Yesterday ended the first run of a year of what looks like about 4-5 shows a week. This is our first (nearly) month long tour since 2020, and it feels like it. The basic things, such as getting water or bathing, are more tedious and less achievable than at home. Even on run outs we typically drive home afterwards and reap the rewards of our own bed. Here on the road we scavenge for housing and crawl our way through the states. The luxury of a new van is fantastic, and there aren’t any better fruit in the world to be spending time with. Day one we traveled down the I5 corridor to our friends in the deep hills of Fort Jones. There, nestled in between back fill and golden stone, lies the regionally infamous camp of Smile Movements Presents LLC. That team books, cooks, and works for the greater Western half of the US, but more intensely the Southern Oregon/ Northern California (State Of Jefferson folks) area. They spread smiles for miles, baby- dig it. They made us a delicious meal and let us stay over. In the morning we built a bed frame into the van that doubles as a road-rib to ensure no gear goes flying incase of a roll-over. Night two we played at The Dip, met an incredible bar tender, made friends with the sound engineer from Portland, and stayed at a groovy pad with a bunch of dudes who favor psychedelics. Their beautifully landscaped home in Redding was filled with instruments, obscure paintings ranging from modern to abstract, and a dog whose leg was broken. He would get up in the night and howl in pain when he was trying to change positions, and in the early hours his howling was accompanied by the shuffling of workers moving through the house getting in their last morning beer before working on yards all day. We left Redding in the morning of day 3 and drove towards Yosemite. We passed the nerve system of highways decorating the top of the Central valley and found ourselves in an active old-west town called Columbia, which had a big sign blocking the road saying, “Only horse-drawn vehicles beyond this point”. We played our show, ate delicious food that they prepared, and drove to Coyote where we met a new friend and reaped the benefits of all the amenities a Grange Hall could offer. There was a Quinceanera set up in the main hall, so we stowed our gear and selves behind the big velvet curtain that insolated the backstage. In the early afternoon of day 5 we woke up to the sounds of last-minute Quinceanera preparations, and boogeyed on out. With gear stacked we grabbed an oil change, did a quick work out, and made our way to San Luis Obispo. Our housing fell through last minute, so we stayed with an old friend of the family. *Quick side note on the Juicy family. See, typically we think of Strawberries as being down-home, country folk. Field working, warm-nights living, drinking strong grain-alcohol that burns a brand of adulthood in your stomach as it swishes in your gut, type of folk. And while that may be true, and Juicy has built and re-built more fences for livestock than he can count, and played amateur arborist to the only trees in Clark Co. that seem to move more than the neighbors do (transplanting trees was a gig in the Juicy home), the other part of Juicy’s family is something a bit more road-traveled than that. More Kerouac and Kesey than the other thing. Some strawberries are free-flowing trip-taking pseudo-spirits that float with the wind- their external seeds each being hearts on their shoulders. In that world lies the mycelial network of groovy psyco-nauts is where we found a beautiful place to stay in Oceano (20mins or so south of SLO). We arrived to the house, met the host, and dug the scene. On every conceivable space there was art. The walls were hand-painted with bright colors of Purple, Blue, and pink. The bathtub was painted Teal. On the floors lay great stacks of paintings and photographs in sturdy frames waiting to be hung and placed in the most perfect positions. The smell from the freshly-sanded cedar floors was like palo alto, so white-wood sweet that our road worn clothes benefited from it.
That night we played Frog & Peach. It’s grounded in the San Luis Obispo strip, which every Thursday through Saturday is filled with college students and tourists, all sweaty and hammered and looking for a good time. The people of San Luis Obispo are beyond gorgeous. The type of gorgeous where you have to remember to reel your jaw back in and keep setting up your keyboard. We played a show. 2 sets in 3 hours, and the people responded in kind. We met new friends, fans, and I enjoyed an incredible Shirley Temple. After the show we left SLO and slept in Cedar. We arrived back late, and in the morning we woke up early to make Berkeley by 2:30pm. This was Superbowl Sunday and we had a So-Far show which started at 3:30 I think. I don’t remember. We met wonderful people, Sweet snuck off to watch the game a bit, and then we boogeyed on back to the Grange. We stayed the night with the critters that scurried in the night, woke up with the cold fog at 8am, went back to sleep, and then on day 6 we road up hwy 101 to hwy 1 to Bolinas, a cute coastal town which made world-wide headlines during the early pandemic for denying visitors. We ate excellent food, entertained excellent people, and wished the handsome and bright staff a Happy Valentine’s Day. Yesterday we drove 8 hours from the little grange in Coyote, CA to the hills of Julian, CA. It was snowing when we got here. Maybe an inch fell in the night, making the roads slick for our arrival. This morning we woke up to 60degree sunshine and a day off, and now our dear friend is making brunch and being his usual amazing self. I have plenty of work to do. It’s beautiful here.