The last month was full of desert adventure...
I headed out to Death Valley with my friend and fellow vagabond, Piano Dan. He tunes pianos for a living and often travels with an upright in the back of his pickup so he can serenade folks in the most unlikely places. We took my van and unfortunately had no room for the piano. Although we did find a few along the way.
Piano in a bus. Keeler, CA
Me and the piano man.
As you can see, we stayed in all of the highest-end one-star hotels we could find. I got to see some new places in Death Valley I'd never been to before and then headed out to my favorite hot springs.
I love the vastness of the open desert. Nine years ago I rolled down into this valley with two friends on a road trip. When they left, I threw my belongings in a backpack and stayed for a month. I fell in love with this place and with people playing music around the campfire at night. Soon after I picked up my first guitar. I continue to play around campfires and shady spots out here in this big place.
Looking out my backdoor.
Most nights were mild enough to sleep with the back hatch and side doors open. There was one night there were 50mph gusts and I kept the hatches battened. After a week of playing music, soaking, hiking, and reconnecting with some wonderful friends, we caravanned out with our friend Steve.
Then I said good-bye to my friends and rolled on down to Slab City for the prom! Every Saturday you can find live music at sundown on The Range, but once a year they hold "Prom under the Stars." Folks dress up from formal to normal to outrageous costumes. There is a picture booth, and they even crown a king and queen. For me this was my last evening to spend time with my Slab family before it gets too hot.
Last night at The Range for a while. photo credit lynne bright
Then on Easter Sunday, in long standing Slab City tradition, we all loaded up for the annual Egg Shoot Out. There is a backdrop with 3 raw festively decorated eggs. Everyone gets 3 shots with a pellet gun. When an egg gets hit it makes a little yolky explosion met by cheers from the crowd. If you get any eggs you move to the next round and the firing line gets progressively further away from the target. I made it all the way to the final round, shot 3 eggs with my 3 shots, and won this year's event! I think folks were surprised that a peace-loving gal like me won it. My dad taught me how to shoot when I was just a kid and it's finally paying off. Ha! What a hoot!
photo credit lynne bright
Then it was up to Pioneertown to play at Pappy and Harriet's, one of my favorite desert venues. Pioneertown was originally founded as a Roy Roger's movie set. Now it's a little mecca of great music.
jamming with leslie, lucky, and lance
Then I caught a ride back to the hot springs. I left my van parked at The Ranch and just took a few things. I slept on a cot out under the stars for 4 nights. We took a great hike up Yellow Canyon one day to search for petroglyphs.
crossing the valley
up in the canyon looking back down
It was a lovely trip with lots of good folks, some fine camp food, music around the fire, and some nice water to soak in...
One final soak, and then it's back on the road. I played the open mic at Joshua Tree Saloon last night. Now I'm headed east and reckon I'll keep headed that way to play in Las Cruces, NM on Saturday and in Houston, TX next week.
Thank you to all of the fine desert folks who hosted me, hiked with me, gave me a ride, rode with me, played music with me, fed me, and danced with me. Thanks for listening to my songs, buying cds, and encouraging me. As for me, I'm headed east! See you next time...