Monday, May 28, 2012

A tale of 2 festivals.

Summer's kicking in.  This weekend was split between two festivals, both offering us a chance to play late night and on the main stage.  To a casual observer, Summercamp and Delfest seem similar.  Large festivals, field hippies, many of the same bands (Yonder, Leftover, Greensky and the Dusters all made appearances at both).  After fully experiencing both, in a four day stretch, I was surprised at the difference of demographic.

Summercamp has one type of person there.  They come in a male or female form, but for the most part, there's just one kind of person at Summercamp.  They're 17-25 and they're there for 2 things;  to do drugs and get laid.  I thought it was awesome.  The energy was palpable, the kids were having a good time and they really threw down.

I assumed Delfest was going to be a more laid back affair, but it really wasn't.  The Delfestians were getting down, staying up as late, having as good a time or better, and they were of all ages.  Absolutely every age group represented.  This is a testament to Del and the type of people that he attracts as well as a careful curation of the lineup and a beautiful location.  Spot on, DelFest. 

The Dusters were treated like kings, our shows were packed with new and old friends and we had a lot of opportunities for sit-ins and jams.  Everyone was socializing, everyone was in good spirits, despite the rain...  The stringband revolution is nigh, the scene is vibrant and fun, safe and wide open.  Everyone's welcome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let's try something new

A couple weeks ago I threw my legs over a dirt bike for the first time.  I'd waited 25 years.  I was ready for it and it was a blast.  Tyler, my guide, shot some video and edited a nice highlight reel complete with commentary and totally bro-ed out moments.

So in the spirit of regretting things I've done instead of things I didn't do, I'm on the prowl for some new cool stuff to check out.  There's a guy in a warehouse off River Road in Asheville who's re-inventing the river experience.  He calls it Bellyaking, and it gets you closer to the water with a shorter learning curve than anything else out there right now.  Adam, the fearless leader, and his wife came out to our show last Friday and through some shared connections I've lined up an expedition on the French Broad this afternoon.  I'm not a waterman, not even close.  I don't raft, I don't fish, I barely paddleboard or surf, but I'm fascinated by the flow of the water and I've been looking for opportunities to gain experience and increase my comfort level on the water. 

So I got out on the French Broad today with Adam, the sole proprietor of Bellyak.  He also owns any and all patents on this style of boat.  He's also a beer drinker, a fiddler and all-around great guy.  I told him I thought Bellyaking was the whitewater gateway drug and I meant it.  It was super fun and it didn't take me any time at all to get comfortable in the water, I was even surfing rapids (albeit for only a few seconds at a time) by the end of our session.  We spent half our time Bellyaking, 1/4 walking back up the trail by the river, and another 1/4 sitting in the boats in an eddy drinking beer.  It was perfection.

For a guy who's never spent time in the river, and who's, quite frankly, always been intimidated by hydraulics, I felt really comfortable on the Bellyak and took to it alarmingly fast.  I'll be getting one of these for the creeks and rivers of Nelson as soon as they hit production, probably late summer.  Here's a look at the prototypes he's worked on over the last few years:

"Better to regret something you did than something you didn't do." 

Saturday, May 12, 2012



The feeling I get when in motion is unmistakable.  The thrill of the ride, the freedom of the drive, even waking up in a moving bus.  As long as I'm in motion, it's all good.  I've packed a mess of motion into these last two weeks.  65 mile 'cross ride/race, Appalachain Trail hike/run, mountain bike rides, beach run, paddle boarding, road rides, dirt biking and other things I can't remember.  Motion, for me, is my neutral state.  That's probably why meditation and yoga are so profound for me (and so difficult to do) and why I can't seem to bring myself to pick up fishing.  Slowing it all down, lying on the beach reading with my wife or sitting through a movie, takes incredible discipline.  Travel and touring, riding and running energize me, it's gas in the tank.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cross the Mountain

Devils Backbone Mountain Cross tomorrow.  65 miles, 2 climbs with 20% grades, and two category 1 climbs, definied as climbs between 6 and 12 miles in length with 3,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation gain.  I took out the One Speed cross bike yesterday to determine if I had any chance of making these climbs.  The answer is a resounding no.  I should be riding this:

instead I'll be riding this:

actually not too different.  but enough to make me long for an upgrade.

Sunday, it's a moto ride.  Looking forward to this for a long, long time...