Saturday, May 27, 2017

Roadie Report 75 by Camilla McGuinn - I Have a Purple Heart

"Camilla, why haven't you written the blog lately?"

I didn't know how to answer Roger. We have been on some wonderful adventures thanks to his long career in music, but something was stopping me from writing about them. I wasn't sure that our adventures would be of interest or maybe just sound so frivolous in light of the turmoil in the world. Maybe I just had the "writer's block" that I've heard about. Not that I can call myself a writer. I know lots of them, and they all talk differently. Well I'm sitting here now and very interested in what comes on the screen from my fingers. There is a reason I'm here today, but I will get to that later.

The spring of 2016 was filled with concerts in the northeast. We have a rule about not driving north of Interstate 40 between November 1st  and April 1st. I have driven in enough snow storms to last me for the rest of my life but our rule didn't pan out. Our trip to Woodstock, VT was dusted with snow. It wouldn't have been so bad except the GPS decided the shortest way over the mountain was the best, the cell phones lost signals and the road got narrow. We decided something was wrong, so we slowly backed up, got on a larger road and hoped it would lead us to Woodstock. I think I will carry a paper map with me from now on and maybe change our travel rule to begin on May 1st. 

Roger and Jakob Dylan
While we were in the North we stopped in NYC to record a video with Jakob Dylan for a project he has been working on. Roger is always surprised at how the children of his friends have grown into adults. We're still surprised by his adult sons. 

My favorite tours are when we see people we know. In June we flew to NYC to see Tom Petty inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Roger was honored to be picked by Tom to deliver the induction speech. We were told that it shouldn't be longer than 90 seconds. The first words Roger said after he had sung "American Girl" was, "Not everyone got that message." It was a long night.

We were also happy to see another friend that night, Elvis Costello. He was being inducted too and we finally got to meet his lovely wife, Diana Krall. Elvis always makes me smile with his genuine enthusiasms about everything.










Tom invited Roger to join Mudcrutch for two concerts in the city after the ceremony, so we had a few days to explore. Our hotel was in the theater district, so I thought it would be fun to explore the "old New York" scenes. We quickly found Sardi's and made friends with two bartenders, Joe, who has been there over thirty years and Jeremy. Jeremy told us that he was going to Tom Petty's concert the next night. We laughed, not sure if he knew Roger but over the next couple of months, he got to know us well. The upper bar in Sardi's is a place I now recommend to our friends when they travel to the city. Walk into Sardi's, turn right, walk up the stairs then turn around to find the bar. Say hi to Joe and Jeremy from us.

The month of July was spent enjoying our home. That is a treat we seldom get and we weren't even sure we would like it, but it was fun! Walking every morning to Trader Joe's to buy dinner supplies, then coming home and jumping in the pool to cool off.

Buzz Aldren held the Share Space Foundation's Apollo 11 Anniversary Gala at the Kennedy Space Center on July 22 and we happily attended. Spacemen are a favorite of ours. A special guest was George Takei, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. Roger was lecturing on the Queen Mary 2 on one of the transatlantic voyages the same time George was. We have all found a wonderful way to get to and from Europe.

In September we hit the road with our unusual summer tans for concerts in the Midwest. After the Green Bay, WI show, we stopped in Oshkosh before the show in Waupun. The hotel was next to a family run restaurant. What we didn't realize was that everyone who walked into the bar became part of the family. By the end of our dinner, we were all joking with each other on a first name basis. I was a major source of laughter when I tried to pronounce Waupun, our next concert city. I don't think I ever got it right.

The tour took us back across the country to New Jersey where we had time to stay at one of our favorite hotels, The Sheraton, Lincoln Harbor. Two fun days were filled with riding the ferry to NYC, exploring old landmarks, stopping at Sardi's to invite Jeremy to the Bergen Performing Arts Center show and  introducing Patrick, Roger's son, to the Sardi's experience.

Sardi's decorated for Christmas

On Thanksgiving Day, we arrived in NYC on Amtrak's, Silver Meteor. The train pulled into Penn Station shortly after the Macy's parade had ended. We were amazed how easy it was to get a taxi. Roger was scheduled to give two lectures on the Queen Mary 2 for the voyage to the Caribbean. Before we boarded the beautiful ship, we had a day to find our Thanksgiving feast. Well, that's not a good idea on Thanksgiving Day in NYC. All the restaurants are on a fixed menu and the reservations are booked. I'm not a big fan of a plate of turkey with the "fixins" but I had an idea. Juniors, a famous deli, was just across the street. I told Roger to chill the champagne and I would get us dinner. Those turkey sandwiches and the bottle of gifted Champagne from friends was one of my favorite traveling Thanksgiving Days. My favorite Thanksgivings are when we have time to invite 30 friends to come to our home and cook and cook for three days.

After the voyage, we were sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane back to Orlando.

Sitting next to Roger was a man from St. Thomas. We had been there years ago looking for Creeque Alley from the Mama and Papas song. Roger mentioned our search to him and he told us that his last name was Crequee and the alley had been named after his family. He also corrected us on how to say the name. It's not pronounced  "creek alley" it  is pronounced "creekee alley." How can we ever understand our steps? I'm always in awe.

Well I've finished the highlights of 2016 and there is a funny story coming about our trip to Hong Kong in March of 2017, but the real reason I wanted to write today was because last night I realized it was Memorial Day Weekend.

Roger and I don't have cable. Our television watching consist of a lot of PBS that is broadcast over the air. After dinner we began watching a show about  Alaskan Natives who served in Viet Nam. Then there was another show about the Doolittle Raids over Japan during World War 2.

I watched the shows with tears in my eyes because  there is a chest in my room that protects  a "Purple Heart." My father received it after he was shot in Viet Nam.

Aaron was 17 when he ran away from the orphanage, lied to the recruiting officer about his age and joined the Navy. He was sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese on board a destroyer as a hospital corpsman. One of his older brothers couldn't get into the Navy because of an eye problem, but the Army took him and sent him to Europe as a gunner on a tank and that's where he lies.

After the war Aaron went back to the orphanage for a reunion and that's where he met Minnie. They were married and had a son who they named after Aaron's army brother.

 Aaron stayed in the Navy and when the Korean war broke out, he was sent to Korea. It was his second war.

In 1969, I graduated from high school, my brother and I both went to college and daddy went to Viet Nam. This wasn't like the other tour of duties. He was stationed on the front lines with the First Marine Division. He was the senior corpsman and was responsible for sending out the young corpsman with the patrols . I met him in Hawaii for his R&R with my mother. He walked slowly off the plane and looked 30 years older. My mother figured he wouldn't want to stay on the military base and she was right in finding a small hotel for us. The first thing he said, "Let's get off this base." We were together for a short time, then he sadly boarded the plane back to Viet Nam.

The next time I saw him was in the hospital in Norfolk, VA. He had been shot by snipers in the leg, but the alarm that shocked the doctors enough to send him to Alaska was his blood pressure. They had to evacuate him. He spent his twilight tour, the last station of service before retirement, in Norfolk. He retired from the Navy with 30 years of service and three wars. He was 47 years old.

After the retirement dinner, he went to work for DuPont in Richmond, VA as a health officer. He died quickly one night of a stroke. He was 52 years old.

Memorial Day is a day that should be remembered. It's not the wars we remember, it is the people, all the people who sacrificed and suffered. The warriors and the innocents. Roger and I have visited Viet Nam twice. I wasn't sure I wanted to go there, but I'm glad I did. The people are so precious, the country is beautiful. The elders don't talk about the American War. But we will remember!

Navy Corpsman Spaul
World War 2
HMCS Spaul
Viet Nam
A photo he sent to me. He never wanted me to worry.




CHIEF SPAUL
Just before going to Viet Nam



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Roadie Report 74 by Camilla McGuinn - 2015 A Time For Old Friends & 2016 A New CD

The Folk Den Project - Twentieth Anniversary Edition


     It is the middle of July 2016 and I'm just now thinking about the sweet memories of the second half 2015. In fact I have to go back to my calendar to see what we did.
     In the early part of the year, we were touring on the highways of the USA.  I had the opportunity to visit with the family of one of my dearest friends who died suddenly just after Roger and I were married. Her mother and brothers came to a concert and I spent all the time I could with them telling them stories about the escapades that Annie I took in the early 70s.
     In August we escaped the heat of Florida for the unusual heat of Hawaii for a tour of four of the islands. Our first stop was in Kauai and it was the beginning of visiting with friends from the past.
      The first day in Kauai, we got a call from Richard, Tom Petty’s road manager, inviting us to dinner at Al’s house, Bob Dylan’s production manager. Roger had enjoyed touring with both of them on the “Temples in Flames Tour” in 1987. He often tells the story of how he was invited on that Dylan/Petty tour in his concerts.
       It was a delightful reunion but what I found even more fun was meeting their families. When touring with an artist, the road crew is always focused on the artist. I didn’t even know Richard and Al were married, but married they are - to beautiful women. Al’s teenage daughter reflected the beauty of her mother. The evening in the cool breeze of the island mountain was like visiting favorite relatives.
            I was sitting next to Richard and confessed to him that before each tour I always ask myself if I remember how to be a road manager. He confessed he does too, but I think his answer was a sweet way to make me feel comfortable. They all came to Roger’s concert the next night. I was really more anxious about forgetting something important because these pros were going to be in the audience. When I finally finished my duties and went to the dressing room they were all there continuing with the good feelings we’d had the night before.
            As I mentioned earlier it was unusually hot in Hawaii!  The time in Oahu wasn’t so uncomfortable because the hotel had air conditioning and so did the restaurants, but when we got to the house I found on the Big Island, air conditioning wasn’t to be found anywhere.

           The house was beautifully situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It had a wonderful kitchen and a washer and dryer. Three days of cooking and eating romantic meals while looking at the view seemed like heaven. We were told that air conditioning wouldn’t be necessary because of the ocean breezes. We lived for years on the beach in Florida with just ocean breezes, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. Well, it was very hot and even the two theaters Roger performed in were hot! No air conditioning. Roger was the consummate pro sitting under the stage lights in the heat but he was a bit wet after each show. I was so completely soaked after one sound check that I had to change to a venue t-shirt. Now I had a nice souvenir to take home.
Peter Fonda & Roger
            Roger had been to Maui before, but it was my first time. They have a great radio station where they can play anything the DJ wants to play. That was a fun interview. The theatre was air conditioned but the treat for the night was a visit from Roger’s old friend Peter Fonda. After the show Parky, Peter’s wife, and I were just amazed at how excited the two of them were remembering the stories of the past. They hadn’t seen each other since the late sixties.
Barry McGuire & Roger
             Speaking of the sixties, in September we drove to California for a west coast tour and were greeted by another old friend, Barry McGuire. We have kept in touch with Barry over the years, but this was the first time he and his wife, Mari, had seen “An Evening with Roger McGuinn.”  The sound of Barry’s joyous laugh coming from the backstage after the show could be heard all over the venue.
            Time never separates old friends, distance does. I’m so glad we travel.
            Another old friend popped up on this tour. In California, we were staying at a hotel which is across the street from our new publishing administrator, Wixen Music. Randall invited Roger to use his conference room for the video interviews I had arranged. After one interview, Roger went back to the hotel and I decided to go shopping at a favorite store in the nearby enclave of California fun.
            As I was walking, I heard a man’s voice behind me talking on the cell phone. I felt he was a little too close, but was sure he would keep going when I entered the small boutique store. He followed me into the store! I quickly turned around and he said, “Camilla, you know me.” I stuttered, “Of course I do. Who are you?”
            “Randy Gerston.”
Wow. Randy was the A&R man who took Roger to Arista records. He looked a lot different from the young, long haired man in 1990. It was good to see him and we both were talking a mile a minute. Then he showed a photo of himself during his search for the meaning of life. He was wearing the orange of a Buddhist Monk. It was very interesting to hear his path. He was no longer a monk but the disciplines were still part of his life.
     Randy’s office was in the same enclave, so Roger and I went over the next day and had another delightful reunion. I was particularly happy for the chance to talk with him, since the parting from a record company can be difficult for all parties and I wanted him to know that we really did like him.
     Our November experiences included Detroit, Tokyo and Osaka. In Detroit, we joined Mitch Albom for his release of “the magic strings of Frankie Presto.” Roger was one of the real life characters of the book.
     For Thanksgiving we had sushi. The concert in Tokyo was attended by the reps from Martin guitar. They brought a 7-string for Roger to play during the Japan concerts. We really don’t like carrying guitars on airplanes.
     From Tokyo we took the Bullet Train to Osaka. The hotel was connected to an amazing mall that had an “adult food court.” That is what the concierge at the hotel called it. We realized the adult part was the cocktails that were available. There were so many places to eat, but there was one restaurant that had a long line of patrons waiting to get in. That was our clue to get in line. It was the best sushi we have ever had!
The Best Restaurant in Osaka
                              We have always appreciated the sweetness, politeness and the trusting attitude of the Japanese. We were amazed to see bicycles in both cities sitting on the sidewalks unlocked. 

   
     We thought we were going to spend Christmas at home, but a last minute call from Tim telling us that the lecture department of the Queen Mary 2 was asking if Roger would be interested in coming on board for two lectures during the Christmas voyage to the Caribbean. How could we say no? We love the neighborhood of the Queen Mary 2 and had been on the Christmas voyage before. In fact it is a voyage that many people repeat, so there were old friends everywhere.
Roger's Lecture on The Queen Mary 2

     2016 began on the ocean and we never have any idea where it will end. We like the adventure of not knowing. We do know one thing about 2016; it is the Twentieth Anniversary of the Folk Den. We spent most of the year re-recording another 100 songs for the 4 CD set of the Twentieth Anniversary Edition. It will be released on Roger’s 74th birthday, July 13. Go to mcguinn.com for a link to CDBABY for a copy. Just click on the blue CD cover. It is a nice compliment to the first Folk Den Project with the red cover.
      I would like to thank  my 13 readers for being so patient waiting for this BLOG to get written.
  
The Back Cover of the 4 CD set. Roger on stage in Belgium.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Roadie Report 73 by Camilla McGuinn - Cross Country, 37 Years & A New Touring Van




             The first 2015 concert was a return to the beautiful Fox Theater in Tucson, AZ. It was a bit nostalgic because it was in this theater where we recorded the concert for Roger's mother's 102nd birthday. The ambiance of that night was so special that we decided to release the concert for Roger's fans to enjoy in the CD/DVD "Stories, Songs & Friends."
               One of our favorite adventures is driving across country from Florida. Our 2005 Ford van had over 250 thousand miles and was still running beautifully until we stopped at the immigration check point on Interstate 10. I lowered the window to let the border patrol officer look inside and ask the usual questions. As I pulled away from the check point, I heard a loud clunk  and the driver's side window had plummeted deep inside the door. I pulled over and we managed to pull the window up with a pair of long needle nose pliers. Then we wedged a squeegee in the frame to keep it from falling back down again. 
              Roger immediately got on the internet in search of a Ford dealer. Bingo! Just thirty miles away and they said they could fix it that day. One of the great joys of owning a Ford is that there is a dealer in every town and they usually have the parts. They always wash our van after they have serviced it. We spent  a little over an hour in their waiting room enjoying the company of a couple in their 80s who were driving from Indiana. Roger helped the gentleman with his cell phone while their car was undergoing an oil change. It's always encouraging to see alert octogenarians driving on cross country adventures.
               Our arrival in Tucson was just in time for Roger to have a guitar/ pizza party with his brother, son and grandsons. The next night the familiar stage of the Fox Theater rang in our 2015 year of touring.
               We headed north on Valentine's Day for a concert in Gilbert, AZ. It turned out to be a reunion with several friends we had known from the time we lived in Morro Bay, Ca. The only problem with reunions at concerts is that there is little time to sit and visit. We begin our work on a concert at lunchtime and don't stop until we return to the hotel after the show.  But even a short time spent with old friends is a special moment in the evening.
               Our usual route for driving home is to take Interstate 10 back through Tucson, but this time we wanted to explore roads we'd never traveled. There is a road from Gilbert Arizona that connects to Interstate 10 and runs through a beautiful part of the Tonto National Forest. We were in awe of the miles of sky high rose-tinted buttes. It was a relaxing drive rolling down to old El Paso.
               The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas was the venue for the next concert but there was time to spend an evening in one of our favorite stops, Fredericksburg, Texas. This town was founded in 1846, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. It is a German settled oasis in the heart of the Lone Star State. Another great thing about driving through Texas - the 85 mile an hour speed limit!
               The Manship Theater is located in the vibrant downtown of Baton Rouge. It is not only a beautiful theater, it is a community oriented organization reaching out to the residents of the city with classes and events that relate to all age groups. This was the second time Roger had taken the stage in this amazing theater.    
Winter Park, FL
  
               In March, Roger gave a lecture at Rollins College in the quintessential southern town of Winter Park, Florida. His lectures are entitled, "How My Love of Folk Music Took Me to the Rock'n' Roll Hall of Fame." The lecture was in the evening. The next morning he took part in a Q& A session and lunch with a few music students. Even though Winter Park isn't too far from our home, the early morning session was the reason we stayed at the new Alfond Inn. The Alfond is owned by Rollins College and it helps support their scholarship programs. It is a perfect hotel to stay in for walking the quaint streets of Winter Park.
37 Years of  April Rose
" A Love Affair"
               We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary on April 1 with a cozy dinner at home and a viewing of the 1939 movie" A Love Affair." The movie " An Affair to Remember" is a remake of this Charles Boyer/ Irene Dunn movie. We're still debating about which one we like the best. It is really hard to compare Cary Grant with anybody. He even said, "Everybody wants to to be Cary Grant.  Even I want to be Cary Grant."
                   Something interesting happened right after the lecture during our morning devotions. We decided to go to the website of Explorer Conversion Vans and send them an email to contact us. Within an hour Scott, the Explorer Florida sales representative called us. I told him we were thinking about the Ford Transit and we didn't really need a lot of bells and whistles. He said the demo he was driving sounded like the van for us and he would be passing by our house in two days.

2015 Ford Transit Explorer Conversion Van
               Scott drove the silver Ford Transit  into our driveway on April 2. Roger test drove it for a couple of miles. Scott called the Ford dealer for a trade-in quote on our 2002 Ford van and we sealed the deal within in two hours. The van and paper work were delivered to us the Saturday before Easter. After 10 years of touring in the 2005 Van, we had a new set of wheels ! The 2005 E-250 van was relegated to being our new town car.

Springtime  Dogwood Blossoms
               We couldn't wait to get back on the road. We loaded the 'Silver Bullet' on April 19. First stop- Beaufort, SC and shrimp grits at the Saltus River Grill. From there we cut up to Interstate 81 for a relaxing drive through the Springtime Dogwood Blossoms in every Southern town to the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth, PA. We love stopping at this factory even if we don't need  to refurbish some guitars.

Monmouth  Guitar Jam
               The first performance of this tour was at Monmouth University. Roger gave a lecture on April 23 followed by a guitar jam. The sound of a bunch of guitars playing the Byrd's hits is always a memorable experience. The concert "An Evening With Roger McGuinn" was the next night.


A Room With a View


      We were off and running. The Montclair, NJ sold out concert was on April 25. Then there was just enough time for an evening at our favorite hotel, The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel. 

The view of Manhattan keeps us spell bound for hours. This time though we were a bit horrified. A new building was being constructed blocking of our view of the Empire State Building. The waiter in the restaurant expressed as much dismay as we did. He said it sprung up almost overnight. We're hoping it won't go all the way to the top. Maybe it will stop just where I photographed it!
Construction blocking the Empire State Building
               As much fun as the respite was, we were chomping at the bit to get back in the new Transit. Fortunately we were headed to the Midwest for concerts in Valparaiso, Indiana; Elgin and Springfield  Illinois and Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Saginaw Michigan. On the way, our route was taking us past the Explorer Conversion Van Factory - yep we had to stop! We love seeing how things are made.
               The Explorer facility is amazing. Our tour took a couple of hours because everything they install  in their conversion vans is made in their factory! It's a quiet location surrounded by corn fields in Warsaw, Indiana. I'm not sure what fascinated me more, though it was probably the wiring harness they make for all their vans and the seat covers they sew with leather imported from Europe. Roger had his cell phone camera rolling during the tour. Click here to see just a portion of this amazing American factory. Explorer Factory Tour
               One more thing about the Ford Transit. IT IS the most amazing van I have ever driven! This is our sixth van, five of them Fords, but this EcoBoost engine has an incredible 300 horsepower and the van hugs curves like it is a sports car.... I have a 1987 5.0 liter Ford Mustang convertible.  If I wasn't happily employed, I would sell the Ford Transit Explorer Conversion Van!  For full disclosure- we own 100 shares of Ford stock and 3 Fords. Oh wait, we just bought another 100 shares of Ford!

Explorers at the Explorer Factory


Goodbye to the 2002 Van














































Sunday, March 15, 2015

Roadie Report 72 by Camilla McGuinn - 54 Trains, 61 Hotels and 2 Voyages

Roger at sound check in Bruges, Belguim
          The sounds of Roger singing and playing guitar are gently reaching my ears as I sit down at the desk in my office. I promised him that I would begin work on the BLOG this Saturday morning. After all I finally finished all the tax paperwork, planted vegetables and painted a wall. I have no more excuses. Now it was time to get to work. I don't really consider writing the BLOG as work, but there is a moment of sheer terror when I open the Word program and  wonder if I can think of any words to type and if I do, will I write them properly. English grammar was not my best subject. I think I excelled in recess. Roger has been asking me for weeks when was I going to finish writing about our European tour. He likes reading the BLOG  because it reminds him of our sweet memories.


          I was curious as to how many trains we boarded during our 17 week concert tour and was shocked to count 54 different trains. Those Eurail  and Britrail passes definitely paid off.  Too bad there isn't a hotel pass somewhere. We checked into 61 hotels. After I had established our itinerary, booked our hotels and studied train schedules, I knew that the best way to approach the journey was one day at a time. Everyday held a new adventure but I have to admit that during the last two weeks, I felt like I was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. One step at a time became the  focus that would take us back to Southampton and the respite awaiting us on the elegant Queen Mary 2 even though Roger was giving lectures on board. But before we began the voyage home, there were some beautiful cities and wonderful concert audiences to experience.

          After the concerts in Germany, we boarded the Eurostar for the second time on this trip for four concerts in England. Roger had performed at all the theaters on previous tours. It was like coming home to Bristol, London, Leeds and Newcastle and the sun was shining in every city.

Eurostar Train Station
          The day after the Newcastle concert, we had to catch a train to London, navigate the busy streets of London to change train stations, then catch the Eurostar again, this time to Brussels. We arrived in Brussels just in time to get a late night sleep. On October 1, we caught  the train to Eindhoven for the first of 13 concerts in the Netherlands.
          Remco, the tour manager from MOJO concerts, picked us up at our hotel. We had worked with him two years earlier and were thrilled when he told us that Kurt was our sound engineer again. This professional crew made our concerts stress free and fun.

          The next train was to Enschede, then to Haarlem for a concert and four nights in the same hotel, The Carlton Square. The city of Harlem is perfect for walking. There is one historical museum that I have always wanted to see and this was our chance. The home of Corrie Ten Boom with a hiding place in the house that saved lives.
          The Ten Boom family were Christians who hid a group of Jews during the Nazi occupation. In their house a fake wall was constructed for a small room where the Jews hid while the Ten Boom family was taken to prison. Corrie was the only family member who survived the Nazi concentration camps.  She wrote a book about those times called, ":The Hiding Place ."The tours are small and free.
          I asked several people in the Netherlands if they had been to the house, but few people knew about it. Everyone knew about Ann Frank's house in Amsterdam. I didn't understand why this home was so unknown until a friend mentioned to Roger that the Ten Boom story is known as a Christian story, not as a holocaust survivor story. Same war, same God, same Jewish people, same prison.
          Exploring the streets and crossing the canals in Haarlem were the quiet moments we embraced. The old buildings, the restaurants and the small hotel  became very familiar by the time we caught the train for the next concert in Tilburg.
Amsterdam
          We traveled by train to most of the cities, but Holland is a small country so we decided to base out of Amsterdam for some of the shows with Remco driving us.

Rijksmuseum

          Once again I found a flat to rent for five days in a very fun area of Amsterdam, just blocks from the Rijksmuseum. 

      On the way to the museum we walked along a street that was better than Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. There was even a Tesla showroom.
Telsa Showroom 
     But true to our habits, our shopping was done in the closest grocery store. Our flat had such a beautiful garden we saw no reason to look for a window table in a restaurant.

Flat with a view


     Every city in Holland has a wealth of history and of course a beautiful church.  The canals, windmills and countryside are impressive but it is the bicycles that kept amazing us. The streets have big bike paths and we were in more danger of being hit by a bicycle than we were by cars or buses. Everyone rides, little toddlers to grandmothers. The train stations even have double-decker bike garages.
Commuter parking lot
          Before the concerts, I'm in the lobby at what Roger calls my "lemonade stand." I have Roger's autographed CDs and posters available for his fans. The main reason I like to be there is that folks tell me their stories about Roger and how his music touched their lives. After the concert in Hoorn, several men were excited to tell me that the sea chantey Roger talked and sang about, "Randy, Dandy O," made reference to Cape Horn. Cape Horn was named by the sailors from Hoorn in Holland.
Bruges,Belgium


Roger at sound check

     Before the end of the Holland concerts, we made one trip to the city of Bruges, Belgium and the beautiful theater that was built as a replica of the Paris Opera House. After a while, the word beautiful seems so overdone, but there is really no other way to describe some of the lovely cities of Europe. We had one day off to explore the historical part  Bruges, then it was back on the train for our last concert in Holland in the city of Nijmegen.


Bird Man in Brugge



          

     We boarded the Eurostar for the fourth time during this tour on October 30. By now, finding our seats on the Chunnel Train was as easy as navigating Amtrak  and the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel was feeling like a second home.

          November 1st was the beginning of the last leg of our concert tour. Concerts were scheduled in Milton  Keynes, Birmingham, Cardiff, Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and Cheltenham.  This was when I began feeling like I was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Words spoken can have an impact, so I didn't tell Roger  I was becoming weary. Each concert requires a lot of energy from both of us and any cloud can drain energy that is needed for a fresh performance. Once Roger walks on stage, my energy soars until the last encore.

          Our train trips through England were filled with the same excitement that we felt when we embarked on our  first train journey in the United Kingdom many years ago. Seeing familiar cities, theaters and friends in the unusually warm sunny weather brought us to laughter when we told everyone that the warm sunshine would go away when we boarded the Queen Mary 2 on November 12.
The Queen Mary 2
          After the last concert in Cheltenham, Tilo, our English tour manager, drove us to Southampton. The sight of the majestic ocean liner almost brought tears to my eyes. The journey was almost over. I was relieved in a way, but sad with a sense of awe. Did we really do it? Did we haul guitars up the steps to 54 trains and into 61 hotels. And the age old question every performer thinks when the run is over, "Will we ever work again?"

          Yep! We did. We just got back from driving to concerts in Arizona, Texas and Louisiana. I hear we're going to Japan and Hawaii this year. There will be more sweet memories coming!

This painting was in the flat in Amsterdam. It reminded me of  someone.


I was surprised at how close I could get to this painting and that photos were allowed in the Rijksmuseum.


Bruges, Belgium


View from our hotel room of the Castle in Cardiff