Monday, January 29, 2007


I wasn't home but a few days from my Northwest adventures until it was time to get back on the road. The plan was to drive twice a week, staying two nights in Berea for my music fellowship. A brilliant plan really, because it gave me four days in the music archives while allowing me five nights at home with the critters. There was one major oversight: It is now Winter. While it's been rather mild up until now, I believe that my travel plans gave Old Jack Frost the inspiration he needed to visit Kentucky.

But what, you may ask, does this have to do with Chicago?! Well... the weather set into snowing Wednesday night, discouraging me from driving to Berea on Thursday and inspiring me to instead drive to Morehead on Thursday night with co-adventurer Julie to catch a 6 AM caravan to Chicago. Boy, oh boy am I ever grateful for that cold snap, because did I ever have such a time as I did in the windy city! There's nothing better to cure the winter blues than a spontaneous roadtrip to an unfamiliar city to spend an entire weekend in the company of friends listening to music, eating city food, visiting, making new friends and keeping warm with driving jam sessions and refreshing beverages. I feel revived!

The characters in this story are really what make it a story I'll always remember. Almost all my favorite Kentucky friend plus many of my favorite old time pals: the fabulous Foghorns, Dirk Powell, Travis Stuart, Riley Baugus, Martha Scanlan, Ellie Grace. The circumstances were that I was feeling a bit depressed, lonely and bored after returning home from the recent Northwest adventures. I had been muddling for awhile on the idea that I might catch a ride up to Chicago with said Kentucky friends-the Clack Mountain Stringband- who had a gig to play with Portland/Foghorn friends and the Dirk Powell Band (the crazy bunch that played the Masquerade Ball here in October) at the Old Town School of Folk. In my exhaustion post-Northwest adventures, I had pretty much written off the earlier thoughts of caravaning with the Clack Mountain crew for a raucous weekend in the big city. But something clicked, Brett Ratliff in all his wisdom asked "What better reason could you have to go to Chicago?" and the rest is history. I'll write more details about the weekend once I get caught up on sleep. I will tell you that I learned an important lesson from this weekend. Don't talk yourself out of doing something fun and adventurous with friends because you "just feel like hanging out at home."