Raggin' Piano Boogie


HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010

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May 31, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

It was a hundred and six degrees outside today. I am so thankful the Traveling Piano is in a garage. Water, snow, rain, wind, cold, dirt, humidity, heat, sun, dryness ha, what extreme next... I don't want to know. My host here in Vegas for the last week, Brian Janis the Las Vegas "Go to Guy" for the best in Commercial Photography for almost thirty years now... who also has a reputation as being Nevada's most dangerous photographer as a result of his photo shoots while hanging off tall buildings, from helicopters, hand gliders and from sky dives... well, once the sun went down we went Roof Top Surfing on big Las Vegas hotel roofs with the Traveling Piano. Before that we drove the strip for a bit, stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe to listen to some great live music and Brian got drunk because of not eating before we went out to party. A young girl tried to hit on me... probably the strangest thing to happen in the last ten years hahah... she was just a party girl having fun and I'd say a "five." I was pretty impressed with myself.

May 30, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

It is at least a hundred degrees everyday. The piano and equipment was getting fried until Brian let me put it in his garage. He got free tickets to the Miss USA pageant preliminary show. It was the swimsuit evening gown part. We were five rows from the stage. THe event was held in Planet Hollywood. This was my first Las Vegas casino experience. The fact that there were cameras everywhere and everyone was being watched at every angle all the time form the ceilings gave me the creeps. I finished another slideshow.

May 29, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

I picked up the truck from the repair shop today. The breaks are fixed. Somehow the emergency break got stuck and melted the pads on the back breaks and they fell off. The emergency break is still not working correctly, the guy adjusted it twice but still... (this has been a problem for twenty years that no one has figured out) so I just need to continue. Eventually something will go wrong again and then I'll ask that mechanic. I began to meander around town, then headed for the sunset. I missed it but found Lone Mountain park in North las Vegas and created music into the night on yet another new piano. Something must have jiggled around with the equipment because the sound was extra good. I have a little concern with the temperatures always around a hundred and everything I own getting fried under the black tarp when the truck is not in use.

May 28, 2012

Nelson's Landing, Nevada

Today was a major adventure. Brian, Deanna, Me, Mo and Sparky took a four wheeler into the desert to find a cove on the Colorado river. It took a few hours extra because we got lost. I loved the entire time. It was difficult and dangerous with concerns of getting stuck in sand, lost without a backup vehicle, riding twists in the road not knowing if another vehicle would hit us head on... riding ridges that were easy to drive off especially with the sun in our eyes, the tires blowing out from the rocks and holes... Ahh... I know it all to well with the Traveling Piano and I did not have to worry or give a shit at all!

Ha, it was wonderful just sitting in the back seat losing weight from getting jolted and thrown around all over the place. I just watched the scenery in total amazement of driving on terrain my two wheeler truck could never go with not a care in the world. My body took in two gallons of water today. We found a pretty much deserted town named Nelson which used to be a mining town in hills... You know those world war two war fighter plane movies? This is the area they were shot in, dry mountains and valleys. We saw a jack rabbit about four feet high running through the desert and then finally reached the river.

It was like being yet in another world with the greenery, blue water, island mounds and the backdrop of Fire Mountain Nevada. I took off my clothes and jumped into the water, Mo jumped in also, we ate, took a short hike and then had to get out before the sun set. We were between sixty and seventy miles into the dessert southeast of Las Vegas having traveled through the Eldorado Valley. It was all as awesome as anything else I have seen on this journey. At home the night ended with a viewing of Priscilla Queen of the Desert a movie about two Aussie drag queens and a transsexual who get a cabaret gig in the middle of the desert.

May 26, 2012

Spring Valley, Nevada

Shoot em' up movies, episodes of South Park, yard work, socializing with Brian's adopted friend Rosie... I took the broken piano to the store today and they switched it for a new one per the warranty... good/bad thing I purchased it from a national chain store... Rosie enjoyed playing the piano for the first time in the back yard. She was a great with it! I created some music for her too and then went out to purchase lots of steak which Deanna grilled for dinner... Mo's confusing the house dog Sparky and Sparky is confusing Mo. As a result Mo is beginning to irritate everyone...

As always posting pictures on the website... the weather has been perfect and it is so unfortunate the truck is in the shop broken. Tuesday at eighty seven bucks an hour labor average for a Las Vegas auto mechanic... well Tuesdays not here yet. I am staying in a pirate themed bedroom that has alot of fun thought put into it. Brian has a sensibility of whimsical humor about his home decor very similar to how I had decorated my old home. I keep feeling like I've known him forever. This is not the first time I've had this experience staying with someone.

May 26, 2012

Spring Valley, Nevada

I did not write the blog for today. What I did today... clueless, this is not the first time this has happened. I know I watched a bunch of movies with Brian and Deanna while working on website files and did slideshow work and took the dogs to a dog park. I think that was it for today when it feels a little like I should be out walking the strip or doing Las Vegas things. The energy is not present for that.

May 25, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

Absolutely, it was difficult not to have the Traveling Piano with me. Ahhh... will not be repaired until Tuesday? Ha, I wonder if control issues are present as I can go no where without asking for a ride... not that I want to. I spent the day figuring out another slideshow, the second in a series of Alaska. The new friends I am staying with... I must constantly allow myself to trust that they are ok with my staying longer than expected, also I don't "party" and life all around would be so much easier in some ways with most of the people I stay with if I did... but then again if i did, it would not be for long because I'd be dead. We all went to the dog park today, watched a few movies... I peed on a special slate of rock "Into the Light" between two trees in Brian's back yard tonight... the beam of light shoots into the air from the top of the Luxor hotel on the strip. I know a lot of country folk I've stayed with go outside but Brian's the first city folk. Ha... why waste toilet water?

May 24, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

Mountains, trees, flowers, bees...not today. I have been falling into an infatuation with Las Vegas. Give me the city lights, energy, people, buildings, money the massiveness of it all... the variety, the accessibility. It is a fun place no doubt about it. I stayed up late again last night and slept late again into the afternoon. It feels natural. Forcing myself to jump start the journey today was a drag but I am sure glad I got off my ass. Feeling a little rushed because of what I want to do is disturbing. The people running Fremont Street would not allow me to drive the truck onto the street for a picture. Why did I ask? I should never ask. In the beginning I would just do it, ...and did.

Mo and I met up with friends at a couchsurfing get together in Town Square an upscale shopping dinning, party complex where locals go. It was very big with streets as cool as it can get, music everywhere... after parking the Traveling Piano for a short while with music I drove Rob, Destiny and their couchsurfer from Poland I forget her name... around the complex while they tickled the piano ivories. Once it became my turn the police stopped us and threw us out. I tried to argue that people can play radios from their vehicles and he threw the seatbelt law at me. Such bullshit. Hanging out in a club of dressed up, clean, young people... ha, at first I felt completely lost and then... I stayed that way. Letting go and just being consciously lost was fun for a change. After playing music in the Town Center parking lot before we left I followed my friends to the iconic Las Vegas sign in the middle of the boulevard just south of the strip. Of course there was pictures while interacting with people and music. I had to get out of the spot. It could have turned into an all night thing. There was a constant stream of tourists and people out on the town. Tomorrow I am sure this place will be a madhouse with the Memorial Day weekend.

While driving back to my motel, something big broke under the truck. I heard it, smelt it, felt the clunking against the brake and clutch big time. With no phone numbers in the truck to call for help I just stayed calm. Having just turned the corner out of major traffic my speed went to a fifteen miles an hour and I crawled into the bus lane by the side of the road looking at all options as to where I would stop if necessary and even leave the truck overnight. We were about two and a half miles from the motel and not in the best of neighborhoods... at all. I put on my emergency flashers and it was nothing short of a miracle that I made it back to the motel without any traffic the entire way! I did not get a chance to eat today so I got into my room and ordered a large extra cheese, pepperoni, mushroom pizza with a two liter bottle of soda. Thats how I dealt with it. I wanted a pizza anyway. I feel ok because I know I will do whatever is necessary and have the ability but... not tonight... I am not doing anything except this blog and going to bed with a big cheesy, greasy pizza in ma' belly. Probably, sleep is not going to happen very well.

May 23, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

I was up until five in the morning again last night and slept until room service woke me up at two in the afternoon! I must have needed that sleep. There is so much I want to do here in Las Vegas to not become overwhelmed will be tricky. Mo and I took a long walk in the heat and I thought how much easier it is to find places to walk in large cities verses in rural areas with mountain paths, rocks and hills. Three interested workers outside the motel where I am staying kept eyeing me and the truck so we had some fun. I found the big time lights of Las Vegas tonight. They are on Fremont street. I did not create music on the street because it is only for pedestrians. It has a large shade covering several blocks probably for the sun. Video's of what was happening on the street were being projected up there.

About fifty cartoon, celebrity characters etc... were busking... seriously busking for bucks. I did not see one having any fun. Some looked dejected just standing and waiting around for someone to engage with them. At first it looked like everything would be fun but in reality it all weirded me out after a short time. Onward... I stopped on a random street to get a few Mexican hotdogs from a vendor and had an experience with many locals. That felt really good. For the first time that I can remember a homeless woman got on for a short while to play. She was so very guarded... past abuse and sickness was obvious but that did not stop her from trusting Mo and I for a short bit of musical fun.

Random people walking down the street, the local tailor, kids coming home from playing neighborhood sports and the vendors... everyone was getting into the synchronicity and spontaneity of the moment. Lastly, a musician named Botielus connected with me. He was giging at a local bar so I went to give him some support. It was a classic situation of live music in a big empty Las Vegas almost dive bar, a friend of his was sitting looking on his eye phone, two other guys were drinking at the bar, the bar tender and Bo_tie_less creating Yannie type music on a large stage. He's a good musician doing what he enjoys doing for tips and to sell CD's. Of course he would like an audience but the music is more important in of itself for him. That was obvious.

May 22, 2012

Arizona, Nevada

Thankful today for being able to continue holding on with this journey as I drove into a dessert of mountains and the smell of a cooking wood piano shell, truck metal, rubber tires and all the belongings in the back of the Traveling Piano truck because... it was mid afternoon full sun with a hundred and eight degree heat... oh well, that did not stop me from taking a side road detour that looked interesting like it might go down into the mountains which it did all the way to a place called Willow Beach. Water... my God was that surprising! We were at the end of the grand canyon with water from the Colorado river near Hoover Dam where white tail antelope look for shade and people fish. There was an astounding lookout point where I wanted so much to create music. Mo would have dried up and I am not totally yet ready to die so I passed with a sad bye, bye. Wow, the Traveling Piano entered Nevada for the first time ever. As we drove into Las Vegas the sounds of rubber on the highway was deafening. I never heard anything like it and... I think I was the only one hearing the sound because everyone else driving was using their air conditioning. If I turned mine on it would have taken the truck about three minutes to overheat.

My first destination having no idea where I would end up was on the strip. I was hoping to find a canyon of tall buildings creating shade. Ha... not. A bunch of huge architectural buildings many of them totally gaudy and massed together is what I found. Once I saw the huge fake New York city buildings with a huge Statue of Liberty in front and a roller coaster going through it all around the hotel rooms I was like... "I don't think I want to stop here in Vegas, just drive through and get the hell out!" It was all nauseating and the throngs of people reminded me of Universal studios, an amusement pier at the Jersey shore and New York city times square after they cleaned it up to look like Disneyland. Somehow I found myself driving through a parking lot of adult everythings and wedding places where Elvis will marry you and saw a motel I had been looking at online yesterday. I went to check it out... clean, refurbished, no service fees, dog friendly, internet, fridge, balcony (which I can't really use because it is a hundred degrees in the shade) and a no charge parking spot where I can keep an eye on the truck from above. Best part... only friggin' $113 total for three nights! After paying for the room an email came through for a place to stay if needed which made me feel very welcomed.

I drove to meet my new friends Bob Barker (not the tv one) and his soon to be wife Destiny and they had a magnificent view of the city from their rooftop. Do you know how I have often talked about the expanse of nature and vistas I have seen so far on this journey? Well, I have never seen such an expanse of city lights and lit up buildings as here in Las Vegas. It is as awesome as natural nature. With the heat even at night on the city in lights... everything looks almost like a mirage. Off the strip, the real city so far... I like alot. It has been a year since being in a major city feel where its not raining or snowing. At night I drove the strip again to scope it out... the crowds had doubled since daytime. The humidity here... it was 4% today. All those dorky street buildings and casinos I saw in daylight were spectacular at night although no more lit up than in New York. I had expected to be blinded by the light. I cannot believe it having finally made it to Las Vegas, Nevada with the Traveling Piano after twenty six years... loving every minute of it.

One more thing... I went to turn on the light in my bathroom and found a one inch pair of fake eyelashes stuck to the light switch. They are not just regular lashes and considering the area of town where I am staying they must have been put there by a hooker. Hahaha... I am completely grossed out by the implications yet at the same time throughly entertained. I can't seem to take them off the wall even as I write this. Ewww... Hahaha... Ewww... Ewww...! The bathroom floor is sticky and slippery at the same time and I want to go into denial about that. Damm... I now see another eyelash stuck to the television screen and am totally skeeved.

May 21, 2012

Kingman, Arizona

My God, I have been complaining alot. Feeling good about being unsettled is exhausting! It is fairly certain I am in a transition of some sort. Ha, have always been will always be... I smell like motel air conditioning and it has only been one day in a motel. After staying up until five in the morning last night I slept until one in the afternoon today. I should feel good about being in my own space doing whatever I want to do. Most of the afternoon was spent looking for places to stay and checking out hotel rates in Las Vegas on the internet. Man, the way business is done now-a-days... there is the room price and then in some places they do not charge for a second person but will charge for a dog... it can be twenty-five bucks per night. Fuck that. And then there is a service/resort fee of like fifteen to twenty percent on top of the room fee (thats for stuff like the newspaper in the lobby even if you don't read it) then the hotel sales tax and then some places charge for parking or use vale parking on top of the other fees.

My plan was to not go out at all today because the weather report said it might reach a hundred and ten degrees. Hype as usual but after five in the afternoon I did take Mo to the local dog park and played some music there. How could I not create music on a perfect day weather wise? It cools down here after the sun goes down at this time of year. The music felt good even though it was an effort to start. Continually, I find myself searching for a piece of sky over pole wires, fences, signs and buildings verses looking at pure nature as I create music. I am lodging on the famed Route 66. The only way to know it is a famous road is because signs say so. Other than that it is like any other nondescript road. There are also signs pointing for Los Angeles about three hundred miles away. I cannot believe I am so close to Los Angeles after all these years. Part of me just wants to drive there and touch it before I head up north just to say I did it in case I am rerouted again. As it now seems I will head north so I can come down the pacific coast.

May 20, 2012

Hualapai Mountain, Arizona

Leaving Prescott today I felt really good. My prayers were answered from last night. I embraced the idea of getting a motel room instead of finding someone to stay with as fun... and going to Las Vegas also fun. Maybe I'll stay in a casino! Getting a room for myself is needed that's for sure. I have not been in a space of my own since the beginning of February. After getting pictures of Mo and Luna on top of the piano with Jason, Hilary and Arwinn... Mo and I headed to Kingman, Arizona for two nights. I overpaid for a Motel 6 room... so what. I'm here and its clean. An annular eclipse was happening today, the moon passing over the sun. No way was I going to miss that! I wanted to record music with it. I dropped my stuff off in the motel room and began to drive around town looking for an overlook. I asked a lady at the local laundromat and she said she saw on television that the eclipse would be at six forty-five. I needed that time to find a place and we ended up heading... no, racing for Hualapai mountain a spot I had seen on the internet.

I was driven... to get there in time while driving, ha! The truck began to climb the hill and would not top twenty miles an hour. It didn't feel like a steep climb but I guess it was. I saw an empty RV parking lot overlooking the sunset, pulled in about fifteen minutes before it was to happen... there was a couple there for the same reason as me and I asked them to take pictures for me. The eclipse... oh my God it was so exciting for me I felt like I was making an ass of myself musically with the excitement but I could care less it was just so awesome for me. I never saw anything like it... what an earthly experience it was. Being such a moon person I could not take my eyes off the process and could have cared less if I burned my eyes out or the rest of me too. A guy and his son found us. Another family found us. The first guy Mike came back to take video of me creating music and I had no idea who he was. It was total lala land for me... for sure. It was amazing to watch the moon cross the sun at sunset in the mountains. Even though the eclipse was happening the people there were looking at me! I wanted to tell them to turn around and watch the sun with the music. Afterwards, I spent a good amount of time alone with Mo creating music which was very fulfilling. I knew people were listening all around in the trees, on the hills, in the mountains... that felt good too.

May 19, 2012

Prescott, Arizona

These days I need to lay low until the sun sets. Jason, Hilary, Arwinn, Mo and I headed to the park under some shady trees... Arwinn brought along his piano which was a perfect fit for on top of mine! We improvised together. YouTube I drove the family around the park while they jammed together. Mo sat on top the entire time. Afterwards a local family having a picnic came over to mess around. I stopped for some frozen yogurt on the way back and ran into a group who just returned from a week of wilderness survival training. I've been really out of it not knowing where to go or what to do next. Money issues are always trying to rear their ugly heads while I stay conscious in faith about the unlimited amount of money that will come my way as I need it. Being unsure of life can be very waring.

While falling asleep I was praying to the Holy Spirit whatever that is to give me direction and guidance. I am really thankful I have a purpose, a mission that distinguishes me from someone who is just roaming around lost. Today in the park also, a couple homeless guys came over to have a time with the Traveling Piano. It has really been messing with my brain seeing so many single men wandering the streets feeling like they have no place to go, wondering what will happen to them... men my age who are not alcoholics or drug addicts. Many are war veterans and while constantly being told to move along without a place to pitch a tent they fear sleeping because younger kids bully them all the time. That is the number one fear I hear over and over, kids attacking them. They were telling me how the city is talking about charging a fee to use the library so they can't go in to read or use the computers. They tried to charge the homeless assistance food truck a permit fee to distribute food in the park.

May 18, 2012

Prescott, Arizona

It was a slow start. Hilary took Arwinn to a local kids activity and that left me alone in the house for three hours and... that was perfect. I showered, groomed, did my laundry, ate, cleaned the truck, re-packed things all in my own time with periods to stop and zone out because I had no other choice. They came back and we all went out to the town square for a while. It was a really nice square with all types of people local business people, homeless, alcoholic, kids, tourists... everyone seemed comfortable on a beautiful sunny, seventy five degrees day with tall trees for shade everywhere.

There were open drinking fountains for people in the square. That stood out because many cities and towns are now out to make a buck even with drinking water for the public. A homeless guy stood out. He was very interested in what the Traveling Piano had to offer but said, "I'm too depressed to try and play the piano." I coaxed him on to create some musical notes and we spent some time together. He was my age, had a somewhat high end job at a waste management company most of his life, said he made some dumb moves (he didn't seem alcoholic or anything) is now homeless and afraid of kids around bullying him, can't find a public place to pitch his tent and can't seem to find the "where-with-all" to move into a better situation. I have been around many homeless people who live on the streets but this guy hit "home" a little too close. I think this was the first time I've met in person someone who has the tools needed to move forward but just lacks the where-with-all to put them to use. I talked about gratitude with him while feeling very unsettled. The only difference between him and me was that I have a piano, dog and truck with a few bucks left and... I hold the key of gratitude.

I finally purchased a pair of sandals after a month of thinking and looking... along with a new pair of shorts yesterday and giving one of my coats to Hilary today because I have no room to store it in the truck... and then having a bunch more people jump onto the truck every time I stopped somewhere... feeling more and more joyful intent when I am creating music... having kids say stuff like I am the coolest person they ever met... ha, its all good... today. I think having the time alone in the morning helped me to gain a sense of myself. That along with the willingness to express any goodness I can sense.

May 17, 2012

Prescott, Arizona

My suitcase full of clothes... I left them at Barbara's house back in Cornville... had no idea until she emailed me about it today so... back to Cornville to get my clothes. On the way I stopped at my host Jason's work. He is a fireman and was out on a call... a big bee problem somewhere. Before that... his wife Hillary with some friends had a short time on the Traveling Piano. The day was mixed up. Jason and Hillary had a friend coming to stay for a few nights that they forgot about when I showed up. They were willing to deal with my staying and rearranging things in the house to make room. I had to decide wether I could handle the energy flying around with four year old Arwinn, Luna the dog, two cats (one that wants to attack Mo), guest David and Jason when he returns from work. The issue is that I always feel I need time to get my head together in order to continue and need a private space to do that. I could have chosen a motel but we all decided to cope together for the sake of relationship and who we are as people. Jason and Hillary are very authentic people. Thirty year old high school sweethearts totally in love with each other and they have a terrific son, Arwinn. Jason while being a fireman also creates pottery and Hillary is a photographer who works with black and white darkroom development. Check out her website... she creates uniquely interesting and amazing art like I have never seen before. The picture I posted was done without anything digital like Adobe Photoshop, etc... Hilary's Website

I read through a book with four year old Arwinn today. Just even writing that brings a smile to my face. It was crazy for me to call this family at the last minute and for us to meet... my having totally forgotten (once again) that I called them back in February. Jason and Hillary both have no siblings and they live a pagan based spiritual life. They are perfect hosts for this journey. I appreciate them totally. They have been around... Texas, Boulder Colorado, New Mexico, Sedona, but their having gone to college in Oregon and the influence the place has had on their lives... well, it made me decide for sure the Traveling Piano is heading back up to check out Oregon before winter comes back. Jason and Hillary have also traveled like I do now but on bicycles throughout Italy and a few other countries. They now enjoy giving back the hospitality they received from hosts while in europe. They have a new home and want to share it with others. Everyone will get up at seven in the morning tomorrow. Yikes on that one!

May 16, 2012

Prescott, Arizona

We are in a high dessert today. The temperature is cooler, prairie grass began to replace cactus, cows are around, wide sweeping open views like in Montana. Riding around on top of the world like on the Alcan highway in Alaska. We were in the Verde Valley having traveled switchbacks on the smoothest narrowest winding roads to date through the central mountains of Arizona. And it was all green with no burnt out beetle invested areas. That green was nice! In the distance the mountain textures and shapes reminded me of Denali. And then... we were driving in them, with them, part of them! On the way we stopped at a shady scenic lookout. Two brothers found us with another guy who was with them. The one guy felt we were a birthday present for him as he sat and improvised music into the mountains.

Before leaving Sedona, Mo and I revisited the vortex that will forever have a special feeling associated with it... for me. No one was there except for Mo, myself and Bo in spirit. The three of us as one with passing warm breezes in the sun we sat still high in the air on solid rock. The serenity to experience was beautiful. Only a moment before, having no idea where I was going to go or stay today... literally as I took the last step onto the top of the vortex a strong breeze whisked in a phone call to invite us to stay in Prescott for a few nights. I don't make this stuff up! I was expecting a call but had no idea if things would work out.

May 15, 2012

Jerome, Arizona

The day began with coffee in Barbara's backyard while watching birds feed babies, hummingbirds fly around with yellow breasted wrens and lots more. It was hot so I was not going anywhere until the late afternoon. A friend visited and jumped onto the piano and then Barbara came with Mo and I as we headed to the town of Jerome, Arizona now known as an artsy town but in 1903 the New York Sun newspaper proclaimed it to be "the Wickedest Town in the West". There was lots of prostitution, gambling and vice going on. I drove in front of the town bar played a Boogie on the Piano then ran inside and played the Maple Leaf Rag on the hundred year old upright and then... ran back out to improvise some music on the street for a bit while getting as many people as possible involved with playing for themselves.

When I was playing on that old piano indoors I was having a lot of fun feeling the past history of Ragtime music in the old hall without knowing the history of the place. Ragtime became popular in old whorehouses. Jerome is a town that has been established on the side of Cleopatra Hill in Yavapai County, Arizona. It is a mining town for copper and has also been mined for silver and gold. We stopped on a random street for a short while and then for the sunset drove up through and into the mines to a high mountain ledge where we parked the truck and I was in my nature environment for creating music overlooking the earth. It was an amazing vista point. Before leaving Barbara knew another great scenic spot where the music bounced off surrounding mountains. A couple from New Orleans found us for a short spell.

May 14, 2012

Sedona, Arizona

It is difficult to move forward when I am operating so in the present moment. As in the last place I stayed with my friend Maggie... Barbara now has been gifting me with her bed and private room while she takes the sofa. Nice, eh? Barbara has lived in Cornville Arizona for the last thirty years and has been a nurse practitioner specializing in hospice care. Her family is now grown and out of the nest. The love of her life Taylor, her dog passed recently so Mo is acting somewhat as a surrogate dog friend for our visit. We all drove into Sedona to find a vortex and pair of sandals. The first store we went in the guys asks if I am from Philly as he recognized my accent. Ends up he used to have a house down the street from my old house in Bucks County Pennsylvania. I wanted him to come out of his store for a second and get onto the Traveling Piano but it was a no go. A local gal jumped up onto the piano and then a woman Barbara had just met came over and then Lorena an old friend of Barbara's came by.

Along with another woman they met while standing around, a guy who happened by... the usual happenings... and then I drove Barbara and Lorena around the parking lot while they played on the piano. I told them they had to keep making musical notes to keep the truck running. Ha! Someone called me the "Minister of the Flow." There is a Vortex here in Sedona that I have been strongly pulled to and we found it today. It was the Vortex Piano Dog Bo and I found back in 2007 an experience that altered the journey in a most amazing way. It is all blogged here on this website. My being with Piano Dog Mo on top of this Vortex today was emotional, it was significant, it was a sort of coming home for Bo, Mo and myself. We were all there together in spirit... very satisfying. After the sun set and before leaving I shared the Traveling Piano with a lot of people! Driving back to our digs I felt exhausted and fulfilled.

May 13, 2012

Cottonwood, Arizona

I left Phoenix thinking, "I gotta get the fuck out of here." It was just too damm hot!!! I was thinking about whether I rather die from the cold in Alaska or the heat here in Arizona. The answer was neither. As time moves on it seems that I accomplish less. I don't know whether that is a fact or not. I do know that the Traveling Piano did not get into the center of Tucson or Phoenix in all the time I was at both places there was no sightseeing and only one hike. Oh well... as I drove north and the elevation became higher, what a relief from the heat. Being back out in the country brought just as much relief especially after driving through some smokin' desert. We ended up in Cornville with a new friend named Barbara.

I am consciously aware of how having a place to stay always works out. Mo and I are experiencing a major shift in environment and the temperature... went from a hundred and five to about seventy today. It will be in the fifties tonight. Ahhh... the Oak Creek runs through Cornville so there is a lot of greenery. From what I have seen so far it is a very rural area and I just love that. Barbara's friend Jenny had an impromptu pot luck supper in nearby Cottonwood and invited us for some tasty salmon, fruit, salad, cookies... we all had fun with friends, the neighbors and their dogs...

May 12, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona

As I picked the truck up from the mechanic today and began to drive out of the lot... and put it into reverse... the same grind happened that was supposed to be fixed ... we talked about it... it is one of those issues of the truck being old and the transmission syncro's that can/could/might last for a long time before the transmission needs to be replaced. At least the clutch is new and will not add to the destruction of the syncro's. The guys jumped onto the truck for a picture before I left and I played some Boogie Woogie for the crew. As I sat with my morning coffee observing the people in the apartment complex where I have been staying I noticed that no matter how disconnected people are with sanity or insanity they always naturally connect with music. I see and hear it through the music coming out of everyones apartment, as they walk around with headphones and radios and of course always with the Traveling Piano.

I don't know what is wearing on me more... the journey or the heat. Did you know it is still a hundred degrees at eleven in the evening here in the dessert? I thought it was supposed to get cold at night. Not with asphalt streets! All day long I had intermittent encounters with the truck. After my friend Maggie got off work we went and visited some girl friends of hers. I took a quick swim in her pool and then played a bit out in front of the apartment complex. No one stopped by. After meeting with some friends later on a few people interacted with us. Just as the sun set I raced to pinnacle peak to create some music while totally jonsin' to play in the mountains with nature. On the way up the road with the sun already set... the dessert looked so hot and dry that the cactus looked like they were burnt. I parked the truck looking down into the city between two mountain peaks and began to play.

In the distance I saw a runner moving across the side of the mountain. I thought, "wow, in this heat." It was a woman, she stopped running trying to figure out the Traveling Piano from a distance. (which always makes me laugh) Then she continued on her run for another quarter mile and I saw her in the distance stop again. She turned around and began to run back towards me. That was most enjoyable to experience! When she got close enough to give me her approving energy I said to quick jump on the truck to play while there was still some light to get a picture. She was my age running to prepare for a twenty six mile day hike around the grand canyon next month. Wow! The whole experience of her was energizing for me in every way. It brought the journey totally back into a positive focus for me. Afterwards I had to rush because I was late for dinner with Rachel and Deb who I has stayed with a few days ago. I was invited to a family dinner with their daughter Sheila and boyfriend Jacob and Rachel's sister Salli and brother in law George. It was an honor to be included. I've been invited to four dinners in the last week and a half.

May 11, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona

Last night I fell asleep thinking of how tired I am getting of setting up places to stay. Part of me wants it all to end although I do not want to end it all. Thoughts of taking Mo to leave with friends who said they would care for him if he needed a home, thoughts of just leaving forever to another country by myself in order to disappear, thoughts of copping out and giving up on life (which I don't think is possible in reality)... I am not going to deny they exist. The truck is in the garage getting a new clutch. I can choose to acknowledge that the place is a block away from where I am staying which is very convenient, the guy gave me a price of $500 which is $300 less than the last guy and $800 less than the dealer, he took it in to do immediately, he is interested... and with the rest of life I can choose to make a gratitude list in the many hundreds. I've been thinking about the over a hundred different people I have stayed with having never met them before. It has only been recently that I can comfortably say that if I had a home again, strangers could stay with me. Like a recent friend said, "I just do it, I don't think about it." He trusts his intent and has already decided that it is a good thing, something he wants for and in his life, he has the ability so... "Just Do It." Ha, but knowing when enough is enough...

May 10, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona

My friend Maggie's new place where we are staying... she lives in an inner city apartment complex. All the apartment doors face inward to a common area that has a swimming pool and picnic tables. Kids ride their tricycles around on the balcony surrounding the pool. Music, talking on cell phones, dogs barking, televisions, people coming in and out of their apartments to smoke a cigarette or whatever while hanging over the balconies... the place has a very communal feeling. There are about eight "Lost Boys of Sudan" refugees who survived the ethnic cleansing of the African Sudanese war living here. We were having a little conversation this morning and they were saying that the police came to the complex almost everyday but only for noise complaints. The people I've met are extremely intelligent, insightful, respectful, super friendly... the place is clean along with its community "clicks" of people like the welfare mom's, drugies, released jailbirds, mexican families, rehab placed people, low income single blacks, whites, etc... ha, and Mo and I... where do we fit into all this and that?

Hopefully everyone will get onto the Traveling Piano before we leave. A dad and his son and another guy found us in the parking lot so far. I feel as comfortable with everyone here as I do with the people who live up the road in multi-million dollar gated communities where a person is not allowed to park their jaguar in their own driveway because of the neighborhood housing association rules. One downfall... the noise! Ha, not much sleep to be had, so be it. Today things worked out that I was able to help Maggie move some belongings from storage and we picked a dresser, television and several lamps for her new apartment. So many things are happening it is getting too complicated. It all would be too lengthy to write about. Here is a short attempt... the truck needs at least a new clutch, people I had never met invited us to stay with them and turned us onto a mechanic they trust. These people invited me to dinner tonight to meet some friends of theirs. On the way I saw a sign on the road advertising a place that specializes in clutches. Having never seen something like that before I stopped in to inquire the price, wooed the guy a little and he offered to help me out to the tune of three hundred less than the other guy. The day ended with two fun older ladies playing musical notes onto the truck into dark.

May 09, 2012

Phoenix, Arizona

I have no internet where I am staying so it is back to public places for awhile. Also the water, need to buy it... can't handle the taste of the public water. There are public dispensers on the streets that are cleaned daily... .25 cents a gallon. Cafes and restaurants have outdoor sitting areas that also have water misting down from the tops of the buildings or awnings. The temperatures... in the triple digits and summer is not even here yet. We are staying with my friend Maggie who I have not seen for over ten years. After getting reacquainted... onward to the local Home Depot to have a spare key made for my stay which will be for four nights. Immediately people were drawn to the truck... surprising people! One guy came out of the store in worn work pants having spent the day painting a hotel. He played piano as good as I do if not better. Another older, thin very rough looking guy wearing suspenders played some really good Boogie Woogie.

A girl named Julie, it was her forty eighth birthday and I ended up driving her around the parking lot as she played the Ally Cat and waved her hands yelling hello to people... very spontaneous, funny and fun! Afterwards while driving on the road, clouds appeared big-time and a haboob headed straight for us. A haboob is an intense dust storm. I jumped out of the truck to put the cover on and luckily rain began which made the dirt fall straight down verses swirling around into the truck and musical equipment. I wondered how much longer I can do this journey. Being on the road even with three and four night stays and after over a two month stay in one place... getting restful sleep is not happening. While backing up the truck today I hit a pole or wall three times. Where-With-All... barley! Ha, I heard Oprah say awhile back that she wants God or the Universe to use her up. Thats what I think. Its a good ride I have been on and it feels really good to be serving a purpose... fun, friendship and respect.

May 08, 2012

Scottsdale, Arizona

There are tons tangelo trees dropping sweet fruit everywhere. The fruit is inside a pocket of orange just drooping to be eaten. A tangelo is a crossing between a tangerine, a grapefruit and an orange. Once the sun sets the smell of sweet lemon flower fills the air. While driving around Scottsdale today I was thinking... this place is gorgeous. It is not only gorgeous but super gorgeous! The conservative political elements that have created this space... almost makes me want to be conservative! Hahaha... It is a very environmentally different lifestyle here than I have experienced anywhere else although the affluent behavior and attitude is the same as anywhere else. Driving around "knocked my socks off." Thinking about attitude made me feel grateful that I don't have to play any attitude games and how much I do not want to start. I stopped at a store to get new shoes and shorts but couldn't do it. Decisions, always a hassle. Walking inside a large department store now gives me a jolt for some reason... the world inside stores and shopping malls are becoming more and more foreign to me.

I felt pulled into the center of Scottsdale and parked at a random spot I was drawn to. Very slowly and quietly I eased music into the space. Younger folk were instantly attracted while older folk in the stores I could feel would not be caught dead letting their clients see them jump up onto a truck to mess around with a piano. Deb wanted for me to meet his neighbors so before it got dark I played curbside in front of his house for about twenty minutes and then embraced the fact that no one was going to come near us. I took the truck to an auto mechanic, he says it needs a new clutch so far... People I have not met have invited us to stay with them while the repairs get done. I asked a guy at the shop if he wanted to try out the piano and having never played before and without thought he said... "sure."

That is an impulsive way of being that I really enjoy. It is just like when People like Deb, Rachel, David and everyone else when I called to stay with them... they do not think about saying yes they just "do it." I mean people are not blindly inviting us to stay with them, they learn about our agenda, who we are, they investigate a bit and then just say "yes" with no negativity or fear in the equation. Ahh... the days have been beautiful, a cool front has been moving through. It is in the low nineties. Every time I think about rain I must tell myself its not going to, don't worry. Dry, warm, cool breezes in the shade... I'm loving it for all its worth as I have had enough of the opposite.

May 07, 2012

Scottsdale, Arizona

Satya, Rachel, Mo, Birdie-PJ and I pretty much hung around the house today. It is amazing to experience a wild pigeon answer to commands like a person. The entire day was spent along with eating Rachel's constant cooking and Satya's company (he does magic)... I became inspired to create my first slideshow video with musical improvisation while sitting in the shade on a back porch with a beautiful breeze, pool next to me, palm trees... it was really nice. For two years I have been too flustered to try to jump into the music and pictures together. It took all day (ten hours)... I felt my way through the process. It probably could have been accomplished twice as fast and with better quality if I had studied up with knowledge and direction first or while I was doing it but damm... that is just not my way! It is what is is. The first video begins with the pictures from Alaska... all the slideshows will be of the journeys pictures in the order that I took them. This show is from August 9th and 10th of 2011. The improvisation was picked randomly. It was from the first of this month. I hope to get these slideshows onto this website but for now here it is from YouTube...

May 06, 2012

Scottsdale, Arizona

Today has been like... how much is it possible to learn about someone! I met Satya and Rachel to stay with. They are both originally from India. I was a little hesitant because I have been brought up totally prejudiced concerning anyone who did not talk English. Of course I have been ridding myself of all people prejudice ever since I found out I could think for myself. In the beginning I had to talk to my brain to tell it to bypass any accent even though I know my hosts are American citizens and have been here for forty years! I just have to laugh at myself sometimes. Also, I had to keep telling myself that Rachel is in her sixties and Satya who is called by his middle name Deb... is seventy because they both look like they are in their forties. Deb is now retired having been an engineer. One of his jobs was as EPA (environmental protection agency) Director for the Navajo Nation. Rachel has a doctorate and three masters degrees. She was a grant writer and medical professor among other things. Deb is a Hindu, Rachel from the Indian state of Kerala which means the land of coconuts... she belongs to the Mar Thoma Syrian Church Of Malabar. Wow, I am always discovering new religions. It is one of the oldest Christian religions founded in AD52 by Saint Thomas (Mar Thoma) and is Episcopal in character.

My present hosts made an exception in allowing for our visit concerning Mo because there was a bird they had been nursing in the house. When I arrived they opened the back door to their patio and called the bird inside. It is a pigeon and it walked in like a person acting more domesticated then any animal or bird I have experienced. Mo was like... "lets play" and the bird was like "lets learn how to fly so I can get away from you." They found the bird a few weeks ago in the back yard when it still had its yellow fur. it could not fly. They learned how to feed it and now they are teaching it to fly. Usually it has free range of the house but for our stay it will be sleeping in the garage. Satya and Rachel have several interesting animal assistance stories. Satya once nursed an abscess off a betta fish's shoulder with tetracycline and epson salt baths and so it lived several years after and they both helped and wild rabbit and cat who used to eat watermelon together. They have a picture of it! This couple has hosted hundreds of people in their home from all walks of life and for various reasons throughout their thirty some year marriage. They love people. They are interested and therefore totally interesting. First treat... masala vadai snacks... deep fried split pea, onion, chili, salt, ginger, cumin... it was totally good, lucky me!

I almost forgot... we went to a local park for some Traveling Piano music... Satya couldn't connect, as he said he "couldn't get it." ...as a scientist he wanted to be able to associate my music with something to relate to. A mom, dad and son bicycled by and stopped for some music. Their interaction with us fulfilled my day.

May 05, 2012

New River, Arizona

My friend Dave is a strange bird, a ladies man for sure at age sixty-six. I've met a lot of men on this journey in their 60's, 70's, and 80's who are still "getting it." They are living life to the fullest. When I was a kid anyone over fifty was supposed to act dead but still breath. I feel like I've known Dave from the past. Its really weird. We drove to visit his friend Chris at a nude ranch, that's right not a dude ranch. Do you know that saying "When in Rome do as the Romans do?" Well, I did. Upon entering the place I was apprehensive and then I took off my clothes and sort of went into denial, then it really meant nothing at all... even though I have been writing about my body issues continuously since this blog began and then... being naked while not caring about it became exhausting so I put my clothes back on. Ha, we all put our clothes on and took the truck to the road through a residential community where we met a mom with here two boys. That was amazingly spontaneous, synchronistic and fun as always. Christine now at sixty five has as been playing the piano since she was a baby. She has a passion for playing the piano more than I do! She uses sheet music. When she is angry she pulls out angry sounding sheet music. When she wants to feel calm she pulls out calming music to play etc... She is an old hand at expressing herself musically. I am still learning to communicate feelings.

I lost my wallet and everything that goes with it, my money license, debit card, about six hundrd dollars God my money... After carefully going through my possessions, Dave's condo, the truck and then last few days mentally, calling the city police and all the places I visited... I was fairly certain that if it had been stolen I knew where, when and how. First I laid flat on the floor of Dave's outside balcony to clear my head of chaos and fear. I accepted responsibility for what would be needed, what happened and shook off guilt for being stupid. Dave found me and as a good friend tried to give me the sixty bucks he had. I thanked him and then he suggested I go back to revisit every area where I was. Mo and I drove to the park where we were yesterday and I began to look in the bushes. I knew the cash would not be there but maybe the other stuff would. I prayed to St. Anthony, God, the Universe to help me. More so I consciously aligned myself as best I could with the spiritual energy that I am. This is not the first time in my life I lost something major. I reminded myself not to connect with wanting to find anything. Why would I spend energy trying to find something when a power greater than myself was taking care of it all? My job was to put one foot in front to the other while focusing on a knowing trust and faith from past experience that everything would work out one way or another. The energy I was with had no need to look for anything. If it was stolen I would still get it back. I had to know that... I did not need to know how it would happen just that it would happen. I turned around and there was Dave. He was walking towards me and had come to help me look around. His car has a sunroof. As he parked his car in the lot where we were and went to close the roof he saw something above the passenger side sun visor. It was the wallet.

May 04, 2012

Scottsdale, Arizona

My present host is a guy named Dave who is a vietnam vet in his mid sixties, now single and retired with a grown family. He once owned a bunch of fish restaurants. He lost a lung sometime back from the valley fever that I wrote about last month. Four years ago when I was in this part of the country I missed the opportunity of staying with him because the Traveling Piano was called east to Virginia Tech by the student government for support after the massacre. The fact that the Traveling Piano has no commercial, organizational or political agenda... no solicitation or fees and is full of love... as in fun, friendship and respect with musical empowerment and inspiration ha... I got off track. Anyway I missed staying with Dave and forgot he existed. Then he was one of about six people who contributed to my website when I tried to sell off my belongings to continue with the journey. After that I forgot who he was again. Then he connected with me when Boner died... forgot... Oprah vote for my wildest dream... forgot. Like a forgetful idiot... clueless once again when connecting for a possible stay about a month ago. He writes back... "Yo Dan, its me." Ha, so here I am finally with him. We meet... I with gratitude for sure. Dave belongs to SERVAS an organization that began after world war two with the purpose of encouraging people to connect with each other, especially travelers... to promote peace, understanding and cultural exchange.

I feel like I've known Dave my whole life. He is an easy going guy who loves to travel himself. When it comes to a hot topic, he also has a fiery passion for life. Dave cooked dinner for me and his friend Margery tonight. It was some Asian or Moroccan dish I have no idea but it looked and tasted great. Afterwards we drove down the street to a lake after the sunset for some music. Earlier in the day it was too hot! Wow, we are in the desert. The temperature is in the nineties all the time. I took Mo to a local dog park for awhile but that was it. With a full moon rising into a deep blue night... I am already missing the mountains down south playing for all those sunsets over the last few months. My heart almost began to ache. A couple on roller blades found us. It was really nice to interact with them and their willingness to have a Traveling Piano experience. A girl named Heidi was gaga over Mo and I think could have sat and tinkled on the keys all night with him sitting on the piano. Her spirit was totally full of joy.

May 03, 2012

Tucson, Arizona

The pictures today are from when leaving Tucson this morning. I wanted to get a picture of Carol my host and her dog Josie. I began to play some music in front of her house when Dotty a neighbor came walking up saying how much she was loving the experience but the first words out of her mouth were... "I need to go back and get some money!" Ha, what fun she came back out of her house with five dollar bills and of course got onto the piano with her pup. As I drove out of the parking lot I turned into the restaurant parking lot I was talking about yesterday. I put a small piece of paper with Traveling Piano info in the door went back to the truck to put the address of where I was heading into my GPS. As I was about to leave and in that two minute period of time... Sam the owner of the restaurant pulls in next to us. He recognized the truck immediately from four years ago. Wow it was insane, crazy and fun to have us both meet at that moment, for him to pull up with the restaurant closed! Talk about synchronicity...

So here we are now in Scottsdale, Arizona. For the entire time driving we dogged dust devils on both sides of the road. (little strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwinds of dust) For such a hoity-toity reputation... the little I've seen of it so far, Scottsdale is no different from any other hoity-toity place I've been. I did expect it to look more southwestern. It feels like we are in Florida. Mo and I are staying in a high rise condo that was purchased for $125,000 with todays market is worth $70,000 and back in Philly on the east coast would easily go for $400,000! Wish I still had some money to purchase one of these! Ha... so... I am sitting on a balcony looking down on a lake with trees and a golf course with the sounds of traffic, and air conditioners running in a gated community with twenty four hour security. For the10,000th or more time today I was asked... "What are you going to do when you run out of money?" It makes me think of when people have asked, "What are you going to do when you die?" I'll either do something that has never been done before or one of the trillion things that other people have already done... or die.

May 02, 2012

Tucson Last Day In, Arizona

It is getting more difficult to keep people and their names in my head. The last two months are not a blur it is like they did not exist. Is any of that a problem? While trying to back up and keep organized with four archived hardrives of the journeys music, movies, pictures and writings... each hardrives a terabyte, my dyslexia set in big-time so I just stopped. Another day will be better suited for that task! Step by step I moved forward today... it was all very slow. I drove out into the city twice looking for someone to fix the snaps for the tarp that covers the piano and finally found a guy named Pancho who fixed them, gave me a solution for the future and jumped onto the piano with his worker for a note or two. He didn't charge me a fee even though I offered knowing from the start he was not going to. Sometimes I can just feel a really nice guy. He just wanted to be helpful, it was not going to take long, he knew what to do and I was there between appointments he had. An hour later another snap fell off. Ha, damm!

Mo and I headed for Joe and Tani's place for dinner with a few of their guests. Jim their son with his girlfriend Serena had met us while out creating music one day and told his parents about the Traveling Piano experience. I received an email asking if I would come and visit. It was an opportunity to let go of the idea of being used for free entertainment, it may have been about entertainment but... being interested in music and friendship was at the root. Tani works with wildfire management agencies through a non profit called the Incident Qualification System that promotes development of a standard incident training and qualification data management software for firefighting. What the? Anyway, they had about ten people there and each person was from a different state. It was fun because I was able to somewhat coerced all except one person individually onto the piano for a few notes of music in the night air. Mo had a new friend... Jim's dog (a very special buddy) who got up on top of the piano with him. Men and women with there animals... I run into some serious relationships and... I totally understand. Tani brought out her traditional native Lakota Sioux indian cedar flute and we improvised together for a few minutes. That was really nice.

When people tell me where they are from I almost always now have a story relating to wherever. I want to be careful not to speak from a place of boasting. That will be very difficult for me once I get to LA. Another crazy synchronicity unfolded today. Last months blog is full of them and it all continued today. Four years ago when I was here in Tucson on Mount Lemon for a few hours I met about eight people, six of whom I randomly ran into again in different places while here this time around. One women (whom I did not run into this time) treated me to dinner at her parents restaurant that night in 2007. There was a piano player and a young girl who played a trumpet outside the restaurant that night the picture is here somewhere on this website. The restaurant I realized totally tonight... is a few footsteps away from the condo where I am staying. Unfortunately it was closed... I walked around it looking in the windows to make sure I wasn't trying to make something up in my head. A city of close to a million people with at least 226 square miles... I really wish I could make sense of all the synchronic coincidental, spiritual, random happenings in my life but there is no way one way to do that. Damm, I want the answers about life to be clear, straightforward, tight and wrapped up nicely.

May 01, 2012

Tucson, Arizona

Carol my new host is sixty, lives alone, has a boyfriend, grown children and a dog named Josie. Of course Mo and Josie went at it immediately and nonstop for hours. (play) By the end of the night Josie was dragging Mo across the floor dead weight in a tug of war. It looked very funny! I was warned not to leave underwear around because Joise loves to eat the crotch out of them... male or female it does not matter. I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting, trusting and giving people. Carol is a "heterosexual" deacon in the network of More Light Presbyterian Church congregations (USA) that include full participation, membership and ordination when it comes to the sexual orientation of people. She belongs to the Tucson Samaritans a patrol that travels the desert to provide water, food and medical assistance to other human beings in distress legal or illegal. Sometimes their efforts are sabotaged like when they leave a container of water in the desert someone may come along and slash it so the water runs out but that is not the usual. I guess not all Arizona is super conservative.

My new friends Dan and Bonnie had me to their home for a great steak dinner with a desert cabbage yum, yum salad. They have a rose tree in their backyard. That was a new one for me. I had no idea that roses grew on trees. They live in a gated community and on the way in the guards were interested in the Traveling Piano so I had them phone my friends to say, "the piano man is going to be five minutes late, he wants to play some music for us" and I did and they jumped onto the truck for a second and it was all fun. We ate dinner with Dan's brother Rich, and Dan's son phoned while we were there. I watched Dan make luvy, luvy to his new grand-baby via IPhone. Wow was that weird! Then he turned the video phone on me as I created music and I took a picture of his son laying on his bed watching me watch him through the phone. The neighbors came out to get acquainted and jumped onto the truck for a quick picture. On the way back to Carol's I stopped at the supermarket and the Traveling Piano fun continued...