Saturday, September 18, 2010

Roadie Report 54 - 100 YEARS!

Dorothy McGuinn

Even with the heat, this summer in Florida has been wonderful because we were here for a lot of it. The garden received care, the closets were purged and best of all, the sound of music was coming from Roger’s studio. The Jolly Roger decided to compile a CD of his favorite songs of the sea. But before summertime living kicked in, there was a westward drive for a few concerts and most importantly, Dorothy’s 100th birthday party. Dorothy is Roger’s amazing, emailing mother!

The first stop was at the Summit Road Studios in Parker, CO to visit Linda and Don Debey, before we went on to Denver for a concert at the L2 Arts and Cultural Center on July 24th. Wild Bill Cody arrived early to help man “the lemonade stand” and friends from Ohio, Linda and Bill, joined us for a quick reunion.

Driving south to Tucson was fun because there is a favorite Mexican restaurant that has real tacos with shredded beef in Albuquerque.

Our arrival in Tucson was the day before the big party. Folks were coming from England and from all over the United States for the celebration. Even though Dorothy didn’t want to be involved in the details, she insisted on an expedition to a Mexican restaurant to taste the food that would be served to her guests. She wanted the Out-of-towners to experience a good Southwestern meal.

Cousin Carolyn arranged for the venue. Brother Brian and son Patrick procured the soft drinks, beer and ice. Celia and Jim supplied the sound system and we were in charge of appetizers, flowers, decorations, champagne and music.

On the day of the party, I felt like we were contestants in a reality TV show. Roger and I needed to buy all of the decorations and food in the morning before the venue was available for us to prepare food and decorate at 1pm. On the way to get helium tanks for the balloons, I took a wrong turn, which put me in an unfamiliar parking lot. I was about to turn around, when my eye caught the silver reflection of something in a store window. It looked like a good decoration for the tables, so I parked the van and ran into the store. Roger went into a neighboring store to find a Hawaiian shirt because Brian thought it would be a good idea for both of them to wear one at the party. It turned out that there were a few other similar shirts worn at the party.

The silver sparkling pieces were perfect, but I couldn’t find the price. At an appropriate moment I raised my voice to ask the clerk if he could tell me the cost. Suddenly everyone in the store stopped what they were doing and stared at me with a very strange look. Even the clerk looked puzzled as he hesitantly replied with almost a question in his voice, “A dollar?” Then I got it…I was in a DOLLAR STORE! I had never been in one before. Everything was a dollar! I felt like I was the winner of a big prize.

When Roger walked in victoriously with his new shirt, my cart was filled to overflowing with wonderful decorations for the party. We filled our van with the finds of the century for the centenarian, but there was one more a strategic stop for food and all the yellow flowers we could find. We arrived at the venue right on schedule.

Dorothy’s favorite colors are blue and yellow, so Roger began filling 100 balloons in those shades with helium. I began to panic. He would be busy for a long time. There was just me and Karen, Cousin Carolyn’s roommate, fixing the appetizers for 70 people. Thankfully, Phil, a Florida neighbor who knows I always need help when preparing for a party, showed up and began helping Roger fill the balloons. I found myself getting envious of the laughter that was coming out of their corner.

With Phil’s arrival my anxiety level lessened about 1% but I began thinking that my plans were bigger than my abilities. I left a note at our hotel for another couple of Florida friends to come to the venue for sound check as soon as they checked in. Bruce Kula, a close friend and gifted musician, was going to join Roger in serenading Dorothy at the party. The note was the first time he heard that his talents had been conscripted. Cynthia and Bruce arrived before Jim finished installing the sound system, so there were two more chefs in the kitchen. Over the years, the Kulas have grown accustomed to my propensity for drafting all available hands for any job that needs to be done.

At 3pm Brian and Patrick arrived with the beverages and the ice. Patrick volunteered his mother’s services to pick up all the forgotten items on her way to the party. At 4:30 the sound check was complete and by 5pm, Roger and I were smiling! The room was ready for the Special Lady’s arrival at 5:30!

Dorothy always loves to have parties last into the early hours of the next morning. Around 10pm, the room was closed, but the party was to continue at Dorothy’s house. Friends who had flown great distances were invited back for what they thought would be one last glass of champagne. What they didn’t expect was that Dorothy insisted everyone stay until midnight! She wanted her 100th year and her 101st year to end and begin with a party.

The next night, John and MaryAnn along with Janice and Barry, a BYRDS’ fan who had kept in touch with Dorothy ever since she was the head of the BYRDS fan club, came over for one last visit. Roger and I were departing early the next day, so we left at 9pm. Dorothy insisted everyone else stay until midnight. That special woman has been known to wear out even the energizer bunny!

From Tucson, we drove to San Francisco for some meetings, then on to Napa for a few days of quiet catching up with the business that is always waiting. We stayed at the home of Andrienne Graves (Roadie Report 51). She joined us two days later when she took us to the boutique vineyard, ELAN.

The Elan Vineyard is about 10 miles up the very narrow Atlas Peak Road in Napa. Our first glimpse of the house mentally transported us to Tuscany. The beautiful house was surrounded by the vineyards. Patrick and Linda, the proprietors, prepared a wonderful Italian dinner to share with us under the stars in their courtyard. We ate, we laughed and Roger sang all their favorite songs while playing his 7-string guitar. I kept looking around for evidence of movie cameras – it was a perfect scene and it was hard to grasp that it was real.

Monterey is a wonderful stop when driving from Napa to Southern California. This was the first trip that we ever took the time to walk for miles enjoying the coastline, the unique trees and the sea lions.

On October 13, Roger was invited to open the show for Joan Baez at the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, CA. The park is next to the original Queen Mary which has been converted into a hotel. We spent two lovely nights on the ship, often reminiscing about our recent trip on board the Queen Victoria.

The Queen Mary is a lovely Art Deco walk through history and it also has a wonderful restaurant that I had visited in 1971 to celebrate loved ones birthdays. After the concert I took friends on a tour of the decks. I think Mackenna and Hayden, 13 & 14 years old, we more smitten with Blake, a Florida neighbor, and his friends than they were with my dissertations of history. They did find it amusing when their beautiful, six foot tall mother and I played hopscotch on the shuffle board.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Roadie Report 53 - PBS Taping & WSM - 1968 & 2010 - and Space Explorers by Camilla McGuinn

The month of May held three more adventures before summer vacation could commence. The first one was in Pittsburg to tape a concert for a PBS fund raiser. This was a gathering of friends; it definitely didn’t feel like work. Laughing with Barry McGuire and John York was delightful.

The producer of the show, T.J. Lubinsky, arranged for the group Ju-Taun to sing harmonies with Roger. These good looking men had all the female staff buzzing. I felt privileged that the young ladies confided in me which singer they picked as their favorite from the group. The guys were young enough to be my sons, so I picked all of them as my favorite.

From Pittsburg, we crossed the mountains for Nashville.

As we drove to our downtown hotel, we noticed big disaster relief trucks. The flood didn’t get as much media coverage as the damage warranted. Lives were lost, countless homes and businesses were significantly affected by the early May flooding. National landmarks including Opryland, The Country Music Hall of Fame and the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center all had disaster relief trucks parked in front of them.

When we are in Nashville we try to connect with the amazing guitar player, John Jorgenson. John recorded on “Back From Rio” and “Limited Edition.” This time, John was in California for a “Desert Rose” reunion with Chris Hillman. While John was riding down Interstate 5, he texted Roger the story of coming home from touring Europe and finding his guitars covered in mud, diesel oil and sewage.
Many musicians lost not only their treasured instruments that were stored at Soundcheck Instrument Storage, but also their cars that were parked there while they were away on tour.

But with all the horrific happenings, Nashville was not whining. Nashville was rebuilding and the people were all pitching in to help their neighbors.
Roger had a concert scheduled at the Belcourt Theater and even though we offered to postpone the evening, the audience was happy the show went on.

The day before the concert our schedule was jammed packed with radio interviews at WSM, Sirius Radio and the live radio show “Live at the Loveless Café."

Radio station WSM is temporarily being broadcast from an original building by the radio tower because it was flooded out of its Opryland studio. Roger was hoping he would recognize it as the same studio he walked into in 1968, but it wasn’t the same building.

The Byrds always appreciated a country beat. Their albums ,“Turn,Turn,Turn,” “5th Dimension,” ‘Younger Than Yesterday,” and “Notorious Byrd Brothers” included a country influence with the tracks “Satisfied Mind,” “Mr. Spaceman,” “Time Between,” and “Girl With No Name,” and “Old John Robertson.” It wasn’t until, Chris Hillman met a young rich kid in a Hollywood bank that the Byrds knocked rock’n’roll out of the studio for a moment and headed to the home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee.

Roger and Chris were looking to hire a few more musicians. Roger wanted to take the BYRDS into the world of John Coltrane as he did in “Eight Miles High.”
When Gram showed up at the rehearsal studio, Roger asked him to play piano. He played a rhythm similar to Floyd Cramer. The performance didn’t blow Roger away but he felt they could work with Gram. Then they all got stoned.

Gram Parsons wanted to be Hank Williams more than Chris Hillman wanted to be the Bakersfield sound or Roger McGuinn wanted to be Pete Seeger. Gram’s desire was infectious.

After a musical change of direction was orchestrated, Gram’s dream was closer to reality when Nashville became the recording target for the next album. Cowboy hats were purchased, along with a black Eldorado.

It was a common practice for the Byrds to record a Bob Dylan song. The twang of Mr. Dylan could pass for a mountain kid or at least a hobo and sure enough he had a song to sing for this country inspired album dubbed, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”

The studio was filled with some of the best pickers in town. Earl P. Ball on piano, Lloyd Green and Jay Dee Maness on steel guitar, John Hartford on fiddle, banjo and guitar and Roy M. “Junior” Huskey on bass. There was also the six-string virtuoso, Clearance White, who later became one of Roger’s closest friends.

When the single was released, Roger made a journey to the famed WSM studios in hopes that the biggest country DJ in the country would play the chosen single from the album, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”

By then Roger had cut his hair and was trying to look respectable for the country gentleman. Mr. Emery played the single on a preview turntable, listened to the first verse, then turned to Roger and adamantly said, ‘I’m not going to play that on my show.”
“Ah..why not?”
“What’s it about?” Ralph flatly demanded.
Spellbound, Roger shrugged his shoulders and answered, “I don’t know. It’s a Bob Dylan song.”

Ralph grunted, and then proceeded to change his voice with a twang that would encourage the truckers driving down the highway to buy themselves a Clark truck seat.

A few months later while sitting in a London hotel room, Roger and Gram were reminiscing about that DJ who wouldn’t play their record in Nashville. They were roaring as they were mimicking his “trucker’s voice.” Ralph wasn’t a trucker… he was more like a drugstore truck driver, in the same vein of drugstore cowboys. That night a song was born, “Drugstore Truck Driving Man.”


The “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” was a recording disaster in 1968. It was shunned by the rock and country stations. Time has healed the blow; it was listed as #117 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of all Time. The humor of the time is now welcome. The DJs at WSM, Bill Cody and Charlie Mattos, encouraged Roger to tell the “Sweetheart” stores for their country music audience. No one is offended anymore about a bunch of Los Angeles hippies who wanted to play in the country music mecca. The sounds have all blended.

At noon, Roger recorded an interview for the Sirius radio show Deep Tracks.

That evening, we went to the rolling countryside outside of Nashville to the Loveless Café. There Roger sang three songs as a guest artist for the radio show recorded live to an enthusiastic audience. One of the songs he sang was "Drugstore Truck Driving Man." During the performance, he began to feel remorse about a line in the song and didn't want to sing it. The line “he has him a medal he won in the war. It weighs five hundred pounds and sleeps on his floor.” slipped out even as he was trying to skip over it. The internal editing didn't happen soon enough.

Roger didn’t mention the problem until later at the hotel when I told him that all of a sudden during the show; I was hoping he wouldn’t sing that line in the song. I was thinking about my father’s medal from the Viet Nam war which was given to him because he came home on a stretcher, The Purple Heart. It certainly doesn’t sleep on our floor. That’s when Roger confirmed he didn’t want to sing the verse either. He now felt that he and Gram were too flippant and stoned when they wrote that line. What seemed funny for years, no longer did. He declared he wasn’t going to sing that verse again.

The Astronauts Hall of Fame ceremony was held on June 5th. A few hours before Guy Bluford, Jr, Ken Bowersox, Frank Culbertson, Jr and Kathy Thornton were inducted; we were invited to join a group of astronauts to tour the hangar where the space shuttles, Atlantis and Endeavour were being worked on.

Whenever we are blessed to be in the presence of Astronauts, we always try to be flies on the wall and that means that we are always at the back of the bus. We were the last ones off the bus for the tour of the hangar. The group was separated into five smaller groups. Since we were the last group, our guide asked which shuttle we wanted to see. I heard a voice behind me quietly say, “Endeavour.” I knew the voice of Hoot Gibson. He was the pilot of the 1992 Endeavour mission. The opportunity to closely view the space shuttle with him prompted me to say loudly, “Endeavour!” And so it was with great excitement that we walked around, under and over a space shuttle with an astronaut who had piloted it acting as our family photographer.

The month of June was gone before I had even unpacked or planted a lot of summer flowers. Today, I’m packing again. Tomorrow we are headed to Denver for the July 24th concert at the L2 Arts and Cultural Center. From Denver, we go to Tucson to celebrate the Special Lady’s 100th birthday! After that special celebration, Roger will have a re-union with Joan Baez as he opens the show at The Queen Mary Park in Long Beach California on August 13.

Come say hi to me at my “lemonade stand.” I love hearing your stories.

All photos by Camilla except the one by that Space Explorer as noted and the album cover of "Sweetheart of the Rodeo."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Roadie Report 52 - The Moon, Wordstock, Woodstock & Friends by Camilla McGuinn

The weather was perfect on Easter morning 2010. While the sun was shining and the birds were chirping I looked out into the garden and noticed that the Easter Bunny had left eggs and balloons scattered under the bushes and flowers. That silly bunny didn’t realize that the only neighborhood kids lived next door. Thankfully, Mia and Bryce came over and picked up all those eggs filled with candy and toys. While they were busy finding baskets full of goodies, the grown-up neighbors were busy munching and catching up on the times we missed with them while we were away.

The invitation for The Apollo XIII 40th Anniversary event, scheduled for April 9 arrived to shouts of joy. That mission was NASA’s most “successful failure” and immortalized in the Jim Lovell,Jeffrey Kluger book and the Ron Howard film, Apollo 13.

On the night of the anniversary, I laughed and cried as I listened to Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Gene Kranz (project engineer) and Charlie Duke (the Lunar Module back up pilot who inadvertently exposed the rest of the crew to German measles) re-live the mission. Words cannot convey the sense of awe that we had that evening in the presence of our space heroes.

We had another reason to be on the Space Coast. The Gold Tone Banjo factory had repaired a 'bandolin' for Roger. Gold Tone was founded by Wayne and Robyn Rogers. Our first encounter with their banjo artistry was at the 2009 Folk Alliance conference when Roger was the Keynote Speaker. The banjo was the stringed instrument that landed Roger his first professional job with The Limeliters. When he saw the OT-800 Long Neck Gold Tone, he felt it was time to add another ax to his tool chest.

It was lunch time after we toured the craftsman factory, so Wayne and Robyn took us to the famous Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant on Garden Street in Titusville. Wayne had gone to school with the gregarious owner, Laurilee Thompson. The fresh shrimp she served was enhanced by the stories she told us about her days as a shrimp boat captain. As she spun her tales of the sea, I envisioned the movie of her life.

On April 15, we paid our taxes, packed the instruments in the van and set the GPS for the stage of the beautifully restored 1939 Art Deco Theater now called the Don Gibson Theater in Shelby, NC. The theater was named for the local boy who penned the Ray Charles hit,”I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Washington DC was the second stop of the tour. Roger was invited to join The Rock Bottom Remainders for the first concert of their 2010 “Wordstock Tour.”

The energy these authors exude always amazes us. They are up early doing all they can to promote these charity concerts. They don’t slow down until security knocks on the hospitality suite door in the wee hours of the morning telling them to lower the music and go to bed. They even steal time for sightseeing trips. This tour was no different. The two days in DC were hit with a barrage of radio and television interviews, an evening conversation panel directed by Sam Donaldson, receptions, a rehearsal at XM studios, dinners whenever time permitted but most of all fun!

We woke up one morning for one of those early TV interviews. Listening to Scott Turow and Roger tell stories during the morning DC rush hour was worth the blurry eyes. We arrived in the green room of the FOX-WTTG TV show just as the tag for the interview was playing on the monitor. David Tauler, another guest on the show with the band “House of Echo ,” ran to the TV screen, pointed at the picture of Roger and declared, “Hey! He’s going to be here!” The look on his face was priceless, when Roger walked up to him, smiled and said,”And here he is now.”

We escaped for a quiet lunch to fortify ourselves, and then we met everyone at the NPR studios for a Tiny Desk concert in their offices. It was a good thing Roger remembered to bring his acoustic guitar; he was the only one with an instrument. There had been no rehearsal or even conversation about what was happening, so when Roger walked into the room, there was a quick huddle to come up with a song that was in the public domain or one that had no copyright issues. Fortunately, Roger had recorded “The John B's Sails” aka “Sloop John B” with Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Gregg Iles on the Folk Den Project a few year earlier. Everyone remembered the words and the live performance was recorded. Dave Barry gave a wonderful introduction. Let’s hope this link stays up on the NPR site for a long time.

The Rock Bottom Remainders left Washington DC on the rails for Philadelphia; we left on the highways for Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State University in Buffalo, NY where Maria Sebastian opened the concert for Roger.

Two days later, we met up with John Sebastian (no relation to Maria) in Tarrytown, NY at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Roger loves going back to his childhood town but this time was even more special with not only a re-union with John but one with his “Thunderbyrd” producer, Don DeVito.

A week before the next concert, we checked into the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor hotel in Weehawken, NJ. The hotel was the base for radio interviews and meetings. It is so easy to catch the ferry right out of the front door of the hotel to New York City. After several days of business meetings, we enjoyed an engaging dinner with Patrick, Roger’s oldest son.

1958 was the year Steve McQueen made his debut performance on the big screen. It was that performance I saw while sitting in the back seat of a 1956 Ford sharing popcorn with my brother at the drive-in theater in Beaufort, SC. It was the first horror movie this 7 year old had ever seen. Steve McQueen’s performance in the “THE BLOB” could not mar the fear I felt for years when I had to sleep in a room with a heater vent on the wall. I think the only reason I don’t close the vent now is because it is on the ceiling.

Well, our next concert in Phoenixville, Pa at The Colonial Theater was the very same theater that “The Blob” oozed out of in 1958. I moved my “lemonade stand" close to the door just in case I heard screams coming from the auditorium. Roger thought my disturbed thoughts were so funny, that he told my story to the audience during his show.

Roger and Pete Fornatale, a New York City DJ, became friends many years ago. Every year Roger would go to WNEW for the annual Roger McGuinn update on Pete’s show ‘Mixed Bag.” Pete probably knows more of Roger’s history than I do. His latest book, “Back To The Garden: The Story of Woodstock” is filled with stories of the musicians who were at the 1969 gathering on Yasgur’s farm. Pete also presents a video lecture about those times and that is how he delighted the audience prior to Roger’s concert in Morristown, NJ.

This tour developed a theme of its own...Wordstock, Woodstock and old friends.

On the way to Valparaiso, IN, we stopped to see more friends in Dublin, OH. They always fill us with meals meant for kings and lots of loving memories.

In February 1898, John Phillip Sousa conducted his band through the doors of The Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, IN. The stage has seen Vaudeville greats, including the Marx Brothers. On May 8, 2010, the stage was gracefully set for Maria Sebastian to open the evening for Roger McGuinn.

Next Blog: A visit to WSM Radio station, Nashville TN- The past -1968 and the present- 2010:-) I'm on summer vacation, so the next BLOG will be up sooner than normal.I'm not rushing around trying to pack for the next tour. It is great to have time in the summertime!
All photos by Camilla

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Roadie Report 51 - Macworld and San Francisco in February 2010


During the early hours of January 27th, we watched from our balcony as the Queen Victoria glided through the fog under the Golden Gate Bridge for its maiden port call in San Francisco at Pier 35.

After one last meal a Table 18, goodbyes were said to the staff and to our new friends, then we caught a taxi to the Nob Hill condo we had rented sight unseen.

At first glance, the outside of the 3 story structure that had survived the “Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906” didn’t exactly give me confidence that I had made the right choice. The website did show the outside, but it was the modern remodel on the inside that caught our attention. I was holding my breath as we carried the luggage and guitar through the locked foyer, up a few stairs and unlocked the door to our home for the next two weeks.

Roger was the first to walk into condo. I exhaled when he turned around to look at me with a big smile on his face and said, “Sweet!”

The pictures on the web site of VRBO didn’t lie. I chose this particular place because of the modern kitchen, bathroom and the charming front bedroom that had a view of the street all the way to the bay. The condo building is situated at a corner stop of two of the cable car lines ( Even though we had ridden the cable cars on previous trips to San Francisco, I always felt like a tourist and insecure as to how to get on and off the antique cars. This time I researched the Cable Car Website to learn all about riding the cars like a native.

We wanted to do everything and go everywhere at once, but the Glaucoma Research Foundation was sending a car to pick us up at 3:30pm to sound check for their annual fund raiser. It was a formal affair, so we needed to unpack our clothes and get ready quickly.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation brings together scientists and pharmaceutical companies to do research on finding a cure for the leading cause of uncorrectable blindness in the world. After the sound check, we sat in the back of a room listening to doctors tell of their new discoveries. Roger will probably always have to place stinging eye drops in his blue eyes twice a day in perpetuity, but because of continuing research there is hope this necessity will not be inevitable.

At the gala dinner, we were seated at the table sponsored by the Santen Pharmaceutical Company. The lovely and energetic CEO, Dr. Andrienne Graves quickly became a friend for life. Not only did we have a common interest in ophthalmology, we all loved to entertain while cooking. When she shared that interest with me, I said, ‘We’re here for two weeks. Roger’s schedule isn’t full yet - let’s cook!” Andrienne immediately made plans for us to cook in her home in Napa on February 5.

The morning after the fund raiser, we arrived at KFOG radio station to chat on the morning show and for Roger to play a live version of “Eight Miles High.” A UC Berkeley professor driving to his class on the campus was listening to the radio show. Dr. Amundson had just used a YouTube video of “Turn, Turn, Turn” in one of his lectures. When he heard that Roger was in the Bay area to be a guest at the Macworld convention, he decided to pursue the possibility of Roger coming to his class. Roger’s agent sent us the invitation. Roger loved the opportunity to speak to students in an open forum. The two week schedule was filling in.

The early hour of the KFOG interview was an extra blessing because the streets of San Francisco were beckoning. The weather was beautiful. The DJ told us that sunshine had hidden itself for weeks until that day. Since the sun was shining, and the affect of being on the ocean for 19 days was still swaying our balance, we decided to walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf to buy our Cable Car Passports.

Allioto’s on Fisherman’s Wharf was just opening its doors for lunch when we walked by. Being one of San Francisco’s oldest restaurants with a striking harbor view makes it a dining stop for us every time we visit the city. After a light meal of calamari and salad, we strolled to Beach and Hyde Streets to buy the cable car passports and to hop our main San Francisco form of transportation, the cable car. This was better than Walt Disney World!

The condo kitchen was supplied with everything we needed, except food. Fortunately the condo also had free Wifi. Google maps showed us all the grocery stores close to the cable car lines. We found a natural food store, a cheese shop and a wine store all on Polk Street, just 3 blocks from the cable stop on Hyde and Pacific.

Ted and Jeanmarie, our New York tablemates from the Queen Victoria, made reservations for us to meet at Yank Sing for lunch on Friday, Feb 29. We walked three steps out of the front door, caught the cable car to California St. Then we caught the California Line to Market and jumped off just a block from 101 Spear St. This award winning Dim Sum restaurant is located in the Rincon Center. A big appetite and reservations are recommended. Ted reserved a table close to the kitchen doors so we would have the first opportunity at the continuous delicious bounty.

Jeanmarie mentioned that they enjoyed the Moss Room Restaurant at the California Academy of Sciences. Adrienne Graves had also recommended that we go to the museum, so with cable car passes in hand we took the cable car to the Light Rail Line ”N” to Judah. Got off on Irving St and 9th Ave, and then walked to the museum. (The passes are honored on all the public transportation within the borders of SF)

San Francisco is a city of food and we planned on tasting as much as we could but the condo was so delightful, we began entertaining friends immediately.

Janet and Steve Wozinac knocked on the door that Sunday evening. It was our first meeting with Steve’s bright and charming bride. We were also touched that they would take the time to stop by for a visit. I only wished they could have made it for dinner. I couldn’t wait to cook for folks in our San Francisco kitchen.

We began this San Francisco adventure with only the Macworld convention on our calendar. Our plan was to live each day as it came. Dinner was served in our kitchen 4 different evenings for friends from the Rock Bottom Remainders and those “Cranky Geeks". One of my favorite remarks from our flow of guest was, “With the sound of the cable cars, this is like living in old San Francisco.”

The sounds of cable cars from morning until midnight never kept us awake or bothered us. In fact it was the morning cable car that acted as our alarm clock on the mornings we needed to get up at 6:30am.

Everyday Roger and I would shop for food and everyday as we got off the cable car with our groceries, we would look at each other with the same big smile that said, “This is great!”

If the time in SF had been longer, the joy of shopping and cooking might have waned a bit and we would have explored more restaurants. We did experience three other restaurants, besides the two already mentioned, that we have put on our permanent list of restaurants to enjoy:
Zarzuela, a Tapas restaurant and Okoze Sushi. Both of these restaurants are at the Union and Hyde St cable car stop. The third restaurant we found while exploring the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building: The Slanted Door, Vietnamese cuisine.

Laurie Hutton, the wife of Three Dog Night member Danny Hutton, and I have been emailing for years. When we realized that our schedules were going to coincide in the Bay area, we arranged to get together. On February 8th, Roger and I caught the ferry to Sausalito and the Hutton’s were waiting for us on the dock. The conversation over lunch included memory lane and plans to make more memories working together in the future. After lunch we caught the 3:00pm ferry back to the city and the cable car to our home on the bay.

Finally, the day came for trip's purpose, the Macworld convention. Of course we went to the convention center on the cable car with Roger carrying his guitar. It was great to see Leo Laporte again. Heather Gold, Warp 11, and Adam Savage were the other show guests. One of my favorite pictures is the one I took of them on stage - eyes glued to their iPhones.

At 8:00am on Feb 13, David and Lou, friends met while playing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, loaded our bags and guitar into their car and drove us to the Amtrak station in Emeryville. The route home to Orlando was through Chicago and Washington, DC. We had a six hour layover in DC, but the train was slowed by the snow, so I only had two hours to shop in the Washington train station. It is one of my favorite United States train terminals.

I was concerned that cabin fever would set in on the 5 day train trip, but both of us were relaxed and busy the entire time. Our Verizon 3G MiFi kept us connected so I could continue working, but there was so much natural beauty passing by the train windows that my concentration was seldom focused on my computer screen - my mind seemed to be in a perpetual dream state.

Roger always has some gadgets with him to keep him busy, but our favorite moments were those when he practiced his guitar and sang songs to me. We were going to be home for a few days, then a trip to Pittsfield, Massachusetts for a concert. After that we would celebrate 32 years of married adventure together on April 1st. Our anniversary date always makes me laugh.

It’s A Wonderful Life.

Oh, by the way. If you think this sounds like a travel guide, the result was intentional. Three of our friends were so enthralled with our adventures on the streets of San Francisco, that they have rented the larger condo in the building for a week in May. They wanted to know just how we did it!

The independent car company sent by Carmen of the Glaucoma Research Foundation is named Compass Limo, 800-699-0746. We highly recommend it when your not jumping on a cable car, especially for airport trips.