Travels with Luci; 2017 End of Year Blog

After the heat of the summer; staying indoors and trying to stay cool, Dave and I are ready to get Luci out of the RV lot. Time to get ready for the camping and festival season. This involves cleansing the water system, doing other maintenance and taking Luci for new tires (the tire dealer found damage). While Luci was jacked up and a new tire was being installed, something happened and she fell off the jack. The aluminum above the tire being installed crumpled accordion-like. The tire shop was very apologetic and will make everything new but it involves getting parts from Airstream and getting them installed at the body shop. Bummer!! Luci is sporting lots of silver duct tape holding the straightened panel in place until the body shop can get the work done.

It must have been a real learning experience or at least a teaching moment when the mechanics shared this with the manager.

The new tires in place and the trailer outfitted for camping, the fiddle campout in Salome AZ is the first event of the fall season. The Lions club provides a building and food and refreshments. The fiddlers provide entertainment. Jack and Linda Darland have hosted this get together for 25 years.

Terry, Dave and Denny play a few tunes on stage in the evening. Many of the fiddlers and pickers are snowbirds and this was a fun time seeing our friends again after five months. The weather was great for picking at our campsites.

The Wickenburg Bluegrass Festival was the next camping excursion. The Wickenburg Chamber Of Commerce is in charge of the event which is held at the rodeo grounds. The stage in the center of the arena. There is plenty of shaded bleacher seating and room for lawn chairs in front of the stage. The fiddlers and pickers are all here. There are food vendors and other “shops” selling all sorts of things. I found two pieces of lawn art and some jewelry.

High Plains Tradition was one of the headline bands along with Dry Branch Fire Squad. The High Plains guys are a familiar band from the Colorado area. We have known Steve, the guitar man, since we all were in our twenties. He is a new retiree. We all agreed that years have flown by. The banjo man, Mark, taught banjo at the Montana Fiddle camp where Dave taught this June.

The highlight of the festival for us was the fiddle contest. There were four past state fiddle champion competing against each other this year. Then there was everyone else including Dave.

Denny backs up Dave on his round in the adult division.

Dave backs up Laura Barry and her daughter Corrine.

The winner was Jess Barry, Laura’s son. It was fun to watch the great competition and camaraderie that the top players displayed. They fiddled and then came back onstage to accompany their rivals. Good clean fun.

Corrine, Ross Riggs, Laura and Dave listen to the fiddlers and visit.

Picking at Millie and Gary Vannoy’s camp.

Banjos, fiddles, bass, mandolins, guitars and the occasional harmonica accompanied singers deep into the evenings in the campground and on the hillsides. The weather was beautiful. Dave was able to try out some tunes he had written over the summer and another, “Roos on the Loose” that he had written since seeing John and Luann Roos at Salome.

Thanksgiving found us in the desert near Bouse AZ. My sister Sandy was able to join us. She had come from Nebraska for a ten day visit so she got in on Thanksgiving, a Christmas party and holiday decorating.

Dave and I gathered kindling for a bonfire while hiking in the desert.

There were two turkeys, two kinds of stuffing, lots of gravy, mashed potatoes, two kinds of cranberry salad, squash bisque soup, pistachio salad and orange fluff, lettuce salad and lots of dessert! After feasting, we played some tunes.

Katie Bonn in top photo playing fiddle in her own unique style. Her husband Tom had help driving from Idaho by their son, Kenny. Linda Darland played the bass. Jimmie Dixon played and sang.

Susie on dobro with Charley at her feet. She and Jimmie harmonize.

Jamming in the shade of Carlson’s fifth wheel trailer.

The next day we had a celebration in honor of Denny and Elaine Carlson’s 50th anniversary. All three of their children were there with spouses and children. They came from California, Washington and Minnesota. Elaine’s sister Deb and husband Dave came from Minnesota. Other friends drove in for the day. The Carlson kids presented a slideshow, we all shared photos of the couple. Jake presented a poem sung to the tune of “How Much is that Doggy in the Window”. Dave, Jeannie and Katie accompanied on fiddle and trombone. It was such fun.

Elaine cuddling Nova, the newest grandchild. Nova has a brother Cedar.

Elaine has a few words with Cedar.

The Carlson kids and grandkids. Rachel holding Nova, husband Rustin with Cedar in front; Steve Roman and son Kyle, Leah Steve’s wife is in front talking to the gathering; Josie, Arlo, Brad and Jen; all assembled in one place. For most of them, this was their first time desert camping.

Denny and Elaine sing together about 50 years of married life. Tears were shed.

The crowd got a kick out of this musical offering.

Dave, John Kennedy, Jeannie Jacobs, Jake Jacobs, Deb Brinkman, Denny and Elaine.

The Carlson’s kids grilled carne and pollo Abadan, tortillas and all the fixings for dinner. It was a wonderful time of sharing and communing with friends and family.

Jack Darland and Blaine Cone make some old time music together. This was a treat for all of us to witness.

Dave got out the banjo and played some tunes with John Kennedy.

Dave, Sandy and I had to go back to Surprise on Saturday as Dave had a Dry Heat gig that night. So once again Luci is back in the RV lot and we are anticipating the next outing which will be in December, a trip to Sonoita to play for a barn dance!

Dave, Mary Theisen and Steve play “Silent Night” for the Arizona Bluegrass Association Christmas party.

I am including photos here from the November funeral of Dave’s stepmother, Bonnie. She died unexpectedly and we were unable to go to the funeral in Nebraska. She was a lovely woman. She and Dave’s father enjoyed many winters in Sun Village where we now live.

Bonnie’s funeral bulletin.

The stained glass windows that Bonnie loved in the sanctuary of the Congregational Church in Neligh Nebraska and her casket with a spray of roses. She is buried in the Neligh cemetery.

Our beautiful granddaughter, Katie. She and Daniel are growing up so fast.

Daniel helped his Dad with the mowing this summer. We are happy and excited that they will join us for Christmas in a few weeks.

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