Northern Germany

Into Northern Germany we went. A short four hour drive from the Netherlands, and you’re in another country altogether! Now that’s efficiency, folks.


Striking a very striking pose.


Currywurst!  Quite good.

IMG_8994Sunning ourselves on the Baltic Sea…




Remnants of the Berlin Wall.


Near Brandenburg Gate a pair of Americans were seen.


Repurposed Birdhouse.


What fancy building?


Ye olde radio tower.


Fields aplenty in Northern Germany!


Sunset over the Baltic as seen from Rugen Island National Park.

IMG_9173 IMG_9156 IMG_9150 IMG_9111 IMG_9069

Stralsund, UNESCO World Heritage Site.  IMG_9066

Exquisite brickwork.


This building dates back to the 1500s.  Old timey.


Sunset from Eckernforde.

IMG_8974 IMG_8972

Kiel Week!  We just missed it.


Beautiful work of art boat.

IMG_8945 IMG_8941 Ok!  Back to the states we’ve gots to go!  See you there, friends.  🙂


December on the Colorado front range

We left our Thanksgiving winter wonderland of Wisconsin a day after six inches of snow fell. The roads weren’t exactly inviting to the Cloud King, but westerly we must trudge on for the lovely month of Denver in December.  Or as it’s known to us silly folk, Denvember.

Oh the weather outside is only moderately treacherous and therefore not as frightful as it could be.

Oh the weather outside is only moderately treacherous and therefore not as frightful as it could be.

Nail-biter weather!

Cruisin' slow, so everybody sees...uh, hello?

Cruisin’ slow, so everybody sees…uh, hello?

By evening time, Iowa was offering a lovely sunset to gaze at from the highway.

Iowish Sunsetter.

Iowish Sunsetter.

19 hours later, we arrived in Colorado for some front range frolicking!  Everyone in the rockies gallivants around like a band of willow-wisps, you know.  It’s like having a second job, without the income.

Foothills reservoir.  That's pronounced "vwah" at the end, ok?

Foothills reservoir. That’s pronounced “vwah” at the end, ok?

We got to see our pal Mo Valdez of Lastleaf Printing down in Pueblo!  Always such a pleasure to hang for even a little bit with this stellar human.

O'Death.  O'Lastleaf.

O’Death. O’Lastleaf.

Into a Denver of lions we go!

Cap Hill rooftop view.

Cap Hill rooftop view.

Traffic.  Not just a musical group.

Traffic. Not just a musical group.

Somewhere in there we found time to record a song with our friends The Haunted Windchimes!

Layin' track, bud!

Layin’ track, bud!  “Wyoming” recording at Sugar Sounds Studio in Colorado Springs.

The sting of Chooch's belt.  On our souls.

The sting of Chooch’s belt. On our souls.

Later, back in Puebs, we got to spend quality time with Inaiah and Desi from the ‘Chimes.



OK.  Eastern Colorado, that sure was fun!  How about we wait for the blizzard to hit, and head over two massive mountain passes while the storm is in full swing?  That sound good?

Visability is infinite today!

Visability is infinite today!  La Veta pass, southern Colorado.

Five hours of 30mph driving through this.  We got over Wolf Creek Pass to the western slope and were greeted by far more favorable conditions…

Was it ever even snowing? Wolf Creek Pass.

Was it ever even snowing? Wolf Creek Pass.

And on to Durango to wrestle with the kids!

Wrastlin' with Ella & Nils

Wrastlin’ with Ella & Nils

In the blink of an eye, we were already leaving Durango, gone, and in Arches National Park.

Breath of fresh air.

Breath of fresh air.

But more on the return trip in the next post!

November in the Northwoods


“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”   – Matsuo Basho c. 1674

Hullo friendly internet faces,

For shame!  How could I’ve let the blog go for an entire month!  What with shows and thanksgivings feastings, two hour blocks on the internet have been fewer and farther between than I’d’ve facebook liked.  Nevertheless, onward we go into the great wide open space of the future.

Halloween of 2012 took place for us in Platteville, Wisconnie.  Two sickly apparitions floated in from Maine with terrible head colds, achy bones, and weak whip o wills to stay outside for any length of time.

Purple sprite faerie queen.

Slow cowpoke cookin’.

Road-weary and eyes still bleary with cough syruped inquiry, we traveled up to Fargo, North Dakota for a show at the Spirit Room.  See below for details.

Warming up for the show…

Physical discomfort aside, we had a great show, packed the house, and made many new friends.  The Listening Room is wonderful!  Back, back to Minnesota we trudged.  One Cloud King in hand is worth two…um, yep.


And sew the sunset the table again and again.

Menomonie, DePere, Sturgeon Bay, Manitowoc… all in a dream of shows and new places to shower.  Occasionally we’d punctuate an appearance with radio performances.

WORT fm radio in Madison with Jim Schwall.

The road is more hilly than perception would normally lead you to believe.  Along the way, we’ve experienced places considered by most to be outta the way.  Would ya just look at those rocks!  Look at them!

Whitefish Dunes State Park near Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Chooch looked at the rocks, and then out onto the Lake Michigan she loves.

Well hello again.

Plenty to see folks here, please don’t move.  Buffleheads and Snow Buntings, mostly.

Ft. Atkinson, Madison, Milwaukee, it’s all the same street, right Mr. Garcia?

Just keep truckin’ ooooooooooooooooon.

We’re headed back west to Colorado for five shows in early December, everybody!  A return to Portland, Oregon is imminent however!  We’ll be on the west coast by December 15th, Cloud King abiding…

Maine, the way life oughta have been

Friends, fiends, foiblefolks,

When traveling from Portland, Oregon, it seems to us lower 48thians that Portland, Maine is about as far as it gets, continentally and longitudinally speaking.  Our drive from Cleveland, OH to Winthrop, ME was full of fall’s splendor.

The bekshiz (Berkshires)

And with the speed of a scrolling laptop mouse ball, we’re in Maine!  Ah, wondrous internets.

The Cloud King rests in front of Basho’s Mom’s place. (not a single family dwelling)

Lake Maranacook, about a block away…

Ah yes.

Our radio interview with WERU-fm went swimmingly well.


After WERU, we ventured to Acadia National Park for a little sight-seeing in the dense fog.
Cadillac Mtn never looked so mysterious!

Is he? No, they wouldn’t post that…

One blustery but clear day, we decided to take a little hike and go-seek an old abandoned firetower.

Hold me for warmth, dear heart!

What a pleasant stay!  We played a couple really nice packed-house shows, both in great settings.  Below is the art gallery show setting in Gardiner, Maine, at Karen Adrienne’s lovely space, about an hour before the concert started.

Circling the Square Art Print & Press
View within a room.

Cable, Oh! Claire, and other short stories…

Well, it’s been another week of adventure and intrigue here at Cloud King central.  We’ve had no fewer than five hundred sweet moments since last updating the ol’ blogaroo, so I’ll try to post the best ones to catch everyone up!  Did you know that sasquatch roams the hills of South Eastern Minnesota?  After hearing tales of tail-less bipedal creatures and their death-like stench from eye/nose-witnesses, it’s clear some more investigation will be needed.  True story…for another time.

We traveled from Duluth down to the charming town of Cable, Wisconsin for a relaxing night at the Cable Nature Lodge and the Rookery Cafe.  Special thanks to Bill Brakken, proprietor and welcoming committee at lodge, for his most gracious hostmanship!  This ain’t equine science, people; the place is fantastic.

Oh give me a home, where the bison tenderloin roams…

Rainy weather followed us out the door of the lodge on Monday morn.  Fortunately, the foliage was turning deeper shades of awesome before our very ayes, captain.

And the eyes have it…

Why the turkey crossed the logging highway doesn’t seem to have been such an issue for our ancestors.

On the road again…but why?

Ah, the internet’s ability to teleport one from a quaint roadside scene to the epic canoe shot below.


Mystical Minocqua melts my meart…er, heart.  Below, we see the ever elusive Chooch Rawling as she glides through the waters of Sunday Lake.

This lady has the upper body strength of ten adult T-Rex’s.

Water so clear you’d think twice about peeing in it.

Restrain yourself. I just waded through a warm spot.

Libby, a very sweet little feline, kept us warm during the LOTR marathon that ensued later in the evening.

“More cat purring on legs photos, please,” said no one.

From Minocqua we meandered down to Lake Wisotta (a combination of the words Minnesota and Wisconsin as far as we could tell) for an afternoon of jumping jacks.

You shall not pass!!

Unexpectedly, the sun set again that evening.  Awful, huh?

I’ve had just about enough of these, thank you very much.

After our Eau Claire stop, it was back to the Farm of Dreams in Rushford, MN.  For anyone not in the know just yet, we are head over heels for this region.

I second that motion.

  Ok.  This next segment of our program really deserves an entry all its own, and eventually that will be the case!  Just down the road a bit from Tarantula Arms Farm is Pagoda Springs Farm, owned and operated by a couple of real keepers: Sarah and Danny.

Our new friends!

This farm is situated just off highway 16 outside of Rushford, MN, on 260 acres.  Good golly it’s simply phenomenal.

Walkin’ man walks.

Danny hitches a ride from Sarah over some particularly nasty thistle patches.

“I think I need to be going that way.”

Sensory overload.

Right. We’ll just fix that little place up and stay for a couple-few decades. How’s that sound?


This dog is fearless…fearless I tell you!

What more can be said?  We can’t wait to perform at Boats and Bluegrass later this week!

Northwoods and Lake Superior!

The road is blessed with a plethora of good people along the way, and we’re so happy to be meeting all of you!  This last week saw us play in Duluth, Minnesota as well as Ashland and Cable, Wisconsin.  Between shows we were able to explore a bit of the Apostle National Lakeshore on Lake Superior.  What a beautiful and (primarily) clean body of water!  But lest we get ahead of ourselves here…

Cloud King sits stoic amongst the pines.


A tiny baby snake carcass, about the size of a small worm.

Grath Thnake!


Quality reading time by the shore…

This looks suspiciously similar to a harlequin romance novel… “Fabio and Cassandra eloped that night on a pirate ship bound for the most beautiful place you’ve never been.”

WHAM!  All of a sudden we were in a birch-laden photo shoot.  It’s like that, happenstance.

Did that bird just try to poop on us?


Next we camped at Amnicon Falls State Park.  What a lovely dream that was!

“What’re you doing?”



Pretty Lights.


Northward!  To Ashland, Washburn, and Cornucopia we went.  Got to sea the sand stone lakeshore caves of Apostle National Park just yesterday!


Careful near the edge…

Cosmic bongo drums can be heard in the distance.

Eh…I’ve seen bett…Wait. No I haven’t.

Kissyou I’m Irish!

I forgot what I was about to say.

Do you ear what I ear?

And the Cloud King rolls on, Ladies and Gents.  We’re headed down to Eau Claire, Rushford and Winona next week, so stay cartoon’d!

Oh you sexy beast, you!




Midwestern Fall…Mississippi River Valley

Hey hey friendly friends,

We had a lovely emerald summer in Oregon, playing regional shows through June and July before taking almost all of August off.  The beginning of September heralded the return of our fantastic Forest Park Music Festival in Portland.  It was a great send-off for our fall tour across the United States!

We join our two intrepid do-wellers as they depart Iowa City for points in Minnesota and Wisconsin, meandering slowly up the Mississippi River Valley from one gorgeous setting to another.

Corn is in a bad way right now, folks.

Short and burnt.

Lacrosse, Wisconsin rests on a stretch of the mighty Mississippi that’s seen over 175 riverboat wrecks in the last two centuries.  Lotta history in that silt, tell ya what.

Mark Twain’s other car.

A garden by the river.  That white Egret’s looking dapper!

Lacrosse sister-city something.

Protector of the pertinent.

After Lacrosse we visited our friend Donna Buckbee at her Tarantula Arms Farm in Rushford, MN!  This place…this place.

Epitomal southwestern Minnesota dirt road shot.

Next day saw us hop the river again, this time toward the quaint little village of Trempealeau, Wisconsin.

Trempealeau living.

All aboard.

Jenn’s mom, Beverly Rawling, came all the way from Sheboygan to see us!


“My name is Chooch la Roo, and I approve of the following picture.”

Have uke, will travel.

After our show, we went to Perrot State Park, home to Trempealeau Mtn and many migratory birds of the great Mississippi flyway!  We were joined by good friends Tiffany Ralston and Gabe Jewell for some adventurous times!

Patchwork daydream.

Recreational jogging, for example…

Nothing illegal to see here, folks.

View from the bluffs.

Bluffy the vampire slayer.

Chooch knows a good sand stone etching when she sees it.

Two Jens walk into a bluff…

Put that in your pipe.

Braidy bunch.

Sprecher? Check. Sprinter? Double check.

Meet us here next time for another episode of Home Is Where The Tour Takes Us…