Well. Looks like almost 6 weeks have passed since I last wrote and said I’d probably update the blog once a week or so. Yeah, I’m bad. It’s just that we have actually been sort of busy, at least relatively speaking, and, by the end of the day I just haven’t felt like writing. But, today I find myself with one less project to do and, therefore, a little bit of free time to do something constructive. So, seemed like a good day to bring y’all up-to-date with what we’ve been doing since I arrived at our daughter’s house 6 weeks ago.
This won’t really be chronological. I’m just looking through my photos to jog my memory and will just write about whatever comes to mind.
The first item that I can think of happened yesterday. I know many of you follow Pat, Ali, and the kids on their Bumfuzzle blog. We first met the Schultes in California way back during our trip down the coast to Mexico in 2010. We really enjoyed meeting them and their daughter, Ouest (their son, Lowe, had not been born yet at that time). We followed their blog (and still do) and hoped to cross paths somewhere in Mexico. It almost happened a couple of times but we never actually found ourselves anchored in the same place at the same time. Recently, however, the “Bums” have been in Portland at Pat’s Mom’s house for a visit. Before they head out on the road again, they decided to have a little get-together to give all their Bum friends a chance to get to meet each other, meet Pat, Ali, and the kids if they never had before, and get a tour of the “bus”, their 1966 Dodge Travco motorhome. The get-together was at Hopworks Urban Brewery at 29th and Powell in Portland. We had been in Eugene on Saturday night babysitting our grandson, Neil. We spent the night and, after taking everyone out for breakfast Sunday morning, we programmed Hopworks into the GPS and headed north.
It was pretty smooth sailing until we got almost to Wilsonville when all three lanes on I-5 came to a complete stop. We inched forward for awhile and finally topped a rise where we could see that the traffic jam extended as far as we could see, which was a long ways. Not being endowed with an overabundance of patience for nonsense, I decided to take another route. We saw a sign for Canby and exited the freeway. Between us and Canby was the Willamette River. I wasn’t really sure how this route would get us across the river but I was willing to find out. I had a suspicion but would have to wait to see if I was right. It was a really pretty drive, through some areas where we had never, to my knowledge, driven before. On we went and, after a few miles, my suspicions were confirmed, we were going to cross the Willamette on the Canby Ferry.
The ferry costs $4.00 and can probably hold 6-8 cars at a time, maybe a few more. Didn’t get an opportunity to get a good shot of the ferry, but here’s what I did get:
This was taken from inside the cab about halfway across the river.
The route we ended up taking took us pretty far east of where we wanted to go in Portland but no matter. We got on Powell at about 92nd and headed west. When we got to 29th and Powell, we didn’t see anything that said Hopworks and we certainly didn’t see a turquoise Dodge Travco parked anywhere. Thing is, Dora (you remember Dora, our GPS, right?) had been trying to take me to some other location in north Portland. So, I made the assumption that I mis-remembered the location and followed Dora’s lead. Naturally, instead of just sending us north on Grant St. she took us across the Ross Island Bridge, up the freeway and then back across the river via the 405 bridge. Geez! Anyway, she finally got us to Hopworks which was right on a narrow street with virtually no parking and certainly nowhere to park a motorhome. Oy!
I checked Dora again. Hmmm. Seems there are two entries for Hopworks: Hopworks Bicycle Bar, where we were now, and Hopworks Urban Brewery on, you guessed it, 29th and Powell! How the hell did we miss it? Well, nothing to do but turn around and head back south. We did skip the part about crossing the river twice though. When we got back to the intersection, there it was, big as life. However, instead of saying Hopworks in big bold letters, it says “HUB”. Well, geez, how were we supposed to know that HUB and Hopworks were one and the same?
Not seeing the Travco anywhere, we were a little trepidatious when we entered. It got worse when we asked the hostess about the Bumfuzzle get-together and she had not a clue what we were talking about. She said there was a room in the back and we should go check there. We walked in and were immediately relieved when we saw Ali sitting at a table covered with purses, and food and beer mugs and kid things. We reintroduced ourselves sine we hadn’t seen each since 2010 and then, just once. But we’ve corresponded via e-mail and Ali remembered who we were. Lulu made the kids each a drawstring bag with 4 mini-beanbags inside. Lowe liked his okay but Ouest really took to hers. It wasn’t long before she had engaged some other little kids into a toss-it-into-the cup game. Made Lulu feel pretty good.
A little later, Pat came back from giving a bus tour and took Lulu and I down for a private tour. He’s really done a nice job restoring this old motorhome. I didn’t take any photos since it seemed way too groupie-ish and besides, if you want to see pictures of the family or the bus, there are more than plenty of them on their blog. We had a really great time and really appreciate the amount of visiting time Pat and Ali gave to Lulu and I.
Let’s see, what else?
This was the same lineup as when we saw Rodney for the first time about 10 years ago. They had a full band that time and this time it was just the three of them but it was still great. Besides being a first-rate songwriter, Rodney Crowell just flat knows how to put on a show. He knows the right songs to sing and when, knows when to turn things over to the other guys, when and how to include the audience, etc. His shows are superb.
A few days later, we went back up to the Aladdin to see Hayes Carll open for Bob Schneider. Now, I got Hayes’ first album “Flowers and Liquor” a long time ago (2002) when I read a review in Acoustic Guitar Magazine. It was a great album and still is. Continued to listen to his new albums as they came out, which was altogether to infrequently for my taste. Then, we drove down to Austin, Texas in must have been 2005 or so to see Todd Snider at La Zona Rosa. The day before, we were sitting in Threadgill’s having lunch and reading a local freebie music rag when I saw a listing saying that Hayes Carll was going to be playing a free show in the beer garden behind a restaurant on south Congress Street. I thought it was called the Hilltop but I can’t find an Austin listing for that. Anyway, we decided to go. Hayes did about a 45 minute set that was being broadcast over an Austin radio station. I think he was promoting his new album, “Little Rock”. Once the radio portion was done, he continued to entertain us for another half hour or so. Next time we saw him was in 2009 at the first Stingaree Music Festival he organized on Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. That was the last time we got to see him live so, when we saw him listed at the Aladdin, even if he was just the opening act, we had to go. We had no idea who Bob Schneider was but we figured that if he was associated with Hayes, how bad could he be?
Hayes put on a great show, as always and Bob Schneider was no slouch either.
It was just him, his guitar, his iPad, his synthesizer, and his effects pedals. His songs were catchy, for the most part, and smart. And his use of things like looping pedals was pretty freakin’ cool. It’s a good thing we don’t live here all the time since there are always good acts showing up at the Aladdin and concerts just aren’t cheap anymore. Maybe they never were.
Let’s see, what else have we been doing?
Lulu made an awesome awning for Flipper:
Then she made a zip-up bag to stow it in and next she’s going to make a bag to stow the poles and stakes in. She also completely remade the cushions in Flipper. We built the seat cushions using our tried and true method: 4″ of good cushion foam, topped by 1/2″ of closed cell foam to spread the weight out and then topped off with 1.5″ of memory foam. Should feel really good on our butts. I haven’t taken photos of the new cushions yet and can’t run right out and take one now since Flipper’s in the shop.
I wanted to raise Flipper’s back end a bit and, since the leaf springs were completely flat, I decided to see what could be done. Well, what could be done was to get new springs. Couldn’t find any aftermarket ones and neither, apparently, could our mechanic so, we’re having a new set made up in Portland. Figured that, as long as the rig was up in the air, might as well have the clutch replaced, all the lube points serviced and the transmission and differential oils replaced. It’ll be a tidy little sum of money but, at least she’ll be ready for what lies ahead.
The first thing that lies ahead is Ukulele University in Redmond, Oregon this coming weekend. Three days of camping and uking: workshops, concerts, jam sessions, etc. And, of course I added to my ukulele collection by purchasing a Kala KA-SBG baritone ukulele. Honest, the only reason I even went into the music store was to drop off my concert uke to have the bridge glued back on. But the baritone was calling to me and wouldn’t let me leave without it. I had no say in the matter. She sure sounds sweet.
BTW, Lulu’s been doing all of this sewing on her new (to her) Singer Model 401A slant-needle sewing machine (circa 1955). She decided to retire the Featherweight and use it only for jobs for which it was designed and not this heavy stuff she’s been sewing. The 401A got great reviews, even occasionally being called the “best machine Singer ever made”. She’s enjoying using it and we’re both enjoying the fruits of her labors.
Early on during our stay we helped Cody & Scott close in the chicken yard. The chickens aren’t as crazy about it as they were about wandering wherever they wanted to but all of the rest of us are really enjoying not having to watch out for chicken poop everywhere we walk.
We’ve also been anjoying babysitting our grandson, Neil, when the opportunity arises:
And we’re loving living in close proximity of our grand daughter Wyatt and watching her day-to-day development:
So, those are some of the things that have been occupying us for the last month and a half or so. We’re planning on hitting the road again around August 25th, after all of our various events are over. We’ll drive over to the coast, via Eugene, and then up to Astoria to stay with our cruising freinds Jasmine and Shannon (and Solice), then up through Washington to visit various friends, then to Montana via Moscow and Peck, Idaho, then….