Up in the Bay Area

September 25, 2012

Wednesday Night, Morro Bay campground

 

I am sitting at a campground in the dark. The fellow campers are all in bed. Around me is a symphony of night bugs. Above the celestial bodies are smiling, I am deep in the forest so they shine unimpeded.

 

I have writing withdrawal. For the last three weeks I have been working on the book somewhere between 3 to 5 hours a day, no blog, but plenty of words. I am basically writing a book based on the blog that started in 2010, when I left Vancouver.

 

But today I am half way through a road trip to Santa Cruz, in the Bay area. I have radio shows and live performances from Thursday until Tuesday with Monday off. A Facebook friend organized all this for me. Sight unseen. Seraphim was made aware of my existence via Sam at Go Guitars. He rides motorcycles and was looking to purchase a travel guitar and the connection was kind of obvious. When he realized that I was going to be in the area he organized these shows and now I am on my way there.

 

How I love my bike. Arkadaş, the strong, willful, slightly arrogant but always true hearted. Today we conquered desert highways, mountain roads, all in crippling heat. We mastered switchbacks, sped on massive straightaways. Tomorrow we will see the coast for the first time together. Weird how a machine can mean so much.

The scenery was incredible. At one point the sand hills took my breath away, so amazing. I was trying to find a name for that beige color, beige being way too bland a name to fit what I was seeing. After that “Petroleum Highway.” materialized itself. Yes, a highway that runs between hills crowded with oil rigs. Like giant birds pecking at the ground incessantly. Oh, our thirst for the stuff. Then I was in these rolling hills of gold and gradually more and more trees appeared. It was breathtaking, that was the 58 West. Up 101 for a tiny bit, then West again on the 41 and I landed at this campground. Right now my neighbor in the tent is snoring enthusiastically.

Well, that is it for tonight. I will work on my set lists for the shows coming up and then will lay down, watch the stars until I fall asleep.

 

<<<>>>

 

 

 

Thursday

 

Ouch. My air mattress gave out. I woke up in the middle of the night on the hard surface of the picnic table, the air was mostly gone. I filled it up again, crawled back in the sleeping bag and slept until morning.

 

I woke up as the campground was stirring, smells of bacon and firewood. I opened my eyes and looked to the right and there were my two neighbors just staring at me…

 

“Good morning.” said the woman. They are both just sitting at their table facing my camp site, it was just kind of weird. I grumbled a morning greeting and immediately proceeded to tear up camp and pack the bike. I had slept with my leathers on as it had been quite cold. Within 30 minutes everything was packed, I meditated for about 30 minutes, got up put my helmet on and hit the road.

 

It was a short ride to the ocean, crisp air, winds, beautiful views. Up the coastal highway 1 we went. I had to make it to Felton for about 3 PM. And that meant that I had to be just covering ground, no sight seeing. The coast highway is quite amazing. I had the road to myself for a while and it was glorious. Then got stuck behind various terrified drivers, which made things slow and frustrating as I had to shift constantly between second and third, revving the engine high driving between 25 to 35 MPH. It was tiring.

 

I made it to Santa Cruz, my whole body kind of shimmering from the lack of sleep.

 

The first stop was at KSCO, Santa Cruz, the station has been there for eons, old enough to have seen full big bands broadcast live, there were these old microphones, the scalloped walls for sound. Beautiful spot.

 

Later I had a show at cafe Cuesta in La Honda, a quaint place at the junction of mountain roads very popular with cyclists and motorcyclists.

 

I played a solo show that was incredibly well received. I performed anything and everything from french to english to jazz to rock tunes and everyone was just drinking it in.

 

 

Friday

 

Radio show today at KKUP, in San Jose with David Stafford. It was a really great experience. I find myself really tired from the last two days.

I got a bit of a problem. The Go Guitar is all out of whack. It had received a truss rod adjustment in mid August and gradually it seemed that everything got way out, the intonation is just awful.

 

Seraphim generously offered me to play his Go Guitar which he had ordered to be just like mine. It is a relief as it sounds and plays perfectly. It would otherwise had been a real issue.

 

 

Saturday

 

Forrest is joining me today. We are playing at Neto’s in Santa Clara. The place has a massive stage with lights and all the goodies. We are treated to a meal of Neto’s special sausages.

We had a great show, but there wasn’t much of an audience, but we think that we have good video and photos from our friends who were there, which makes it all worth it as Forrest and I don’t have that sort of footage available and to book shows now most people want to see live video.

 

 

Sunday

 

Early morning radio show. Urgh…. I got about 4 hours of sleep. We get there, get treated with a bit of a dismissive attitude. Oh yeah? I thought… we started to play (all these radio shows are about playing live) and Forrest and I just NAIL IT. Everyone’s jaws were on the floor. Mission accomplished.

Sunday night, show at the Ugly Mug. A cool little coffee shop in Santa Cruz. Again we just put the pedal to the metal and gave everything we had. It was really great. We’re exhausted but we feel good.

 

Monday

 

Day off. I’m so tired, I can barely think. I went to work on the book for a couple of hours. Then we took the Go Guitar to a luthier up the road, he says he can help. I’ll get it back at one tomorrow. Cross your fingers. Then I went to a manicure place. Yeah, I am getting some acrylic nails as I have worn out my natural ones to the flesh, almost to the blood, that is how intense the playing was!

 

We go to this place with a whole group of little Chinese ladies. Interesting experience. I now have a clawed hand, I hope I like the result!

 

Then it was out for dinner and coffee, great conversation as night came.

 

Tomorrow it will be an open mic performance at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. Wow, Berkeley California, I had jazz guitar books from Berkeley and who has not heard about the school of music here… If we are lucky, if we play great, if the stars align, maybe we can score an actual booking at this venue.

 

But when it’s all said and done the best stuff is that we are playing again Forrest and I and that the magic is still there. And magic is so very important.

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One Response to “Up in the Bay Area”

  1. Flip Says:

    I am sure looking forward to seeing you and Forrest play together again. You have a very synergistic effect on each other. Did you stop by Alice’s Restaurant while you are up there? Hope to see you soon.


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