Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A White Christmas!

Black Betty and Wyatt with Snowman.
We actually had a real white Christmas this year. I guess we had about 6 inches of snow or so fall on the Hometown Homestead on Christmas day.
It'll be one that we remember for a long time. It was lots of fun with the grandsons Wyatt and Jack!

Wyatt enjoying the moment.

Little Jack with Wyatt's headlamp.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Your Hometown Hiker's Camping Stats 2010

 Gnometown at Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, WY.

Black Betty and I got in plenty of "bag-nights" camping in our little Gnometown camper this year.
We did our first big trip to the Western States along with our Granddaughters, Aijia and Scout. It was a trip that we'll always cherish, being able to spend quality time with our two delightful girls and exploring the natural wonders of the Black Hills, Badlands, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.
This road trip ended up at 26 days and 5600 miles. We camped at 5 State Parks, 2 National Parks, and 1 State Recreation Area.

    Hobo Camp at Delfest 2010, Cumberland, MD.

We also were fortunate enough to attend 6 music festivals in 2010 for 15 days and nights of  the best live music played anywhere, anytime. I can't forget  to mention the joy of hanging with all of our Festivarian friends from around the country.
This year we went to Suwannee Springfest near Live Oak, FL, The Keel Family Function in  Lafayette, GA, DelFest in Cumberland MD, Music on the Mountain Top in Boone NC,
DelFest Carolina in Black Mountain, NC, and MagnoliaFest at Live Oak, FL.

   My brother, Matt and I in the Florida Panhandle.

I also managed to pull off 2 bicycle trips this year. In April, I rode with my brother Matt and another friend, Phil Potter for over 400 miles visiting State Parks in Florida. In late September I was able to complete my 5th Cycle North Carolina ride. This year we rode from Asheville to Ocean Isle, North Carolina for another 433 miles or so.

                     With Aijia, Scout, and Black Betty in The Grand Tetons, Wyoming. 

All in all, 2010 turned out to be a great camping year for your Hometown Hiker. With all the numbers totaled I had 41 nights in the little Gnometown pop-up and another 13 tent camping for a total of 54 bag night!
Not bad.....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Your Hometown Hiker's Live Band List 2010

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2010 proved to be another great year for live music. Black Betty and I were fortunate enough to see many of these groups numerous times each. There were so many incredible shows, so much inspiring music!

We love each and every musician who poured it on and ripped it unselfishly in order to aid us in our never ending quest for spiritual growth through boogie woogie enlightenment and rock n roll endarkenment!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

When they come to take you down
When they bring that wagon round
When they come to call on you
and drag your poor body down

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don't tell them that you know me

You thought you was the cool fool
Never could do no wrong
Had everything sewed up tight
How come you lay awake all night long?

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don't tell them that you know me

You know in spite of all you gained
you still have to stand out in the pouring rain
One last voice is calling you
and I guess it's time you go

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don't tell them that you know me

Shake it up now, Sugaree
I'll meet you at the Jubilee
If that Jubilee don't come
Maybe I'll meet you on the run

One thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
my darling Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
but don't tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don't tell 'em that you know me


Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cades Cove Weekend

Black Betty and I are home from a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend camping trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I figured that the crowds would be gone (they were) and the camping would be sweet. It was a rare opportunity to enjoy the Cove without having to experience the horrible traffic-choked nightmare that the loop has become during peak season. The campground was also sparsely populated, creating a quiet and peaceful campsite.

We awoke to heavy frosts on Saturday and Sunday mornings with temps in the 20's. The little pop-up was pretty chilly, the only warm place around was deep inside our sleeping bags. It made for some great camp fire time, though.  The stars were spectacular in the night sky and I was treated to a couple of the quietest nights that I've experienced since my AT hike. What a great setting to enjoy eating our Thanksgiving left-overs in. Mmmm pie!

Black Betty told me that it was all worth it (speaking of the cold) as we watched 2 bear cubs and their momma dig for grubs while they sauntered through the  chilly woods on Sunday morning. She was right!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wallace Branch Hike

It's all honey thick sweetness living in southern Appalachia when it comes to hometown hiking.
The Wallace Branch trail head of the Bartram Trail is a short couple miles away from my front door.
Eleven miles up the Bartram is Wayah Bald on the Appalachian Trail. At that point, if I turn and 
follow the white blazes north, I will end on top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine in roughly  two thousand and fifty miles. 
It can be a constant temptation, believe me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7 Walkers

7 Walkers walking in the sky 
 7 Walkers watching from on high
7 Walkers offer their protection
           7 Walkers looking down from heaven    
-Robert Hunter        

The new 7 Walkers CD is finally released today.  After seeing 7 Walkers (Bill Kreutzmann, Papa Mali, George Porter Jr. and Matt Hubbard with Robert Hunter penned songs) at MagnoliaFest and streaming them on Internet Archive, I am more than excited about hearing the studio album.  You should be too! 
Besides, how could a guy with a blog name like Hometown Hiker not appreciate a band called 7 Walkers?

Here is a superb review from Dennis Cook on JamBase:
7 Walkers (arriving November 2 on Response Records) is the most organic, original music to come out of the core Grateful Dead alumni since the passing of Jerry Garcia. It's worth getting right down to brass tacks since 7 Walkers goes for the creative jugular in such a lusty, exuberant manner. With richly imaginative lyrics penned by Dead scribe Robert Hunter, the band is comprised of percussion master Bill Kreutzmann, psychedelic blues rock marvel Papa Mali, New Orleans funk pioneer George Porter, Jr. and multi-instrumentalist & longtime Willie Nelson collaborator Matt Hubbard. Even on paper this quartet is lethal, but that's nothing compared to the roiling energy when they come together in the flesh. With their collective pedigree, there's an enormous pool of possibilities and their self-titled debut reflects all their swirling undercurrents AND coalesces into fascinating new shapes, fresh colors forming on the surface of things as dark, interesting eddies move below. Put another way, there's something powerful and primal and beautiful going on in the music of 7 Walkers.  Read entire article here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

MagnoliaFest 2010 Report


Black Betty and I grooved our way through another great Magfest at the Spirit of the Suwannee music park this weekend. Perfect weather, a full moon, and a kick-ass music line up all came together to create one special and unforgettable Magfest.

Thursday night alone was worth the trip just to see the energetic and exhilarating performances by Cornmeal and Railroad Earth. We were psyched up to see both groups, listening to RRE's new CD and the Internet archive's Cornmeal show from Springfest on the drive down from North Carolina. Yes, Allie Kral and Tim Carbone joined each other on stage during the Cornmeal show (as predicted by festivarian, Melanie) and duelled with their deadly fiddles to the delight of the crowd. 


Once again, Jim Lauderdale and Donna The Buffalo rocked Mag like they were on fire! There is nothing like dancing to Donna while Uncle Jim sings his heart out. And what about Dave McCracken on keys? Wow! Like I said on my SpringFest report, this guy fuels the jam.

Of course, we're big Keel fans around the Hometown homestead and I must say that Keller and the Keels had a huge show Saturday night playing most of the songs from their new CD Thief  and a few from their older Grass. They were definitely a crowd favorite. There was an odd moment when Peter Rowan joined them on stage and appeared to have forgotten how to play his guitar!


7 Walkers, the super group featuring Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzmann was everything that I thought it would be, jammy New Orleans meets Grateful Dead meets Magfest. It was my first time seeing Papa Mali live, and I can tell you, he sure can play one mean guitar. They played a few old Dead songs (including "Sugaree") and some new Robert Hunter-penned 7 Walker songs. What can I say? We loved it and can't wait until the CD  is released.

Magfest Vibes:
  • We managed to miss several bands that we wanted to see, bummer! You just can't see them all.
  • Mike and Ruthy were better than ever with their Folk City Band. We love their new CD.
  • The Turtle Duhks always steal the show, how can you not love Leonard and Lydia?
  • Bobby Miller and The Virginia Dare Devils, 18 South, Sloppy Joe, Peter Rowan, and Sam Bush played their hearts out for us. We loved them all!
  • Jeff and Johnny Mosier were hot, hot, hot! The Rev laid his "ole love" on us--may we all find that love!  Talk about karma, their new CD arrived in time to be released at MagFest! David Blackmon on fiddle..... man!
  • I didn't remember Wet Willie being as funky and soulful as they are. I actually expected to be disappointed by them; instead, I was pleasantly impressed! Steamy stuff!
  • Joe Craven inspired us with his talk of enlightenment, growth, change, and courage. This guy is the true Renaissance man.
  • As always the camping was sweet; Gnometown was our oasis.
  • It was wonderful to see the old friends who could attend and it was sad that several were unable to make it.
  • The apple crisp at Sweet Revenge was as good as ever. I ate it all weekend.
  • If you ever get a chance, be sure to hop aboard the Hopryland bus!
  • There was talk of this being the last MagnoliaFest. Founders Beth and Randy Judy are not producing the 2011 Suwannee Springfest in March. I'm not in the loop, so we'll have to see what happens.
  • There seems to be too much momentum here to let it end here!
Mike and Ruthy

David Blackmon and Jeff Mosier

Larry Keel, Keller, Peter Rowan

    Jeb Puryear and Jim Lauderdale

                                                                  Turtle Duhks

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jim Lauderdale and Town Mountain @ The Grey Eagle

We were lucky enough to get to see two of our favorite acts at the Grey Eagle last night in Asheville. Jim Lauderdale (Mr. Americana Music himself) opened the show with a solo set.  Next, Asheville's own Town Mountain followed with a blistering bluegrass set for the rowdy and appreciative hometown crowd.  And finally, Jim and Town Mountain then joined forces for a third set.  It was another magical night of live music at its finest in Asheville.  Who wouldn't want to live in western North Carolina?

Speaking of Town Mountain, I understand that they are currently wrapping up a new CD.  I can't help thinking of  CD cover art with a photo of the band loitering around a sidewalk in downtown Asheville, wearing cowboy hats, jeans, and boots.  The title I'm thinking of is "Workingman's Grass".  Does that not describe perfectly what Town Mountain is about?  Bluegrass for the working man, bluegrass for the masses! Their current album is Heroes and Heretics, one of the best bluegrass recordings out there. 
Check 'em out, it's bluegrass that everyone can love!  Town Mountain
Tell me what you think.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Greensky Bluegrass plays Asheville, NC

Greensky Bluegrass finally made their jammy way back to Asheville on September 24th. They were playing a rather strange venue, the Mellow Mushroom, but it seemed to work for the sizable and raucous crowd of eager supporters who turned out for the show.

As always, the Kalamazoo, Michigan based Greensky Bluegrass delivered the finest in contemporary Americana jamgrass. They certainly perform some of the most exciting and innovative live music that you will see today. If you don't own any of their music, you are really missing out. Do yourself a favor and check 'em out. http://www.greenskybluegrass.com/

Greensky Bluegrass is Dave Bruzza/guitar&vocals  Anders Beck/dobro  MikeDevol/bass  Mike Bont/banjo  Paul Hoffman/mandolin&vocals

Monday, September 20, 2010

Double Dutch Stacked Dinner/Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ham Patties and Potatoes

I called this one "The Double Dutch Stacked Dinner" because I liked the name, but in reality, it is baked acorn squash stuffed with apples and raisins in the bottom pot and ground ham patties with potatoes in the top pot. I'll break it down into two separate recipes.

Start by firing up 36 briquettes.
I used a 12" and 10" dutch oven.
I also used a 10" cast iron frying pan.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
2 large apples (your choice) peeled, cored, chopped
4 tbs golden raisins
4 tbs melted butter
4 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut the squash in halves and scoop out seeds with a tablespoon.
Pour about 1/2" boiling water in a 12" dutch oven.
Place squash, cut side down in pot. Place lid.
Bake for about 30 minutes with 6 briquettes below oven and 18 on lid.

During this time combine the rest of your ingredients for the stuffing in a glass bowl.
Also prepare the following vegetables for top pot:

Top Pot Veggies
white potatoes (a few handfuls) cut in half and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves of garlic (I missed this one)
3 tbs olive oil
salt, pepper, dried herbs (your choice)
Place the olive oil in the bottom of a 10" dutch oven.
Put the remainder of ingredients in the dutch oven and place lid.

At this time carefully remove the lid from the 12" dutch oven and turn the squash halves over.
Stuff the center of each squash with the apple/raisin mixture.
Place the lid (coals still on it) back on the pot.

Stand the 10" pot on the 12" pot.
Put 12 hot briquettes on lid.
Let these cook for an hour.

At this point, I started preparing my ham patties:

Ground Ham Patties
1 lb. ground ham (I bought a reduced sodium ham steak and ground it in the food processor)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 eggs

Combine the ingredients and form 6 patties.
Brown both sides in cast iron fry pan with olive oil.
Remove from pan when brown and set aside.

After the pots have cooked for one hour, remove the lid on top pot.
Gently stir the potatoes and place the ham patties on top of the veggies.
Carefully replace lid (with coals).

Bake for 30 more minutes.

Serve and eat... it's good stuff!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dutch Oven Moroccan Lamb Stew

I went to the Lodge Cookware factory outlet in Sevierville, Tennessee over the weekend and purchased several new pieces of cast iron cook ware at a great price. I've been dying to try one of them out so I put this dish together in my new 10-quart dutch oven.

1 Bone-in lamb shoulder
2 cans of low-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomato
1 can chick peas
1 onion diced
1 cup sliced carrot
2 stalks chopped celery
1 cup diced dried apricots
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Garam Marsala (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cloves, cardamon).
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne

Preparing the Lamb:
Because I was using a bone-in lamb shoulder I pre-cooked it, so that I could easily separate the bone, fat, and connecting tissue from the meat.
Salt and pepper the lamb shoulder and brown it all sides in a 10" cast iron dutch oven in 3 tbs. of olive oil.
When it's browned, pour one of the cans of the chicken broth over it, put on the lid, and bake at a low heat (around 300F) for 4 hrs.
After 4 hrs. the lamb was cooked and the chicken broth was mostly evaporated. I put the lamb in a dish and placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours. When I was ready to use the meat, it was easily separated. I cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Cooking the Stew
To start, scrape most of the lamb fat out of the bottom of the dutch oven (up to you), but try to leave some of the good drippings for taste.
Add a little olive oil and brown the onion.
Pour in 1 can of chicken broth.
Add carrots, celery, canned tomatoes, garlic, and dry spices. Spices should be used to taste.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
Add meat and apricots.
Simmer for one to one and half hours until carrots are tender.
(I did have to add 1 cup of hot water before it was through)
Serve over cous-cous.

First of all, I must say that I don't know anything about Moroccan food. I'm really just a dude with a couple of Dutch ovens and a penchant for cast-iron cooking. I do like Indian food and this dish has curry and Bengali spices in it, so maybe it should be called Bengali Lamb Stew. I don't know about that, but I do know that this dish is spicy, exotic, and scrumptious. I can definitely see myself lounging around on big pillows with hookah pipes and belly dancers while eating it. It's good stuff, maybe one of the better things I've cooked in a while. Black Betty thinks so too!

I was inspired by a Moroccan Chicken Recipe that was posted by Cliffmeister2000 at the wonderful and informative camp cook forum:  Camp-Cook.com
Bob appetit y'all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Town Mountain at Del Yeah! Black Mountain

Black Betty and I were thrilled to see one of our favorite bluegrass groups, Town Mountain on the lineup for  Del Yeah! over Labor Day weekend in Black Mountain.  I managed to shoot this clip of  Town Mountain joined by Andy Thorn (banjo) and Tyler Grant (guitar) of  The Emmitt Nershi Band.

Asheville's Town Mountain consists of Robert Greer (vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter); Jesse Langlais (banjo, writes a large part of Town Mountain’s original material and sings tenor and baritone); Barrett Smith (bass, guitar, vocals); Phil Barker (mandolin, vocals); and Bobby Britt (fiddle).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Del Yeah! Black Mountain

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the first Del Yeah! weekend at the Pisgah Brewery venue in Black Mountain yesterday. It was a wonderful day spent enjoying beautiful mountain weather and listening to superb mountain music. Labor Day weekend doesn't get any better than this; if you missed it, you missed out indeed!

The lineup featured Charlotte rockers The New Familiars, Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain, Black Mountain's Paco Shipp on blues harmonica, Colorado super group The Emmitt Nershi Band, and, of course, the one and only Del McCoury Band.

The enthusiastic crowd gave their love to Del and the boys. Del summed it all up in the lyrics from "Sweet Appalachia":

I’ve got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones,
And I can feel it when I sing them lonesome songs.

And I can tell by the way I feel,
That it comes from somewhere else,

Got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones.

I’ve got that sweet mountain spirit down in my veins,
And it flows through my heart like a mountain rain,

And no matter where I might roam,

These hills and hollers are still my home,

Got that sweet mountain spirit down in my veins.

Some people call me Hillbilly,
Some people call me Mountain Man,
Well, you can call me Appalachia,
Appalachia’s what I am.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Music on the Mountain Top

Black Betty and I had a great time of fun and music (and nothin' but fun and music) at the Music on the Mountain Top Festival in Boone, NC on Saturday. We spent the day with our favorite groups Snake Oil Medicine Show, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Acoustic Syndicate, Toubab Krewe, Sam Bush, and Railroad Earth. They rocked us like we needed to be rocked. We're some happy Festivarians, indeed!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Great Family Road Trip

                                                                  Art by Aijia

7/7  We left home with the Jeep towing the little pop-up loaded with bikes. Granddaughters Aijia and Scout joined us. We drove 420 miles to Metropolis, IL on the banks of the Ohio river. Camped at Fort Massac State Park which had around 50 sites with only about 6 occupied. We visited the fort, rode bikes, grilled burgers, and played bean-bag toss.

7/8 Drove about 400 miles to Pershing State Park near LeClede, Mo.  A small, secluded campground with only hosts and us camping. Lots of bicycle riding for the girls. Cloudy weather and pleasant breeze kept the bugs off. Spent a relaxing evening.

7/9 Newton Hills State Park near Canton, SD (mile 1218) Beautiful park in SE SD. Lots of campers, great swim in Lakota Lake. We stopped to resupply at Walmart in Sioux City.

Swimming in Lakota Lake

7/10-7/15 We stayed at the wonderful Bluebell campground in Custer State Park located in the Black Hills of SD. We really loved this park and CG. While here, we saw hundreds of bison, pronghorn, prarie dogs, and a couple of little big-horn sheep. We drove the gravel roads of the Black Hills and the Badlands and visited Deadwood with the graves of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. Went to Lead and saw the "open cut". Visited Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Corn Palace, and  Wall Drug. We learned about Lakota astronomy one night during a naturalist program. We drove the Needles Highway and had dinner in the lodge. We also had a $900. repair to the Jeep (a/c compressor) and a rental car for a day.
Did I mention the hail storm where it covered the ground? Also, lots of bike riding and some CG bluegrass.

The Badlands

7/16-7/18 Buffalo Bill State Park near Cody, WY. This has to be the windiest CG in the USA! I really thought that our little pop-up was going to be blown away a few times. It was also the most scenic CG spot of our trip, so it balances out. By the way, did I mention the heat? We loved Cody. We went to the Old Trail Town and saw the grave of  Liver Eating Johnston and the cabin of Butch and Sundance and the Hole in the Wall gang. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody was the best museum I've been in for many years. We spent hours there and could have spent an entire additional day there. The museum actually houses five separate museums covering Buffalo Bill, the Plains Indians, Western Art, natural history, and firearms. The Whitney Museum of western art and the beautiful Plains Indians artifacts (shields, head dresses, bead work) were among the highlights for me.  We took the girls out to the Cody Cattle Company for a dinner and a show. This turned out to be great fun and we were fed and entertained with cowboy music by the Martin family, champion yodelers and flatpickers. Aijia and Scout really loved this stuff (we did, too). We wrapped up our Cody stay with the famous Cody Night Rodeo. It was the girls' first rodeo experience so they were fascinated with the entire program.

Buffalo Bill State Park

7/19-7/24 Indian Creek CG, Yellowstone National Park. I cannot say enough about this little quiet CG hidden away in the NE corner of Yellowstone, far away from the crowds and noise of the populated parts of the park. This place was a gem, no generators allowed, no monster motorhomes, unbelievably clean vault toilets. Great! We were able to take nightly mountain bike rides down a secluded and gated gravel road and spot elk and coyotes and ride through creeks and just have all kinds of fun with the girls. No tourists, just us and the critters. So, for all the folks who told us how crowded Yellowstone was in July, I agree with you, if you are around Old Faithful and the other big commercial centers in the south and central areas of the park, but it was a different experience in the north! Since we spent 6 days in Yellowstone, we really saw all the main attractions. We never saw a grizzly but we did get to see a black bear on the Blacktail Plateau drive, a 7 mile gravel road that followed the Bannock tribe trail on the way to the buffalo hunting ground, pretty cool in itself. We did a great little hike with the girls on the high towering cliffs above the Yellowstone river (again no tourists, just us). My favorite time came the last evening we were there. I decided that we would go out to the beautiful Lamar Valley far in the NE corner of the park and look at wildlife. As the sun was going down, we found ourselves sitting quietly in the Jeep in the midst of a huge herd of bison as they migrated from one side of the road to the other. This situation wasn't the same as the numerous "buffalo-jams" that we had encountered in Custer and Yellowstone; in this setting, in this pristine and secluded high mountain valley, in the last rays of the setting sun, this was something timeless and primitive and beautiful and sacred. I feel honored to have been there. Wow!

Lamar Valley

7/25-7/27 Colter Bay CG Grand Teton National Park. We stayed at the huge centrally located CG at Colter Bay Village. We were in a no-generator loop. After Yellowstone, it did feel like we were staying in town, but we made the most of it (again riding our bikes all over) with nightly rides to get ice cream at the general store. Teton is pure eye-candy with the big alpine mountains and high mountain lakes. We spent the time swimming (OK, mostly Aijia and Scout) in the cold mountain lakes and hiking. We did do an early (beat the crowd while you can) boat shuttle across Jenny Lake with a hike to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and a short way up Cascade Canyon.

7/28   Super 8 Motel Wheatland, WY. We left Tetons and headed east across WY on the secondary highways and encountered lots of road construction with long sections of  muddy gravel roads.  My advice to anyone driving on the back roads through Wyoming: Fill up with GAS if you drop below a half of a tank!  The map had town names on it in fairly large type, but did these towns have more than a population of 10? No. Did they have gas pumps? No. We drove a record 45 miles with the gas light on, towing a trailer! I can't believe that we weren't stopped dead on the road but somehow we made it. We were ready for a motel room and swimming pool by the time we reached Wheatland, WY.

7/29 Sherman Lake State Recreation Area, NE.  We walked out to the parking lot and found a flat tire on our little pop-up, so I started the day by putting one of my two spares on the trailer. Still keeping to the back roads, we continued across the beautiful Wyoming country side to the town of Guernsey where we stopped to see the deep ruts left in the rock by the hundreds of wagon trains above the N. Platte river as they journeyed west on the Oregon trail.  Next we stopped to see Carhenge near Alliance, NE. We continued across the little back road Hwy 2 and camped at Sherman Lake SRA for a bargain price seven dollars. When we got there, I noticed that my other original tire was low on air. When I pushed on the tire valve stem, it leaked air. I went ahead and switched it out with my remaining spare.


7/30 Best Western Motel, Moberly MO. Found a tire store first thing this morning and had a valve stem put in the spare for $5 so we were ready to roll. Heavy thunderstorms pushed us into the Best Western motel in Moberly, MO.

7/31 Best Western Motel, Murfreesboro TN. Again, a swimming pool!

Art by Scout

8/1 Home, Franklin NC

Stats: 26 days, 5600 miles. 5 State Parks, 2 National Parks, 1 State Rec Area, 3 Motels, 2 flat tires.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Road Trip 2010

Hometown and Black Betty are on the road this summer
with grand daughters, Aijia and Scout. So far we have visited
the Black Hills and the Badlands. We are heading west tomorrow
towards Wyoming. Stay tuned for more adventure!
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Barefoot Hiker

My grandson Wyatt hiking barefoot on the Rufus Morgan Falls trail in the Nantahalas.  He abandoned his shoes after getting them wet in the creek.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bobby Miller and The Virginia Dare Devils / Brother, Adieu

The new release by Bobby Miller and the Virginia Dare Devils is finally here!  The Virginia Dare Devils deliver a precise and beautiful sound which tends more towards the traditional/classical end of the contemporary bluegrass genre.  This is a delightful and refreshing collection of songs and instrumentals by a talented group of  master musicians.  It has already found a cozy spot in my collection.  I've been listening over and over since downloading and enjoying every minute of it.  Thanks for this one, Bobby Miller!

The Virginia Dare Devils are: Bobby Miller lead vocals and Mandolin, Griff Martin vocals and guitar, Bill Cardine dobro, Billy Constable banjo, and Stefan Custodi bass.   Several other well known Asheville musicians appear as guests on the recording.

Download  these 11 songs of bluegrass bliss by the stellar Asheville-area group for only 9.99 at Digstation Download.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Magnoliafest 2010 Initial Lineup

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The lineup looks really good so far for MagnoliaFest 2010. I know that Black Betty and I are stroked and stoked to see it up and posted after the small turn-out for Suwanee SpringFest this year. I must say that I am intrigued by the joining of Bill Kreutzmann and Papa Mali in 7 Walkers, especially knowing that Robert Hunter has penned a number of songs specifically for them. No way am I going to miss that show. 
Railroad Earth, hell yes! The jam is always sweeter when the train comes to town!  Keller and Keels, awesome new album, see them every chance we get!  Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan, can we have MagFest without them? I think not.  Cornmeal, Col. Bruce, how about a fantasy jam with Allie Kral and the Quark Alliance?  Jeff and Johnny Mosier, we love them guys around here. Can't wait to see them again!  Dread Clampitt, hot, hot, hot!  Mike and Ruthie are one of our all time favorites. We are so happy to be able to see them back in Suwanee!

So far, so good. I can't wait to see what else MagFest has in store for us! 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Black Betty's Birthday/Tsali/Father's Day/ Summer Solstice

There's nothing quite like summertime and we've had a full week of it at the Hometown Homestead. Black Betty celebrated a birthday earlier in the week and then we spent a long weekend at Tsali for celebration of the Solstice, Father's day, and summer in general! School is out and the heat is on. We set up Gnometown at Tsali, did a little mountain biking, a little swimming, some great campstyle cooking, and lots of relaxing in general.. We had a great visit with Holly, David, Wyatt, and little Jack. It really doesn't get any better than this!

Wyatt and Jack hanging out in the Gnometown Camper.

Papa and Wyatt riding bikes.

Big boys on Nanna's Birthday.

Wyatt cooling off in Fontana Lake.

Cricket walks Wyatt.

Hometown still in all one piece.

And finally here is Wyatt on his first trip to my favorite mountain biking destination, Tsali. He's actually outgrown his helmet and wouldn't let me put it on his head, so I insisted on the hat. He'll be winning races in no time....