A drive down the coast

 I'm writing today from San Luis Obispo, where my dear friend Lynn and her husband currently live. 

Yesterday I went from another dear friend's house in Berkeley to Monterey, where I fulfilled a lifetime "bucket list" goal, of going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I wasn't going to go, but then I was standing there and I realized that I was within walking distance of a place I've wanted to see my entire life and I would really regret not going. So I went, and I became a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, so I will definitely be going again ASAP, because that's what a membership does for you.

Me, very happy to be fulfilling a longtime wish

Happy to be at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

This is one of the best designed aquariums I've ever been to in my life. It was incredible.

A school of sardines swimming in a circular tank
A huge school of fish swimming freely in a giant tank, with a hammerhead shark nearby (!!)
A crazy comb jellyfish that has rainbow prisms on it

After I left Monterey, I headed down the 1. 
For those of you who haven't done this drive, it is a spiritual experience, and one that I highly recommend. I haven't done this drive in several years, and it was truly wonderful to do it alone.

Thanks to the Italian tourists who took this picture
Let's do this, baby!
The famous Bixby Bridge
On the way to San Luis Obispo

On my way to San Luis Obispo, I stopped to see the wild elephant seals just north of the city. it's a very special thing to be able to see them, because they are only here in the winter. The mama seals were nursing their pups, who are not very old in these pictures. 

Baby seals getting nice and fat!
Male elephant seal is the large one with the big nose. Always making a ruckus
A beautiful sunset on the elephant seals

So there you have it. My drive yesterday.

It's always a spiritual experience to drive down the 1, and yesterday was no exception. 

I'm happy to be spending time on the road interspersed with times of break and times to see the beautiful natural world around me. In future tour routing, I want to be much better about carving out time to SEE things on the way, instead of just rush rush rushing off to show after show after show. It really enhances the touring experience for me. 

Tomorrow night at 7pm, I'll be playing at Linnaea's Cafe in San Luis Obispo. Most likely I'll do two sets, one at 7 and the other around 8. There's no cover at Linnaea's and it's all ages, so I hope to see you there!



Channel Islands

The Channel Islands was interesting, and not totally in the ways that I thought it'd be... but then again, that's always the case, right? 

The ferry to get there was lovely, saw lots of sea lions and while I scanned the horizon for whales or dolphins, I didn't see any on the way out. However on the way back... ! A whole pod of dolphins jumped in front of the boat for the longest time. It was lovely. A dolphin jumped up next to the bow of the boat, maybe 3 feet away from me. So wonderful.

photo by Normandie Wilson view of Santa Cruz/Santa Rosa Islands

photo by Normandie Wilson
view of Santa Cruz/Santa Rosa Islands

I had never been camping before without fires. I incorrectly assumed that the reason there was no fires was because of the risk of invasive species. These are, after all, called the "Galapagos of North America." Wrong. The reason was because of fire danger. I'd never done that before, and things got ... a little weird. Let's just say a lot of the conversation sounded a lot more like a therapy session than normal campground banter. The sun went down, and everyone just went to bed. 

There was a moonlight walk involved to the ocean to see the moonlight playing on the surface of the water. Truly magical.  

photo by Normandie Wilson kelp forest, Santa Cruz Island   

photo by Normandie Wilson
kelp forest, Santa Cruz Island


It was absolutely blissful to be away from my cell phone for just over 24 hours. Cell phones were left in the car. The things that come up in conversation are definitely different when you can't reference Wikipedia or IMDB about which movie so-and-so was in or what the real story behind the economic policy of Colombia. But that's not so important.  

I just noticed a freedom without my phone. I loved it, and I love when I'm able to get away from my phone. I came back to find 3 missed calls, 2 voicemails, and a bunch of other assorted texts, emails, and social media escapades to deal with. The 3 missed calls, 2 voice mails, and texts were from a person who had auditioned to play bass with one of my bands. He was calling to let me know he wasn't interested. Considerate, but also annoying at the same time. Of course there were emails I had to deal with, and a bunch of texts from family members that needed to be addressed immediately. Right after I got my business dealt with, my best friend (as usual) started dropping all kinds of wisdom on me.

"I can see why you always talk about wanting a break from your phone!"
me: "Why's that?"
"Because all it does is seem to bring you bad news!"  

Of course, this isn't entirely true, but it felt true that afternoon. I have to make sure I take periodic breaks from my phone, for my sanity.  

All in all, it was a truly lovely weekend away from a whole lot of drama, both personal and work-wise, that totally consumed me over the majority of last week, and even in the car on the way up. [BLARGH] My show at The Mint is next weekend, and another CD release show is coming up in San Diego. Once this record is DONE, as in DONE DONE DONE, I'm going to feel so much better about everything. 

In the meantime, it was a great exercise in a lot of things... being away from cell phones, the importance of proper packing for camping (or the value in camping with people who have more stuff than you do), connecting with old friends and making new ones, all great, all good. Super lovely time. 

Some updates about the LA portion of the trip probably coming soon... and more blog posts about a lot of news-related items and music-news are coming up soon.  

Once again, welcome to the blog. :)