The last few weeks have been busy with local travel, a visit from a Bloomington friend, and another connection to Indiana. February has generally been a great month for weather with days in the high 60’s and chilling off to the 40’s at night- perfect hot tub weather and gorgeous sunsets.
Nancy Shin stopped by for a few days on her way back to B-town from California. She stayed in one of the on-site cottages, and we had a delicious dinner at the award winning restaurant next door.
We spent the next day at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge protects threatened and endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else in the world- like the Pupfish which have adapted to live in less than an inch of water that is as warm as 93 degrees. The spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands host a variety of endemic species of plants and animals that were almost lost because of human activity. Up until the 1970’s the area was farmed, mined for peat, and streams were diverted which dried up water sources. Ash Meadows became a National Wildlife Refuge in 1984 and restoration began.
Since this is Nevada, and every vice is legal, Nancy and I went gambling! It was a short night, and after losing a few bucks on the penny slots, we ended the night with ice cream. Money better spent. A weird thing that we noticed is that both casinos that we visited didn’t have the exhilarating sound of slot machines ringing and clanging. Instead, there was background pop music that was only slightly less annoying than elevator music, while the slots remained eerily silent. What’s up with that?
Tumeni finds life inside the rig boring
My cat Tumeni (pronounced Too Many) is not happy living a boring life inside the RV. Unlike her sister cats who are quite satisfied to lounge all day, Tu has had a recent urgency to escape to the great outdoors. She usually lurks close to the door and zooms out at every opportunity. I am concerned about the dangers she might encounter as I travel from place to place, so I catch her quickly and put her back inside. Only to repeat this ritual 10 times per day. It’s exhausting!
Well……… being the smarty pants of my cat family, this picture shows how determined she is to escape to a grand adventure!
Another Indiana connection
I spent a delightful Saturday night out at a local biker bar called The Hub. The sign on the front door said, “The Gateway to Death Valley”, which is appropriate because it is way out of town on the road to Death Valley. I walked into a dingy, well-used bar, spruced up with plastic shamrocks and leprechauns hanging from the ceiling anticipating the next holiday. There was a huge horseshoe shaped bar with gaming machines strategically placed around it, 2 pool tables in the back, and a small cordoned area for the band. The locals filed in wearing their best jeans, boots and cowboy hats, some “packing heat”. I felt a little obvious in my black pants, bright melon-colored shirt and multi-colored tie dyed scarf which screamed outsider.
The band I came to see was The Wallens- Molly and Brian, a young couple I met on the previous Thursday, when they backed their 16 ft A-liner trailer into the site next to mine at the RV park. I soon found out that they were fellow Hoosiers from Richmond, Indiana, and were musicians on tour. I told them about a great hiking trail in the desert where they could take their dog, Charlie. Brian gave me a copy of their latest CD called “A Song to Give”. You can find them online at: http://www.thewallensmusic.com
Brian is an incredible guitarist-one of those people who is so skilled that his instrument is an extension of himself. His stompboard made by his father adds a kick drum sound that fills in the rhythm. As a classically trained singer, Molly harmonizes beautifully, and then soars with her solo songs.
Their easy, teasing relationship on stage reminds me of Johnny Cash and June Carter – And yes, they did sing “Ring of Fire”. I guess I could describe their style as ” Folksy Blues with a twang of Bluegrass”, but it is deeper than that. Their original songs are uplifting and hopeful, and remind us that we can all find a place of commonality by sharing love, a laugh, and music.
Safe travels to those on the road seeking their passion and don’t forget to “Go with the Flo”