≡ Menu


Why should we change? Gas is $2.87 a gallon. It hurts but a little. So we eco talking Hawks are not going to walk this walk. Shawn driving to our shows in the Sierra foothills in his Exploder with his family. PM is driving a load of gear in his Astro van up to his daughter PJ who works the summers in the Park. Which leaves PL and RW to pilot the Yukon to The Bug hostel outside Yosemite, first stop on our summer northern tourette. It’s luxuriously empty in the Yukon. One of us can sprawl out in the back seat and sleep while the other drives. Ah, cheap gas.

It’s summer, time of the hippie festival circuit. We’re Carter Ranch Festival bound, 5 to 99 to 41 to 140 to Triangle Road, currently coming down out of the Grapevine with lack of coffee on our minds. And freedom. Paul L’s longstanding job has come to an end, as Actuality Productions, maker of such shows as Modern Marvels and documentaries of both higher and lower brow, crumbles into the corporate earth. Rob’s unshackled from USC till September. Freedom. No responsibilities. No need for sobriety, decency, shared values. We’re on the road. With much time to muse. Muse we do. Let’s muse upon, for example, two grand mind altering plants of earth, and their dual nature. Coffee is Arabica and robusta — mellow and flavorful vs. caffeinated and astringent. Cannabis is, if you believe the new generation of licensed connoisseurs, of two main types — sativa, the head high, and indica, the body high. Are there other dualisms in the pharmacological kingdom? Medical Marijuana has changed California for good. Our state proposition system has nearly brought the state to ruin but the super silver purple kush lining is the de facto legalization of weed. It comes in all flavors now and it’s high tech and strong. And reasonably priced. If you’re a musician you can bet you are one degree of separation away from a buddy with a card if you don’t have one yourself. What will be the result of this tectonic shift? What happenes when most Californians are stoned? We will soon find out.

Speaking of propositions, California’s method of slow suicide, consider the possible closing of state parks. Yes, there will be permanent campers with perhaps less than savory health practices and perhaps lacking social skills and even a rudimentary moral code. But the militarized rangers in the gleaming white pickups and SUVs lumbering up the access roads will also be gone. Trails will deteriorate, and the wilderness will be for the wild. Bring it on, say the wilder elements in this vehicle. We’re our of the Grapevine, engulfed in the wide flatness. The hills are already brown, with much less of the yellow mustard that painted the slopes last year. We turn pensive.Have the Hawks been coasting on their tried and true point of view? Is it time to shake our psyches, muddle our minds, focus on distant horizons, the future for to see? Is the sky blue? Does the new Pope sleep in the genetically modified woods? On the 5 north, of courthe, in the flat San Joaquin Valley, for the hundredth time, we truly feel home. Puffy clouds spare us the sun’s almost summer wrath. The air is mysteriously hard to describe. It’s a dry kind of humid. We hit the 99, and the terrain gets much more interesting. Funkier farms, old businesses that can’t possibly still have customers–yet off to the right is a giant Flicks candy display tube, still spinning on its mount, in a dry abandoned factory field. Mysterious.

We pass the Tulare city sign, and 50 feet behind it is an old primered fighter jet displayed in a brown field. If you are bedraggled, you display your fist first. At Fresno we hit the 41 north, six lanes at first to accommodate high volume summer Yosemite traffic. Riding through the foothills of the Sierras. Green oaks over yellows grasses. Windows down and stoney early summer breezes fill the Yukon with the scent of freedom. Bare granite peaks in the distance. Memories of trips past. Carter Ranch ’07, Mariposa County Fair ’08. RRW forgot his stage shirts and discovered Big Red in a thrift store off highway 41. U-turning the Yukon he nearly killed a biker who appeared on his Harley right out of the blind spot. Killing a biker is never a good idea but it’s particularly bad on Labor Day weekend on a scenic highway. They’ll come for you quick. It’s one of the things they’re waiting for. Luckily we only near grazed him. Tonight it’s back to our old friendly Yosemite hostel, the Bug. We’ll play to mostly Europeans then sleep the high altitude sleep of the traveler. Waking to long lines in the Wi-Fi breakfast room. Coffee, internet, conversation. Let the trip begin!

Later that evening. Bug. We came in we ate trout we set up we sat down we stood up we said hi we tuned up we sang songs we played drums we strummed chords we plucked bass we sat down we stood up we said hi we played songs we said bye we packed up we drove out we found house we unpacked we hung out we did blog.It was a very mellow, yea subdued evening, not in the wild barn at the top of the hill but in the Yosemite Bug dining cabin, a great wood walled hangout with herbal tea, damn good food served at the far end counter, and mellow Europeans and Japanese strumming acoustic guitars on couches. We did did a mellow, mellow set. In a mellow, mellow room, with mellow, mellow trees and breezes. And the Lakers won and beat Melo. All is well.