Beautiful places, spontaneous events, and lovely people...  I spent the last few weeks touring through the rest of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and now California.  People at my shows have been so generous in sharing their own stories of travel, love for their hometowns, challenges they're facing, and secret camping spots.  It's a great exchange of music, stories, and connection.

Between gigs I've been to some great spots.  I had a free day on my way to Pagosa Springs, CO  and several friends recommended the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It's the biggest sand dune on the continent...

with elk in the grasslands...

and an amazing sunset.

In the morning I followed those serpentine ridges up and up...

... to find more and more sand.

I had a free Sunday night just into New Mexico.  I decided to go see a friend of a friend perform at Wines of San Juan.   I had never met them, and I didn't know anyone there.  It was another case of driving alone down a nowhere country road with no cell service to a place I'd never been.  Luckily, that recipe has always ended well for me.  The winery was set way back, the band was playing in a gazebo, and there were peacocks roaming around.  I made a friend in the parking lot who invited me to join them, then I met the band, and then I met these other touring musicians, Ordinary Elephant.  If you like my music I think you'll love them!  They are a nomadic duo.  They invited me to camp with them at the winery that night and we shared songs until the wee hours.

That's my van and their RV nestled in at the winery.

Folks call New Mexico "The Land of Enchantment".  It really is quite an enchanting place.  I got to my gig in Santa Fe early enough to visit the Georgia O'Keeffe museum.  Amazing.  Her art and her story grabbed me.  She really had a way of seeing the world...

Georgia O'Keeffe : Pedernal

 

Land of Enchantment...

...with lots of free public land for primitive camping.

When I got to Tucson I stayed with some of my favorite hippie friends.  Their rigs are parked for the moment, but these folks know the road well... and in style...

I made some stops to see family, friends, and then Joshua Tree Saloon.  That whole region is rich with character.  Got to jam with my buddy Dave (aka DER)...

Then I made my way up Hwy 395 to complete a life goal of mine and visit the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest.  I picked up my friend Piano Dan and we drove up the mountain where the pines grow at over 10,000 foot elevation clinging to dolomite cliffs through wind, snow, and rain. 

They thrive on the harshness.  The ones that grow in sheltered areas grow fast and their soft wood is susceptible to insects.  But, the ones who grow on the rugged exposed edges grow slow.  Their wood gets hard and gnarly.  They live for thousands of years.  The oldest known one is about 4,800 years old.

There are so many lessons to be learned from these ancient trees.  Sometimes living a sheltered life seems safe and easy, but the real old wise ones are living on the edge and enduring the elements.  I want to cling to the dolomite and live forever.

Here's a little video clip from a morning of camping and caravanning with Piano Dan (Dan also enjoys clinging to the edges of the world)...

I had a lovely show at Mountain Rambler Brewing in Bishop, CA then drove down to The Ranch in Lancaster, CA.  I caught a couple days of blissful jamming with new and old friends.  Now I'm blowing the dust off, changing my oil, and getting ready to head up to the San Fransisco area.

photo credit Don McClinton

Thanks for reading and browsing the photos!  See you out there on the exposed edges and in the elements...

-Megan

 photo credit Don McClinton

 

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