Westward, ho!

Today we are near Albany NY and – for the first time – west of our starting point! Wonderful to touch base with our old friend Albin, whom we first met at the 1986 Eastern Tandem Rally – almost exactly 30 years ago. We spent a very relaxing evening with Al, both reminiscing and talking about the future, also listening to music and enjoying a fantastic, home-cooked meal (I’d like to say, “…and helping Al in the kitchen,” but it was more us watching Al in the kitchen). Thanks, Al!

Three weeks in

We’re now through the third of our scheduled stops and our third week on the road.

From Lewiston, ME we headed over to West Gardiner for a drive-by jam session with my friend Wilbur (aka “Cowboy”) from Blues Guitar Unleashed. This was the inaugural music stop on the trip and the first field test of the suitcase drum kit. We’re calling it an unmitigated success. Wilbur and Naomi are also RV’ers, so we had a lot of (non-musical) notes to compare, as well. We all had a great time, and Sue and I very much enjoyed getting to know Naomi and Wilbur in a closer and quieter setting than the big jam sessions where we’ve met before.

We didn’t get any photos (still working on developing effective travel-blogging routines and habits!), but Wilbur got a couple of us:

Reunion

Getting together with my Bates College classmates from 40 years ago was a total blast. The college and ’76 reunion committee set a new standard for reunions with this gathering.

Northfield – Newagen

Northfield Associates and Newagen Group celebrated a long and fruitful history of collaboration this week as Northfield’s mobile office visited Newagen’s northern office in Southport, Maine. The occasion also marked the first time each organization’s Business Managers have met in real life.

The northern office is beautifully situated on the island, overlooking a secluded cove. ¬†The directions to the office included: “when the dirt road turns to single track, keep going until you see my truck parked in the trees…” We woke to the cove, island and wraparound deck hugged by the dense morning fog. A grand time was had by all. Thanks, Dave and Diane!

And Sue got to hold a monster cat on her shoulder! He just climbed up there and purred.

Wind up and shake down

We’ve been warned by others with far more experience than we have to be cautious about over-committing our schedule while on an RV adventure. We’re heeding that advice and have committed to only three big scheduled events in the first three weeks of the adventure. The first of these was Memorial Day Weekend, so this post covers our week of meandering and visiting up to that point.

And speaking of that point, life would just not be the same without Stump Sprouts and this annual gathering of friends whom I’ve known from my Boston days, and going back 32 years for Doug. Still aglow from yet another fabulous Memorial Day bike and hike weekend, we realized several of these folks had been at my original adventure sendoff for the cross country bike trip in 1983. Love you guys!

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Bon Voyage!

Thanks and major hugs to Stan and Cyndee for hosting a phenomenal Bon Voyage party for the Destinators! We were sent off in true Mad River Valley style, surrounded by friends who really know how to live.

Still glowing the morning after, we talked about how our friends have impacted our lives and have been unknowingly preparing us for our trip over the past 15 years… Life balance. Work is important, yet there’s more to life than work… Every day needs a dose of play (and a double dose on powder days) to keep us mentally and physically healthy. Thanks to Stan, Cyndee, Dave, Sandra, Barb, Tom, Elizabeth, Peter, Sandy, Tim, Katrina for those life lessons and for helping us launch this adventure!

The Load Out

Maybe the hardest part of packing up and hitting the road is what we’ll leave behind. One of these is this band. Doug and I have been the rhythm section in an ensemble we call the Ira Friedman Project, a group of amateur musicians ‘with a collective obsession for music making’ (piano-man Rob’s words) who have been playing music together twice a week for 6 months. Sure, it’s allowed us to improve our musicianship and expand our repertoire, but it’s also been outrageous great fun and has led to a magical bond among new friends.

As we head out looking for jams around the country, we’ll be missing playing with Rob, John, David, Charlotte, Sally – and of course ensemble organizer, band director and musical coach Ira Friedman.

Guys, we promise to keep playing and learning and jamming while we’re ‘on the road again,’ and the West Hill Sessions can resume in November.¬†Thanks so much!

Continue reading “The Load Out”