May 1st

​Departed Canton, MS this morning. Not sure I’ve posted a photo of the new rig on line. F-350 dually King Ranch model, Heartland 427 Road Warrior 5th wheel toy hauler.

Arrived in West Memphis, AR (across the Mississippi River from Memphis, TN) about 2 PM today. We are set up on the banks of the Mississippi and watching barge traffic. Very cool view and a highlight of the summer tour so far.

​The view from the side patio of the rig. Turns out this is not even a big one compared to some we’ve seen just this afternoon.

Plans are to hit the guitar stores in the area tomorrow.

Facebook link

Well it seem that Facebook has again screwed the pooch. Facebook was supposed to be automatically posting an update whenever there was new blog entry. Issue is resolved now.

If you want to keep up, the best way will be to follow my blog.

I am shifting over to blog only. I am moving away from Facebook.

Last day of April

Departing New Orleans this morning turned out to be way easier than expected. We got the Expressway and didn’t deal with a stop light for another 185 miles. Traffic flowed much smoother than expected. A very pleasant surprise on a sunny Monday morning.

Arrival in Canton, MS was routine. The park is quite near the interstate and easy to find. Sites need some work on the leveling.

Doesn’t sound like much of report does it? Well it was a good day even if the ‘public’ report is rather bland. The ‘private’ report is good though. Nothing earth shattering, just a wonderful day talking about nothing and everything. Touching lightly on whatever came up and diving deeply into whatever caught our fancy. Just the type of day is that is, for me, the main attraction to RV-ing full time. The days of just enjoying ourselves, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company, seeing new scenery and looking forward to the next few weeks of sightseeing, fishing and wandering.

Not a bad deal at all.

When the journey is enough

Maybe it stems from playing football in high school in a "Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing" program. Maybe it’s from playing pool for food money in college. Maybe it’s just wired into my DNA. Where ever it comes from, I’ve tended towards being competitive. Results were not just the goal, they were the only reason for the participating.

In some situations that mentality is not only good, it is the only rational choice.

In some environments it is rather counter productive. When it is counter productive, all else falls by the wayside and it can exact a toll on your personal life, relationships with other people and rob you of joy.

All too often I let all else fall by the wayside. Don’t misunderstand me, there are situations when doing whatever it takes to succeed is the way to go.

There is an element of joy in triumph. But it is a false joy when the situation wasn’t really a competition.

It is not be the only way of looking at life. The folks I met thru fly fishing taught me that.
What brought on this bout of navel gazing? Frets. The fret board of a guitar has re-entered my life. As I work on getting better at playing, it occurs to me that my goal is not to be better than everyone else. I see those guys who are technically gifted but for some of them their music lacks a certain something. The players I admire seem to have an understanding of their instrument and relationship with their music that transcends playing 32 notes a second. They are able to express themselves and it only seems to happen, to my ear, when they are comfortable with the point they are at in that exact moment. That is what I strive for. Doesn’t matter whether it is realistic and I don’t care if I get there. Reaching the destination is not the goal. Getting there, no matter how unlikely, is just a bonus if it happens. Will I ever reach that level? Probably not. A lack of talent, age and injuries all take their toll.

I do care about being on the journey. The journey for me is about striving towards being better than yesterday. There really is no end destination or final point, it is just a journey. The journey is enough.

Summer tour and NGD

Departed winter spot in Crystal River on Thursday. Currently in Pensacola, FL. Onwards to New Orleans tomorrow for 2 weeks. Summer Tour 2018 begins. The truck tows the 5th wheel beautifully. The goose neck is, as expected, taking a little adjusting to but is working well.

A few days ago, I posted on a guitar forum about looking for a new 6 string. A lot of really good information was graciously shared by a lot of folks. Below is what I posted this morning.

*******

I am keenly aware that the feedback provided on this thread is from years of hard earned experience and more than likely no small amount of expense. I deeply appreciate it. It is kind and gracious of everyone to share with me that which they gained so dearly. I am paying close attention and pondering carefully. As a result, I have shifted to a more patient, longer term search, months if needed, instead of days or weeks.

Since the hourglass of my life has way more sand on the bottom than top, I decided to get a ‘bridge’ or ‘in the meantime’ guitar to provide a better sound while I continue my search. Nothing too serious, just grab something I would enjoy playing more while I continue searching. It also occurred to me that it would provide a better, more defined and robust reference point to compare a future purchase against. I decided to keep it simple. Basically, nothing more than: Sounds good? Feels like it will play OK? Just go with ‘close enough’ for now. Just an upgrade to ease the ‘tired of listening to it’ of the LX1 and make the waiting during a more patient search more comfortable. The current 6 string, LX1, is a perfectly serviceable guitar but it has limitations.

So, after arriving in Pensacola, FL yesterday I stopped by a couple of local guitar shops. At the first stop I tried a few Taylors, including an 814ce DLX. Nice guitar but not the sound I was looking for. Mahogany just isn’t doing it for me. Rest of the Taylor selection was a bit thin. Down the road I go to the next place and they have Martins. No 00 or 000 in stock but tried 3 guitars anyway, just for the heck of it. I mean why not? I’d driven 15 minutes to get there and even put on a clean shirt with a collar (retired guys have low standards about what ‘dressed up’ means). Started with something mahogany and moved on to a new D-28. Really like the new style neck on the 28. Last up was a new D-21. Wrong size body, 14 fret neck, no cutaway, no electronics and slightly thicker strings than I wanted.

I bought it. Why did I buy it, besides the ‘I can resist anything but temptation’ concept? The sound. To my unrefined ear the clarity, sustain and tone was exceptional. Had the strings changed to a lighter gauge and they are wonderful. Played it for 2 hours last night and still like it. Just a joy to listen to. Plays easy. I am a crappy player, at best, but it is fun to play.

Make no mistake, the search continues but at a more controlled pace and the budget remains unchanged. But now each day builds a better, more defined reference point to compare and the journey is more enjoyable.

TLDR: GAS is real.

******

GAS, for the uninitiated (some would say the unobsessed) stands for Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. It is real (to some) and just indulgence to others. I recently sold 19 collector knives I accumulated in my travels. They appreciated over time so my ‘fun’ money fund is in better than anticipated shape.

The whole guitar thing is a bit of a surprise to me. I came to it late in life with NO musical background. Went to my first lesson in my early 50s and the instructor said there are 7 notes in a scale. I said "I believe you, you look like an honest lad". Playing the guitar rewired my brain in a positive and productive manner far beyond what I imagined was possible. I played for a few years. Another shoulder/wrist surgery occurred and even after rehab playing was not an option. Even 5 minutes of playing caused days of burning pain and soreness. I tried for a year with no improvement. Got pissed and sold all the guitars and related equipment. Fast forward several years and about 3 moths ago and I’m in a pawn shop. On a whim I purchased a very cheap electric guitar. I fully expected to give it away or throw it away within a week after confirming that playing was just not an option for me. To my surprise I played. I played poorly and with skill or talent but I played. After about a week I realized that I could indeed go back to playing on a regular basis. It is hard to describe what a profound sense of relief and pleasure that gave me. I am a hack on the guitar, probably always will be but I rejoice in each little victory. Chord changes are still stiff and awkward, but improving. I don’t care how bad I play, just playing lifts my spirit. Can’t ask for much more.

So that’s the status of my music career. I am currently the best player in my bedroom and it will stay that way. There’s not enough room for two people and the cat can’t do barre chords. Some might say that’s a rigged game and they would be correct.

Holding the future

Currently in Stuttgart, Germany.

The early arrival of grandchild #2 in mid-October caused a lot of scrambling. The wife and I were in the midst of changing over from the diesel pusher to a 42′ 5th wheel toy hauler and new Ford F-350 diesel dually to pull it. She was in South Carolina visiting her mother while I was in Tampa at the RV dealers coordinating modifications and upgrades to the new rig. A premie birth gets everybody’s attention. Wife flew back to Tampa, picked up passport and clothes and flew to Germany, all within 24 hours. I finished to transition from old rig to new rig and relocated the rig from the RV dealer’s location in Tampa to our winter site in Crystal River.

I arrived in Germany on Saturday. All was well on the family scene. Grandson home from the hospital, doing well and all handled.

Holding your grandson is one of the premier moments of life.

I’m a lucky man.

Kneel, stand, walk, crawl or move about the cabin

My take on the whole kneeling nonsense? Just that, it is all nonsense.

I did not write the following but it sums up my point of view.

Source:

https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/758l9t/jerry_jones_gives_cowboys_players_ultimatum_stand/

As a vet, I don’t feel “disrespected”.

I swore to defend all rights. Especially the unpopular ones that most people disagree with. Those ones need protected the most.

What does make me feel disrespected is when you drag MY service into YOUR argument and get offended on MY behalf.

Veterans are fucking tired of being brought out like dancing poodles for the fucking GOP and conservatives of this nation to further their own selfish, backwards, and archaic ideas.

That’s disrespectful to us.

We are living, breathing people with our own thoughts and ideologies.

We don’t belong to your team. We don’t belong to any team.

We swore to uphold the Constitution. Part of that Constitution is these players doing exactly what they are allowed to do – peacefully protest.

Showing 100% reverence to a nation or symbol of the nation is NOT patriotism, it’s nationalism.

And history has shown that nationalism is a very dangerous idea.

 

 

 

Victor Edwards

“The cure for anything is saltwater….sweat, tears or the sea.” Isak Dinesen

SITREP

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

Lunch at Hank Charcuterie in Lawrence, KS was excellent. Somebody in the kitchen has some mad skills. Worth going out of your way to eat there.

Afternoon spent at the Natural History Museum at Kansas University. The horse that survived Custer’s Last Stand is displayed. Saw 66 million year old fossils from about a month before I made corporal according to one so called wit in the party.

Prepping for a bird hunt tomorrow with Hank the Dog, Ti the Magnificent and me the easily amused. Early wake up call as we will try to beat the heat.

Still continuing to research the BWCA, Wabakimi and the gear associated with such a venture. Next summer is turning into a project.