Upcoming Summer and Fall Concerts

We’ve got a crowded calendar of upcoming live shows all at great venues:

Willie Nelson with Kacey Musgraves, August 19 at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.
We were watching an interview of Willie on CBS Sunday Morning and I said, I really want to see him before he dies. He’s the last of the real country singers I remember listening to growing up. Lo and behold he was coming.  So we grabbed our tickets. Also, I’ve been wanting to go to the Greek ever since I missed seeing the Ramones there in ’92.

Dwight Yoakam with Los Lobos August 24 at the Wente Winery in Livermore.
We have seen Los Lobos so many times, I’ve lost count. I’m bragging not complaining. I love those guys. The concerts at Wente are a lot like Ravinia in Chicago – outdoors and classy.

John Mulaney October 5 at Symphony Hall, San Francisco.
One of the few standup comedians my wife doesn’t hate. John Mulaney is hilarious, plus this is going to be a gorgeous setting. We’re taking our daughter who loves John too. I’ve wanted to see the inside of Davies Symphony Hall, but not necessarily a symphony – don’t tell anyone.

Father John Misty with Phosphorescent October 7 at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.
This will be our second time seeing him. The first was in 2015 at the Wiltern in LA. By far one of the best shows I’ve seen in years (next to Mayer Hawthorne at the Fox). I love how people think he’s a prick and a pompous ass. It just shows that people don’t get satire. Kind of reminds me of Urge Overkill in that regard.

Sea Otter 2017 Summary

This post is long overdue. We made our annual trek to the Sea Otter Classic at the Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey, CA. It was our 4th year in a row, 3rd camping.

Ready to roll.

My son’s buddy flew in and we picked him up at the airport on the way down. After we got him, we stopped for lunch and parked, a dude was yelling something about bikes. We gave him the Shaka , like that’s ride dude, we’re going somewhere cool. Then we saw him pointing, to the ground and figured out he was saying, “your bike rack broke off.’

We looked the back of the Westy and sure enough, the bike and the bike rack were gone. The fell off when we went over a speed bump in the parking lot. The guy had picked up the whole rack with three bikes and dragged into the grass. Miraculously, the bikes and the rack were fine. It was a new Thule swing-out. I had not locked the vibration knob and it loosed up over the 30 mile drive. Luckily it fell off in a parking lot and not on 101.

We camped in the usual area, I think we might have even gotten the same two spots as last year. Dustin and the folks from Humboldt State were on the corner as always. The guy to our north had driven all the way from Minnesota in a sweet 4×4 custom van complete with air compressor on the front.

Contrails in the morning.
Twinning is winning!

The two years prior, my buddies from Chicago had come, but didn’t make it this year. So it was just me, Jordan, my son and his buddy. I missed having the guys, but it forced me to meet some new people including some great guys from Livermore (Chris and Tyler), and a Scottish guy (Chris) from Monterey with a Westy just like mine.

Thursday we drove down and mostly tooled around the expo. It was a pretty low key night. Fox had a dialed out RV up the hill and were showing movies outside.

The next day I met the guys from Livermore. One of the used to have a bike shop, but now reps KTM bikes. He loaned me one and I went to the expo with them. We got back to the campsite in the afternoon and Jordan arrived.

Bike-powered smoothies.
Mork the dork.
My temporary Tasco Tat.
The official Sea Otter chillin’

Saturday morning, we were going to go for a long ride. But Chris stopped by after his race and had an iced coffee with us, which led to beers, which led to the expo, and led to no ride.

Saturday night is the big night around campground E. The Humboldt State guys have their jumping contest and nobody has a race int he morning. We had a taco bar at our place and invited a bunch of neighbors to chow down. After dark, it was time for Bugsy to take his longboard down the 6-story Corkscrew curve around 40mph. But not until he’s had a few puffs and gulps of courage.

Me and Bugsy.
Jumping competition.
Jordan waiting for the Jiffy Pop to burn
The Corkscrew
Bamboo Bike with flask. Perfect for the environment.

Dance party at the Humboldt State campsite.

Nailed It!

It was a very good year, and looking forward to next. I’m hoping that we can coordinate to get 3-4 sites with the folks I met and make it an even bigger shindig.

Kissing cousins.
Breakfast of champions.
Driving home.
Two new stickers for the window.

Back in the Shop

I thought the Westy needed new brakes. On our first camping trip of the year, we went to Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. On the way home coming down Route 9 the front brakes started smoking. I was riding them pretty hard and we had a full load.

Big Basin tent cabins
Hiding in the thicket.

She had a few nits like the flickering temperature light, a broken steering column cover, and short in the relay. While I had her at the Buslab, I bit the bullet and asked them to see if they could find anything else. The transmission needed service, the brushing were worn out, and the radiator needed to be replaced. Ironically, the one thing they didn’t need to do was replace the brakes just the brake hoses. The good new, it came in under the original estimate.

Buslab rescue buss

As I drove her to work from the shop, everything was humming along. The creaking was gone, the brakes had grip, and she was moving down the highway like a car and not a pushcart. About five miles from Berkeley, the oxygen sensor light came on. Shit! Shit! Shit! I got all the other lights off and now another one. At least it’s a fix I can do myself.

I don’t want to jinx it, but she’s in the best shape ever since we bought her 3 years ago.

### The Latest Upgrade

The latest addition was a roof rack for our kayaks. I put on extra-wide, 72″ Yakima bars and towers. Drilling into the fiberglass top was the second-most nerve-wracking job. Drilling into the metal to install the awning was the first. Now, she’s looking good, doncha think?

Some new stickers, and some old ones had to go.
Ready for the great flood.
A little top heavy
Kayak and Paddleboard