Arroyo Grande Library 

Arroyo Grande library is a beautiful library, very busy, and we played in their main room.



They have an area with comfortable big chairs in the center of the library where we performed.

We felt like we were joined in a circle with everyone as the chairs were arranged in such away that we would complete the circle with our instruments.  

This was the best set-up we’ve encountered so far.
It provided a space and intimacy for an inclusive performance, as if everyone there were part of the performance.

The librarians did a great job promoting this event as evidenced by the turn-out and enthusiasm of the folks attending.

Next stop - Ojai, California!

 

PIsmo Beach - Week 14, November 10th - 15th 

At this point, We still have another week before our next performance in Arroyo Grande, just east of Pismo Beach.

We were glad that an old school friend had a place in the area and had invited us to stay in their guest house.

Unfortunately, as time grew near and several attempts made to reach this friend failed, we thought, well, this is another part of the experience of being out on the road - and what could we do but go find some hot springs - just south of San Luis Obispo - near Avery Beach.  Ahhhhh - just what the doctor ordered.

Then on to Pismo Beach area where we found a place to camp for  about a week.
We found a a great camping spot with spacious campsites just south of downtown Pismo Beach at a really nice State Park called North Beach Campground.
Our spot had a short trail from our site over a low grassy sand dune which led right onto the beach. We could walk to town easily from here.  

We had stayed in Pismo Beach on another tour many years ago, and remembered we had liked this town.
We still like it!

Pismo has an air of the 50’s about it.  Lots of neon signs and some art deco styled buildings mixed in with newer buildings with Spanish architectural influence.


Pismo has a nice sandy beach, great for long walks.They have many affordable restaurants, wide streets with lots of room for bicyclists and pedestrians.

They have many affordable restaurants, wide streets with lots of room for bicyclists and pedestrians.
We walked on nice boardwalks over sand dunes and into groves of coastal eucalyptus.

We were fortunate to see hundreds if not thousands of Monarch Butterflies clustered and hanging off the Eucalyptus leaves which they use for protection from the wind and colder weather.

We learned from a State Park Volunteer that Monarchs west of the Rocky Mountain Range overwinter in California along the coast. There are many roost sites along the California coast. The coastal forests provide a similar microhabitat to the mountains in Mexico where the monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains overwinter.We learned that the west coast Monarchs are not as threatened as Monarchs which migrate up from Mexico east of the Rocky Mountains.

http://www.monarchbutterfly.org/faqs/

Our week in Pismo seemed to go by quickly as we prepared to leave for our next performance.
But before moving on, another observation since being in California.

We’ve noticed through California that there are still a lot of folks camping in tents compared to anywhere else we have been.  Maybe it’s the better & generally warmer weather, but we have seen more tent campers than RV’s in many areas.

It’s been heartening to see young people i.e. college age students and young families out there setting up their tents, cooking over camp stoves and kids playing in the great outdoors with no cell phones, computers or such to distract them.



 

South of Big Sur 

Heading out of Big Sur we came to an area where several cars were pulled off Hwy 1 viewing ‘something’ on the beach & in the water.
We decided we wanted to see what was up, so we pulled off the road into a small parking area above a narrow beach and, woooo, here’s what we saw:

The ones snoozing on the beach appear to be quite lazy, but we learned that most of the time, elephant seals are in the water and working very hard to catch their food.  The snoozing on the beach is needed to rest up to go back at their way of living.  Male elephant seals are much larger than the females and they make deep — guttural sounds.

Hunted nearly to extinction for their oil-rich blubber, elephant seals have made a remarkable comeback. Protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, they are expanding their range outward from remote islands and are now colonizing selected mainland beaches such as Piedras Blancas in the southern range of Big Sur, near San Simeon.

Elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for only a few months of each year to give birth, breed, and molt. The rest of the year the colonies disperse and individuals spend most of their time in pursuit of food, a quest which involves swimming thousands of miles and diving to great depths.

For more info elephant seals, check out the following link: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1115





 

Big Sur 

We headed down highway 1 into the Big Sur coastline of central California....wow!

We've driven through Big Sur a couple times in the past, but did not take the time to fully immerse ourselves in this wild part of the California Coast.
This part of the coast is even more dramatic than the northern coastline along Hwy 1.

We spent 5 days camping our way down this coast and spent our 1st night in a pull - out along Highway 1.
We had been informed by a retired trucker that this is allowed along this section of coastline and 'relatively safe'.

We had one of our best nights camping along the coast with an awesome view of the ocean.
The evening was warm, no wind and as we had prepared to be out for several days, our food selection on this 1st night was close to gourmet.

We listened to music into the night from Chris' carefully selected tunes & compositions. ( Now numbering into the thousands:) 
This music is stored on a hard drive we carry with us.  On some evenings, the random selections seem to be a perfectly planned sets of music as one piece flows into another.


Heading on down the coast the next day, we stopped at one of the few Inns along this part of the coast.
Lucia Lodge.  These little cottages hug the cliff a few hundred feet above the ocean.

The day was brilliant and warm.  We talked with a couple folks who work there and they asked if we would like to play on their deck in the afternoon in exchange for dinner and drinks.  "YES", we said, "of course! " What a day it was.  And their food was exceptional.

We also met a a group of people either taking part in and or supporting a bike ride from Canada to the tip of Baja to raise awareness for a specific child developmental disability.
We turned down another invitation to play the next day to spend a day in the area of Kirk Creek where we were camped.
Kirk Creek Campground is right above the ocean, each site is spacious, some are very private, and all have great views of the ocean.

Our last stop in Big Sur was @ Plaskett Creek - we camped here for a couple nights and had great access to the beach and nice hiking along their headlands.
The person who camped next to us had just taken his first solo hang gliding flight.

He told us he was a bit nervous because he had just completed his hang gliding lessons the previous weekend where he had witnessed another hang glider fall to his death while testing a proto type of a smaller hang glider.

We actually saw our neighbor on his first solo flight gliding above us while we were out taking a walk on the headlands.

It turns out that he has a program on TV with his brother which is partly sponsored by Disney & National Geographic.

The program is called "Motion"  "Motion started when two unlikely worlds came together. Two brothers with completely different backgrounds -- one was a TV producer and photographer and the other was a pro-mountain guide -- created a unique kind of outdoor show that captured America's wild places."

We were able to take a look at a couple programs - and really enjoyed them. 
If you would like to take a look, go to: http://livewellnetwork.com/Motion/bio/6747477.


Headlands near Plaskett Creek


 

Cesar Chavez Library - November 4th, 2014 

Caesar Chavez Library, Salinas California



Before heading down the Central Coast on Highway 1 through Big Sur, we went inland to Salinas to play @ the Cesar Chavez Library.
This library is more modern and architecturally more interesting than the other libraries we’ve played in.

The library is packed with kids & adults and seemed like a beehive of activity.
Most folks here speak Spanish, so we felt a bit ill-prepared to offer a relevant program.

Our listeners were mostly from the after school program, kids about 6-12 and a few mom’s and a college student writing a  review of this performance. 
( hmmm, we wonder what she wrote: )

The kids always love the improv of Gary Snyder’s poem “Wave”, especially with Chris on box drum and the part about “racing zebras”.

There were also some great questions asked about the instruments, the vibes in particular.
Most folks everywhere we have been do not seem to know what the vibes are.  
Most seem to know about the xylophone and and some know about the marimba, but not the vibes.
This gives Chris a chance to talk about these instruments and distinguish one from the other. ( he loves this )

During the performance, some kids giggled, but a few were so intent in their listening and response to the music through their body movements.

Chris can rarely look up from the vibes to see responses, but Colleen always loves watching the uninhibited responses of children and could see that a few of these kids were blossoming musicians and or dancers. ( perhaps poets too! )

 

San Francisco Bay Area  

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco always feels great!



We played 3 libraries in the Bay area, 2 in Santa Rosa, the Downtown & NW Regional Library and  one library in Pacifica CA which is just south of San Francisco along the ocean.

Central Santa Rosa Library - Downtown

Pacifica Library

NW Regional Library - we played in the Children's Section:) Wonderful responses and questions from all libraries!

In 1986, we lived a short while in Bolinas, but we made life long friends here, one of whom we stayed with while in Bolinas - thanks Jim!

Folks who live in Bolinas are proud to take down the town's sign, hoping that people will not find the town.
There is a good chance for that to happen since you need to take a road off Hwy 1 which is not that easy to find if one is unfamiliar with the area.

Scenes from Bolinas


Humans in the back row left to right: Jim,Colleen & Chris, Front Row, Stella & Rain, in front of Jim's guest cottage.
We loved staying here, sharing many meals with Jim and taking walks daily, often times with our sweet dog companions. Jim's dog Stella is cousin to our son's dog Charile.  Charlie comes to "camp Jim's" to spend time in paradise, free to run and play with Stella.   Much reminiscing went on over a couple weeks about the 'olden days' and life in Bolinas.  

Jim is a master wood worker / artist & builder.  We hope someday, when the time is right, he may agree to complete the inside of our van with galley kitchen, cupboards and special touches that Jim brings to his artisan work. So, what will it take Jim?  How many meals??

Highway 1 - Northern California Coast 

Highway 1

One of our favorite roads to travel in the US is Highway 1 along the rugged & beautiful California coastline.

The northern part of Hwy 1 starts in Legget California and heads west winding it’s way through the hills and beautiful northern California forest before reaching the coast at which point it turns south, closely hugging the Pacific.

For those who have the time, are willing to drive slow and are looking to be out of range of cell towers and wifi….this is the road for you.

The California Coastline along Highway 1 is spectacular, wild & mostly an unpopulated area through the northern California Coastline.
The exception to this is the San Francisco area.

Sometimes these areas will take ones breath away, from both the spectacular views / scenery, but also the steep, high cliffs and narrow, windy road which seems to take up much of this coastline.

The road follows the contours of the land, so every inlet needs to be gone around, i.e. no overpasses or straightened roadway.

Every river crossing means coming down off the cliffs, winding down to the river and crossing a small bridge before going up the other side, winding your way up and around the next series of rocky precipices.

For those afraid of heights, we would recommend not taking this road.




Most of the little towns which dot Hwy 1 can be quite quaint and unique with a rich history.
One of our favorite little towns along Hwy 1 in northern California is Point Arena.

The day we drove into Point Arena, we stopped on their main street ( one block long there abouts ) to admire the old architecture, character and quaintness of this little town.



We parked in front of a sweet little pub named after it's address: "215 Main". 
There was a closed sign on the door, but Colleen decided to have a look at the menu and to see what it looked like inside.
As she was leaning against the front door, the door opened and she stumbled into the pub.

“Can I help you?” a very kind voice asked.

Colleen apologized for ‘breaking in’ in such a manner and introduced herself & Chris to Barbara who asked where we were traveling from and what we were doing.

We gave her the short version of our travels & playing music in libraries around the west, and Barbara quickly asked if we would like to play at the pub later in the afternoon / evening.  We asked if dinner may be a possibility, and she said sure, and added to drinks would be thrown in.  

The food was delicious and choice of California wines were exceptional and greatly appreciated.
215 Main is a Primal Mates pick for best pub!

Before we left the pub, Barbara invited us to stay in her guest room for the night in her house up on the hill.
( Her house was truly a lovely old, craftsman style bungalow with beautiful gardens & privacy.
It was another nice respite from camping and we thank Barbara for being such a kind, welcoming spirit in this world. )

Across the street from the pub was the old beautiful refurbished Point Arena Theater.
A few musicians invited us over to play at their jam session after playing at the pub.
We were completely awestruck by the beauty of the interior of this little theater.

Etched glass with scenes from the town, back lit to provide lighting on the stairs going up to the balcony along with many other pieces of artwork on the walls.  An airiness & beauty of the theater surpassed any previous theater going experience.

So, we most heartily give a thumbs up to the Point Arena Theater and are happy for the local musicians to have such a beautiful and inclusive place to play. 

Point Arena Pier


Point Arena Lighthouse, north of town.


Moving on down the coast, the following site took us by surprise!


This obelisk seemed to be reaching towards heaven, crowned by the sun!

Looking south from the Obelisk

What does it all mean?

Searching back in our memories and looking on the map, we remembered that this is named Bufano's Obelisk in the Timber Cove area of the Sonoma Coast.

The information below is from a Sonoma County website:

"Also known as “Madonna of Peace” and “The Expanding Universe,” the 93-foot sculpture dominates the cliff to such a degree that it’s visible far down the highway and from all nearby beaches and bluffs. The work is made of concrete, mosaic tile, redwood and lead.

Bufano started working on the obelisk in May, 1962, a few months before the Cuban missile crisis galvanized the world.
The reality of Soviet and American ballistic missiles poised for global war doubtless influenced the look of the sculpture (which does, indeed, resemble a huge missile). But Bufano’s missile—decorated as it is with the Madonna and child and topped by a huge open and welcoming hand—is all about peace and world harmony."

Our kinda guy!

- See more at: http://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/timber-cove-inn-bufanos-obelisk#sthash.Isv3uZN1.dpuf




 

"Like As The Waves" Sonnet 60 

As we follow the west coast down from Oregon into California, we've had such great opportunity to see beautiful beaches, headlands, rocky points and coves, wildlife and endless waves crashing on the shore.

All of this is an inspiration for our music.

The waves are particularly inspiring for one of our poetry pieces set to music by our good friend and wonderful musician composer Mark Miller.

Mark set 2 Shakespeare Sonnets to music, Sonnet 60 " Like as the Waves" & Sonnet 130 "My Mistress Eyes".

Those coming to our poetry / music concerts in the libraries often comment on these pieces being their favorites.

Mark has sent along other compositions set to poetry as we travel along, and we had a chance to look at one in Bolinas, CA, "Blue Ophelia".
We look forward to developing this piece and add this to our presentations in the near future.

A message to Mark:  We've "cracked open" Blue Ophelia"!


Northern California, Mendocino County - October 2014 

California >>>>Here We Come"!

We plan to be spending the next several weeks in California until after Thanksgiving.
Our first group of performances were for the Mendocino Libraries in Willits, Covelo & Ukiah, CA.

Covelo, California

Our Mendocino library presentations all went very well, all the librarians were helpful and very friendly.

We would like to focus on Covelo California because it was the most unique area in that it was at the end of the road & in a more remote area with an interesting population mix. This mix of people included Round Valley Indian tribe members, ranchers, farmers including marijuana growers and others drawn to this land and it's ecology.

We were told by some that this town was a bit reminiscent of the old west, sometimes including "Shoot Outs"!

We were not disturbed by this info as we were very well taken care of by our librarian and were given precautions about camping and offered a place to park our van overnight.

We were so lucky to arrive when the Indian tribes had invited the surrounding community to their Salmon Festival, the 1st one in 30 years.
The salmon runs on the Klamath and Eel Rivers were the best in years.

We went over to the beautiful grounds of a park which the tribes managed and saw the long, narrow fire pit, and waited and watched as huge pieces of salmon were skewered on a stick and the bottom end of the stick was driven into the ground like a stake.

It would take about 1 & 1/2 hours for the salmon to bake.

This gave us time to set up at the library community hall and come back to enjoy a wonderful feast, including roasted corn, salads, flat bread and other delicious offerings.

And as you can see, the pieces of salmon were quite large and these were not divided for portions as everyone received a large piece of salmon for themselves, ahhh, delicious fresh, traditionally prepared salmon!







Before sitting down to eat, an Indian Elder gave a blessing and his daughter sang a beautiful song to bless the salmon.

The elder sat down with us while we were eating our dinner and spoke about forgiveness and a need for the Indian Nations to help bridge the gap between all of us, created by the violent and genocidal history provoked by the persistent onslaught of European settlers and later American settlers taking over Indian lands with the help of the US Government.

Our gracious tribal elder spoke of the challenges facing us all on earth given the rapid changes taking place with global warming.

These changes particularly impact those less affluent, especially the poor and poor nations, but will in a short while, impact us all.

He again stressed the need for forgiveness and the need to work together to slow down this change so that we can all come up with a better way to live on this earth and develop understanding of how to protect our precious resources which are needed to sustain all of us.

He spoke of the ancient wisdom almost lost to the Indian Nations by both the take over of their lands, & rounding up their people, but also of  poor choices made by the tribes to make money and bad business decisions which helped to create more problems for the Indian Nations.

He parted with further wise words and the determination of Indian Nations to finally reclaim and share the wisdom of protecting the earth for all on earth.

His wise words are not new to us, but certainly renewed our inspiration to share his message through our travels and in our music.

On to the Covelo's Round Valley Library which was our favorite Library in Mendocino because not only was the community room where we played very beautiful with great acoustics and local art on the wall, but this library is a very important community center, with a kitchen for the community to share.

Whether planning community meals or using the community center / library for special events, all can partake in this wonderful offering in Covelo.
They also have a Covelo Farmers Market on these grounds offering up local fresh produce, baked goods, sauces and more.




Our librarian at Round Valley, Rachel was especially helpful and gracious.


Rachel introduced us to  a professor of sustainable ecology who wrote an important book on sustainable living back in the 70's.
He moved to Round Valley to pursue his dream of sustainable living.
We were generously offered a spot to park our van for the night on his farm / ranch and offered to join him for a glass of wine and in conversation after the concert.
We took him up on his offer and we learned about sustainable living and his concerns regarding our present course on this planet.

Some pics of his place, the surrounding land and his cat Grayson who keeps the mice out of the house.





Grayson waiting for his next meal!

"Nope, not yet!"Ukiah - what a fun group of folks attending the Ukiah Library Performance!  Best improvised bird sounds so far on our tour:)







 

Oregon Coast, from Bay City to Gold Beach -  

October 5th - 15th ( weeks 8-9 )

We left Bay City on October 5th after enjoying a delicious breakfast of salmon frittata, fruit and lots of hot coffee provided by Charlie at the Bay City Arts Center.

We decided to take a couple days enjoying the coast before starting a 5 day stretch of performances.
We drove about 20 miles, taking a less traveled route along the coast, off 101 to Cape Lookout State Park just west of Tillamook.

Cape Lookout is one of our favorite state parks so far, and a Primal Mates Pick for location, campground and great access to one of the best beaches in Oregon including the forests right above the beach with beautiful creeks, ferns, salal and several other forest floor plants.
After 2 nights of camping, we headed down the coast towards Yachats to play in a very nice seafood restaurant called the Drift Inn.
The place is always full because of the great seafood dishes and ambiance.
The interior is wood, with many cozy booths and a ceiling of colorful open Italian umbrellas strategically placed above the booths reminding us of the French movie, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg".




From Yachats, we continued down the central and southern Oregon Coast playing at the beautiful Florence and North Bend Libraries.
The people attending these events were most gracious and asking great questions.

From North Bend, we took the road to Charleston, Oregon and stopped to pick up our 1st fresh shucked raw oysters from Qualman Oyster Farms.We took our oysters out to Sunset Bay and enjoyed eating our fill of oysters while looking out over this beautiful bay.




Then onto Langlois Library on the southern Oregon Coast.  A cozy library tucked just off 101.  For the size of this little town, there was a great turn-out for our concert and we met Jo & Roger who offered to be our hosts for the evening & a place to stay overnight.

We always loved this part of the Oregon Coast and intrigued by the cranberry bogs, the lovely rivers, landscape & vegetation which are a change from the northern Oregon Coast.  This area is much less populated than further up north and much nicer travels on 101 given fewer cars.

We were given directions and set off driving east off 101 onto a country road in the dark, and 2 miles up this road, we took a right up quite a steep and windy gravel road to the top of a hill.  We were not able to see the views until the next morning, but their location and sweeping views of the area and ocean were astoundingly beautiful.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, breakfast and company with this stay and want to thank Jo & Roger for taking these strange wandering minstrels in for the night.
This offered us such wonderful respite from our travels and camping and a much needed good nights sleep!

Then, onto Gold Beach where we performed both at the Gold Beach Library, then we quickly packed up and drove a few blocks on 101 to Mangia Buff to play a dinner set.
This is a nice Italian Restaurant with seafood pasta dishes on the menu, along with more traditional Italian fare.
The mood of this restaurant inspired Colleen to sing one of her favorite Italian songs, "Senza Fine" by Gino Paoli.

We have been coming through Gold Beach for many years now and have made very good friends with a few kind folk.
Many thanks to our friends Tim & Laura for our stay in Gold Beach at their beautiful home in the woods.
Also thanks to our friend Dave for an excellent Italian style dinner!

Ciao!


 
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