Skyline

In the early 1940s my grandparents bought a cattle ranch on the San Francisco peninsula, in the Santa Cruz mountains west of Palo Alto, off of the California 35, which is also known as the Skyline Boulevard. My mom and her sisters and brother moved to the ranch at relatively young ages and did most of their growing up there. Eventually my grandfather left the ranch to pursue other ventures, while my grandmother decided to stay put and established on the ranch a nursery specializing in California native plants.

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Chico

David, Sue, Trudy, Doug

On our way back north, we stopped in Chico to visit David and Trudy. Dave is Katy’s┬ábrother and also Pete’s. Here in the Central Valley of California, folks grow food. Fruit, nuts, rice, cattle, and more. No surprise then that our sightseeing tour had a focus on food, with even some eating thrown in, and there were other aspects, as well.

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Yamsi Ranch

My mother’s sister Gerda lives on a cattle ranch in southern Oregon, and has done so for close to all of her adult life. The ranch has been her family home since my uncle Hawk took it over from his uncle Buck and my aunt has been running the place with her family for decades. She is an honored cattlewoman and has been a strong matriarch of the family and the family business.

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Eugene

Dana, Sue, Kirby, Muffin, Doug

There is a certain ethereal plane of friendship where you can pick up a conversation as though you’d just left the room for a few minutes, even after a gap of several years. This is how it feels when I get back together with Dana, my roommate from college, and his wife Muffin, both of whom I’ve known for a few more than forty years.

For that reason, alone, our visit was wonderful. Food and conversation, catching up, exchanging stories, just hanging out and visiting with old friends like these were still the old times. Fantastic! I’m not going to make this post about that, though.

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Jamming with Stringbreaker

Jammin’ at the Blu Pig

Last October in Memphis at the Blues Guitar Unleashed (BGU) Live gathering, several of us jammers stayed at the Tom Sawyer Mississippi River Campground in West Memphis, Arkansas. Among that crew were Michael (known as Stringbreaker on the BGU forum) and his wife, Kat. Michael and Kat live in Moab and they told us we should stop by if we were ever passing through there. Ding ding ding!
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The Compound, Los Lunas NM

Steve, Hy, Milo, Goldie

Our foray into New Mexico was actually another blues guitar visit. We’ve met my friend Steve twice before in real life, and he and I have been friends online through the BGU forum for several years. Steve told me, in a reply to a forum post I made last year in which I detailed the states we planned to visit, that there was a mistake in my list – I’d left out New Mexico. Well, to me that sounded pretty close to an invitation to visit the legendary Compound within which Steve and his lovely wife Hyacinth reside, and I vowed not to make that mistake again this year.

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Colorado Bleu – Deux

Regular readers may recall that last year took us through Colorado’s Front Range area, where we met up with my BGU brothers Chris and Frank for a drive-by blues jam. Well, that was so much fun that when the map for our trek to Utah began to take shape and quite naturally aimed itself for Denver, it was an easy decision to try for a repeat. An excellent time was had by all! More pictures below.

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