June 25, 2012
It’s been a wild ride lately. I left off after Corralitos, California. From there we went to Morgan Hill, to Toby Roodman’s house. Toby does a wonderful House Concert there. My dad had played for him before, but I had never had the pleasure of meeting him. He quickly made it on my list of all-time favorite humans. An absolute treasure of a man.
Toby’s House Concert is well established and well attended. We had a great crowd there. It was a magical night of intimate music. We had a few days off after the Morgan Hill show. Toby invited us to stay a few days, and we gladly accepted the pleasure of his company.
The Sunday after the show at Toby’s, I headed up to KPIG to be on “Please Stand By” with Sleepy John and Arden. KPIG has been so supportive to me over the years, and it was such a pleasure to be there, and to meet everyone. I had a great time doing it.
Afterward, I drove back to Toby’s and he decided to go with us to the Monterey show. We made an adventure of it. We played at Joan and John McCleary’s house concert. Again, it was a great night, with so many wonderful people in attendance. House concerts just plain rock. And Monterey is beautiful.
Finally the day came when we had to head on up north. We had a Tuesday night show at Don Quixote’s in Felton, California. It was my birthday. There was a very pleasant crowd there, and Gail and Aileen brought me a little cake. It was fun. After the show, we packed up and headed into San Francisco with two days off.
We had a little misadventure along the way. We were looking for food. My dad saw a sign for Half Moon Bay and thought it was closer off of I-280 than it was. We finally found a 7-11 and had some nasty gas station sandwiches. Then we went back to 280 and went on into the city. We arrived in San Francisco at about 11:56 PM on my birthday, in the city where it happened. It was pretty special. And, as it would turn out, we stayed just up the street from the very hospital where I was born.
The original plan was for my dad to stay with his old friend, Sid, and for me to go on to Frank and Harriet Holmes’ house to stay. Sid is a 68 year old African-American lady, originally from Virginia, but she’s been a hairdresser in San Francisco for decades. And she very quickly got a spot on my list of all-time favorite humans, too. It was so late when we got there, and Frank and Harriet were across town, so Sid insisted that I just stay there, too. And I did. And it was awesome. I just enjoyed her so much.
The next day, Frank came and got us and we went to North Beach and hung out at Caffe Trieste and did some other light exploring in the area, including Coit Tower. Frank had to be at an art show around 5, so my dad and I decided to just catch a cab back to Sid’s later, and we went off to Chinatown. We walked around, bought silly trinkets and just soaked up the atmosphere of the place. And eventually ate, of course.
As I said, I was born in San Francisco, but I hadn’t been back since I was about 10 years old. The city just made me feel good. It has an extremely good vibe to me. It feels very much like home somehow. I suspect it put its stamp on me somehow when I came into the world. It was really great to see it again. Like seeing an old friend.
My dad and I met Frank again the next day in Union Square. We wandered around a bit then made our way to the port to catch the ferry over to Sausalito. That was a great experience. I managed to get a picture of the three of us.
Frank also quickly made it onto the all-time favorite humans list. I was racking them up in northern California. We didn’t stay too long in Sausalito. We headed back to catch the ferry again and ended up taking the one that goes to Fisherman’s Wharf instead of back to the Port of San Francisco. We walked around for a bit, ducked into the Maritime Museum and got out of there. It was certainly the cheesier tourist spot, for the most part, but it had been so built up in the last 30 years, I barely recognized it. We wandered back to North Beach pretty quickly.
We met up with Harriet, Frank’s wife, and went to have dinner at Original Joe’s, a time-honored San Francisco tradition. A delightful atmosphere… lively and loud. Highly enjoyable Italian food. I had the eggplant parmesan. Very nice!
Frank and Harriet dropped us off at Sid’s shop, where she was just closing up. We rode back to her neighborhood with her, and before we went in for the evening it turned into an impromptu sightseeing excursion around Golden Gate Park and some of the surrounding area. Eventually we went on back to her place and did some chilling after a long two days of hoofing it around San Francisco.
The next day, we had a show at Tom Montgomery’s house concert in Berkeley. And once again, it was just a tremendous experience. Such a great crowd, and Tom and Linda were amazing hosts. A really magical night, with Frank and Harriet and Sid in the audience, to boot.
We drove back across the bay to Sid’s and we hung out and talked for a while before bed. It was so much fun. An incredible night all around. I truly enjoyed my time in San Francisco and all of the people I encountered there. It definitely felt like home. I got to do all my radical political stuff from the 2007 CD to appreciative audiences in northern California. It felt great. Ha!
That Saturday, we had to move on. On the one hand, I wasn’t ready, on the other I was. I hated to leave behind all the new all-time favorite humans, but I don’t know if I was ready for too much more walking all over San Francisco. We had a show in Point Arena, up Highway 1. We stopped off in San Anselmo on the way, where Amazing Grace music still exists.
Amazing Grace is a musical instrument store there that my parents actually started in 1970. It’s not in the original building anymore, but it’s still right there in the general area. From there we went on to Nicasio to see the Druid’s Hall. There is an apartment in the back of it that my parents used to rent. That is the very spot where my ol’ dad slipped one past the goalie. The exact place where this strange life first began. Pretty wild.
We continued up the coast towards Point Arena. This particular stretch of California was mind-blowingly beautiful. Seriously, if there is a heaven, it surely must look like this place. Every so often you would see cows, and I just kept thinking, “They are grazing in paradise.”
We finally made it up the winding road that is Highway 1. It’s a beautiful ride. It would be a beautiful drive, too, except if you were to try to look at any of the scenery while you were actually doing the driving, you would probably die. It’s curvy as hell and over one mountain after another, with sharp drop-offs into the sea. Best pay attention to the road around there.
We arrived at Point Arena to play the theater there for Texas John. Point Arena is very small, very quaint and very peaceful. Something like 480 people live there. We managed to get a little over 60 of them there. It was a good night.
We stayed there in a tiny guest cottage. Seriously. Like, one of those 80 square foot things. It was a trip. The next day found us heading to Arcata, California and the last of the California gigs.
We arrived at Joanne and Greg Rand’s house in Arcata. Joanne was responsible for booking us there in the Arcata Playhouse, a delightful little community theater. The show was another incredible experience, and I really enjoyed my visit with the Rands.
The next morning, it was raining a bit. It occurred to me that it was the first rain I had seen since the tour began. It was a sign of things to come. After a wonderful and healthy breakfast, we headed on towards Oregon. We drove through forests of redwoods and through lots of incredibly beautiful country. About the time we hit Oregon, it really started raining on us. We were headed towards Bend, Oregon, but we actually had a couple of days off. We made it to Roseburg and a Motel 6. That’s all we could take of the torrential Oregon downpour.
So here I sit in a Motel 6 writing a blog. It’s a little over the halfway point in the tour. It’s actually gone by pretty quickly. I’ve had a great time so far and I’m looking forward to seeing some parts of the country I have never been to before. This is my first time in Oregon. It’s lovely. Wet, but lovely.
So that’s my northern California report. I’ll write some more after we play some shows in Oregon.
And I have to thank my other new all-time favorite human for keeping me entertained all along the way. Yes… that was cryptic, wasn’t it? Stay tuned.
Jubal Lee Young
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