Monday, August 24, 2009

Burningtown Ride

I live in the most beautiful place in the country to ride a bicycle! This is the Rose Creek bridge across the Little Tennessee river, part of my loop ride of Burningtown Valley this morning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One Year Ago

Has it already been a year since I completed the hike of my life time on the summit of Mt. Katahdin? I'd do it all over again, just to touch that sign!
I miss all my hiking buddies, I miss the trail, I miss all of those 2,176 miles of roots, rocks,and mud!
Here's my journal entry from August 13, 2008:

What can I say? After 2176 miles of trail, I have reached my goal. I've kept my eye on the prize (touching the sign on top of Katahdin) since March 21st. Through good times and bad, cold, heat, rain, magic moments, killer sunsets and sunrises, mosquitos and ticks, beautiful landscapes, great company and fellowship, excrutiating pain, blisters, sore feet and bum knees, inspired conversations, annoying irritations,and occasional boredom, I have arrived at the end of the trail. I am grateful to be here.
Katahdin was even more majestic and grand than I thought she would be. I had beautiful views on the way up and then clouds on the top, as it should be. I kept thinking about how Henry David Thoreau described the mountain in 1846 as "primeval, untamed and forever untamable nature". The climb was tough, the biggest single climb of the entire trip, with more than 4,000 feet of elevation change to reach the 5,267 foot summit. I don't think I really even noticed, though. I had really spent the last 146 days training for this very day. I felt nothing but adrenaline.
It was very special to finish with my trail buddies, Rethinker, SiteSee, and Apostle. I had hiked with these three guys at different times since Virginia, and the odds of us all finishing on the same day had to be be slim. It was also a great pleasure to meet Start and the Twins on their way up the mountain, as we were descending, knowing that they were on their way to finish. It was an honor to share this day with my fellow hikers, they were true friends and an inspiration at all times, I could not have hiked alone. After experiencing the Appalachian trail as a thru-hike, I have the upmost respect for any man, woman, girl, boy, or dog that has been through the challenges, hardships, and glories of the trail. I now know what they have been through, and it ain't easy!
Finally, I want to thank my family, friends, co-workers, fellow hikers, and journal readers for the monumental encouragement and support that I recieved while I was on the trail. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the emotional and mental boost that I got from the guestbook. I couldn't have hiked without it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spiral performs on a steel hoop at Floyd Fest, VA

The beautiful and talented Spiral entertained us with aerial feats of human flexability and strength.

I wonder if she rides a bicycle?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More from FloydFest

Here's a little teaser from FloydFest of the legendary Peter Rowan joining Railroad Earth on stage. Andy Goessling, RRE's multi-instrumentalist (usually on banjo and guitar) plays flute.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Railroad Earth at FloydFest, Va.

We drove to Floyd, Va on Sunday, July 26 to see one of my favorite bluegrass / jamgrass bands, Railroad Earth.

Our friends, Marie and Aimee and Aimee's son Isaac, came along. It was our first visit to Floydfest, although it had been on my radar for several years (bad timing, it's on the same weekend as Bele Chere).

RRE "kicked grass" as usual and gave an inspired performance. What can I say? I'll let the video speak for itself....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ras Alan and the Lions at Bele Chere Festival

Bluegrasstafari! The originator of Appalachian reggae played Bele Chere this year. Ras Alan is the real deal, what you see is what you get. He's all southern Appalachian country Rastaman.

Here's his bio from the website:

Ras Alan - Appalachian Reggae musician
He celebrated Bob Marley’s TALKING BLUES reggae release in Jamaica with Ziggy, Stephen, Julian and Rita Marley; he picked informal
gospel and swing tunes with American music icons Doc Watson and Jethro Burns; he
learned ancient tribal rhythms and melodies at the feet of African blues master Ali Farke Toure and Nigerian Master drummer Babtunde Olatunji. His original “reggabilly” songs and self-produced CDs have navigated the
Grammy@ process, enlivened the Archives of Appalachia and represent “Contemporary
Southern Appalachian Culture and Music” in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
DC. He’s been featured on Country Music Television, PBS and NPR stations nationwide.

He is a devoted father, architect, carpenter and organic gardener. He lives in the mountains just hours from where he was born into a large, close-knit family and
continues to pick Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers tunes with his father and uncles at
various reunions and yearly gatherings. He plays a flat top guitar he built in 1980.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O' Blues

Last Saturday we caught legendary blues man Mac Arnold at Bele Chere Festival in Asheville. During his career Mac played, toured, and recorded with the best blues singers around: Muddy Waters, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, and lots more. In his retirement Mac returned to South Carolina, where he is an organic farmer and tours with his band, Plate Full O' Blues.

In this video, Mac is playing one of his famous gas can guitars that his brother Leroy learned to make as a boy in the 1940's.