My first exposure to Bluegrass in the desert is the Agri-Country Buegrass festival in Casa Grande, Arizona. Although tiny, this weekend festival includes a car show and an interesting offering of food choices. I spend only one day enjoying the performances so I can save up my energy for the musical festivities in Blythe, California the following weekend.
My birthday treat to myself is a 300 plus mile Jeep trip to Blythe where I join friends from Benson for a couple days of bluegrass immersion therapy. Before I leave for Blythe, I receive a surprise birthday gift from my sister, Sheila. When I open it, the people in the entire row of RV’s with me come running over to see if anyone has been hurt. Check out the video below.
A Surprise for Sunny
My trip to Blythe is lots of fun if you can overlook the terrifying motel where I spend my nights. Next time I will definitely take the RV. I can actually see a light halo surrounding the exterior door between it and the frame at night. When the people upstairs walk across the floor, my entire first floor room shakes and trembles. I know I am in earthquake territory, but this is pretty scary considering my room is on a concrete slab.
I learn many things about my banjo by watching other players and attending workshops in Blythe. One afternoon, a banjo player from one of the bands performing at the festival offers to spend some time showing me tips to help me improve.
He joins me at my friends’ campsite and twists my arms and hands into the perfect playing positions. If only I can duplicate the pretzel like configuration of my body parts he demonstrates to me. Perhaps then I can make my banjo sound as bright and crisp as it sounds when someone who knows what they are doing plays it.
Once I release my limbs from his recommended playing position, I am not flexible enough to immediately replicate the proper banjo playing pose. I am just relieved that no one at the festival is hurt when my arms spring free after my “lesson.” For now I am in banjo rehab trying to undo 2 years of bad habits, assume the correct playing position painlessly and relocate a couple of finger calluses.
Like most RVers at this time of year I am finalizing my plans for the summer. With a little help from my friends (thanks Mike and Sue) I secure a volunteer spot just east of Portland, Oregon. I will be there from June through August. If you are planning to be up that way this summer, please let me know so we can try and get together.
If you have ideas or suggestions for trip routing, things to see, or places to stay along my journey from Southern Arizona to Portland, please share with me. I can sure use advice especially if there are roads that I should avoid.