Raggin' Piano Boogie


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

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June 30, 2012

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This life really is a dream of reality. The last day of June and here we are in Philadelphia... again, and I must say it feels good. I slept in and then slipped slowly into the day wanting to go out and play some. Ronnie who owns Feders market said she would be working today so that is were Mo and I headed with the Traveling Piano. It is just around the corner from where we are staying in the Fairmount section of the city. There were a lot of neighbors to interact with. We could have stayed there enjoying the company until midnight.

There was some musical partner jamming going on. Ronnie found a neighbor to play the piano duet Heart and Soul with. It came into reality again today that I have had the piano on the back of the truck for longer than many people have been alive. Ha, a kid who is twenty four years old reminded me of that! This is my twenty sixth year full time with a piano in the back of the same truck! Before it got dark we head towards the West Mount Airy section of the city to spend time with friends and played in a great old Philly neighborhood of grown up trees that hover over big old stone block houses.

June 29, 2012

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On the east coast everyone here is having as the news media reports a "WARNING...SEVERE...BRUTAL...LIFE...THREATENING...HEAT...WAVE!!!" Its ninety eight degrees out. I am reminded of how much I did not miss a full year of local hysterical media drama. There was no time to partake in it. A month ago the Traveling Piano was in Death Valley and we were having fun in a hundred and twenty degree heat. In any case I did not take the Traveling Piano out today mostly because I did not want to. Ha, I can be that way, eh? Its parked in the garage, shamelessly bad television is on and I am catching up on website pictures as I eat Chinese takeout. My friend Stephen stopped by to hang out for a while and Mo and I went for a walk.

June 28, 2012

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I am a man who needs a lot of rest and today I got it. Slept until afternoon. Last night I was a little worried feeling dizzy with heartburn and very weak. Mo laid across my back and just "be" with me, the dog brings be a lot of comfort and security in not feeling alone. He is a healer. After some time we went to visit my friend Cindy and her mom the people who have given me their little house in the woods to use in West Virginia. Ahh... friends! No piano today and that felt good. I'm taking it easy.

June 27, 2012

Fairhill Section Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Never would I have imagined a day like today before this journey began. Back when, "Danny Boy" here used to act as a completely different person who was fearful and shut off from life when it came to sharing music and my true spirit. I am now able to act as the person I have always wanted to be with no fear... mostly. On the first of the year Mo and I started out (we were in Seattle having come out of Alaska) for Argentina. That did not happen... yet. The change of plan happened when I found out my 1987 Toyota pickup truck is one of the most prized possessions in Central America as it was the last year of a type and can be repaired easily compared to the vehicles of today. Dealing with someone trying to take it from me was not going to happen. I had printed contact informational sheets about the Traveling Piano in Spanish so today I went on Google and searched Philadelphia - Spanish - Neighborhood and then headed right into the belly of North Philadelphia. On the way I saw a really cool building with a creative musical mural on the side. As a random act I stopping to create music by it on Girard Avenue. Afterwards while driving down side neighborhood streets filled with people hanging out... I slowed several times to ask if anyone wanted to mess around with the piano and was treated like an alien from outer space for sure. At Fifth and Allegheny I pulled onto the sidewalk, began to play and as a few neighbors made their way over... as soon as I attempted to interact... they practically ran away.

While driving onward I kept saying to myself... "fun, friendship, respect" ...found one friendly group and then happened by a place near the corner of Lehigh Avenue and Mascher street with people hanging out I could not tell what was going on so I stopped to ask. It was just someone's house, a hangout and along side of it in the air... there was a collection of thrown away colorful plastic children's toys the kind with wheels hanging on a line... like sneakers would be hanging from street wire. It was a fun and colorful hobby collection. Neighbors were just hanging out and we all connected... had a great time! This was my perfectly, ultimately joyful situation for the Traveling Piano. Everyone totally accepted us and we them. Interesting, I have noticed for the first time in Philadelphia a trend for shade tents creating patios on the sidewalks. Four wheelers are starting to happen on the inner city streets as well as middle aged female healthy looking panhandlers. Ninja motorcycles now beat out any boom box sounds in or out of cars in the city. As Mo and I drove through some very tough ghetto streets the word "wow" kept slipping from my mouth curiously enough without any judgement. There were amazing sights to behold as I witnessed people being people. There really is no difference between urban and rural except for the way each looks. Both can be trashy and clean. Run down can still be clean and... the turn of a corner into a yuppie (Is that word still used?) neighborhood was like day and night. The common thread with people everywhere is spirit. Spirit has no differentiation.

While on the street today people tried to look up on their phones the www.travelingpiano.com website. Seems all the iPhones fill the search engine browsers with commercial sites only. We could not find Traveling Piano anything non-commercial on the internet with an iPhone. Anyone have a non-commercial solution?

June 26, 2012

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Being in Philadelphia feels like a dream. I could not get to sleep until four in the morning last night after having driven five hours with little sleep and the high energy of my arrival. I woke up to a perfect day in every way except that it was one in the afternoon when I woke up. Graditude that I can do that. As soon as I could get it together I drove to a default spot for everytime I have visited the city along the East River Drive by the Schuylkill river and I stayed until sunset meeting people and creating very minimalist music which I recorded for this website. Mo and i went for a good walk afterwards.

June 25, 2012

Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania

On the way to Philadelphia, I missed the turn for the Pennsylvania Turnpike and thought I'd drive via Maryland and up Route 95 thereby saving the hefty toll. For the short distance I was on Route 95... it cost ten bucks! When did that happen? Freeways are no longer free. I was in an emotionally negative mind set for most of the ride. On arrival my first thought was to stop at Walmart and get some fruit but decided to support the local neighborhood store, Feders Fresh Produce and Flowers on 18th street in the Fairmount section of the city. Within a minute some guy comes up to me and says, "Whatever you get, its on the house from Ronnie." She is the owner who I had met last year and by an unusual coincidence she was sitting outside. She is never at the store after noon and also she has been following the journey with me from time to time via this blog. Wow, did that set the tone for my visit here in Philly! I resisted cleaning out the store and stuck with my original plan of getting some fruit. Ronnie said as many people do, "you make people happy" which sounds a little queer to me but yea... that is correct and I like it! Ha, then I realized just how great Daryl the guy who manages the building where I will be staying is. He has arranged for a parking spot to keep the Traveling Piano truck safe from theft and weather. I most likely would not be visiting if it was not for his gesture and then of course my friend Ed who has given me his place to use while he is away for the next two weeks. As soon as I got the truck in the garage and saw the sunset from eight floors up, it began to rain. I told myself the fruit can wait until tomorrow and ordered a pizza.

June 24, 2012

West Virginia

As I was leaving to head back to my home base last night part of me was jonsin' for the escape and the other was saying, "your going back to aloneness." I have spent more time here than anywhere since selling my home... so this is a home base. it is the only one and not a secure one. The few possessions I kept, they give me a lot of comfort. They get stored away when I am not here. I am a home body, astrologically a cancer through and through so... as they say I enjoy crabbing my way into my little crevice/home... or something like that. In the attic I pulled down a white goose down comforter that my friend Orinda gave me a few years back while the Traveling Piano was in Newfoundland. In the plastic container there were three dark mouse looking turds. I was like, "Oh no, please not mice all over my comforter I can't handle that." They were dead ants. Three dead ants I can handle. I made a commitment to get to Philly and it feels like I have to push myself to do it. Over the past few days I have been unraveling and I want to completely unravel but the time is not now.

June 23, 2012

Winchester, Virginia

Got the truck door and window fixed today. The bed I am using has a cheap mattress. If I roll too much to one side, off the bed I go. I'm hoping my weight will make the middle sink soon. Age spots on my face are really beginning to bother me. I saw an online video that said to use Dr. Schols wart remover and for forty bucks it will burn away the dark skin tissue. It worked the age spots are burned away but now they have been replaced with darker burn scars. Mo and I traveled to Winchester to visit with my friend Barbara. She tagged along and sat in the hot truck while I ran store errands. Dog food prices are a rip off. We stopped in an historic cemetery to create some music. A guy Barbara knows from work outside of Washington DC happened by with his daughter who began taking piano lessons but lost interest. Her grandmother was buried this past week. Our meeting felt very serendipitous. I drove to see some old friends and then to the center of Berkeley Springs to get my emails. The owner of the Fairfax Coffee shop was there and I purchased a sandwich for dinner. I want to support the fact that he provides free internet for half the town whether he is open or closed. As he says, "It doesn't harm anything."

I did not leave to head back to where I am staying until after 12am. The day was spent being with friends, people I know, am getting to know and those I will probably never see again, ha. I've been saying that I am really sick of people and need a break but then again on the other hand I love what I do which is very people oriented. I think what it is... the Traveling Piano makes the "people" connection for me. What I am tired of doing is making the connections to find people to stay with and then relate on their terms along with the relational negotiation that goes along with that. It is the challenge. That is the work. That is what is most un-natural for me... and then to stay connected with the healthy people... another level of challenge. How much I have appreciated everyone who has welcomed us into thier homes. I could never express how much and on how many levels that has fed my desire to stay connected here on earth. It just feels like I need a break.

June 22, 2012

West Virginia

I'm hiding in the trees from the weather. Intermittent rain, hot and humid sun... stuff needs to get done... nap time enters. An unraveling process is going on. Don't want to leave... it took three days to start cleaning the bugs, cobwebs, mouse turds and pee but... I started and now even more so I do not want to leave. I was thinking about negative situations that arise. As far as what I want and do not want for my life There was a point in my life where it was all negative and then as I practiced, I found negativity was not being attracted or I was not attracting it into my life any longer but... the more involved I become with life the more of everything exists but... in the last year I have found myself moving away from, not engaging, disengaging and most surprisingly picking myself up from and removing myself away from and taking myself out of... leaving situations that do not suite me. Wow, no fear, no embarrassment, no dealing with feelings of intimidation, manipulation or controlling... with a conscious respect (sometimes angry but that has been rare) I have said "see ya, I'm outta here."

June 21, 2012

West Virginia

Last night I would have died if not for a small air conditioner and a bunch of big fans. Constantly I tell myself there is no rush to leave where I am. There is no one to answer to and I can stay even though I have a place all to myself in Philadelphia waiting, but only for two weeks. While sitting, working with the journeys pictures I am realizing more and more it is a way for me to process everything I saw and what has happened. They help me to enjoy in remembering. It is a way to more fully realize what I literally flew through in millions of moments... all the enjoyment through all the senses. The slower I go the more I can absorb. So, my process of sharpening, resizing, adjusting vibrance, fixing small picture mistakes, contrast, cropping, brightness, blurring, overall shadow balance, depth, color saturation, format, highlighting, choosing what to save or toss with just about every photo... serves not only for processing the photo but to process my enjoyment of life. It all helps me to stay rightly earth bound with what I have chosen for my work what is important for my life... for me. Once the sun began to set I drove into town to take Mo for a run because it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Afterwards I sat down to get some internet outside the Fairfax Coffee shop and Mo drew into us a family walking by, new pastor in town, they jumped on the truck for a picture then friends came by, we sat and talked until 10pm.

June 20, 2012

West Virginia

My dog Mo and me... we be chillin' in a hundred degree heat and humidity. Its not so bad as long as we don't move and the fans are on us. Sit in the chair, play with pictures, eat a banana, pictures, stretch, pictures, sleep, pictures, look outside, pictures... once the sun went down we went to the park for some exercise... for Mo. He ran a little, jumped in the lake and now I'm writing this. It feels oh so very good to be in a familiar place with no disturbance of any kind and the solitude... ahhhh. It feels like Mo and I are bonding for a second time.

June 19, 2012

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Part of me did not want to connect with anyone but my friend Dawn. Ha, no chance that was going to happen. I immediately got sucked into the vortex that is Berkeley Springs. For better or worse, like in everywhere no matter where I travel, there are wealthy and poor, beautiful and ugly, creative and destructive, alive and dead, kind and viscous, generous and needy... I am resigned because I know deep down my life is all journey... I am safe in spite of myself. I left one hundred degree dry air in the desert and now, one hundred degree mountain wetness. Do not want to forget the beautiful weather in between. The only problem is the truck door and window on Mo's side is broken which makes for hot driving or when waiting at say a red light. I can't use the air conditioner or the truck will overheat.

While in town to do a few errands no surprise even though I did not expect it... we began to run into people we had not seen since we last were here a year ago. It is like we never left... at all. I stopped at a chinese place to get some rice and it was $2.35 for a small container. I was feeling too frugal to spend the money. Ugh, hate that. When getting ready to leave I coincidentally ran into my friend Dawn along with Michelle and her three year old son Connor who Dawn it seems to me is a surrogate in a parental sense. Conner was still in his mothers womb when first on the Traveling Piano and then again days after he was born and then I happened to be here in Berkeley Springs on his first birthday, last year... and so it continues into today. Connor is a very one of a kind Traveling Piano experienced boy! He ran up to me, I should say... "into" me with a big hug for a greeting! Piano Dog Boner was here when we first met everyone and Piano Dog Mo first learned to play with children through Conner. On the floor he used to roll, push and jump onto Connor when he was first learning to walk.

June 18, 2012

Barnesville, Ohio

So... got up, drove, reached the West Virginia Cabin where I will be staying for a few days. It took five days of practically nothing else but driving. I had hoped it would take less. It is what it is. Most of the time driving today... was spent ruminating, creating illusional argumentative conversations with myself between troublesome people (mostly family and friends of friends, ha) honing my skills of verbal conversation for when needed and if ever necessary. I am out of practice when it comes to dealing outright with dysfunctional people. Journey-wise I can do it, otherwise I am insecure. I stopped for gas in Barnesville, Ohio a place along the highway. There were young guys working on the building structure. One of them came over and asked if I had a business card. He really wanted to know what the Traveling Piano is about because he enjoys the piano, his father used to play. I reluctantly gave up my negative mindset and went into Traveling Piano mode. What a difference a moments shift can take. All three guys played and they really played as in they have just messed around more than once with musically exploring on a piano without lessons. People always surprise me. Reminds me of the saying, you can never judge a book by its cover. I drove through a deep fog at four in the afternoon. The lush green mountains are jarring. In my minds eye I was trying to see them like out west without trees hahaha... do I adjust to change easily? Not. My friend Dawn had visited the cabin and opened the windows to air it out before I came. I was very appreciative of that. After cleaning out some mold and wiping up some mouse pee and turds I pulled out the crock pot slow cooker and filled it with beef stew fixings I had purchased on the way... so in the morning I could wake with a some home cooking good smell and healthy food. Then... I pulled the dust cover off the special recliner I found for the place a few years ago. It is faced to look outside. On this chair is where Mo and I first began to hang out together when he was five months old. Me reclining, he in my lap or at the foot of the chair we have rested many of times in complete peace. When he jumped on the chair with me he immediately began to lick my nose in a knowing and appreciative comfort. We are in the only "home" type of place we know together. All negative energy left my soul and we entered a state of bliss together just me and my dog in the dark with some candles lit with the sounds of the night inside a small little house somewhat deep the woods.

June 17, 2012

Bexley, Ohio

It was raining when I woke at three in the afternoon. I knew the second I hit the king sized bed yesterday, firm yet amazingly cushiony, that I'd be staying for an extra night. Interestingly enough I was here in Bexley a year ago next week. I am fairly certain I could have stayed with my friends Steve and Susan and family but when I arrived in town I was not feeling social. Before bed I knew I had to connect with them today, I was not going to miss the opportunity. We had dinner together and it felt all so good. They live in a neighborhood I would like to call my own. While driving to their house presidential hopeful Mitt Romney passed by us on his bus with his motorcade. He was in the area to give a speech nearby. It made me think about his belief that "Corporations are People" as he said. Ok onward. I saw lightning bugs tonight for the first time in a long time, oh how I love them!!! I woke up this morning and said this journey is over but then again I also said I wasn't going to connect with anyone journey-wise and I had the Traveling Piano working yesterday and spent time with friends today.

June 16, 2012

Columbus, Ohio

I drove through all day yesterday into today until it was afternoon. It was a twenty seven hour drive point when I said stop. Mo did ok, it was a difficult first for him no more than for me. We drove through the entire states of Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and into Ohio. Those stay awake vials of liquid sold in convenience stores... they work. Seeing the sunrise was a real Traveling Piano man rarity. I was reeling from the adventure. Long distance driving, not something I want to do again. I have a real problem spending a large sum of money for a hotel room which is like a hundred bucks for me especially, now that I the funds are dwindling. I could have found someone to stay with but have no energy to be social right now. With the sun and humidity I could not tell if it was over hundred degrees out or my body was maxed out from the travel. I checked out a Motel 6 because I did not want to deal with a dog fee. The place looked like a run down housing project. It was full of people living there. I went to another one and learned that the hotel chain has corporate properties (the scummier ones) and then properties that are franchises. (usually nicer) It was one in the afternoon when I passed out until about nine at night. I ordered a pizza and went to the parking lot to get it when a guy named Tim got interested in the Traveling Piano truck and that transferred into his buddy and then his kids and then mom who's birthday is today. We all had some fun. They are staying at the motel for a baseball tournament. While thinking the top floor would be the most quiet, I forgot what happens on saturday nights in hotels... parities. A bunch of room are rented out for gambling, sex, rock and roll. It is now after five in the morning and the party is still rolling. I saw my favorite bumper sticker today... God Bless Everyone, No Exceptions!

June 15, 2012

Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

On the road again, I stopped in a small Nebraska town named Paxton for gas. About five hundred people live there. The locals were notably unpretentious, unguarded and friendly. God, I love that. Then once on the interstate I was stopped by the state police and cited for not using enough caution when passing an emergency vehicle pulled off to the side of the road. I should have switched into the passing lane. The emergency vehicle was a cop car giving someone a ticket. I told the police officer my average speed is sixty miles and hour and with everyone else going seventy five (the speed limit) or faster... I thought it safer to stay where I was. I wanted to say the "faster" was him. At the time he had sped up my ass at about ninety-five miles an hour and made a sharp pass that scared the shit out of me. Was he trying to show how dangerous it was for me to be that lane? His actions were much more dangerous. I am not going to put my life in jeopardy because he needs to get to his investigation fast... law or no law.

There was also another agenda playing out...nothing pushes my hate button more than police stopping people randomly, a society that questions anything out of the ordinary with so many laws it becomes impossible to decipher the intent in, for what and how they are used. This is not the American way I was taught to believe. This was the case today. Bullshit patriot act, security, terroristic threat crap. It was not the first time on this journey, eh? Able and easy misuse of authority to flex a show of illusional power, control and muscle... for the protection of a free society? Failure... My hands were shaking with fear as I handed him my license and registration even though I had no reason to fear. I hate that I was taught to fear authority and that authority has a tendency to reinforce fear.

This incident was alarming on several different levels. The guy was courteous and I'm sure a part of him was personally curious about the Traveling Piano. Bottom line, I was detained and told to get out of my truck and sit with him in his car to answer questions. I know he wanted to see what was under the piano tarp and was looking for a reason to search but knew better. That was not why he originally stopped me. He asked where I was going, how long it has been since I've been away from home, what I was doing, what was in the truck, where I had come from last, where I lived, when I plan to return, how long there... it went on and on as I stayed calm. What did any of those questions have to do with driving safety? I write about this not for people to bond over the ridiculousness of it but ...as a wake up call for American society. What is happening in situations such as this is not progressive or good direction. It is wrong. Detaining and questioning innocent people without warrant is Un-American. Using terrorism, citizen status or any other reason to question is wrong.

I almost messed up by getting personal and had to be very careful with my answers. He was not interested in friendship we were not together to be buddies. This was business. Ahh... government and business, so not me. It is so wrong to have to be that way in my "home" the United States, watching myself and what I say. I slipped up in telling him I sold my house to fund the journey which raised the question of having a home. The need to lie is wrong. I reassured him my personal residence was the address on my drivers license while to myself I kept saying, "keep your mouth shut Danny this is business not Traveling Piano fun." When he asked were I had been... I told him the last town I had been in. He "got it" and changed questions. It was non of his, the government or the state highway controls business where I have been and they were looking to see if they could make it their business... without good reason or intent. They were looking for bad intent. Anger, it makes me really angry...

The issue of where I live and lack of having a home brings up once again the lack of rights for homeless people in this country. This journey is showing me a lot about that. Homeless people have little rights and the situation is getting worse. Before anyone says something derogatory about homeless people... this Traveling Piano man is homeless. What I contribute as a functioning and worthwhile member of society is clear. Some people may say that I am not like other homeless people and I say... what is a homeless person like? Education is needed for people who want to conveniently categorize what a homeless person is like. For starters... unless I lie and say I do have a home... "play" government and business... I cannot be part of and function in society. Get this picture... as a homeless person I cannot vote. They need a residence. I cannot own or rent a home because I need a bank account and cannot have a bank account without a home address. Do you understand what is going on there? A homeless person cannot own or drive a vehicle in order to work. They must have a "home" address. A homeless person cannot work or earn money legitimately, get paid by check. They must have a permanent "home" residence with an address. Part of me wants to become an activist for this issue, also for accessible clean water and free parks but it feels like my life is better served through Traveling Piano fun, friendship and respect at this time. Not only are these issues personal for people who are being more and more disempowered from society... they are a few of my own personal issues.

A good ten hours of my day was wasted ruminating on all that shit. I been noticing as I drive that small communities with cared for cemeteries have nice people in the communities. I stopped to get some Chester's Fried Chicken at a travel center. It was so bad I couldn't give it to Mo. I felt very good about not hitting one animal for the whole for the entire time I drove. The amount of road kill I experience is sad to stay the least. I saw and could easy have hit trying to cross the road... squirrels, cats, possum, skunks, raccoon, rabbit, deer and fox. No kidding, there were animals almost avery half mile. With tens of thousands of big fat moths flying around I only had two big splats on my windshield. I'd like to know the story of the blackbirds that "work" the ground, the shoulders of the highways. People must throw food from their car windows because they are seen running to the vehicle line and back to the grassy edges as vehicles speed by within feet. They are not frightened by the speed or sounds. It is like they know the chances are slim a car is going to run over the line. The interstate began to bore me and there was no way I felt I could deal with Omaha or Chicago traffic so I set my GPS on shortest distance instead of fastest... wondering if I would get to my destination any faster... not.

My GPS began to take me through the deep rural belly of Iowa, Indiana and Illinois country roads. I found myself on roads like 700N, 1900E, 400N 1000W. While having no idea where I was, the time was getting near sunset when... I was swept out of my rumination of anger and into heaven. Living in the moment, I was in touch with what is important. There was no desire to hold onto the past, I could have but what purpose would that have served? I did not want to waste any time on anything other than enjoyment. Mo and I drove through two times zones. At some points it felt like the twilight zone. Like when I stopped at a small motel in the dark and almost got a room where there was a very strange lady who was nice but got really weird, enough that I requested a refund and left. Who knew Iowa was so full of beautiful nature?

I kept realizing that it is now summer and we are in the middle of June. The environmental changes over the last year have set me clueless as to any change of season. Summer in middle America is why the truck windows were down at night and it was a humid seventy eight degrees. Everything is so green and alive! The corn, lots of corn... was as high as an elephants knee. There were long rolling hills. Everything was pastural and almost pastel with billowing clouds, mist, new green growth, water, trees and life. The sounds of nature were loud and constant with wind, bugs, water, birds and critters moving around in the grasses. The smells of rich, wet dirt and meadowy dusk. There was water everywhere not only from rivers, ponds and streams but from storms, it seemed to have been raining all day but not on us while we drove with big puddles of water everywhere. For only two percent of the time it rained on us but that two percent... wow! The constant road flash flood signs out west kept coming to mind. The rain, it was like driving through a snow blizzard... been through all that already with the Traveling Piano. There was no option but to just keep going. Most of the small towns we drove through looked really interesting but I know how much different everything looks in the dark. One exception was Fort Madison in Iowa and the bridge over the Mississippi river into Illinois. This is a place I'd like to visit in the daytime. It all had an old authentic feeling that was unique like a place waiting to be rediscovered. (which of course would ruin it) I drove through the night past the sunrise.

June 14, 2012

Kimball, Nebraska

I was thinking too much about when to stop driving today because I do not want to over do it and get sick. Grateful comes to mind when thinking about stopping last night to get rest so I could enjoy today. I have a difficult time knowing when enough is enough. While thinking I looked into my rear view mirror to see a sky so amazing I had to stop and take a picture. Next to me was a Super8 Motel so I called them from my cell phone to ask the price. It was the lowest around and the same as an hour and three hours away so I stopped and am thankful because any more driving would have been too much. It was a shorter driving day than yesterday... so it is. My strongest impression of Wyoming has always been of the freight trains moving across the landscape. I just love that. Probably because it reminds me of my families Christmas train platform come to life.

While driving in the most beautiful sunny weather I wanted it all to sink in deep so I remember when it gets dark and cloudy, the sun always comes back. Also to remember that once I get going always, everything is fine, just to always push through any angst before the start. So, the days drive started with free motel coffee, a banana, popcorn, oranges and my vitamins. I thought how wonderful to be able to drive around the world (across the earth) and then I had to be thankful for the people who made the truck, the roads, the visionaries that brought the ideas to fruition and then... rain. For the first time in months, it was really weird... cool rain. My first thought was that the windows would get washed because I forgot to do that at the last gas station. It rained just enough to wash them and then the sun came back out.

June 13, 2012

Evanston, Wyoming

Never would have guessed I would end up in a Motel 6 in Evanston, Wyoming after leaving Reno, Nevada and having traveled through Utah. The plan was to drive and not stop, no playing, no seeing friends in the different states I pass... just drive through the night as long as possible and then if necessary the sleeping bag was set up in the back of the truck for what I thought might be a first time sleeping at a rest stop and then after it got dark driving up hills and around bends became a pain in the ass because I can't see so well in the dark anymore... and then I thought if it ever becomes necessary to sleep in the truck I will do it then. After driving for twelve hours I'll pay for a friggin' room even if only for a short time. I'm out to have fun not kill myself. God, I have such a tendency to go overboard with everything. Fortunately as I get older going overboard is becoming more difficult. There is no reason not to take it easy. The day began driving through terrain with cool sunny weather, ahh it was so nice. I have only seen this type terrain in the cold, snow or extreme heat. The drive was a magnificent 180 degree picture ride.

I want to make this long trip by simply "being" and for it to be easy that way. The salt flats about a hundred and twenty miles before Slat Lake City were phenomenal and completely unexpected. I had seen them while driving south earlier in the year and I remember seeing the road through them... here I was driving on it. All day long I resisted getting carried away with taking pictures. Well, at sunset the colors against a sea of white salt... I lost it and am glad I did. I just kept the camera out the window as I drove and took chance shots. It was like looking at the ocean from above and seeing nothing but blue water except it was all white earth, truly fascinating. I never cease to be amazed at how big the earth is and how beautiful, open, the variety, the terrain and how everything visually constantly changes, especially from the sun and clouds in the sky.

June 12, 2012

Pyramid Lake, Nevada

I am completely exhausted from thinking about how exhausting it will be to drive 2,658 miles to the east coast starting tomorrow. I'm not sure I have another long drive in me. The Traveling Piano is going to be loaded in a way that will keep me from wanting to stop and play because if the option is there it will happen and then... the trip will take weeks and I'll lose the place I have to stay. I just need to get there. It feels like "its" over although I have no idea just what "it" is. I meandered through Reno, there was a creek or river running through the center with people swimming in it. I thought, "that is not a sight you would see in most cities because the water would be so scummy." We found a park and at the end of the parking lot was a tree with shade next to a lake. On the other side was a bunch of kids and I knew I was in the right spot wether I wanted to be or not. Fun, friendship and respect kept running through my mind. They began to drift over immediately... a group of disadvantaged Reno kids being together in a beautiful park. Everyone brought me to life. Afterwards, I found a dog park for Mo and he came to life running in a huge field. On visiting Lauren at her store she suggested I check out Pyramid Lake, which was about forty five minutes away. I pushed myself to go for one more scenic stop before heading east. On some level I am "scenery- eed out! Is that possible? I just need to stop and digest it all for awhile, I think?

Pyramid Lake is one of those wide open places... miles and miles of nothing more than hills, mountains and water. The Lake is the largest in Nevada and it drains nowhere, fed by lake Tahoe. It is on the land of the Paiute Indian Tribe. We pulled off the road at a random spot. A few cars flew by. A guy named Mike (law enforcement) pulled up as we were about to leave. Someone from the town council who had passed, called and said he needed to go and get a picture of what they had just seen. Like a piano player creating music on the back of a pickup truck with a dog sitting on top on a mountain crest overlooking a most beautiful lake and mountains at sunset is an unusual sight? We had fun for a few minutes but he wouldn't get onto the truck to have a go at it himself and he also thought having his picture posted on this blog might stir something up. He was telling me the white birds I had been seeing in the distance were pelicans. There were about 10,000 of them nesting in front of us across the lake on the other side. They fly to the San Francisco bay area and return in a days time. Then he suggested I not let Mo run around loose on the ground (he was constantly looking around on the ground) by showing me a video on his phone just sent from two miles down the road of a Great Basin Rattlesnake. I forgot they come out at sunset and the spot we were in had the highest concentration of anywhere.

Alone with Mo today on the lake... I was amazed with what I have been able to create and experience for my life, the beauty and uniqueness of it all. Gratitude... Also, the most impressionable visual of Reno believe it or not... roses. There are rose bushes of every color in full bloom everywhere... in the ghetto, in the country, the city, suburbia even shopping mall parking lots.

June 11, 2012

Sparks, Nevada

Upon sleeping until one in the afternoon my host Gene and his roommate Chuck both were wondering if I had died or if the dog had a to go out and pee. I need to rest as much as I can these days because I want it and so I did. Got that? :) Gene shares his space with all kinds of alternative healers and health minded people, people in general and people who need shared space. I asked him if he was a hippie and he said without hesitation, "Yes!" He goes to Burning Man every year... an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. I've been connected with "Burner's" from the start of this journey. Gene has a sweat lodge on his property. (a medicine sauna house for purification ceremonies) Lauren who hooked me up with this place to stay works for Burning Man and also owns a store named Prism Magic Clothing and Imports which sells a lot of store created Tie Dye and other funky things. I went to visit her with the Traveling Piano... the sign on the store says "Open 10ish to 6ish."

I met a guy named Kyle who wanted for me to meet his wife Katy and two young sons Linn and Wylan. They were having friends for dinner... Mo and I were invited. Kyle is a guy in his thirties, originally from Long Island, New York who after having purchased a home for $200,000 that was foreclosed on and sold later by the bank for $58,000... he and Katy began a project along the lines of the Radical Simplicity movement that raised enough money to purchase land outright with a home that was originally so dilapidated it could not be lived in. This is a family that lives life with enjoyment and also as an example for the city of Reno in being a self sustaining family that contributes to community and relationship. They live with the Sarvodaya movement which is for the upliftment of all beings, Gandhi's last great vision. It includes integral non violence. They have a home with supportive neighbors around them, surrounded by typical city housing and apartment buildings. The property is very exposed and very much in everyone's view. They do not own a car they use a bicycle. The kids are home schooled, there is no electricity in the house. They have plumbing and an outside "sun oven" that cooks up to 350 degrees... chickens for eggs, are planning on goats and are growing fruits and vegetables everywhere. My new friends are truly relationship oriented and know how to share. Along with dinner I left with eggs and greens from the garden for tomorrow and also... Kyle gifted me with a twenty dollar bill. Thats called "putting your money where your mouth is" "walking the walk"... these people are the "real" thing, they are living life to the fullest. The inclusiveness and sharing for the sake of sharing creates a feeling of Gratitude for me. They live without money as the priority needed to sustain life... their love and sharing sense of relationship without question is what sustains them... I embrace it all with great appreciation.

June 10, 2012

Reno, Nevada

I've decided to drive to Pennsylvania. My friend Sid called and said he'd really like it if I played his town's Fourth of July parade which I have done every year forever. It feels good to be wanted. He always makes large contribution to this journey. He is a friend who has always respected me and I would do it for a stranger so it is most important I do it for a friend. The amount of nature and scenery... I've had enough for now. Big cities... had enough for now. Staying with people... I need a big break so I probably will go to West Virginia after Pennsylvania and chill out in a home base that I've used in the past, a small place in the woods. I want to get caught up with stuff. Ha, I'm always saying that. Anyway, I drove too much yesterday and today I drove four hours to Reno to be with Lauren who I met through a friend named Katie. Lauren set me up with her brother Gene to stay with who has a roommate named Chuck and I met Stu, Lauren's best friend. We had dinner and got on the Traveling Piano for a short while. Before leaving California I met a dad and his son. I am completely exhausted. Driving back across the country, there is no way I am going to journey it as in take my time and do the usual... somehow I must make a dash and not stop until I get there. It feels like the only way. As my friend Sid reminded me... I'm having fun right? Right...

June 09, 2012

Yosemite, California

Hurt, almost wanna cry... we traveled through Yosemite Valley today and it is obvious how much I enjoy taking pictures to share... while missing many shots due to lack of where-with-all and telling myself that was ok... ninety-five percent of the pictures I did take... they were on the wrong camera setting and way over exposed. So much for that! Guess I will need to return to Yosemite someday and get my shots. As I drove out of the park an impulse to take a picture even though it was almost dark lead to my reaching for the camera not to be found. It was outside the truck and had been sitting literally on the edge of the truck bed as I drove... amazingly it had not fallen off through the stops, sharp curves and road bumps. Also while driving I thought about how if ninety percent of my life is shitty... the ten percent I experience that is not... is totally worth one hundred percent.

The day was full of little signs that everything is right. Actually the first sign was really big. There were two emails to start my day off with people inviting Mo and I to stay with them. Not once since the journey began did that ever happen. Two in one day? It has never been more than two in one year, ha! I am usually the one to ask first. Unfortunately the first was for here in town tonight and I had already booked my room at the motel. The other was a repeat offer from last year in Missouri. Hmm... Randomly I stopped at a spot where I thought I would get a good lake picture. I walked trough the trees to find a group of Chinese university students from Hong Kong relaxing. The one guy extended himself to me asking if I would like for him to take my picture with the lake as the backdrop. Of course that started a whole Traveling Piano adventure for us all.

It was the most perfectly clearest, beautiful day I can remember. Yosemite park was on my agenda and I was prepared to pay the fee. As it turned out today was enter the park "free" day. Anyone who reads this blog knows my issues with governments charging money to enjoy nature and how that affects people with little or no money. Ha, it so happens that... on enter 'free" days a non profit looking for money is chosen to panhandle at the entrance. Guess what todays panhandler's were panhandling... money to help pay the way for people who have little or no money to enjoy the nature in parks! Of course I had to "walk the talk" and contribute to the cause. The first couple hours driving were beautiful then it was over an hour of nothing but a thick forest of trees after Tioga Pass.

Do you know what it feels like to be consciously immersed in something outside of yourself... nature in all its glory? The girth and depth of Yosemite... I can't pontificate any more in this blog more than I already have about the world. Today was everything I have already said about everything. It was an intense experience for my heart emotionally to say the least. I had to keep saying to myself as in pinch myself, "this is the earth, this is the planet, this is what we are living on, this all that matters, this is all that is, this is all that will be... it is a conscious choice to live in and out, the all of it."

After several hours I stopped at a store to ask if there was any reason to drive onward and the girl said I did not reach the good stuff yet. When I found the good stuff I also found throngs of vehicle traffic and people... a tourist hell in heaven. There was practically no traffic before but that was because all the people were coming in from the other side of the park the west coast side of California. While waiting in traffic I was thinking about how this life is my experience and that I am being carried through this life experience from another dimension. There were some fire damaged areas in the park and they are always painful to see even though I try to not have it that way for myself. Same goes for the pine beetle infestation that has been continuously taking hold everywhere. There were vibrant red, blue and orange wildflowers along the road along with bright emerald green moss on the trees. I couldn't get a grip to stop and just enjoy them for a moment, had to drive, had to drive... get back before dark.

I rushed to an overlook I had seen to create music while the sun set. Lots of people began to stop their cars and gather but I'm fairly certain I was there just for one lady named Lynda from Lake Tahoe. The truck began a huge descent and I raced at about fifty miles an hour pass many areas I had hoped to stop and play in but I needed to get off the mountain ridges while I could still see them. It was fun and dangerous. There were impulses of riding off a cliff and paranoid thoughts about the brakes giving way and even the smell of burning brakes. (the Traveling Piano brakes melted off a few weeks ago while driving on the strip in Las Vegas) Catastrophic impulses enter my consciousness "every day." Really... I have learned to interject "God, please don't let that happen" or "I don't want for that to happen" as quickly as possible and then move on to better thoughts.

When I got back to my motel room I turned on the television and there was a band playing music on top of Buckingham Palace for the Queen of England's birthday or something like that. It reminded my of when I was playing on the rooftops of casinos in Las Vegas last week. Having my own space in a motel room for the last five days has really helped my sanity! It is obvious I enjoy people... need people to be with on this journey... must have the help of people to share their space... but sometimes it is nice to have my own space, it is what I miss most about my past life. All day long I tried to practice saying Yosemite correctly. It is not Yosemite as in Vegemite... and it is not YO-sem-ite, it is... yo-SEM-ih-tee. Ha, when I get something in my head sometimes to change it around is almost impossible. Vegemite, Yosemite... Yosemite, Vegemite... yo-SEM-ih-tee! People have been enjoying Mo more and more. His personality must be developing and all I see is pure love. Someone even noticed who he is completely independent.

I was able to pull the Traveling Piano in front of an almost seven hundred foot waterfall to create music. It was the most inspiring environment I have ever had for creating music. The water was forever changing form yet the same... awesome, surprising, powerful, flowing with continuity so high in the air with such a length of fall... I could have stayed with it for many hours. Please, I want more of that.

June 08, 2012

Eastern Sierra, California

It was a very heavy duty day. I must say I wanted it. The effort for me is tremendous but it feels correct. What am I talking about? Living this journey verses shutting down to die. Really, the only choice I have is to live life to the fullest of my ability. Sitting stagnant does not work. I cannot accept a slow death. The only option is to constantly push myself into the journey while being careful not to rush! Mo and I started off for the Lake June Loop in California's Eastern Sierra, Mono County. I have been completely saturated in mountains, lakes, sun and cool temperatures. Pictures are difficult to take because everything is so big and close up. Meeting people happened wherever we stopped which was at about five different lakes. There was June lake, Grant lake, Spring Lake, Gull Lake and Mono Lake. My God, the beauty! I tried to record music but no matter where I was someone came along and I had to ask them to take a picture of Mo and I but... of course they became more important than a picture of us.

We are so lucky to be here in this area now. For the next two months everything will turn into a madhouse of tourist activity. Presently there are smatterings of people. I met as I often do a couple visitng from Germany, lots of fisherman, locals, rv camp people... this area has major dog issues... signs saying "do not walk dogs in park" "no dogs on the beach" "pickup after your dog" the biggest sign to read after the Chamber of Commerce welcome sign while driving into the small town of Lee Vining is "all dogs must be on leash." Too much, too much. There were many, many places to create music for what I do. The fact that I was not getting anywhere travel wise and that I wanted to see Yosemite's Valley which would take several hours... well, I just needed to stay and enjoy where i was and what I was doing in the present moment. It was not easy.

Any short range plans I make constantly change. I got another room for the night so I could see Mono lake which is one to three million years old in an area where the eco system has been completely changed by man's diverting of water flow to other areas of the country... specifically Los Angeles. It is a dessert lake with lots of Tufa, towers of limestone sticking out of the lake and grassy areas. The National Forrest people wanted six bucks to park and then the State Nature Reserve wanted three more bucks on top of that to walk down to the beach and take a picture. Fuck that. I really have a problem with charging money to enjoy the earths nature and i am not paying money to take a nature photo. It is not a place where you would spend a day and picnic. I'm sure Mo would not have been allowed. I took a path in the opposite direction and with Mo on leash we had a good walk, got some pictures, and had our experience... against the law. Yea, thats right!

When I got back to the motel I was super duper exhausted but felt compelled to go get some food and possibly interact with two guys I had met. Sure enough as soon as I walked out my door they were rounding the bend. The guys I have been meeting... friends hanging out with each other for a few days or a week to go fishing etc... have been really laid back, fun, comfortable with themselves, it is a nice feeling to experience. I forget everyones name but I played in the motel parking lot and people started to appear and then I drove the two guys down the main street of town while they sang and played a really silly song on the piano. God, that was so much fun. They were really into it these clean cut guys around my age! I stopped at the supermarket and the fun continued. It ended with a trio of guys from South Africa who were shooting a documentary. I wish them luck with the footage I gave them because it was completely chaotic and unconventional. So here I am needing to sleep but jazzed from the journeys events for today. I booked the room again for tomorrow night. I am not leaving without seeing some of Yosemite!

June 07, 2012

Route 395, California

It has been sandal weather but now I am traveling back into sneaker weather. Shoes verses sneakers, I only have one pair for both uses and almost left without them today. Subconsciously as I was about to drive away and thought, "you don't have your shoes with you." Ha. I was more free spirited then ever today knowing no time, where or when I was going to stop or for what reason. I kept telling myself not to let money interfere. Someone had told me the roads less traveled going north and I looked for them. At one point I ran into a Los Angeles Water and Power company guy to ask for directions which was kind of funny as the company's name has come up for three days in a row. He was really nice and helpful. We traveled up route 395 through towns and places like Big Pine, Bishop, Pleasant Valley, Round Valley... we were driving over the top of the world. I refused to rush. I'd stop on the road, took my time to set up my computer to record and create music and met whomever passed by. We did that about four times. One older guy from France was doing a bicycle tour from San Francisco. Today for the first time ever it felt like I consciously lived life to the fullest.

The air turned cool and the huge, thick barked pine trees standing straight, the vibrant forests really caught my eye. There was a little concern if I was too far away from any places to stay but I just told myself I'd sleep in the truck if necessary. We ended up at Convict Lake in Mono County in the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I could not leave and stayed for hours. What I said about Alaska being the most beautiful place in the world. I'll never say anything like that again. The earth is beautiful... period. Convict Lake is a glacier lake. In Glacier Park I had to walk in five miles to see something like this. In the Northern Rockies I saw a lake like this in Banff, Alberta Canada but it was in a resort hotel environment. Here in California I drove right up to the waters edge and created music on the Traveling Piano. Sharp protruding mountains, grassy fields, aspens, pines, running water, crystal clear deep turquoise lake water... pure heaven almost 8000 feet up in the air. It was time for a hike which took almost two hours and I could feel myself slowing down at the end but could have cared less. I could have died and it would have been in heaven. Mo was the happiest I ever saw him running free. We ended up in Mammoth at a Motel 6 for the night.

June 06, 2012

Independence, California

The United States government force relocated six thousand five hundred of its own citizens for three and a half years during World War II to a camp named Manzanar where the Traveling Piano is now visiting in California... These American citizens were ordered to forfeit their properties and homes, bringing only "that which can be carried by the individual or family group," and placed on trains to war camps for their final destinations just because they were of Japanese decent... and held captive behind a barbed wired fence with armed guards. All in all 110,000 Americans of Japanese decent held by their on country were imprisoned in ten different camps around the country. A guy I had met while in Washington State, his family was relocated and held captive here. He suggested I check the area out. They stayed in an area called block three. While visiting I met Hank who was here with his family when he was thirteen years old. He is now eighty three.

Back then he said it was like living in Summer Camp as he was able to be around a lot of kids his own age and that block three and two did not get along. Block three wanted to be moved because block two was a rough community. Hank later joined the Army and is a Korean War Vet. I asked him if anyone tried to escape this American war camp for Americans. He said, "Where to?" Back at that time this area of the country was in the middle of no where. All I could think of was all the people I ever came across who have always said nothing like this could ever happen to us in our own country. It already happened. Just think about how easier it would be today again with all the tracking, control, laws and frenzied fear drama that happens.

While leaving I came across an American Avocet on the road. This is a wading shore bird usually found in mid-west prairie ponds, marshes, shallow lakes as well along the beaches on the Pacific coast... I'm pretty sure this bird had lost its flock... or its looking for all the water the Los Angeles Water and Power compnay diverted from this area years ago making it now a desert! At the same time a park ranger and another guy were there. The park ranger wanted to get home, the other guy tried out the Traveling Piano. I stopped on a sandy spot to create music. From past experience the ground seemed safe enough. Unfortunately I did not take into account how weak the truck is becoming. I was stuck and the only option was to plow forward into sage brush where I hit a rock hard but did get out. The Traveling Piano's front bumper guard now has a new... really funky, notably characteristic dent in it!

June 04, 2012

Lone Pine California

Its crazy that I can get internet everywhere but not phone service signal. Oh well, anyway I was filing some music for the website today and found past music recorded from Tucson. As I was recording a guy had come along and jumped up onto the truck to play on Mount Lemmon. I had left the piano in recording mode. Enjoying him and our experience together was immense. Hearing his music today... there is no question he is a recording artist and I have no idea who. The music he played is as seasoned and as good as it can get. There has never been a piano player who I connected with on the Traveling Piano as musically as with this guy... I wonder if our paths will ever cross again. He left a major impression on me and I don't even know his name. Oh, how I wish...

The day began with my playing on the street of this small town thinking, "get off the street and up the mountain" so I drove up to the trailhead of Mount Whitney. I met some people there and it was very refreshing to experience water, in fact a huge waterfall... so fine it was. Mo found another dog to play with for a short while. I had put a gallon container in the freezer last night for today as I have been doing for months. Eleven thirty at night there is still ice in it. Ha, usually not only is the ice melted the water has become warm within two hours. The weather is great! There are not many people here and I was told once July comes around it will be a mad house with people from Los Angles. I booked another night because I refuse to rush through this journey.

I went to play in at shady overlook and needed my Alaska coat and a hat. Mo almost needed his sweater. A couple stop to take a picture at the overlook. I asked them to take a picture with my camera of Mo and I. They said no. That was pretty weird but I appreciated the straight forwardness. A minute later another couple pulled around the bend. The girl said her boyfriend said, "hey look, a piano on a truck lets stop." They took the pic for me and we had some fun. Back in town I parked out in front of a restaurant and ate while Mo sat outside on the piano. Every once in a while, I'd take out a rib bone for him or a french fry. Also, I took several dinner breaks to go out and interact with people on the truck and get pictures etc... I could not be loving nature more, the nature of the earth, of people, (yea even the bad with the good at least for today) and music, my dog and my ability to enjoy... myself!

June 04, 2012

Death Valley

This will be one of... if not the longest blog post to date. What can I say, I write first and foremost for me and then hopefully others will read and embrace what the Traveling Piano has to offer for themselves. As I was driving today overwhelmed with awe I thought, "I'm ready to die, I've had enough, I can't take anymore... the only reason to continue living is to express and share my life experience. I woke up at seven in the morning after another six hours of sleep. We had to get going as early as possible to cross the Mojave Desert, the lowest, driest, and arguably the hottest place on earth better known as Death Valley. For over eight hours we traversed more than a hundred feet below sea level and almost six thousand feet into the air through temperatures that reached one hundred twenty degrees in the sun. I had planned to drive with the tarp over the piano. Even though it would be super hot inside I thought it would be more destructive with the sun directly burning on everything. Brian suggested I take Bell Vista Road through the desert from Las Vegas, an alternative route that would be a shorter drive.

After the ride began I just had to stop and create music. It was awesome beyond words. I did not care how hot it was. We were in the desert... sun and heat, that is the experience and I wanted it. How could I not create music in Death Valley? There was a strong wind so that helped. About three people drove by while I was playing but no one stopped. Most people seemed to have a need to rush and just get through it all. Not me... I was enjoying every single moment to the Nth degree. At our next stop a couple from Germany was there and asked about the Traveling Piano. They had seen us at the first stop and said they saw us but thought we were fake, that what they had seen could not have been real. Hahaha... I ran into people from Switzerland, travelers from back east in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, on and on it went in the HOT desert. There were lake beds of white borax, sulphur and salt. There were lots of smells... burning smells. I became worried at one point because I was smelling rubber and it was during a steep descent of several miles. I thought, "how can I do this without using the brakes?" (the brakes fell off last week) The truth was I did not want to use the brakes only to find out they were not there to use. It was probably my tires on the road. Then there was the smell of clothes being ironed. It was probably the tarp burning on the back of the truck.

The scenery was like nothing I had ever seen, even in pictures. I just could not believe it. The expanse was jaw dropping... like being on another planet or in a different country. I was mesmerized by epic views of nature. The only other place I have seen landscape that surpassed my sensibility of reality was in Denali, Alaska. At the end of the day I took almost two hundred and fifty pictures. I would stop on the road and just pull sideways into the middle of it to get a shot. There was almost no traffic the entire time. At nine in the morning I was thinking, "this is not so bad." By eleven it was feeling mighty warm. I was thinking, "I'm in it now." By eleven thirty I was like, "Its really, really hot, get me outta here it is hotter than I ever thought it could get" It was too hot to take any pictures. But then... I had to stop and get a picture. (frenzy priority) There was a group of kids learning how to be tour guides. Off came the tarp again and onto the truck the piano players came. Mo and I went through two gallons of water. I ate hot (from the heat) baked gourmet Italian pastry cookies with blueberries by the handful.

We drove into a major sandstorm by a place called the Devils Cornfield. At first it was to the side of the truck and I was thankful but then the road took a turn right into it. Ack!" ... "Thbbft! ... It was very much like a snow blizzard except snow does not get under the piano tarp and into all the equipment. What can I do? Nothing... live with it... deal... hope for the best... it is what it is. Onward... actually, it was fun driving through my first ever sand/dust storm... exciting even. I played some music in it. How could I not play in a sandstorm? How many opportunities would I have to express that musically... with. Unfortunately, most of the dust was from dry salt beds and that will not be good. Hopefully the Traveling Piano's electronic and metal components won't rust when we get into more humid areas or just not work from the granuals grinding everything to pieces. Doing it was more important than worrying about it all ending. I will stand by that decision.

In the distance I thought I was looking at clouds, then it looked like mountain peaks. It had to be a mirage because the peaks were so large in the distance. Wow, we were coming upon Mount Whitney the highest mountain peak in the Northern Hemisphere outside of Alaska. Huge, as I write this I'm waiting for the sun to set behind a humongous mountain ridge. While coming into town I was afraid the truck might need to climb over those mountains. During the drive today there were long periods of time where it would not go over twenty miles and hour. Who knows why?

It is amazing to have the Traveling Piano in California. It only took twenty six years! We are in Lone Pine, California. The town is a dust ball today. The winds are gusting to fifty miles an hour. I tried playing the piano where I am staying but with dust flying in my eyes, nose, mouth and piano keys... won't work. Back many years ago the water and power supply company for the state diverted all the water that flowed into nearby Lake Owens... for Los Angeles. The lake dried up. The people here wer mad and blew up the supply source, it was fixed and the lake dried up again... salt bed dirt and dust continues to blow everywhere. Each year the EPA fines the California company millions of dollars and each year millions of dollars are made by companies hired out to fix the problem... since 2001. They are on the eighth try. In the past there were attempts with plants and trees, and then a shallow water bed... now they are laying down over twenty miles of fabric across the salt bed and are covering it all with rocks to keep the city from being constantly filled with dust. Oh my God... for real?

I stopped at the visitors center for lodging information. We are in a small town rural area. The park ranger lady said there are a few motels in town and they had be good because they are run by motel chains and then there are also smaller privately owned places. (like they were lesser than) She obviously has not been around the block with motel chains. I found a clean hostel with a dorm room all to myself for thirty five bucks in the center of the town. Lone Pine has one street light. The room is perfect except there is no place to sit unless I want to sit on the top bunk. The people are friendly, the restaurant across the street has an old piano in it so while I was waiting for my chef's salad to be made I played a few tunes. (the Maple Leaf Rag of course) I'm staying two nights because I must come up for air and catch my breath from today and also I want to gift this town with the Traveling Piano. Today felt like a months worth of journey all in one day. It was a major adventure and not anything I would want to do again soon. Exhaustively wound up am I! Outside the temperature is cool on my skin for the first time in months.

Today, I reached a new level of being present and free spirited with no specific agenda, where to go, concern over money, how long anything will take, when to stop, what direction to go in, equipment or truck trouble, no self imposed obligation or expectation although I always work to be somewhat sensible. In the past I have used the tarp to cope with and protect everything from windy freezing cold and wetness. Today it was the same protection but all about windy, dry and hot. Over desert mountains, vast dry rolling alpine hills with yellow daises, shapes, high cliffs, sharp rocky inclines, sand dunes, plant life, deep low valleys, landscapes, colors, textures, variety... I just can't stop.

June 03, 2012

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

This morning I woke at eight forty-five in the morning (thats super early) after six hours sleep (thats dangerous) to go to Red Rock Canyon because it was highly suggested. Brian was going to drive with me and take some pictures but last night he had a last minute booty call so I knew he wasn't going to wake up. Me and my Mo, we went it alone and had to get there before the temperature reached a hundred. The trip was worth it... pretty awesome for sure. It is one of those governmental parks created to be saved from people, somewhat domesticated, there to create jobs and money, keep out the riff raff... seven bucks to enjoy nature, God's earth, the universe. Does that sound sarcastic? It was meant to be. We could have met people there all day one on one. I didn't care how hot it got I was not going to rush through the experience. We lasted until well after noon.

Brian picked up his friend Rosie to bring her to the house as he does every Sunday. They have been friends for many years through a national volunteer movement called Best Buddies. The organization creates one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership opportunities. It partners students and adults with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is all about developing mutually-enriching friendships between people with and without disabilities. I like that! Seeing the temperature was over a hundred degree's again as it has been every single friggin' day I have been in Las Vegas... I pulled the Traveling Piano out of Brian's garage for a quick picture of them together and then we all hurried back inside. I wanted very much for Deanna to come out but she did not want to have her picture taken. I remember people visually, did not push it, knew it wasn't going to happen.

We'll be leaving Las Vegas tomorrow and I had to check out The Venetian resort, hotel, casino because once again I was told it was a must see. Huge is a descriptive understatement. it was like I city inside a building. Inside on the third floor there was an indoor canal with gondola rides and a replication of St. Marks square and a ceiling that looked like it was the sky outside. Other major ceilings inside were painted masterpieces of the Michelangelo type. Indoor stores and cafes galore... lots of different first rate shows... lots of lower middle class looking people... ha, I was one of them. Women were walking around in their bathing suites... weird, and even weirder... penny slot machines. So, did that done that. Red Rock Canyon was better.

June 02, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

To think I almost drove through Las Vegas without stopping... I was afraid, very happy that I plopped down here and stayed anyway. I'm always dammed afraid. Fearful feelings... I was thinking how what is individual about people. It is the feelings, the amount, why, etc... life experiences in of themselves are all about dealing with the feelings surrounding them all. We drove to the top of a hill high above the city. I needed to create music and share the Traveling Piano. It was more important than seeing the Venetian Casino which I really wanted to do with no time for both. We met up once again with Rob and Destiny and of course met a few people. I sat and created music to the city lights for about an half hour. Earlier in the day I helped Brian who I have been staying with. Some yard digging was needed. It was over a hundred degrees and I didn't feel it until... I was done and then I almost fainted which was fun.

June 01, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada

The life experience I am having here in Las Vegas, Nevada equals the experience of being in rural Alaska. It is all fantastic. The lights, crowds, fun and sounds, the variety of people, excitement, traffic, the party-ing, trees, music, casino lounges, slots, gambling, neighborhoods, ethnic foods, architecture... I missed the "cold as it can get" feeling in Alaska but I'm getting the "hot as it can get" feeling here in Nevada. Today the temperature on the back porch of my friend Brian's house read one hundred and seventeen degrees! Needless to say I did not take the Traveling Piano out into that. I could have after dark but wanted to explore the inside of a casino or two before I leave. First I took Brian to dinner at a local place called Nora's Italian Cuisine. The special was veal which I forgot to ask how much it cost. When the bill came it was and ouch thirty bucks for the veal alone but... it was an ouch that tasted sooo good.

Mo and I headed for the Bellagio Hotel and Casino where we parked on the roof top with a breeze in the dark warm air for Mo to wait in while I explored. The water fountain displays in front of the hotel were spectacular. Inside I ran David Osborne a pianist playing the lounge who has played for four different presidents and who has sold millions of romantic piano cd's. Then I found a jazz duo of bass piano, the bassist a woman who looked like she was twenty six years old but really was almost fifty who has been playing bass in the hotel for the last thirteen years full time. There was a large indoor garden of splendid color in the center of the hotel and then... and then... I lucked out with a front row, center seat for the Cirque du Soleil show named "O." To see a Cirque du Soleil show specifically in Las Vegas has been in my minds eye for twenty five years, seriously. I have truly been creating my Wildest of Dreams and... I can also say that I've played the strip of Las Vegas unlike any other musician... from the roof tops of its biggest hotels. Pretty funny eh?