Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Life is very different without a home base. I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of things and some I have yet to let go of. One is letting up on my natural proclivity toward absolute cleanliness. In my regular city existence, I am an avid hand washer, sanitizer applier and general germ-a-phob. Despite all this attention to removal of germs I can’t say it always protected me from sickness. Colds and flues still found me, as did general exhaustion and fatigue. It is funny and worth noting that in this current lifestyle of travel when hand washing is not always an option (especially with all our travels through rural Oregon when the only restroom is a forest service pit toilet, possibly clean but most likely not) I have not yet been sick or even felt the coming of sickness. I think this has to do with my overall low level of general stress.
There are stressful moments on tour, constantly sticking to the projected schedule, fitting in healthy meals and sometimes not knowing where we are sleeping until we pull up to a dark campground after midnight. Yet, my general stress levels are lower than they have been in many years. I think this is a combination an abundant contact with nature, truly wanting to do what I do and having at least one moment of fulfillment per day. These feelings of fulfillment come when someone says that we made their night or their trip with our music performance. I love that there are so many people who enjoy seeing live music. I love being part of this community. Though the discomforts are not rare, the trade for a calmer and more centered existence is, at least for now, worth the trade.
Note: Easter Oregon still stands as having the most consistently enthusiastic crowds for live music.
We played at the Eastern Oregon Beer Festival today at the fairgrounds in La Grande, Oregon. About an hour before our set the van refused to start. After an unsuccessful jump we loaded our gear into our friend’s vehicle and headed to the beer fest. Arriving much later than intended we tried to stay calm as we got ourselves set up on stage and grabbed a beer. By this time, I was starving and the only gluten free item on the menu was a giant turkey leg. Feeling like a glutinous king I roamed around for about 30 mins gnawing on this immense piece of meat pre-performance. We had a two-hour set midday and it seemed to go well.
As I have mentioned, music audiences in Eastern Oregon are the most attentive and appreciative and fun as I have ever experienced.
I wrote up a blog entry a few days ago about letting go. Mainly about while doing this tour, there are many things that I must relinquish control of and accept even though it is not to my liking. I felt like things like washing my hands whenever I want in a sink or sleeping in the same place for more than one night in a row are not events that always occur, and I must accept this.
I am currently in La Grande, Oregon waiting for Monday to come so that a mechanic will look at our van that will not start. We are so lucky to have some new friends here and they are housing us and just generally being amazing and gracious hosts. It could have been worse, much worse.
Today as Chris and our hosts went to Wolf Creek reservoir to play around for the day, I decided to stay back and be a townie in this peculiar Eastern Oregon town. I’ve been grappling with my life purpose, goals and such things that are bound to come up when one chose a lifestyle such as this. The air is dry and hot today with a relieving wind that picks up every few minutes under this vast blue sky. I’ve been walking the empty downtown streets most of the day popping into the few shops that are open on a Sunday, grabbing an iced tea, a gluten-free brownie. There is a sparse pine tree-laden backdrop of low hills to the worn turn of the century industrial looking downtown. Historic buildings, some restored, some empty line the main drag. There has been a surprising lack of humans out and about today. In the middle town passes the Union Pacific train.
Our wonderful hosts live at the edge of the train yard in town. You can feel the trains approaching and nothing can be heard but the screaming horn when they are upon us. At night the rumbling has been oddly lulling me to sleep. Business as usual, I guess. Somewhere deep in my brain I feel that if the trains are moving all is well and normal. Where did this come from?
We got our starter fixed and were able to get back on the road, headed south to Mount Shasta. We camped on the edge of the Crooked River just south of Prineville.
Following the slow-moving river south through deep canyons you arrived at the Prineville reservoir. I imagine that the Crooked River was once a rushing monster before the dam was built, carving out the canyon on its namesake trajectory.
After driving on highway 97 south from Bend, through Klamath Falls to Weed, Ca we finally arrive at the comfort of my mom’s house, tucked away in the trees in Mount Shasta. Here we will spend the rest of the week until we head on to Wolf Creek Inn north of Grants Pass on Saturday.