July in these United States: Returning West

A return from the Netherlands was inevitable. Though we tried desperately to convince our new Dutch allies to adopt us, eventually the month of June ended and we awoke as if from a dream back in the United States.

A heat wave had taken hold of most of the US in late June/early July.  The heat coupled with the humidity was barely tolerable at best!  Time to break out the grill and go swimming in the rivers and lakes dotting the landscape, I suppose…

From the Cloud King’s parking place in Augusta, Maine, we started the long trip back to Oregon, stopping first in the colonial land of Massachusetts.


North Hampton, Massachusetts!  A lovely setting for a house concert at our friends Liz and Adam’s place.  Though the mosquitoes were thirsty, a good time was had by all!

600497_10151771663916514_75653015_nAfter a short stint in Western Massachusetts enjoying the Berkshire mountain range, we pushed on down into New York state a ways, enjoying the swimming holes as the Cloud King bopped southwesterly.

Here we have Caterskill Falls, a great place to climb and then enjoy the refreshing swim!

IMG_9512Ooh la la!  That’s my kinda double waterfall right there.

IMG_9523The water was very unpleasant and we didn’t have a good time at all.  I don’t recommend going.

IMG_9486Hudson, NY.  Like Brooklyn only different.  Onward, Cloud King!

IMG_9415Clearly we have a place here of un-remembered origin.

IMG_9547Communing with the little piglets!

IMG_9588Another horrifyingly beautiful place to swim outside of Kinderhook, NY.

IMG_9649The Hudson Valley of New York is as gorgeous as they come, folks.


From New York to Ohio in one fell swoop!

First, a radio performance on WYSO


IMG_9688A visual summary of our show at Taffy’s in Eaton, Ohio with group Year of the Buffalo…

And into Indiana in the middle of the night.  Bugs galore!

968847_556347077763869_709195841_nI think you missed a spot.

We played a lovely house concert at Connie and Steve Lyman’s home in Indianapolis, IN. on Saturday July 19th.  Our first ever show in Indianapolis was a success!

IMG_9696Posing for our band shot with Connie and Steve.

From Indianapolis, we traveled to southeastern Indiana for another house show the next evening at the Bird Hollow Farmstead!


A very impressive garden.


IMG_9724More goats!!  🙂

What a lovely stretch of land down there in rural Indiana they’ve got.

A hop skip and a jump through Iowa and Nebraska…

I-80 westbound outside Council Bluffs, IA.

I-80 westbound outside Council Bluffs, IA.

And before you know it, we were in Colorado again!


Ah, the wild west…

Here’s the setting for our lovely penthouse concert in Denver on July 26th.



Later on we hiked to beautiful Ice Lake for Basho’s Birthday Bash!

IMG_9852Pure snow melted Ice Lake, at 12,500 feet elevation about ten miles outside of Silverton, Colorado.


The valley leading up to the lake…

IMG_9828 IMG_9810 IMG_9854


Sheryl and Jenn hanging out by the lakeside. 🙂

IMG_9868 IMG_9873 IMG_9903

San Juan Mountain Range…whoatime.


IMG_9905And off we went, further down the road!  August 2013, here we go.


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.

Galena, Lancaster, Chicago, St. Louis!

Well friends, it’s been another two weeks since last we caught up together, and seriously, what a two weeks it’s been!  So much awesome has occurred that I’ve had Chooch pinch me daily to make sure we’re not just dreaming this together in a sensory deprivation chamber on the set of the last “Matrix” movie.   In short, “Whoa, Neo.  Whoa.”

Hooey doggies in a blanket, let’s get started, shall we?  How about Galena, IL.?  Okay then.

Quit horsin’ around and get on with it!

Galena is a quaint little burg with serious charm.  I believe some wealthierish (distant relations of the Welsh) Chicagoans have been calling it their home away from home since the 1850s.  It’s little wonder why!

We stumbled upon Rootbeer Revelry downtown.  Lady oh lady was this place like some valhalla on earth.

Disco inferno! With Erica Wulff

Next day we went to Madison for an interview/performance on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Simply Folk” show with Stephanie Elkins.

Early morning music in Madison!

Back to the Lancaster Barn!  Love this place (can you tell?)!

The antithesis of excruciating pain here, folks.
Look at those perty mics! Look at that perty laydeedeedee!

Saturday afternoon launched the Cloud King in a Chicago-like direction.  We had a great show at The Musical Offering in Evanston, IL, followed by some recording on Andrew Calhoun’s upcoming album in Glen Ellyn.  Tuesday, we caught the 8:30am Metra train into downtown Chicago for a wonderful behind-the-scenes tour of The Field Museum with Dr. Larry Heaney.

First stop was the ornithology department of research upstairs.  Bird bones!

Where the real magic of taxidermy happens. More like pungently artistic sorcery.

How to get clean bones in a hurry, you might be asking yourself.  Fair enough.  Dermatids!  Beetle colonies of hyper-efficient carrion-consumption.

Ah, the sweet smell of rotting flesh at 9:30 in the mornin’…

Larry brought us into the catalog room where every species of animal since the beginning of the museum has been meticulously entered upon reception.  120 years worth, to be exact.

“Here we have the most amazing collection of handwriting known to humankind.”

Fruit-bats.  Kinda like Flying Foxes.  A three-pound mammal with wings.

Moth-balls and a magnificent smile.

OK already, we get it.  You had a good time.  Can we moveon.org yet?

I said “Enough already.”
The rest of the museum was pretty cool too, I guess… (!!!)

We gotta get outta here. Jenn and I walked the city streets until dusk.

Too cool for the school of rock.

And off we went.  To St. Louis, and the City Museum!  Could the week possibly get any better?!?  No, I think not.

The prison of your mind…on moderate hallucinogens.
Whale whale whale, what have we here…

Rooftop beauty at its finest.

Gorgeosity. That’sa happy leetie right there.
Slip slidin’ away…
Is there even such a thing as the light side of the corn dog?

Top of the world.

Climbing and climbing…there’s no ceiling here.
Adults compete with the kids for “Most fun had” award here…

Crikey.  We need to wrap this up soon, huh?

In summary, this is the Waterbug showcase room at Folk Alliance Regional Midwest this year.  This is power group here.  No kidding.  We LOVE this crew to pieces, but not quite to death.  In fact, please, no one die, ever.

Pictured here, from left to right, top row first: Basho Parks, Steven Bacon, Jenn Rawling, Kari Bedford, Ben Bedford. Bottom row: Casey Calhoun, Andrew Calhoun, Louis Ledford. Photo courtesy of the lovely and fantastic Heather Styka!

Cleveland, New York, Maine, hear the rumble of our imminent approach (and stomachs)!!

Boats & Bluegrass!

We had a fantastic time playing and hanging out on the Mississippi River last weekend at the 11th annual Boats & Bluegrass Festival in Winona, Minnesota!  Here are some pictures from the weekend’s adventures.

Right before the set…

A little pat pat for good luck…

Our campsite was filled with friends the whole weekend through.

Kumbaya dudes. Kumbaya.

We took a canoe ride across river, down several channels to a remote beach.  Felt like a Mark Twain novel!!  Chooch’s paddle broke within the first 30 seconds of being on the water, so Bash muscled that sucker the whole way.  Tickets to that gunshow…were free.

Look ma, no paddle!

Pretty near the sandstone there.  😉

Beauteous bluffths!

We rounded the corner, and came upon a sweet surprise show by the Boyz In The Barrels!  Boats and Bluegrass, indeed.

Beach Boyz in the Barrels!

Lazy afternoon enjoyment at its best.

I got sand in ma undies!!

Exhausted and hap-hap-happy.  End of the weekend weakened warrior.

Dozing next to Mitch’s big orange awesomeness.

Sunday afternoon found us back at Pagoda Springs Farm, lounging with friends and playing some disc golf…

Chela, this is our howwwwm!

Good weekend!

Ebert gave this movie one thumbs up.

We’re off to Chicago, St. Louis, and Cleveland over the next ten days!  Stay tuned, friends!

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…

Calabasas Rd. on the Ranch

We’re on the farm for a couple days!  Thanks so much, Bruce Edwards and Annette Coulon for letting us stay at their Mountain Icelandic Farm just outside of Watsonville.  Such a treat to be around the horses again, with the sun and fields of strawberries all around…

Chooch flexes some muscle on the riding track while Miles chaperones.
Visiting with old friends Lettir (left) and Hekla (right). Such sweet animals!
Farm house. Check out that solar array!
Hanging out on the guest house deck with Mr. Zanzibar.

Our show at the Rio Lounge tonight is going to be fantastic!  Can’t wait to play some good music, and then head over to see our new friends John C. Reilly and friends play their set at Moe’s Alley.