Saturday, November 28, 2020

Roadie Report 84 by Camilla McGuinn - Oh, What a Leap Year!

    I always said that Roger and I could live on a deserted island. The word is “deserted,” not “desert.” Our deserted island would have food, water and wine. Well we have been on a deserted island since March. That was the last month Roger left the property. Every week or so, I forage for food and pick up the mail. I volunteered to venture out because I’m the youngster in the house.

     Our neighbors are having distancing driveway gatherings. I sometimes go and explain, “Roger is old.” I smiled at the reaction I heard the first time I said those words. They all replied, “NO!” and then “How old is he?” I giggled because I knew Roger doesn’t even realize how many years are on his driver’s license. I’m aware of the years on mine because I take advantage of senior days.

    When we got married in 1978 on April First, we wondered about the choice of the date. By Divine inspiration, April 1st was the day of our vows. We pondered the date and decided to see which day of the year it was. That day was the 91st day of the year – if it wasn’t a Leap Year. We opened our Bible to Psalm 91 and declared it our wedding present from God, since HE inspired the date. Now the story of our betrothal is a whole separate story someday to be told but for now let’s talk about this year.
    This is a Leap Year! And oh what a year! Our economy shut down, so did our concert work. Theaters are shuttered, musicians are just strumming and agents are pulling out their hair trying to reschedule concert dates.

    Doing nothing is not in our psyches. We thrive on working. Now, Roger goes to the studio and records a project that has been waiting to do for over 60 years – the songs from “Gene Tryp.” It was a play that Jacques Levy asked Roger to write the music for in 1968. The play never got on Broadway but Roger got some wonderful songs to sing. “Chestnut Mare” being his favorite.

    Once recording begins, his studio door is shut from 1- 4pm, Monday-Thursday. Closets and cabinets beckon me to purge them and so does the kitchen. I have finally used the dusty KitchenAid mixer and all of its attachments. Fresh bread and fresh pasta roll out of the machine like it was made for the task. When the song tracks are ready, Roger invites me in to work on the mixing and mastering.

     There is truth to the statement “give a busy person the job that needs to be done.” Not being real busy anymore, my office has stacks of mail and papers sitting all around. I just tell myself, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll think about that tomorrow. Time to make pasta.”

     Two weeks ago, Roger took a break to think about the song for the December “Folk Den,” the online project he has recorded monthly on for over 25 years. December is the month for a Christmas song. The two 4 CD sets of “The Folk Den Project” were on his desk. He picked them up and listened to all the December songs. It was the Christmas recording he always wanted to do. We tried it years ago, but didn’t feel right about it, but this time we were both amazed at the joy we felt as we were listening.

      Technology has come a long way in 25 years. Some of the songs were just two tracks recorded on DAT. Realizing that if we digitally re-mastered the recordings the quality of the mixes would improve. It took two days to master the 13 songs we picked. Then it was easy to put the art work together from photos I had been taking for years to feature on a Christmas CD.

       Our intent was to make it for our neighbors and send it to our friends as a Christmas card. I called Oasis Manufacturing to get a quote and realized if we wanted it to be professionally pressed we needed 300 copies. We were happy with the songs, maybe someone else will be also. The process of a simple Christmas card became a little more complicated. CDBABY was contacted, the final product was approved and we are waiting with Christmas anticipation for the gift we have to give.

       “Merry Christmas” has an official release date of December 1st. It will be available for download and streaming. The physical CD will be primarily listed on Amazon. CDBABY takes care of distribution to all outlets.

        We wanted our family and friends to be surprised when they opened their mail. Roger was a little concerned that I was telling the story too soon. I laughed, “No one reads my blog except 13 dear ones. Especially since I haven’t written in a year!”

        This is a very unusual year and a year that we will all be happy to leap over! In the meantime, the Christmas lights are up, the music is playing and we are grateful for the inexpressible Gift of this Joyous Season.


            AND MAY WE ALL LEAP  

                        JOYFULLY INTO THE NEW YEAR!


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Roadie Report 83 by Camilla McGuinn - I'm Proud to be from a military family!

My daddy!

This photo includes my father on maneuvers in 1959 while stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, SC. He would always bring home his sack to show me and my brother the supplies he took with him. We thought he was a "lucky duck" to get to have all those k-rations. The "Sick Bay" was his life's work for 30 years. He was stationed in the Pacific during WW2 and of course during the Korean War. In Vietnam he was stationed with the Marines. The ride home from Vietnam was on a stretcher. A Purple Heart medal now rest in a chest by my bed. His "twilight tour"- the last tour of service in the Navy - was spent in Norfolk, VA. When he was 17, he ran away from the orphanage and lied about his age to join the Navy. His tour of duty was from 1941-1972. He died suddenly one night in 1975 of a cerebral hemorrhage, he was 52 years old. Three wars in one lifetime can do that to you.

My brother and I loved living on military bases. There were always so many things for us to do. The pay wasn't much, but the bases made sure that kids and teenagers had lots of activities to keep them out of trouble. My father's one major word to us, "If you get in trouble on the base, I have to go before the Captain. DON'T make me go before the Captain of the base!" It was a very effective way to keep us from a whole lot of mischief, though my brother did; he just didn't get caught. Me? I was almost an angel. ( I hope my brother doesn't read this; he might tell on me!)
My brother, W.A Spaul,  finished his Masters at ASU then served in the Navy (active and reserves)  between 1974-1989. He left as a Commander (O-5), Medical Service Corps. I think our childhoods on military bases had a lot to do with him wanting to be a part of the Navy.

My uncle Wilber was drafted into the Army after the Navy wouldn't take him because of an vision problem. He was only overseas for 90 days when he was killed in battle while serving in the U.S Army Armored Tank Battalion.

Roger used to joke that every four years I begin packing even if we weren't moving. I loved changing bases, cities and even the 36 hour prop-plane ride to Guam. My love of travel still carries on to this day. Thank you NAVY!
But especially, THANK YOU all who have served and are serving our country and your families too!

Roger and I applaud you and pray for you!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Roadie Report 82 - Roger McGuinn's Celebration of Peter Fonda - as told to Camilla McGuinn


        Roger was tuning his 12-string guitar backstage at the Flamingo when Bobby Darin came up to him.
        “Jim, I think you might want to stay around after your segment to meet Henry Fonda’s son, Peter. Sandy and Peter just finished making one of those “Tammy” movies and Peter was the doctor. They will be coming backstage after the show.”

        Bobby Darin pulled Jim McGuinn out of the world of folk music to the world of Vegas and the fast lane of the “rat pack” when he saw Roger perform as a backup musician for The Chad Mitchell Trio at Hollywood’s Crescendo Club, opening up for Lenny Bruce. Before Lenny took the stage, Bobby went backstage and offered Jim twice the money The Trio was paying him if he would join Bobby on stage for a folk segment in his Vegas show. From that moment on Bobby Darin became a mentor to Jim McGuinn.

        The backstage was filled with people after Bobby’s show. Jim was standing against the wall watching everyone, when Peter Fonda walked toward him with his hand outstretched and a big smile on his face. “You were great up there man!”
        Jim recognized the Fonda look and immediately was drawn in by his smile. Peter jumped into a conversation like they were old friends. The normal questions: “Where are you from? No one is from Las Vegas.”
        “I’m from Chicago.”
        “Chicago! My best friend is from there. Where did you go to school?”
        “The Latin School.”
        “Wow…Stormy McDonald!”
        “Yeah! ... he was MY best friend in high school”
And their friendship began on the love of a mutual friend.


        The BYRDS were formed and performing every night at Ciros’ night club on Sunset Strip, creating music and a new Hollywood scene. The buzz was on and the audience was filled with entertainment’s elite. Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and new hopeful groups including Sonny and Cher. Backstage was always buzzing. Jim introduced Peter to the band and their friendship picked up where it left off a few years before.
        “Mr. Tambourine Man” became a world wide hit and Peter wanted the BYRDS to play at his sister Jane’s birthday party in Malibu at Henry Fonda’s house. What Peter didn’t count on was that the BYRDS’ followers who were referred to as “freaks”, followed them everywhere and crashed the party. It didn’t bother Peter, but Henry was a bit astonished.  The “freaks” were being freaks, smelling of patchouli and dancing up to Henry Fonda in the strangest of ways. Henry asked Peter to try to get the Byrds to turn down but Peter just told them “Play as loud as you like.”

        The BEATLES came to town and sent a limousine to pick up Jim and David Crosby. Jim had the driver stop to pick up Peter. After slowly maneuvering through the hundreds of fans that camped at the Beatles’ rented house, they made it through the front door. David was always the man with the best drugs; LSD was handed out. Everyone except Paul took the acid. John, George, Jim, David and Peter went into the huge master bedroom shower to escape the prying eyes of the security and the fans. As they passed a guitar around, the stories abounded. It was in this shower where John was inspired by Peter to write, “She Said, She Said.”

        Peter and Jim lived close to each other; when they weren’t working, they were playing like school friends. In 1958 the Class B CB radio became available to the general public. Jim and Peter were fascinated. The radio was the size of a shoe box with tubes. To put it in a car, you would first have to make an antenna to attach to the outside shell of the car. Jim went to Peter’s house and the two of them proceeded to make the antennas. Peter taught Jim how to solder. After burning his finger several times, he became proficient with the tool; it is a tool Roger uses to this day very efficiently. Once the CBs were ready, they would get into their separate cars and drive around the Hollywood hills talking to each other with dialogue mimicking two pilots flying around Los Angeles air space. They even mastered the International Phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo. There was no limit to their imaginations. Peter became Roger's gadget mentor. When Roger finally got some extra money, he would call Peter and ask what was the best brand of the gadget he was looking to buy. From recorders, musical equipment and laser beams, Peter always had the answers.

        Air travel was a passion for Jim. On one Lear Jet ride to Pensacola, FL for a BYRDS concert, Jim invited Peter to join the group.  John Lear, Bill Lear’s son, was the pilot. Roger was sitting on the jump seat at the front of the plane when John told Roger to tell the guys in the back to buckle up. “We’re about to have a thrill.”
John commenced with a “split-s” and Jim’s coffee cup didn’t even spill a drop when the plane twisted upside down. Peter wrote about that wild ride on the liner notes of the Byrds’ “Easy Rider” album.
After the wild Lear Jet ride, Jim wrote a song called, “2-4-2 Fox Trot (Lear Jet Song.)” He even used the sound of John’s Lear Jet engines on the recording with the control tower talking in the background.
John Lear loved the song and gave Jim 25 hours of free Lear Jet time. A quick phone call to Peter, a fast drive to Van Nuys airport and they were flying to wherever John was ferrying folks. One trip to Vegas was to pick up of a very serious stocky man wearing gold. He sat down, looked at Peter, pointed at him and said, “I know your father.”


Peter wanted to make a difference. With friend Dennis Hopper, they decided to beat the Hollywood game and make a film like no other on a shoe-string budget. They would be the main characters with a young Jack Nicholson. After the film was in the can, Peter gave Dennis his entire record collection to put on the sound track as a place holder. He and Dennis loved the effect. Contemporary sounds on a contemporary movie.
 Peter wanted one song that was written expressly for the movie, so he carried the film cans to New York and screened it for Bob Dylan.Bob watched the movie. Bob didn’t like the ending; he scratched some words on a paper napkin. Handing the napkin to Peter, he said, “Give this to McGuinn, he’ll know what to do with it.” Peter, took the film cans, got back on a plane, flew to Los Angeles and drove to Roger’s house (by now Jim had changed his name to Roger). Peter reverently gave him the paper napkin, “Bob wants you to have this man. I think this is a little pastoral. Maybe you can put an edge on it.”
Roger got out his guitar, made up a tune and finished the words. The line “All they wanted was to be free” cinched the song for Peter. Dennis asked Roger about that line. “Hey man, what does it mean?” Roger said, “Think about it” After a few moments, Dennis exclaimed in a whispered voice, “Wow ... that’s heavy man.” Peter also asked Roger to record Dylan’s song, “It’s Alright Ma” for the movie.
       After Roger saw the movie he said to Peter, "Wish I could have been in it. " Peter smiled, " You were man." 


Years passed. In August 2015 while performing at the Historical Iao Theater in Wailuku, Maui, Roger was surprised backstage with a visit from his old friend Peter. Parky, Peter’s wife, and I stood watching two old friends flashing back to the days when they shared adventures. We were smiling and commenting on how they looked like two school boys laughing at their memories. 


        Roger received a phone call from Peter. Peter was excited about celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the movie “Easy Rider” and wanted Roger to be part of it. The idea was to show the movie with the sound track being performed live by the artists. Roger would do anything for his old friend and the thought of seeing Peter again was definitely worth it even though there were logistical problems.


        “OH NO!”
I didn’t think Roger would be that upset over the increase in the Spectrum Cable bill. When I turned my head, I saw the anguish on his face. He had just read that Peter had died. Peter wasn’t with us anymore.
Roger immediately said he didn’t want to go to NYC because he was just doing it for Peter. I pointed out to him that Peter had called and asked him to do it. Roger had to go perform “The Ballad of Easy Rider” and "It's Alright, Ma" for Peter at the celebration of Peter's movie “Easy Rider.”

Roger will be singing for the celebration of  “Easy Rider”                           but more importantly; Roger will be singing
 for the  celebration of a dear friend’s life;
                                       Peter Fonda

Peter and Roger backstage in Maui!

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Roadie Report 81- Catching Rainbows-Words and Chords

Roger received a Tweet from a fan asking for the words and chords to the song "Catching Rainbows" which is on the CD "Sweet Memories." This song is about our adventures and the joy we have traveling. "SHIMMERING A DIAMOND PATH" is the image we see while looking at the ocean when  sunlight catches the ripples on the water

Catching Rainbows

[D] I was standing on the [F#m] corner on a rainy [G] night
[D] Waiting for the light to [A] turn
[D] When I thought of all the [F#m] places, all the things [G] we did
[D] Just to keep the fire [A] burning

[D] Giving [F#m] hearts of [G] thunder [A]
[D] Scaling [F#m] cliffs that [G] rise down [A] under
[D]  Flying [F#m] cotton [G] clouds in a [Em] tailspin
[G] Catching [A] rainbows

Sailing o’re the ocean
Watching with the dawn approaching
Taking time someplace it has not been
Catching rainbows

[G] See the [A] light come [D] for us
[G] Shimmering [A]  a [D] diamond [Bm] path
[G] Paving dreams of [D] glory
Seeking [G] solace in the [Em] Sacred [A] Story

Gripping days of slumber
Keeping words without a number
Sailing silver seas through the moonbeams
Catching rainbows

Sailing o’re the ocean
Watching with the dawn approaching
Laughing in the haze of our daydreams
Catching rainbows

See the light come for us
Shimmering a diamond path
Paving dreams of glory
Seeking solace in the Sacred Story

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Roadie Report 80 by Camilla McGuinn - The Sweetheart of the Rodeo - 50 Years Later!

Marty Stuart, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillmans

We woke up early because we were so excited about celebrating my birthday on our porch during this break from touring since September 5th with Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" recording.

The idea for our tour came to us while we were sitting in the airport in Buenos Aires, on February 6, 2018. Our conversation centered on Chris and Connie Hillman. They'd had a particularly difficult 2017.

Chris was on the road promoting his new recording "Bidin' My Time" when his producer and our dear friend, Tom Petty, suddenly died. Then on Chris's birthday, they returned to their home after a celebration dinner to find that their house had been caught in the Thomas Fire. All their neighbor's houses were gone but most of theirs was still standing. They had to move out for months.

We wanted to do something special for the Hillmans and our conversation  turned to the recording of the "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." It had been 50 years since Roger and Chris released the recording to a very chilly reception, but over the years the music has risen to the top of  the ranks of appreciated Byrds' recordings.

We began tossing out an idea to each other, "What if we did a couple of dates to celebrate the "Sweetheart" album? Maybe we could get Marty Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives to join us." Marty with the Superlatives had toured with Roger a couple of years ago and Roger loved every minute of playing with those amazing musicians.
Sound Check- A lot of music, fun and laughter!

Between emails and phone calls, Chris confirmed he was on board. Then it was the matter of seeing if Marty was available. Marty was touring with Chris Stapleton, so his schedule was filled, but he so wanted to do it that he gave the go ahead to start booking a few concert dates.

Roger insisted that his agent, Andrea Sabata from Skyline Music, book the tour because Roger is very particular about  where he plays and how often he will play and travel between concerts. For Andrea, it was a big challenge. She had to work around Marty's schedule and get approval from promoters  in the markets where Marty was playing with Stapelton.

Marty was going to celebrate his 60th birthday during the time frame of this tour and Chris was going to celebrate his 74th. We were thrilled to give musicians who loved playing guitars, the guitar Roger designed, the HD-7 String guitar, as a birthday present. 

Mike Campbell joined the band at the Ace Theater.

Dates in California came together quickly, so we packed the van and hit the road. The Theater at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles was the first of many beautiful theaters to follow. We really just wanted to do a few shows, but as the word spread and the schedule allowed, more dates kept streaming in. Some cites sold out so fast that a second night was added. Los Angeles, Albany, New York City and Clearwater were clamoring for a second show. Promoters and fans were inundating Andrea with requests for the show, but the schedule filled quickly and many were disappointed. Fans were buying airplane tickets from as far away as Europe.

The scramble for dates was intensified because this is a 50 year celebration and the year ends with the last date in Fort Lauderdale,  Florida on Dec 19, 2018. That show is almost sold out, but there are two December concerts  in Florida that haven't sold out yet, but there aren't many seats left. Ponte Verde and the second Clearwater date, which was just added, might have some seats available. I think the last show will be a very emotional moment for the players and the crew, I know it will be for the roadies, me and Connie.

Connie Hillman  had a career in music management for years while Chris was always touring. They had never really toured the way Roger and I do, so we became mentors to these two music pros on how to tour like it's a honeymoon.

After the concerts on the west coast, the Hillman's flew from their home in California to Kansas City and rented a car. We were a caravan through the mid-west and the east coast. Every morning, before we shifted into drive, Roger and Chris would sing into the walkie talkies (provided by"Mr. Techie" - Roger ) the theme from the 50's American Western TV series "Rawhide"

"Rolling, rolling, rolling
Keep them doggies rolling."

On the few days we weren't together I missed seeing Chris and Connie's car in the rear view mirror.

There was one special stop where the Hillman's weren't able to get a room reservation. It was a peaceful place on Lake Toxaway in North Carolina. When we told our destination to the shows monitor engineer, Radar was excited.
 He grew up in those mountains in NC. Actually, his name is Cody, but he reminded me of the character Radar from the TV series MASH. He was able to get everything done before anyone asked for the problem to be resolved. I used that moniker for him whenever I talked to him. The other smiling fact is that Radar and I celebrate our birthdays on the same day. He was turning 21 and I was turning 13... well that's if you add the two numbers of my age together, and then I'm the same age as Roger. We were both driving home during the break of the tour to celebrate our birthdays on October 22nd.

Our path through Hurricane Michael .
We are
the blue dot.
Connie and I became the roadies for our favorite guitar players. We even joked about making "The Roadie Work Out Video." Lift that guitar, hold that door, drive that van!" We are even  politicking for a badge to wear for driving through the constant rain remnants of hurricane Michael and sleeping in a hotel without electricity that night.

I had booked hotels that could accommodate the 8ft vertical clearance needed for our van and Connie booked the same hotels. We don't drive after 5pm, so the routing took a little work but it was worth it. We got to hotels, checked in, had cocktails and dinner. Connie and I were treated to two old friends telling funny stories about their Rock'n'Roll days and the mischief they got into.

But there was something more special we all talked about... our faith. We drove together, we ate together, we drank together, we introduced them to our friends across the country but most importantly, we prayed together.

It's 2:18 on October 22 and Roger is driving on the Florida Turnpike as I sit in the back of the van. I had finished my accounting for this leg of the tour and saw a blurb about my BLOG. I read it and was horrified to realize that I have written very little since my last birthday tour in 2017. Today is my birthday, again!  I do apologize to my 13 readers. You have been so patient and you are always encouraging me to write more. I don't know how this year passed so quickly.

I guess my tardiness  verifies  the old saying, "Time flies when you're having a good time!"

As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens man.
 Roger was so privileged to play with the amazing Marty Stuart!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Roadie Report 79 by Camilla McGuinn - "Sweet Memories" A Birthday Celebration

     After 40 years, thinking of a special birthday gift for the man I have so much fun living with is not easy, but I do know him. One of his favorite things to do is to pack the van and drive the back roads of the USA. So, for his 76th birthday, I arranged for us to hit the road and even better, release  his newest CD, "Sweet Memories." Here are the stories behind the songs:

      “Sweet Memories”
Includes three BYRDS hits, eight original songs and one fun 'Friday' song.

      “Sweet Memories” is the first rock-studio CD that Roger McGuinn has recorded since 2004. It is the album fans have been asking for at Roger’s concerts. They are continually asking for studio versions of the BYRDS songs.  So Roger re-recorded three BYRDS' hits from scratch and they were so authentically performed that everyone asks, “Did he use samples?” The answer is no! He played every instrument and sang every vocal including harmonies on “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “ So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” There are also nine other songs never recorded before.­­

      “Sweet Memories” is a trip down memory lane for Roger McGuinn. It all begins when you open the package and see a letter he wrote to his family in 1965 on the back of a publicity photo of his new group, the BYRDS. He explained to his parents that their first song was written by Bob Dylan of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. The publicity photo Roger wrote on the back of is included in the collage of photos from Roger’s past on the opposite panel of the CD package. Get out your magnifying glass and see if you can identify the friends from a span of 60 years.

      There are 8 other songs that Roger and Camilla have written over the years. This CD seemed the perfect time to record them.

       "Chestnut Mare Christmas" - A continuation of the "Chestnut Mare" story. They were reluctant to write a sequel to that classic but the story continues with a tender message and Marty Stuart playing a galloping guitar!

      “Grapes of Wrath”- The inspiration for this song is the black and white 1940 Henry Fonda movie which the McGuinn’s enjoy watching on a rainy day.

      Sweet Memories”- Was written in the early 1980s in Morro Bay, California. The late New York DJ, Pete Fornatale, always encouraged Roger record it. The song was a favorite of Pete’s. To the McGuinns it wasn’t finished yet. There were still the European trips to write about and the wonderful train rides. Unfortunately, Pete passed on before it was recorded. When thinking about the title for this CD, that song seemed so appropriate because of all the memories on this disc.

      “Catching Rainbows” took years to write and just as long to record. It didn’t fall into place until the beginning of this CD. It too is a song about the McGuinn's adventures. The rainbow photo on the back cover of the CD with the song list was taken by Camilla on an ocean voyage.

      It was “5:18” in the afternoon when the McGuinns were sitting on their garden porch in Morro Bay, watching a storm rolling onto the California coast. At that time, they never dreamed of leaving California, but they did move a few years later.
      “The Tears” was written by Camilla on an airplane returning home to California after a long tour. She was thinking about Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Bells.” With a hotel scratch pad and pen, words were scribbled about all the tears many have shed in the privacy of a closet.

      Roger loves being on the ocean. “At The Edge of The Water” was written by him during the morning dawn while sitting on a ship’s balcony with his guitar.

      “Light Up The Darkness” was written in the McGuinn’s small rented condo in Century City within a year of their marriage. It was the beginning of a long beautiful relationship in life and work.

      “Friday” - Roger recorded the song “Friday” because he and Camilla laughed so hard watching the spoof  video on youtube they couldn’t stay in their chairs.   They even had to research the song to make sure it wasn’t written by Bob Dylan. Roger emailed the creator of the video, Nate Herman, and told him how much enjoyed his work and was thinking of recording the song himself. Nate replied, “Life imitating art imitating life.”

Roger's CDs can be purchased from
or if you're more comfortable with Amazon:

      We're relaxing in Flagstaff, AZ as I write this BLOG. The van tires are rolling on the way to California to join Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives for the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the "Sweetheart of the Rodeo."

      Our day was spent exploring the "Petrified Forest." Oh what a day!

Route 66

The Local Resident

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Roadie Report 78 by Camilla McGuinn- "A Hurricane, A Flood, A Friend, A Fire and A Victory!...Part 2

We finished the three remaining Southern California dates with a different sense of purpose. Roger will always sing Tom Petty songs and tell the stories of meeting and touring with Tom. He hopes people will laugh, smile and quietly remember a truly gifted artist we were all blessed with for far too short a time.
The audiences at the Shannon Center at Whittier College, the Smother’s Theater at Pepperdine University and the Poway Center in Poway were very responsive to the Tom Petty’s songs and stories. Then it was time to head north to the Carriage House Theater at Montalvo Arts Center.
We arrived in Los Gatos the same time the smoke from the Napa fires reached the quaint town. Everyone was in a state of disbelief. Watching the fires on TV, we saw the entrance to the Napa neighborhood where we had once stayed at a friend’s house. The houses were gone. A frantic call to Adriene brought some relief. She had sold the house a few months before and was living in San Francisco. She was so sad for the present owners.
Then we emailed Chris and Connie Hillman to see how their son Nick was faring. He worked at a Napa vineyard. He told Connie that the harvest was finished before the fires began, so all was not lost.
One more frantic email needed to be sent. This email was   to our friend Linda whose sister lives in Napa. She told us that her sister and husband got out of their house in time with just the clothes on their backs.
 A few months later, the Hillmans managed to get out of their house in Ventura before The Thomas fire burned through their kitchen. Their house was the only one left standing on their street.
We’re praying a lot of prayers of thankfulness for the lives which were not lost and for “Beauty for Ashes” for those who have to rebuild and refurbish their memories.
Disasters seemed to be following us but it was only the rain and smoke that affected us… to this point. But I won’t leave you hanging now, I’ll give you a clue. The next strange thing brought us smiles. Remember the title ends in a “Victory”. That’s at the end of this story.
        Three days after Montvalo, Roger was performing at the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The day after, we were invited for the Harvest Lunch at the Cristom Vineyard near Salem in the Willamette Valley wine region. I even got to be part of the grape harvest process – I pulled a leaf out of the grape bin. Roger even caught the moment on video.  I was so thrilled.

The owner was busy filling the oak barrels with wine while we had lunch with the winemaker, Steve and his family, the CEO, our old friend Steve Thomson and his wife Karen and the grape harvesters. I had a dream of joining in a grape harvest in France but to experience that day in Oregon was even better. I love that the Cristom grapes are allowed to ferment naturally without any designer yeast. I found out a few years ago that I am very allergic to designer yeast that many vineyards use to make sure they have a barrel that tastes the same every time.

A few unscheduled days before the next Kirkland, Washington concert, sent me on a quest to find a special place to relax. Just a few miles from the Cristom Vineyard was the Allison Inn and Spa in Newberg. Strolling and relaxing in the beautiful room and gardens of the Allison Inn added length to our lives. A relaxed attitude lengthens a man’s life. I read that in the Good Book.

The Kirkland Performing Arts Center sold out quickly to an enthusiastic audience. Heading south to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday after all the good shows made the drive even more enjoyable.

San Francisco has always been a favorite city of ours and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my birthday. The Ritz Carlton even had a special, 4 nights for the price of three. Now that was a great gift.

I told Roger that there were places we haven’t explored in the city and since it was my birthday, we put on our walking shoes. The first adventure was Alcatraz. I tweeted that I was taking Roger to prison. We walked from the hotel to the harbor through crowded China town and caught the ferry to the island. There was a very steep pathway up to the prison and I wasn’t sure our knees would take it, but Roger insisted we persevere. The self guided audio tour took about an hour and it was a very good history lesson.

        Back in San Francisco we began the walk back up the steep hills to our hotel when I gave up and called Uber. I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to get back into the cool of the hotel lounge.

  Coit Tower was the next place I insisted we visit. Yep, we walked the two miles up the steep San Francisco hills to the tower. Fortunately when we finally made it to the entrance, there was an elevator to take us to the top.

At the top of the tower, Roger asked teasingly, “Now Camilla, are there any other walks you want to go on for your birthday?

I quickly laughed, “Yes, I want to walk back to the hotel.” I did try to order an Uber, but Roger was having fun encouraging me to fulfill all my birthday fantasies.

        The last hill was looming in front of us, when I saw the loading dock for the hotel halfway up the hill. A man was taking a break at the entrance and I approached him, “Is there an elevator that can take us to our room?” He smiled, “Follow me.” As he was taking us to the service elevator, he gave us a tour of the backstage area of the Ritz Carlton. We met the security officer, passed the Human Resources office and walked through a maze of halls. We got on the elevator and it stopped at the next floor. The concierge we had been talking to earlier got on. She was shocked when she recognized us. “What are you doing here?” “Oh, I was just applying for a job at the Human Resource office.” When we got to the lounge she told me to sit and she would bring me some cold ice tea. I think I probably looked like I had just climbed every hill in San Francisco. Wow, my husband is 9 years older and he looked great! He had champagne.

There was one more California date on the Central California coast where we used to live, The Clark Center for The Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. The audience was filled with dear friends.

        California Highway 58 was the road we chose to head east to Texas. The route took us on the back roads of California. It was a beautiful, stress free drive. We had five days to get to Houston for the concert we had re-scheduled. SO… it was still my birthday tour and there was one place I have always wanted to visit – Roswell, New Mexico, the home of the International UFO Museum. I took Roger to prison; I might as well take him to meet Mr. Spaceman. 

      Roswell was a lot larger than I had imagined. It is the fifth-largest city in New Mexico, population 49,000- about the size of a Los Angeles suburb. A Hampton Inn and Red Lobster made it a perfect stopping place. 
 The UFO museum was funny and enjoyable to walk around but the real museum in Roswell is the Roswell Museum and Art Center because it has the workshop of the father of rocket travel, Robert Goddard. This museum is the real reason to go to Roswell. When the German scientists were being interrogated after World War II, one scientist asked the interrogators “Why are you asking me? Why didn’t you listen to Goddard? That’s where we learned everything about rockets.” Roger has always been scientifically minded but I jumped over that subject in school. This museum made me want to know more. We learned so much.

Now it was time to head to the victory I talked about earlier. The Houston Astros had made it to the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers were standing in the way of their victory. I used to go to Dodger games, so I was a bit torn as to whom to root for, but Houston needed something to celebrate after the floods. We were jumping on the beds after Houston won.
We got to the outskirts of Houston the day before Roger’s concert. I talked to a lady in the hotel who had been living there since the floods had destroyed her house. She wasn’t sad, she was exuberant! Her team had won the World Series and she was going to the victory parade! What we didn’t realize was that there was going to be a victory parade in downtown Houston on the day of Roger’s concert in downtown Houston.

I checked the schedule of the parade and tried to time our drive to the downtown venue to avoid the crowds. I got that right, but after unloading our equipment, the parade stopped and one million people were walking the streets. The roads to our hotel were blocked off. After circling the streets, Roger got out of the van and explained to the police officer, who was directing the flood of traffic, that our hotel was right behind her, but the way was blocked. She opened the path. At last we were at the hotel and needed to eat before the sound check. Well thousands of folks wanted to celebrate and eat. This was another problem, but I found a way to get us food and as we ate in our room, we felt like celebrating too. We were a part of celebrating Houston’s victory!

                                  Hey Mr. Spaceman!