Saturday, March 01, 2008

Roadie Report 35 - On The Road Again! by Camilla McGuinn

Sunset in California (Photo by Camilla)

Even though it was still January, I felt like a winter was over in our lives. I was driving on Interstate 10, headed to California and listening to the sounds of Roger playing his 7-string in the back of the van. He had never stopped practicing, even when the cast was on, but the cast was now off and we were off to do what we love – sharing music.

Napa Scene (photo by Camilla)

We gave ourselves time to stop in Tucson and we were surprised to find that we were still a few days ahead of schedule, so we detoured to Napa Valley. It was the off season thus the hotel rooms were plentiful with reduced rates. We even managed to book a reservation at a restaurant that normally has a three-month waiting list.

It was exciting to be heading for the Mondavi Center For The Performing Arts in Davis, Ca. It has an amazing auditorium and there were over 1300 tickets sold. The theater was so perfect that Roger didn’t even need monitors for the performance.

We steered our van north on Interstate 5 during the late rainy morning of February 2. With the first successful concert under our belts after the fall, we were relaxed and excited to spend a few days with our friends at the King Estate Winery in Eugene, Oregon. As we approached Redding, CA, the traffic warning signs began flashing. “Interstate 5 was closed due to snow 10 miles north of Redding.” We couldn’t really believe what we were reading, so we pulled into a truck stop. I went in to inquire while Roger pumped the gas and sure enough, a hand written sign was posted over the cashier’s stand - the road was closed.

Room With A View (Photo by Camilla)

I went back to the van, connected to the Internet and found a hotel in Redding with a restaurant and a room available. It was still early in the day and the highway had just closed. The story changed as the night approached, all the rooms filled quickly and as I passed the hotel check in desk while picking up our dinner, I heard concerned travelers begging for a room. It was then that I decided it would be a good idea to book the room for another night. It would give me a chance to catch up on some bookkeeping and we could watch Super Bowl Sunday.

Now we aren’t big football fans, but Super Bowl Sunday is an American tradition where most of the country gathers around a box, eats a lot of comfort food and stays in front of that box when the commercials are on. Bathroom runs are taken during the play of the game. Or at least that is how I have always viewed the day, besides this was a special Super Bowl - Tom Petty was the half-time entertainment. We ordered all the comfort food on the room service menu, turned on the box and then I went out to take pictures of the sunset. I did get back in time for Tom’s performance.

We crossed the California/Oregon border early the next morning under sunny skies. The mountains are steep there and I’m glad we didn’t have to drive the roads during a snowstorm. By noon we were driving through the gates of The King Estate Winery and were warmly greeted by Ed King, III in the parking lot.
Winter at the King Estate (photo by Camilla)

Steve Thomson, the Executive Vice President of the Winery, asked if we were hungry and quickly ushered us to the new restaurant on the estate. Even though it was a cloudy cool day, we were made very warm by the roaring fire and delicious food. The restaurant is open daily and we highly recommend spending a relaxing meal in that beautiful Oregon setting.

Parting is such sweet sorrow (photo by Camilla)

The visits with Justin King, the son of Ed and a wonderful guitar player, and Karen and Steve Thomson were too short, but there was another concert in Portland, Oregon that was happily on our agenda. The Thomsons even drove to Portland to see the concert. Karen volunteered to work at the "lemonade stand" and Steve volunteered to carry equipment. We also accepted the energy of Phil Garfinkel from Audix microphones to bring some stability to the backstage chaos of the evening.

The last show of the tour was in Bothell, Washington. The weather was cold and the mountain passes were closed from snow. We were hoping that by the time we headed south that the snow and passes would clear because it was the pathway of our return home.

The Northshore Performing Arts Center is a wonderful partnership between a community and a school district. Volunteers raised money to build a state-of-the-art 600-seat theater on the campus of Bothell High School. The residents and the students have all deeply benefited from this beautiful endeavor. It was the perfect ending to this three-concert tour.

The weather did clear on February 11 and the Snoqualmie Mountain pass was clear. The GPS guided us to the most direct route from Bothell to Tucson. That route included what I call some goat paths, but the snow wasn’t on us, it was following us. By the time we got to Tucson, people on the highways we had traveled over were stranded in snow.
Over the goat trails (photo by Camilla)

We spent Valentine’s Day lunch with Roger’s mother and brother and then sped off to El Paso, Texas. Texas is a very large state and it usually takes at least 2 days to cross it on Interstate 10. The idea of doing all 880 miles in one day was intriguing, but we had to be in El Paso so we could wake up early and hit the road. We were also looking forward to a romantic dinner to celebrate the Big Hearts Day. For a present, Roger bought me the DVD of "Mrs. Miniver." It was a film I watched as a child and mentioned to Roger that I would love to see it again. He found a copy on the Internet and we saved it to watch on Valentine's Day. Our laptop computer became our movie screen and Roger connected to bedside radio for a big sound. Once again modern technology connected us to the past.

Waking up early does have some sweet advantages. This time it was seeing the lights of Juarez twinkling in the morning dawn. I never sought to find the beauty of that Interstate 10 city before, but this trip opened my eyes.

There are parts of Texas where the speed limit is 80 mph. That helped in our quest to cross the state. I did kinda miss the wonderful Columbus, Texas Mexican restaurant where we had dinner on the way to California, but we were on a mission. Going toward the east in winter made the trip harder and then the rains came. It rained all through the Houston rush hour traffic and from there to Sulphur, Louisiana. When I drove into the hotel parking lot, cheese and crackers on our bed sounded like a feast!

We made it through Texas in one day. What we thought was just a fun adventure, turned out to be a good idea. Tornadic activity continued to hit the places we had just been all the way home to Florida.

Home...just in time to prepare for taxes! Boy would I like to see a flat tax rate and just one sheet of paper. Time for those politicians to save a whole bunch of trees before they’re all gone

The Trees Are All Gone
(written by: Roger McGuinn, McGuinn Music and
Camilla McGuinn, April First Music
Recorded 1991 on "Back From Rio")

The glaciers near the polar camp
Have all begun to melt
Temperatures are on the rise
Far from the southern belt

Water levels shifting tides
On every changing land
Rain forests in the Amazon
Have vanished from our hand

And the trees are all gone
Yeah you know it's all wrong
And the trees are all gone

The people want to eat today
And so they clear the land
Global warming is a concept
They can't understand
But all the politcians now
They have no excuse
They just hide behind their power
And keep us from the truth

Man has tried his suicide
With bigotry and hate
But in the end he'll kill himself
With nothing but his waste

What will finally happen when
The farm lands turn to dust
When only rich receive the food
And nothing's left for us

But all the politcians now
They have no excuse
They just hide behind their power
And keep us from the truth

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