What was happening here was a yearly event called Bridge Day
Base jumping heaven. Tens of thousands of people attend this event each year. Had we been planning on driving only a half-hour longer on Day 1 we would have encountered a disruptive obstacle. As fate would have it, that was a few days away.
Day 2 finds us climbing 5,506' to the peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I've done my share of treacherous roads from the Black Forest in Germany, the climb to Lake Tahoe in California , an unnamed natures death-trap in British Columbia and parts of the Italian Alps...this one was long, fast and steep, makes your heart race a little. As long as your car holds the road, that's a good thing.
Three-quarters the way up the hill we run into a traffic jam at the only stop light we've seen for miles. The town of Banner Elk is celebrating the Wooly Worm this weekend. Seems to be a popular event. Lesson #2 in coming across the unexpected.
In due time we pull up to our quaint abode, Dorothy's House, in the Land of Oz.
It's got hokey artifacts all around the house.
Memorabilia of the Oz variety.
The basement is dark, with a long ramp leading past eerie wall coverings
Outside the back entrance is the Yellow Brick Road.
Past the remnants of the Wicked Witch.
Leading us through Munchkin Land.
Through the Enchanted Forest.
Past the witches castle.
And on to the gates to OZ.
Where the Big Man runs the machine.
And finally, the balloon ride home, for Oz.
You would think all that and resting atop a mountain with no phone connection made for a rather restful weekend ... but you try walking mountain roads one mile up. It's work. Nice scenery though. Lots of deer, though none stopped to pose...and those that were doing the road-side pose you don't wanna see.
Day 5 has us driving down Beech Mountain in a with the howling wind and blowing sleet. Very slowly down the mountain we go, pulling over at every bulge in the road to allow the more daring to pass us by. I did not have "pull the car out of the ditch" on my itinerary. Once we are out of the mountains the drive to Huntington WV is in a steady downpour. Got a conference call at work in during the trip though.
On September 3,1972 I saw my first rock concert. Alice Cooper at Toronto's Varsity Stadium. It was an outdoor show and the skies favoured us with a lightning backdrop to Alice's eerie shenanigans onstage. Quite the experience. You would have won the bet, if we'd placed one, that I would be seeing him in the US 41 years later. But here we are.
House of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
I'll Bite Your Face Off
Billion Dollar Babies
Department of Youth
Welcome to My Nightmare
Go to Hell
He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
Under the Bed
"Raise the Dead" Introduction
Break On Through (to the Other Side)
(The Doors cover, Jim Morrison)
(The Beatles cover, John Lennon)
(The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover, Jimi Hendrix)
(The Who cover, Keith Moon)
(With "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" by Pink Floyd snippet)
I have no complaints about that set list. Click on the covers for an mp3. (Note: These versions are not from Huntington, just presented in case anyone is interested)
Day 6 finds us heading due east to visit our dylanpool friend, zepat in Harpers Ferry WV. Cece and I have enjoyed many a show with this guy, we even enticed him to cross the borderline into Canada for the only time in his life. That was back in '03. Time does fly. He did me the favour of picking up about 700 78 RPM's from a seller in Maryland. I'm stopping by today to select about a hundred of them to bring home and add to my already too large collection. Did find some prime stuff; Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers...and more.
Little Richard She's Got It
But the real reason we came over here was to see Christopher play live at the Bluesgate Jam, held every Thursday night at Longshot Billiard's in Charles Town WV. Got in early enough for dinner, tunes on the juke box and to watch set up.
Day 7 is a big one. Longest drive since Day 1. We are waking up in West Virginia and will pass through 6 states on our way to the end of Long Island NY. On the road at 5:50 AM and we made great time through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. We arrive at the south side of Long Island well ahead of schedule. I have a 1PM deadline and should be there by Noon. Until we hit Unexpected Diversion #3...the SO Parkway is CLOSED. We are stopped a solid 2 hours with no movement. A quick phone call and we have rescheduled the pick up to 6pm. Check-in and head out to the end of Long Island to view the Montauk Lighthouse.
Long Island is ... well, long. Takes quite awhile to get out to the point. We head into Sag Harbor for a quick bite then I'm finally in the living room on Main St North taking possession of this:
Robert Johnson Kind Hearted Woman's Blues
Robert Johnson Terraplane Blues
Day 8 finds us in another traffic jam, as the Geo Wash Bridge is under construction. A mere 40 minute delay here. Kids stuff. We roll into the Woodstock area from the south to find the commemorative sign on the road leading in to Tinker St.
We meet up with our friend and perennial Woodstock tour guide, JS, at The Bear Cafe. From there we switch into one car to do what we always do on these road trips; see dead people.
The Danko family plot is the final resting place of Eli Damien, Rick's 18 year old son from his first marriage who passed in 1989. Rick was interred in 1999 and his second wife, Elizabeth just this year.
Levon's marker is currently a non-descript plaque
Set against a musical wall backdrop.
One final destination, just checking.
It's still Big. It's still Pink. Ground Zero.
Day 9 and we head straight for the Canadian border crossing at Hill Island into Kingston and on home.