Monday, October 10, 2011

Awesome Parents and Other Reasons My Life is Great

My mother stopped by yesterday to take my number one daughter, Sarah, out for her birthday. A couple things that prove Mom is awesome:

- She was able to help Sarah find an entire ensemble for less than 50 bucks. They got a skirt, a shirt, a sweater, and even a necklace. It all fits Sarah--both her body and her sense of style--and she LOVES it! Do you know how difficult this is?

- I was away at the time, so I didn't get to talk to her, but when I came home there was a little surprise waiting for me on the dining room table. What did Grammy leave? Not a nice loaf of banana bread or something she'd knitted. It was a box of .30-06 cartridges from Dad. (For my non-gun-savvy readers, this is rifle ammunition.) So her visit made both Sarah and me happy.

Nothing says grandmotherly love like rifle ammo.

Last night I took number three daughter, Lydia, out to a haunted house. I haven't been to anything like that in decades, and I was among the oldest 4 or 5 percent in the crowd of hundreds there. But it was kinda fun, and it made me feel a little younger.


I got thinking about how many cool things I saw this summer, and it's a pretty good list:

1) On Memorial Day, World Superbike races. This is (as the name suggests) an international event that draws the world's best motorcycle road racers. True story: The series includes races in several countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but it makes only one stop in North America, at Miller Motorsports Park near Tooele, Utah. I went there with Jack, my newest and most Japanese bro-in-law, and we had a really great time. As part of the whole multi-day event, we even got to see a live concert by Creedence Clearwater Revisited. This is the band that spun off from Creedence Clearwater Revival, and they are very good.

Images are all © Esben Bøll, a friend from Denmark who visits the U.S. each
summer, touring by motorcycle and documenting his adventures in photographs.

2) Over the Independence Day weekend, I decided to go for a motorcycle ride of my own. I loaded up some camping gear and headed to Wyoming, taking in Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks and the surrounding area.

On rides like this, I make a point of taking the roads less traveled.
This is along Tin Cup Road, a.k.a. Hwy 34,
through the desolate S.E. corner of Idaho.  
The Tetons are my favorite mountains, and I visit them every chance I get.
I stayed one night at Colter Bay Campground, and the
next morning got to see the sunrise over the bay.
The intrepid traveler in his element.
Returning to the subject of my parents,
it was Dad who introduced me to this place.

I'll forever be thankful.
In Yellowstone, I saw all the typical attractions, including
some wildlife. (This guy could use a good combing.)
Here I am reflecting on the wild landscape--or vice-versa.
On the higher passes through the park, there's still
plenty of snow in early July!
Yellowstone Lake. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.
On the second night, I camped in Cody,
a great town filled with stuff like this.

Cody loves rodeos, and they have their biggest ones over the July 4th weekend.
I didn't get any good pics of the cowboys, but here are some of the rodeo royalty
and a USMC mounted honor guard during the opening ceremony.
I also got to see a parade. These guys are AUTHENTIC.

Beartooth Mountain in the background.
The road leading to it (Beartooth Pass) is
among the world's most beautiful drives.
In this territory, Spring goes into July. Everything is green,
and the rivers all swell above their banks. This was especially
true in 2011, when we got even more precipitation than usual.

3) The last weekend in July, number two daughter, Keely, and I rode to Kemmerer, Wyoming for the Oyster Ridge Music Fesitval. This is becoming an annual tradition for us.

We could have driven the car, but the motorcycle is more fun!
Keely is not as uncomfortable as she appears, although neither
of us had room to stretch out.
Here is Mike Mangione and the Union.
We saw several other great bands, including
The Brothers Comatose, The Mighty Regis,
and The Mother Hips.


These are only a few highlights, and we had other good times this summer. In summary, it's been a great year. I enjoyed some camping, some concerts, and even some motorsports, most of it with people I love. Life is great!


  1. Nice that you live near spectacular landscape like that.
    I'm in a New York city, but I always enjoy getting upstate where it's more rural and less developed.

    And thanks for the list of bands you saw. I'll check out their music.

  2. Guapo, Oyster Ridge is a fun outdoor festival, and it's FREE! (I like free stuff.) Probably a bit far for you to travel, though.

    If you like the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, and Black 47, you'll like the Mighty Regis. (It's pronounced like Regis Philbin, and they call themselves The Reej for short.)

    The Mother Hips, whom I'd previously heard of only from RockBand (they have a song on that game) were musically outstanding, but not big on showmanship.

    Oyster Ridge started out as a folk/bluegrass/acoustic festival, and it still attracts lots of bands in those genres. This year, we saw Mountain Heart there, a wonderful treat. My favorite from last year's lineup was a progressive bluegrass band called Elephant Revival.

    You get exposed to all sorts of great music there, and lots of drunk hippies, too.

  3. Nice.
    I've seen Black 47 and Flogging Molly. Haven't caught Dropkick Murphys yet, but I'm familiar with them.
    There used to be a Blues festival on Long Islan (not sure if it's still there.
    Saw Lex Grey and the Pioneers there about 15 years ago, still can't get that show out of my head.

  4. The Mighty Regis are regulars at the same L.A. pub where Flogging Molly got their start, so there are probably similarities between these bands, which both fit into the Celtic punk category (if you're about categorizing stuff).