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Showing posts from April, 2010

The Facebook Privacy Fear

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Every few weeks Facebook makes changesThey have to as a path of discovery that works best with the users while helping them cope with the vast increase of subscribers along with a need to sustain cashflow so that we continue to have a free Facebook service.When ever Facebook makes a change there is always ….– a panic about learning how to use the new changes, which usually takes less time than writing up and posting messages complaining about the new learning– a few soapbox cult leader types who set off viral fear generating, god fearing, messages about how our privacy being sold out followed by us been hounded by herds of corporate men in black and the world suddenly finding out that we really do like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.– re-released X File “Lone Gunman” type stories of conspiracy from Facebook, CIA, KGB, NSA, CTU and extra terrestrials all being shared bed fellows, from those who watch too much television, order in too much pizza, never get out and forget what the su…

2010 USA Tour : April 13th, Chicago Day

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MorningI had plans to get into exploring early, but Claire was desperate for a sleep in and I had a lot of online work to do.Then a radio station called to ask for an interview with us at 3:30 pm.The sun outside was getting warmer and warmer, and I was getting cabin fever, and wanted out around town. Claire was keen to honour the radio interview and have a bit more resting before. So I sorted out the cameras, on with the hat and off I went …Exploring I GoFirst, I headed for the beach near where we are staying. Chicago has beautiful beaches beside the very blue Lake Michigan. I was surprised to find the beach empty as well as mainly clean from litter and abuse. A bigger surprise was how people dressed on what I thought was a very warm day. It was almost 70 degrees F and I was in t-shirt and light pants but everyone seemed to be wrapped up in overcoats, scarves, hats and gloves. I suppose that’s why the beach was empty. After quiet time on the beautiful beach I cut across from the beac…

2010 USA Tour : April 12th, to Chicago

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time to let goEarly morning departure, a lot to do this morning. This is the day to hand back both the harp and the RV.Sunny, but a little sad morning with the realization this tour is coming to an end. About 50 miles before Chicago we stopped off at a truck stop to send the RV into a thorough wash while we had a diner breakfast.We believed the harp was to be dropped at Joliet but found there was new instructions to drop it off in Chicago north. That was an interesting experience, unloading in a narrow Chicago street but that happened without a hitch. We were lucky to pull in where a large truck was pulling out.Next stop was Crystal Lake to pick up a rented car for the remaining days here. No problems there.Now off to nearby Island Lakes to drop off the RV. Ouch! The extra charges accumulated from the rental took all of the cash we had left from the tour and left us with nothing for our Chicago stay. We considered taking the car rental back, but that was such a good online deal and we…

2010 USA Tour : April 11th, Urbana IL

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to Champaign and UrbanaBoth Claire and I over slept and Claire did not feel very well, due to an upset stomach, so we did not get to explore Wookey Hollow and Starved Rock, despite being a lovely sunny warm morning. On the way to Utica we stopped off for fast food. I chose Taco Bell and Claire chose a Chinese take away. Interestingly this reversed common comments about Taco Bell :-)Around noon we set off back along the flat corn fields landscape of Illinois towards Champaign, and dropped off at our camp site for the night just outside of Champaign, almost in a wide cornfield. There we could shower, change and prepare for our last concert of this year’s USA tour.We turned up at Jan and John’s Heartland Gallery in good advance time with excellent close by parking. It was great to see both of them again. I was stunned by how the Heartland Gallery has developed further with much more inventory and truly looking like a Celtic gallery, not contrived, but a true presentation of Irish and Sco…

2010 USA Tour : April 10th, Dead Sea Scrolls

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to Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition, MilwaukeeThis became a very moving day for us.This was one of our few “being a tourist” days.The destination was Milwaukee to view the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibition. Thinking that we were entering into a large busy city with no sympathy for parking an RV, I suggested to Claire we parked away from the city and caught a bus in. The State Fair Grounds was the perfect place, free car parking to include RVs and a Park and Ride bus service.Alas, after 45 minutes no bus arrived and it was getting close to deadline for our entry ticket time. Claire phoned the museum and they advised us of a wonderful nearby City Car Park that could take RVs. When we got there with our trusty sat-nav gps, we were delighted to see the car park easy to enter and lots of room. The car before us entered, but the barrier would not lift for us! There was a sign lit up “car park closed”. Why?Not too far away we found a space taking up two parking meters, and the notice saying Saturdays …

2010 USA Tour : April 9th, Sauk City WI

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and we stayed on in Circle Sanctuary for awhileWaking to the warm morning sun in Circle Sanctuary was quite exhilarating. Selena had given us maps of the property, Claire was sleeping in, so I went to explore the many shrines and ceremony sites around this huge wooded and natural reserve. I returned to the beautiful stone circle and onto the beautiful dog shrine where there were three large brown deer, but they were gone the moment I touched my camera. I could not stalk them as they were very close to me when I spotted them.I then took myself down the “secret” pathway from the stone circle to pass many more hidden shrine for different rituals in very hidden places. Quite an adventure.When Claire arose, she decided to take the same walk for herself which i continued some more blog writing.About noon, Selena invited us to her house for lunch, another warming experience, again seeing many more birds of different colours from her living room window.After lunch we shared a sacred visit to …

2010 USA Tour : April 8th, Circle Sanctuary WI

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AnticipationEver since Selena Fox, founder of Circle Sanctuary with husband Dennis, invited us to perform at Circle Sanctuary I have been excited. Claire was starting to get weary of this tour, but I somehow knew this day would be a huge re-charge for her.Little did I know this was going to be one of the best days of our lives !!! … finding Circle SanctuaryGetting to Circle Sanctuary first needed a complete crossing of Iowa state, continuing along the Lewis and Clarke tail road of Route 20 between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Once upon a time this would have been total prairie country but now totally farmed for corn, soya, and maybe some wheat. The day was sunny and warm but this is a tiring landscape to drive in. The horizon is a constant vision of the road you are driving, many miles ahead. This is almost total big sky and yellow stalk country with very few towns and the towns are very, very small, but also neat and well kept.Waterloo, one of the major towns of Iowa, giving…

2010 USA Tour : April 7th, South Sioux City NE

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back on the freeway and highwaysFrom Paxton it is a continuation of the flat plained, flat field scenery, with freeway straight ahead of us and over the horizon. This can be very difficult driving due to the minimal distractions. Our main distraction was the ice on the road, though once past the town of North Platte all signs of ice and snow were fully gone and the day was warming fast. Our new challenge was the strongest winds yet on this tour, 25 to 30 mph and gusting up to 40 mph. We were delighted to be off the freeway, past Grand Island and be on Highway 30 then 81 taking us through Nebraska farmland and the small towns that support this world. Route 81 was a special relief as it travels north against the strong winds of this day and made driving a bit easier than the side winds on the freeway.We stopped off for lunch in the sun in a pleasant park outside Norfolk NE, but then it was soon battling the side winds again on Route 20 into South Sioux City. Route 20? We were back on t…

2010 USA Tour : April 6th, Paxton NE

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leaving the RockiesIt was interesting to re-discover that only about half of Colorado is of mountains and the rockies while the other half is wild flat plains, prairies and farms., After an early morning walk in the Crystal Lake Park where we were camping during a dry mild morning, it was time to head east to Paxton NEto PaxtonIts hard to say much about this journey. It was a journey of predictable interstate freeway road and a flat scenery of plains, grazing, some crop fields, barns, a few windmills. The weather was kind so no snow, ice or serious side winds.A few hours later, we arrived at Paxton. It had become cloudy and much cooler. We drove into Ole’s hospitality empire, and extremely useful and general well kept collection of gas and diesel pumps, well stocked large store with emergency car and truck parts, hardware, food items and meals, a Days Inn motel, extremely well kept, car and truck washing, and an RV campsite.As we drove into Ole’s it started to rain, cold rain. We look…

2010 USA Tour : April 5th, Denver CO

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leaving Craig COIt was a cold cloudy morning, but with none of the expected winter weather. Before we set off met the owners of the site who were very friendly and also had a wonderful general store there. However, keeping to their high pricing where all camp sites so far offer free morning coffee, there’s was a dollar a cup. Then we needed to fill up with LPG gas and their price for that was 30% more than we had paid before. On their side, they seem to have very little RV trade so I can understand their high pricing is to ensure they can afford to stay in business. However, I wonder if their pricing is scaring campers away. Only they could really know that.It was good to be on the road, back on the wild Route 40 along the side of the Williams Fork mountains and through some more small stage coach stop style tiny towns. Shortly the sky was blue, sun out and the day warm.Steamboat Springs and beyond First thing we discovered, as we entered Steamboat Springs, was the RV campsite I had b…

2010 USA Tour : April 4th, Craig CO

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Along the beautiful Route 40When we awoke around 9:00 am we were surrounded by deep blizzard snow. As we had no performance on this coming evening, its was back to hibernation for awhile. When we eventually rose around 11:00 am it was warm to hot sun and snow almost melted, so it was an appropriate time to commence our travels. Today, our entire journey was along the route 40 that we would stick to all the way to outside Denver the following day.I had driven Route 40 many years ago and it is still one of the last remaining highways of the USA that is still truly an “Easy Rider” type wild west adventure as it meanders over wild grass prairies, around winding passes of unique wild worn red and yellow rock mountains, just like in the westerns movies. We also drove through small town with wide streets, tumbleweed rolling, wood built porch path buildings that have barely changed for 150 years and even a Wells Fargo bank in every small town still in buildings where you would expect the stag…

2010 USA Tour : April 3rd, Salt Lake City

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from snow blizzards to almost tropicsWoke up to freezing cold, icicles, icy road, snow, rolled over, went back to sleep again.Eventually got on the road just before noon and conditions got worse heading south. More snow, more blizzarding and stronger winds as we drove south towards Pocatello, then at extreme worst as we climbed into the mountain pass south of this city.Then, on the other side of the pass, blue sky, beaming sun and a lot, lot more warmth !!!The drive south towards Salt Lake City suddenly became a joy with the warm sun bringing out the colours of the wild plains shadowed by the high snow capped mountains.By 3:00 pm we were truly ready for lunch so I suggested we visited the Bear River bird sanctuary on the north east of the huge Great Salt Lake, well north of Salt Lake City. We had lunch at the visitor’s centre car park, with great views, but Claire was sceptical of the 12 miles of dirt track road to the sanctuary and then another 12 miles going around the sanctuary.At …

2010 USA Tour : April 2nd, South Yellowstone WY

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will we won’t we?Claire was set for a Good Friday in bed, but as the heavy snow was fast melting due to a gorgeous warm sunny morning I was up early and ready for action.About 2:00 pm Claire was up and fancied a drive out too, so we were on the road heading towards Wyoming.how far?We reached a rest area at a place called Helse, I think, which was the start of being into the wooded mountains and by the Snake River that would lead us towards Yellowstone. The sun was out, it was warm, though snow underfoot had drifted to a couple of feet, so we decided to go as far as Swan Valley and decide from there.Swan Valley, a real cowboy like “change the horses” kind of place gave a choice of two directions. One said scenic route, also with flashing lights saying it was not passable. I suggested to Claire we take that one, and despite her face going white with a bit of fear of the idea, that was the way we went. The road climbed and climbed through the mountain valley getting more beautiful as we …

2010 USA Tour : April 1st, Pocatello ID

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detour to the moonWhen we set off from Boise, it was misty and threatening with snow falls, but I just did not want our Idaho experience to be just its I84 and I86 freeways. I had already found the previous day’s drive of total interstate very tedious. Claire loves interstate driving due to the ease and speed of getting to places. As she was tired today the interstate with no detours was very attractive.I looked over to the mountains and wishing to set a course for them, but also worried that such a course would land us in snow storm and trouble getting to the gig.As we passed a town called Mountain Home this was a junction with Route 20 that would have taken us to the mountains, but it still looked threatening over there. We kept going along the freeway to Gooding, and suddenly the sky was blue and the ice capped mountains looked stunningly beautiful. Claire was driving and I hastily asked, “please Claire lets take Route 26 to the mountains”.At first, I do not think she was happy wit…

2010 USA Tour : March 31st, Boise ID

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From Hot Lake into the Idaho prairiesBefore leaving Eagle’s Hot Lake we had to investigate the nearby steaming hot lake.It is beside an old hotel currently being restored. The lake seems to be heated by sulphur, as sulphur smells are strong, and the water is of the temperature of a hot bath. Before getting to the lake, you have to pass through its aggressive guarding geese who aim straight for nipping the toes. Have food ready for them and they are quickly your friends …. then pests.As we set off from Eagles Hot Lake it was very cold, misty and barely any view of the mountains. However, 20 miles along the road and we entered into warm sun and scenic clarity. I had expected a mountain drive to Boise, but along the I84 it was a continual prairie journey, largely straight freeway always heading deep into the horizon. I find that type of road very difficult to drive. I can get bored and sleepy very quickly. Claire handles that far, far better than myself, as she finds winding and mountain…

2010 USA Tour : March 30th, La Grande OR

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first day into the RockiesNo gig tonight so the intent of the day is to cover a good distance between Yamhill and Boise ID, where our next event will be. Our destination is La Grande. in fact it’s a place called Eagles Hot Lake a couple of miles, or so, beyond La Grande town.This is really an almost whole day motoring along the N84 so I think this is going to be a short blog.Before we set off on the I84 we just had to try out one of the “coffee shacks” that seems to be a tradition of Oregon. These are often garden sheds re-designed to look a bit fairy story bookish. Inside each of these is a state of the art coffee making espresso machine accompanied by a menu of at least 50 type of coffees they can prepare !!! Claire settled for a 2 shot Americano and I had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Latte. Use your imagination with my one, which was surprisingly not too sweet or salty. Believe me, coffee, chocolate and peanut butter go together very well in a drink :-) The N84 is a modern freeway repla…

2010 USA Tour : March 29th, Yamhill OR

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storm or no stormAfter a night of heavy rain and strong winds the morning was still, it had stopped raining and the sun was trying to peak through. I went for a walk by the river in the state park of the campsite. The river was flowing fast, red from the stirred mud and many fallen redwood logs floating along. Some of them had birds sitting on them floating along for the ride.Before leaving we had to visit Bullard’s Beach itself which had quite a haunting beauty in this rough weather. There was a quaint 19th century lighthouse on the headland and a lovely beach that was littered with trunks and branches of redwoods carried ashore in storms. This would be a wood carver’s paradise here, all this free quality lumber for the taking.So, we set off up the 101 coast road north. Unlike the previous day the road was a little urban with frequent small towns with the trimmings of modern franchise eateries along with motels and RV campsites competing for business. Eventually, past Florence, the r…

2010 USA Tour : March 28th, Bandon OR

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travelling along rugged coast A long travelling day with no performance at the end, so this was a day for us to be tourists, even if we were rushed tourists. It was refreshing to waken to a warm sunny morning in the redwoods of Olema. As we approached the shore the distant clouds told us a different weather story was on the way, so we departed on our journey early to get the best of this.Our journey today started on the winding coast and cliff hugging Route 1. This is a continuation of the wonderful and famous Pacific Highway Route One from Pismo Beach to San Francisco through Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey. North of San Francisco Route 1 is much more rugged and twisting and was a sheer delight to experience and explore as best we could in little time. This road skimmed beautiful isolated full of nature floral beaches, and rose up cliffs to wind its road through the edges, and sometimes the road cut through cliff tunnels. Sometimes the road would pass through a small beautiful fishing v…