik's rocker style lead guitar playing, my standard "cover tunes" and Wayne's folk style all kind of blended together and it was a lot of fun.

Wayne and Erik had composed an instrumental where Wayne played a rythm pattern on the keyboard and Eril "rocked it up" with lead guitar. It was really good and some of the audience came around the corner to watch them. I have to say that I will always treasure the memory of Wayne Nelson dancing while he played the keyboard!

One big disappointment in Virginia City this year, though. Cell phones work there now! How depressing to see people texting and hear the jangle of cell phones, the raised voices of the users, all in the one place we were free of that in the past. Progress?

When I got to VC Saturday afternoon, there was still some wet snow here and there from the two or three inches they had gotten Friday night. The skies were mostly clear by the time we were done for the night but it was still kind of cold. Cold enought that, as I was laying in my bed in my camper, I thought about getting up and firing up the furnace. But, it was warm in my sleeping bag and cold everywhere else so I just stayed where I was.

I went home through Sheridan, Twin Bridges and Whitehall so that I could scatter a few more posters about our Cowboy Entertainer Gathering. It was a very pretty trip. Sheridan, however. was closed! I found a grocery store open and left a poster there but everything else seemed to be on Holiday.

I stopped at the Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks where they were having a local musicians "jam session". It was nice that a stage and sound system had been set up and they were running it very well, getting different performers and groups on and off but giving decent time to each. I knew most of the performers there and made it a point to meet those I did not.

I did a few songs and had a good time with everyone, plugging Our Show, of course.

For me, the highlight was that Claudia Williams (Montana Rose) was there and did a few songs.

Then on to home...finally.

Now, we spend the rest of the week getting ready for the Townsend Gathering. Next week is Primary Election; don't forget! Afterwards, I believe I will start my summer with a trip back to Virginia City.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Charlie Ray Music

Does anyone know this man?

Quite a while ago, I remember sending a CD to Graceland Entertainment in Nashville. Last January, I got a postcard from Graceland Entertainment with the story that they had been playing my CD in their office when Charlie Ray (pictured) came by, heard one of my songs and made favorable comments.

The postcard went on to say that he is a very succesfull "song plugger" and that I should contact him, giving his phone number and website:

I have spoken with him and he seems reasonable. He claims to have placed several songs with major artists over the last few years. He provides a pretty decent resume as being able to find the right doors to knock on and knowing who to talk to behind those doors.

Charley wants to plug several of my songs this summer for a fee.

I've spoken with a few people with good connections in the music world and no one seems to know this guy. On one hand, there is no real info about him while on the other hand; that also means there is no BAD info about him. I would think that if he was scamming people, there'd be a lot of info about that.

I also know of at least two other Western Music people who have gotten similar postcards but have not followed up on them.

Anyway, if he's known, good or bad, to anyone, please let me know. If he's for real, he might be in a position to help us all. If he's not for real, or has caused problems or scammed money from people I need to know it.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

White Sulphur Springs "Motherin' Up Gathering", 2010

We had a great time in WSS last weekend. Lots of great performers showed up and we played all day, jammed part of the night and just enjoyed each others company. There were good crowds even for the Day-Show sessions.

I have two videos here. The first one is Landen Reddington, backed up by his family, the High Strung Band, doing El Cumbanchero. I recorded it in Elko, Nevada in January, 2007.

Here is Landen and his family with his 2010 version of that song.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nutrition? Not in our food!

Ok, I'm going way off the Western Entertainment reservation tonight as I have another personal "rant" to get off my chest.

For some reason, today, while I was shopping for groceries, I actually took the time to look at the labels of the food I was buying. Have you ever actually done that? I've been watching the sugar and sodium content the last couple of years but I still had never really looked at the whole label. There's nothing in there! Only calories, fat, sugar and sodium. I mean in almost every package! Once in a while you find small percentages of some basic vitamins but those percentages are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you ate enough packaged food (Canned, frozen, dried, pre-cooked, not cooked; it really doesn't seem to matter) to get the vitamins, minerals...basic nutrition that you need in order to be healthy, you'd have to eat far more than 2000 calories.

No wonder we are all getting so fat! No wonder we are hungry all the time and eating too much...too many empty calories as we search the nutrients our bodies are craving.

After today, I realize how seriously important it is to use some kind of nutritional supplement. Ok. I use and sell Reliv products and have a huge "testimony" of how effective they are. But there are many nutritional supplements out there which help. Use SOMEthing to supplement the tiny amounts of nutrients that you are getting in your food.

I know. If we try to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned and cook our own meals instead of buying precooked, microwaveable stuff we will be doing better but I'm beginning to understand now what some of my friends have been telling me for a long time. Even doing the fresh/organic thing doesn't get the whole job done. Find a supplement that works for you; gives you the nutrition you need and so on and stick with it.

I don't mean to get so far afield but I was really shocked to realize that most of what we eat is useless and grows nothing but fat and developes nothing but heart attacks, strokes and diabetes!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Rant about todays "Country Music"

I spent a few hours in a car yesterday, with a local Top 40 Country station playing on the radio. I've been looking for a word to express my feelings for this "music". I've struggled for over 24 hours now and the best I can come up with is...Yechh!

I can't tell the difference between any of the singers by voice. I wish the radio announcers would at least take the time to break in and tell me that it is now a new song with a different singer because, otherwise, I can't tell where one stops and another starts. If they didn't throw a few female vocalists in there once in a while you'd NEVER be able to tell one song from another.

I realize that there is likely a certain amount of jealousy (sour grapes?) involved in my opinion here, since I'm a songwriter with no hits. If one of the songs being played on the Top 40 was one of mine, recorded by one of these "new artists", I guess I'd be a big fan. But none of the songs I heard yesterday seemed to have any substance to them. The melodies weren't memorable nor were the lyrics. What song from todays Top 40 would you think will be a "classic" 10 years from now? Which one of these drab puff pieces will be requested in bars in the year 2020?

Let me give you a hint. I'll bet we're still getting requests for "Mama Tried", "Good Hearted Woman" and "Folsom Prison Blues" in ten years!

I and several of my friends are writing songs today with catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics. Any Wayne Nelson song is more enjoyable than anything I heard yesterday.

I'm not saying it has to be "Western" to be good. And if they want to sing in a more "soft rock" style (The Eagles, Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Molly Hatchett...would all be "Country" bands today by the sound of things) they should at least make it something worthwhile. How about a little meaning in the music? I guess, in my old age, I'm thinking more of a Folk Music style where a message comes out.

The thing is, there are some great musicians in todays "popular" Country Music world. In my opinion, the absolutely best voice in any style of music is Alison Krauss and she is backed up by some of the best musicians in the world; Union Station. Why don't I hear them on the Top 40 stations? Why do they only play the "Top 40"? What group of (insulting lable deleted) chooses what IS Top 40?

In all my travels the past few months I have rarely come across an either AM or FM station which plays a little of everything. If I programmed a radio station, you'd hear a huge musical mix. Waylon Jennings followed by Fleetwood Mac followed by George Strait...and so on. I like to hear the songs my friends are doing, old country songs, old rock songs and even a little Tchaikovsky when the mood hits me.

I guess that's why XM and Sirius have taken a bunch of the radio market away from our local stations. Maybe some of the local programmers should think about that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More tree activity

Sorry. Time for me to rant a little. I'm up earlier than usual this morning as I'm waiting for the City's insurance adjustor to come talk about my claim for the trees they cut down. Gotta love blood pressure!

The City people, of course, all think it's terrible of me to come after them for this. I'm the bad guy.

All this stress and trouble is actually because the Tree Board chairman has such arrogance and conceit along with utter contempt for other people and their property.

He still doesn't understand why I'm not eternally gratefull for his efforts in my behalf; cutting down and removing those terrible Elm trees and offering to replace them with some new, better trees. Of course, the fact that my trees were adult, large and great shade providers and more importantly...were MINE, is just nit-picking on my part.

Everything about this has been, at best, an irritant. On the worst days, I'd have sold out this property for a tank of gas. Oh well. Summer's coming and I can get out of here and back to West Yellowstone where I belong.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Made it home

I finally made it home again Sunday afternoon. No new adventures in the 190 miles between Colt Angell's house and mine. I even made the trip from Wells, NV to here without a spare tire!

Now, Joann and I have to really get it in gear, selling ads and getting things together for our Gathering on June 4th and 5th. I'll be doing sound at the Gathering in White Sulphur Springs, MT the first weekend in May.

After our Gathering is done I'll start the trips back and forth from West Yellowstone (Parade Rest Ranch) and Virginia City (Virginia City Cafe) while I still try to keep some of my computer repair customers happy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hangin' at Wayne's

Well, I made it here ok. Got the camper parked in Wayne Nelson's yard and I'm "ridin' the grubline" in American Falls for a day or two. Atually, we're working on our setlist for the show we will be doing in Virginia City, MT on Memorial Day at the Bale of Hay Saloon.

The wind is still howling ouside and I really don't want to drive in it anyway so working on a bunch of songs is much better.

I'll be on the Friday night Show in St. Anthony, ID this weekend and then I guess I'll be headed home for a while. Got to get going on the Townsend Gathering.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Adventure Continues

Where do I start? The showcase in Mesa, AZ was a great success, I think. I got a couple of definite bookings, several probables and a bunch of likelies...all starting Dec '10 so they don't do me lots of good right now.

I went to Main Street Billiards after the showcase and tried a tournament. I did my usual 9ball routine. Run 5 or six; basically, do all the work, then leave the last couple of balls for my opponent. No joy in the tournament for me. I left Mesa Wednesday night and headed NW. I stopped at a wide spot between Wickenburg and Kingman for the night then kept on peddling Thursday. A pretty easy trip there except for Hoover Dam where the traffic was being stopped at both ends for security checks. When I got to the top, I stopped at the lookout and waited until the traffic mellowed a little before I kept going. I hit Vegas at about 8PM and just peddled right on through and then took 93 N. This morning was pretty easy and I just kept on moving north. At Panaca, when I fueled, I noticed that the sidewall of one of my back tires was cracked and didn't look good at all. It failed me about 15 miles south of Wells so I had to find a good place to change a tire.

This is the first time I've had to change a tire on this pickup and I was enchanted to find that I don't have all the tools! I had to jerry rig getting the tire out from under the truck, getting it jacked up and all that. Changing a tire (usually a 15 minute job) took me about an hour and a half. I'm in Wells tonight and will head for Wayne's tomorrow. I'm probably going to wing it without a spare until I can get to Wayne's and maybe I can get a used tire someplace. The "spare" I put on looks like one of the original tires for this pickup. It's a great looking Cooper and I wish I had three more of them!

I need a nap!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Winter Driving as bad as I've seen

I left Cedar City, UT yesterday at about 4:30PM. The wind had died down a little and I decided to chance it at least as far as Kanab so I headed east on SR14. I saw the flashing sign that said the road would be impassable to trucks several miles ahead. So what? I'm not a "truck".

About 8 miles from Cedar City I encountered a pretty good snowfall but nothing spectacular. I kept going. A couple of miles later, the snow was coming harder and the wind was blowing it around pretty good. Also, the road was climbing pretty steeply. I kept going. At about 12 miles out, I put my rig in 4WD...and kept going. Not long after that, it was snowing and blowing so hard that I was having a hard time seeing the road in front of me but there was no place to turn my big camper rig around so...I kept going.

The visibility was almost zero, the snow and wind hammering me and still no place to turn around. Things seemed to be leveling off a little as i came around a turn and found a Coke truck parked in a "wide spot" on the westbound side. I stopped and made sure he was ok and asked about what was ahead. He told mt it was worse but
I might be able to turn around a couple of miles ahead. I kept going.

At the top of the grade there were several cars stopped, including a Utah Highway Patrol car. the Patrolman told me that there really wasn't much room to turn around anywhere within about 5 miles ahead but that I had already covered some of the worst of it, other than visibility. I kept going.

Soon, I was at about 5MPH, low gear, 4WD and peering through the windshield, trying to see the tracks of the last idiot who had gone this way. My lane was blown full and when I met other cars I had to bust through drifts to give them room. The windshield wipers where clogging up and I had to keep reaching out and banging the wet snow off of the drivers side wiper. Definitely no place to turn around so...I kept going.

Finally, I came down in elevation enough to be able to get almost to 25MPH and even shifted into 2nd gear. The drivers side wiper shredded so I had about a two inch strip to see through; still following the last guys tracks. I just hoped he knew where he was going!

I was thrilled to see the junction with US89 and an open Conoco station. When I told the guy there that I had just come over from Cedar City he kind of stopped what he was doing and looked at me incredulously. "You came over 14?" he said. I said: "Yeah and not only did I come over 14 just now but I was driving that", pointing to my pickup/camper outside. I asked him how things were from there to Kanab and he just laughed. "If you could drive over 14 in that today, you can definitely make Kanab". They didn't have any windshield wipers so I switched the passengerside/drivers side wipers and headed south. That part of the adventure over.

I'm still wondering if SOMEbody doesn't want me to get to Mesa for some reason. I'm in Tuba City, AZ right now, getting ready to keep on heading south. Who knows what will be next?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Elko Again

Well, I left Hagerman Sunday morning and fought the wind all the way to Twin Falls. It wasn't a headwind this time. No, it came from the side so I felt like I was driving on two wheels! I stopped at a pool hall in Twin and played for a couple of hours while I waited for a call from a booking agent in Elko.

She finally got back to me and has set up a gig at Muley's near Elko for Saturday night. Maybe something Friday but definitely this one for Saturday.

So, I'm hangin' out with Billy Rose, getting some website work done, got my taxes done, lots of guitar practice...pretty bored, actually. But a few more $ in my pocket will get me a few more miles down the road. This is a good thing.

As to my "tree" situation...I had put in a claim against the City of Townsend for the trees that they cut down in January. We are waiting to see what their claims adjuster has to say about it. This time, while I am on the road again, the city had some guy come grind out the stumps they had left behind. In the process, he destroyed the rest of my hedge. Now, don't get me wrong. I was planning to have the stumps removed but, again, they didn't ask. they just came on my property and did it! I called the Mayor and asked her if she could grasp the concept of private property and trespass. Once again, their only excuse is..."whoops". I wonder if the city crew hangs out in my living room, watching my movies and eating my food while I'm gone.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Headed South Again

Well, I had some great plans. I'd make the Hagerman Gathering where brisk CD sales would help me get to Elsinore, Utah and the Cowboy Corral on the 3rd which would help me get to the Activities Directors showcase in Mesa, Arizona on the 7th.

The headwinds were horrible from Ennis onward. It took me a tank of gas to get to St. Anthony...220 miles!. I managed to get to Wayne Nelson's on the second tank but the winds between American Falls and Hagerman were even worse and I had to fuel up on the way!

I had an absolutely wonderfull time in Hagerman and I strongly recommend that you attend next year if at all possible. I plan to. But CD sales were pretty much...not.

Then, since next weekend is Easter, the Cowboy Corral thought it would be better to schedule me on the 10th instead. They are right and I look forward to doing that show but it will now be on the return trip from Arizona. So, you could make a case that I am seriously overbudget already! Oh well, the nature of this business.

The Hagerman Gathering was a lot of fun. I met some new people, made new friends and we all got to do a lot of music and poetry together for each other and very good audiences. I'd estimate 200+ people each night with pretty decent day-show audiences. Lots of great performers showed up and we all had a good time. The Gathering is extremely well organized by Ken and Emm Wellard with help from people in the community. This was a very positive experience and I was reminded of why I so enjoy the Cowboy Gatherings.

Tomorrow, I guess I'll head east and go back to Wayne and Becky Nelson's to just hang out for a week or so since I don't have anything else lined up. I'll play his computer games for a few days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Arizona RV Activities Director Showcase

I've been invited to the VALSD (Valley Association of Leisure Service Directors) Showcase in Mesa Arizona,to be held at the Mesa Regal RV Resort, located at 4700 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ on April 7th, 2010.

To try and make the trip slightly less financially painfull I will be going to the Hagerman Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Hagerman, Idaho on March 26 and 27th and then will appear at the Cowboy Cafe in Elsinore, Utah on April 3rd. I'm still working on getting some more stuff set up and if you have any ideas, please let me know!

I've been working on getting my camper together for another long trip. I'm especially thrilled to see the gas prices going up just when I need to burn up a bunch of it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Getting my summer set up

I had a good day today, getting several shows set up for this summer. I'm really looking forward to it as my winter income is slim and I'm a little tired of being on the ragged edge of financial disaster all the time!

I've been learning some new songs for my set lists lately too. New for me, anyway. I finally found one that I've been looking for for years. I used to hear this on the radio in West Yellowstone all the time and for some reason it has stuck in my head. Now I'm able to learn it. "Dirty Old Man" by George Hamilton IV.

I use youtube a lot for finding and learning songs. It's really good when there is a good video of the rythm guitar player and I can actually watch what I have to do for my part.

Another one I'm working on is "Rack 'em Up" by: Johnny Lang. It's a blues style song and I'm kind of struggling to get it right.

Anyway, y'all have a good time out there and I hope to be back out on the trail soon.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Reliv Products again

I made a page on my website with info about the Reliv products that I'm so worked up about.

Back home again

Well, Colt and I had a great time in Elko this year. Colt had a GREAT time in Elko! He'll be a couple of weeks catching up with himself.

I played at the Nevada Dinner House Wed-Saturday from 5-9 and then over to the Duncan Little Creek Gallery where Billy Rose had his open mic setup.

There was a lot of meeting, greeting, partying and pool playing over the weekend. I could quickly get used to Nevadas all-night bars because the pool games just go on and on and on...

While I was gone, the main Townsend Tree Board member asked Joann if she thought I might want my tree cut down at the corner of my driveway. She told him; "probably not" and also explained that I was in Elko so he couldn't even ask me about it 'til I got back. That was on Tuesday the 26th of Jan.

On Friday, the 29th, when Joann got off work, she found that my trees were gone! They just walked onto my property and cut down my trees without permission; then took the tree carcasses away.

I've made a criminal complaint with the Sheriff's Office (which looks like it is going to be ignored) and will be talking with an attorney. Gotta love Government at work.

Anyway, I'm home and hiding in my little "cave". Hope they let me keep the lawn.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Elko again

On my way down to Elko on Tuesday, I stopped in St. Anthony and picked up Colt Angell and he rode down here with me. We got to Elko about 2:30PM local time yesterday.

I went to the Nevada Dinner House and met with Heather, set up my sound stuff and then went wandering around the downtown a little. Colt and I ran into Toni McGuire and Sam Mattise at the Western Folklife Center and Colt hung out with them while I got myself together and started playingat the Nevada House at about 6PM.

Had a good time there and that should be a really good gig for this weekend.

Couldn't find a pool game anywhere so I finally just gave up on that idea for the night.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Headed for Elko again

Howdy all:

As usual, I've fallen behind in keeping up the blog. But...Iiiiii'm Baack!

Cute, huh?

Anyway, my very good friend, Billy Rose, will again be running an open mic stage at the Duncan Little Creek Galleries in Elko, Nevada during the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: a venue I like to call the "Elko Rejects Gathering". I hadn't planned to do the Elko trip this year but Billy changed my mind for me by setting me up with a good gig at the Nevada Dinner House.

I'll be playing there Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 28,29 and 30 of January, about 5PM to 9PM. If you are going to be in Elko then, please stop in and say howdy while you have a nice dinner. From what I understand this is one of the better eateries in Elko so come on by. It's at 351 Silver Street and the phone number is: 775-738-8485.

I was planning to leave here a day or two early and visit with Wayne Nelson on my way but I'm waiting for a part for a computer (still have to fix computers once in a while. Wish the Music would take over!!) and I'll probably do my usual; leave at the last minute.

Hope to see some of you in Elko this year.