We left around 0945 heading for Laufman Campground near Milford, CA (20 miles south of Susanville). We had seen the signs on several occasion as we head north or south on Hwy 395. We took I-5 to the McCloud exit, then down to Susanville. The drive is a pleasant drive through some great countryside. And it was uneventful outside of an accident (not us, fortunately).
The campground only has eight or so spaces and two were filled, so we had a good choice and found one to suit. No water; fire pits; tables. That’s about it. But that’s all we need. We set up camp and spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around. We’ll head out around 1000, our usual time.
Next stop: Bob Scott Campground on The Loneliest Highway in the World; Nevada Route 50.
The Loneliest Road in the World is not that anymore. In fact, where you could drive for 30 to 45 minutes without seeing another car, time between cars is now less than 5-10 minutes at the most. But it’s still a wonderful drive.
We departed around 0900; stopped to get ripped off for ice ($2.25 for a 3.5 pound bag), then headed south to Reno. Approaching Reno, we saw the Truckee Fire as it spread to some 46k acres. But other than the tail end of a 4th of July parade in Fernley, Nevada, it was smooth sailing until we got to Bob Scott Campground.
Coming into Austin, NV, we saw the beginning of another fire. It was a good size one that firefighters just got the call for. We went on to Bob Scott and started looking for a spot. Unfortunately, it started to snow, uh, ash. Not wanting to wake up in Pompeii, we head down the road a tad to the Petroglyphs Campground a few miles away.
The Petroglyphs Campground has always left a lot to be desired and it hasn’t change. The campground is not well maintained, the spaces small, and the bathroom is almost unusable. We chose to use the main bathroom in the trail area; it wasn’t too bad. There were only three of us in the camp, so it was wonderfully quiet until around three in the morning.
Robert (a light sleeper) was awakened by the Howelujah Choir, featuring Wiley Coyote, and was treated to a five minute song fest. Thinking his giggling would wake Peggy, he didn’t bother to poke her. He was later instructed to do so, if the occasion arises again.
We got up the next morning a little late – 0600, so we only had a dry cereal breakfast as opposed to our usual mush and fruit, so we could get out quicker. We packed up and headed for Delta, UT, still on Route 50. We arrived around 1530 and Robert headed to the room as fast as possible since Nevada and Utah aren’t all that concerned with rest areas. We unloaded the car and then off to the shower – after two days in the hot sun, we were pretty ripe.
We had a very good Mexican dinner at the Mi Rancherito across the street from the Days Inn. We had decided to stay in a motel since the temperature was 103. It’s a pleasant motel with a pool and good a/c, so we’re happy.
Tomorrow a long drive as we try to end up near Telluride. We have three campgrounds selected and one should have an opening. If not, there’s some dispersed that we’ll try if all else fails.
The Ride - Telluride, CO
“Dispersed” camping really doesn’t describe where we ended up. The closest to Telluride was a lake, up a one lane road, where a four wheel drive is recommended and is essential part of the way. Silver (our truck) made it fine, but had to assume some funny positions to make between trees and over rocks.
We met Abdullah and Mike, a couple of old friends who try to get together every year and unwind from their daily lives and enjoy their friendship. We introduced them to our good friend, Basil Hayden and a small party ensued. Well, actually, Peggy had more than one drink and Robert had more than he’s had in a while, so I’m sure we made a great impression on them both. Enough so, we joined them and went to one of mini concerts being held in conjunction with the festival.
We almost didn’t get to see anything. We had called last May to confirm the kind of camping passes we would require and we either misunderstood or given the wrong information (considering others had the EXACT same problem, we tend to think it was a problem on their part). When we got there, they told us we had no car pass. Well, obviously, we are not setup for tent camping and we were told there were no more car passes available. To make matters worse, they bounced us back and forth between the box office and the campground “hosts” and at one point we were told there was no one in charge. Bull.
Someone who actually knew what they were talking about, finally, told us where the festival office was and who was in charge. After explaining that we had just driven some 1300 miles over five days of heat, spent a ton of money for tickets and camping, and that if we didn’t have a space, we couldn’t find camping anywhere else were it would not be a long drive late at night, exhausted. After much discussion, a car pass was issued for an additional $129. Which was fine with us and we secured a spot.
That said, most of the volunteers were wonderful in trying to resolve the problem, but they were simply uninformed. Apologies to Tim and thanks for your patience with a hot, tired, frustrated, and angry camper. After talking with the Most Wonderful Problem Solver, Robin, we were able to enjoy the shows and 2.5 days of AWESOME music!
We started off joining Mike and Abdullah to go see one of the additional bands that played at local venues (mostly bars). We took the gondola over a mountain to where the concert was and got introduced to a young band of college friends called The Jibs (who would have guessed they meet in a sailing club?). Will Clark, guitar and vocals, Caden Westmoreland (yes, THAT Westmoreland), keyboard and guitar, Roman Parnel, bass (and an excellent impression of Data from one of the Star Trek series), and drummer, Eric Schueler. Four very talented artists who you can tell from their stage presence are thoroughly enjoying themselves – which is quite infectious to the audience. If their friendship weathers the rough road to accomplished musicians and the pressures and time required for a music career, we think we’ll be seeing The Jibs on Austin City Limits – their hometown. Their works are available on iTunes.
Here’s a short video of them playing in a local bar later in the evening and having way too much fun!
Let the show begin! - The Groups...
Saturday – The start of two days of rock and roll!
One of the many acts that we weren’t familiar with and leading off the festival was Maggie Koerner. She seems to have a following, but Robert thought that, although she had a good voice, she is just one of many women on the scene today and nothing that really made her stand out. She had an energetic show and made maximum use of the stage, but there was nothing in her performance that would make us want to run out and buy her music.
Marcus King Band
The next act was the Marcus King Band and the real rock and roll began. With Jack Ryan on drums and percussion, Stephen Campbell on bass, Matt endings on keyboard, Dean Mitchell on saxophone, and Justin Johnson on trumpet and trombone, the band rocked the socks off those of us who were there! The only thing weird was Justin. The man did some great solo’s the audience showed their appreciation for. It went un-acknowledged. In fact, we never saw him smile or acknowledge anything; he looked bored. Dean looked like he was in another world most of the time, although he did smile and returned the audience appreciation. Marcus King is a fantastic guitar player/vocalist and the show was pure energy from the opening song.
The name was familiar and we may have heard something by them on Pandora, but live these guys put on a great show! Nick MacDaniels on guitar and vocals; Doug Marshall, bass; Josh Kagel, keyboard, trumpet, Synth; Casey Cranford, Sax and EWI; Jesse Hensley, lead guitar; and Ben Vinograd on drums kept the audience up and dancing the entire set. They WERE Something Big.
We skipped the next two bands (Rose Hill Drive and Rival Sons), although we could hear them from the campground), and went back to camp for lunch and rest for the next two bands (Robert’s feet and back started to complain). We returned to see John Butler Trio and Ben Harper.
John Butler Trio
Holy Cow, Batman! The John Butler Trio reminded us of the rock and roll bands of the 60’s and 70’s. How just three guys could put out SO MUCH energy is beyond us, but not beyond our enjoyment! Butler is unbelievable on the guitar and a lyricist that invokes some of our philosophy. At on point, he commented on the wars we are involved in, remarking that we were sending our troops with families to fight other troops with families.
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
Harper and the Criminals have been touring for a long time now and maybe he needs to take a break. The show was great, but not the awesomeness we’ve enjoyed on previous performances. There were a couple of newer tunes from an upcoming album, but most were previous releases. They played from 2045 (8pm for you civilians) to 2200 when the city makes them stop. We don’t know if we were expecting too much, but this show wasn’t up to the previous three shows we’ve seen.
Perhaps the stage was a factor, but the enthusiasm of previous shows far exceeded this show; even Leon Mobley didn’t come down to front stage for his solo. Juan Nelson’s solo was shorter than usual and he is now sitting for most of the act. We are die hard BHIC fans and hope they aren’t driving themselves too much.
After being on his feet for several hours on Saturday, Robert wasn’t in a great mood to see the first three acts of the Sunday portion of the festival. We skipped Muddy Magnolias, Colter Wall, and Jackie Green. Reports from other attendees proclaimed they were all great bands and from what we could hear, they were. But the last two of the festival were the one’s we REALLY wanted to hear: Kaleo and Beck. And what a finish!!!
Kaleo is a band from Iceland and the lead singer, JJ Julius Son, has the most incredible voice! Even Beck remarked what a great voice Son had. Supported by David Antonsson, drums; Daniel Kristjanssson, bass; and Rubin Pollock, guitar, the band rocked the festival grounds from beginning to end. They played everything from their new album, including “Vor i Vorlaskgi” (minus all the accents of the language), that really shows the vocal range of Son. They are amazing musicians and artists. We look forward to hearing more from them.
We first heard about Beck on Pandora with “Go it alone”. Based on that song (and a couple of others like “I’m a loser”) we were convinced that we needed to see and hear more. Turns out he’s been on the music scene for some 25 years! Goes to show what we know.
We had no expectations at first. Then, as we were standing in front of the stage, Robert noticed that two additions: huge, vertical light bars. And the background screen, previously use to show logo’s, was replaced by what was obviously technically superior to the previous screen. They tested the system very quickly with less than 10 seconds of what was to come. “Oh, boy! This is going to be AWESOME!”, thought Robert. And it was. Even though he had come from sea level to almost 9000 feet, Beck’s energy was incredible. Robert kept thinking of Mick Jagger, prancing around the stage. Beck apologized from his “lack” of dancing, then kicked right into another high energy song.
The light show WAS amazing! Almost as good as Pink Floyd’s Division Bell show.