Day 80: Interstate Tour 2018
The first full day of August Dulcimer Daze kicked off with a workshop on "2 Crooked Fiddle Tunes"; "The Old Black Cat Couldn't Catch A Rat" and "Texas." With one Dulcimerica episode left to produce before summer tour is complete, I decided to get two-camera video of the workshop to share with my patrons on Patreon as well as produce a shorter, edited version of one of the tunes for the podcast.
I love these two tunes, they're fun to play once you get your head around the strange time signature hiccups. By the end of the class, the students were playing both of the songs, always a great thing to see and hear.
Featured performers are rotated at the festival, and since I was featured last year, that meant that my musical performance would take place during the post-lunch instructor's concert. I opened the two-song set with a spirit song played on a Native American flute given to me by Roni Lesage. I met Roni at this event last year and she mentioned that she was sending me a Native American flute. When it arrived last fall, I was thrilled (it's an amazing flute), but she hadn't sent a return address or e-mail, so I had no way of contacting her.
This year, when she came up and asked if I had gotten the flute, I hugged her and thanked her like I'd wanted to thank her several months ago. The gift of a Native American flute from another player is one of the most special and beautiful gifts that you can receive - it's intertwined with your overall journey with the NAF, moments woven in like bits of colored yarn. She then gifted me with another flute, and I thanked and hugged her again. It was great to share this story today, and I tried hard to not tear up, but failed miserably, having to wipe my eyes afterwards so that I could switch gears and move in a different direction.
I decided to do a blues improv, on baritone mountain dulcimer, about clam bellies and it went over like gangbusters (New England audience, man), resulting in a lot of hot tips on where to get clam bellies. It's like a secret society up here with the food. Inside track yields the best approach.
"Picking Your Destiny" was my advanced workshop in the afternoon and I taught my original tune "Campin'" as well as provided finger exercises and guidance for using multiple fingers in sequence for flatpicking fast fiddle tunes.
In between workshops, I spoke with folks at my vending table, made a couple of trips back and forth to Imua for lunch and for purpose of beginning the video encoding process for the footage I'd just shot. During passages, I caught a glimpse of the other camper in the parking lot here at the Mount Snow Ski Resort. A young guy with two dogs and a Jeep; seems pretty laid-back and we exchanged nods as I made my way back to Imua. At one point, as I was heading back to the Mountaineer Inn, both dogs came tear-assing towards me, barking. I greeted them a warm voice, watched their tails begin to wag, held out my closed hand for them to smell, and then it was on. One of the goodbois, a golden retriever mix, had a stick in his mouth, which he dropped, then alternately picked up, at my feet.
"Oh, I see," I said, getting the 'play' signal. His buddy, with the markings of a border collie, perked up as I gingerly grabbed the stick, and then tossed it away towards their masters' Jeep. They dashed away happily, nipping at each other as they skidded through the dry grass and gravel. As I continued walking, I realized that they might've continued the game as I got further and further away, but they seemed content to take turns stealing the stick from the other, so I turned around and continued on. Random game of fetch on the way to class on a beautiful day - you can't beat that.
I struck my vending table as dinner began and headed down to the theater where tonight's concert would feature Jeff and Janet Furman along with Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen. With a couple of hours till the show, I edited Dulcimerica and the workshop video for Patreon, discovered free city WiFi in Dover (this hot streak is making up for the wretched WiFi I had for a while there) and even got some uploading done.
The show was fabulous, the song selection was wonderful and I got to visit a bit more with some folks during the break. It's been incredible how many people have been following along with this tour from the very beginning - around the country in 80 days - and I find myself fielding questions about places to stay for RVers. My park fee expenses average around $250 a month, which is nothing compared to a lot of folks. Walmart Resort is my first choice for "lodging" and that's always free (with convenient shopping.) I used to think it was weird that people would camp in a Walmart parking lot. Now, I have an app for that. Getting older is fun as much as it is strange.
With a new Dulcimerica produced and scheduled (and shared with patrons) and a full-length workshop slowly making its way through the pipe, I sat and watched a couple more episodes of Disenchanted on Netflix. It started off not so great last night but had begun to improve in the third installment. With only ten episodes available, I figured I'd binge through them all before the week was out.
The plan now - get some rest, wake up, say goodbyes and hit the road in a southernly way.