HARD TRAVELIN’

Wednesday, May 23rd, Burbank, early afternoon, second leg of our self-guided Aging American Songwriters Tour.

We knew the plane was delayed before we left the house.  I reminded myself to put a little extra patience in my expectations.  Then I found a generous shot of a good anejo.  We ate lunch.  Pam spent time with her iPad.  I started a Bukowski novel.  The plane arrived and flew us to Sacramento.  We thanked the Southwest pilot and went outside to meet our Uber driver.

”Air travel is the number one source of climate damage,” I said, repeating something I read in the Times.

“Second most?” asked Pam.

“Food production, agriculture.”

“Third most?”

“Don’t know, probably Scott Pruitt.”

“Can’t do anything about that, but I will stop flying if you will stop eating.”

“I want to get that book Paul Simon talked about last night.  Half-Earth.”

The drive from the airport to Folsom took an hour.  Our Uber driver was good at making conversation.  She was a stay-at-home mother with a two-year old daughter. I wanted to give her a big tip, but then I also wanted to tip the pilot for getting us safely back on the ground.  Pam explained that tipping was unnecessary inasmuch that landing safely was an integral part of the job description.

Pam said no to the extra big tip.  She travels a lot and knows what is expected.

We checked into the Marriott.  It seemed pretty deserted.  We were in the room long enough to change our clothes.

Outside there was a slight breeze, a blue sky with a few white whispy clouds and a pleasantly warm late afternoon sun.

In order to get an idea of where we were, we walked to the back of the Marriott’s big empty parking lot which it shared with a Marriott Residence Inn.  Up the hill to our left was a Costco.  Down below was a Starbucks and the 50 freeway, taking folks to Lake Tahoe.  There was a Whole Foods and many restaurants down the hill along E. Bidwell Street.

“Why do you think there are so many rooms and restaurants?”

“Stop-over on the way to Tahoe?”

“I think it’s the prison, Folsom, for visitors.”

“Can’t think of that prison without thinking of Johnny Cash.”

“Remember when you played him loud for a few weeks in the morning as the kids got ready for school…instead of the usual classical music?”

“Yeah, after he died.  Didn’t seem to do any permanent damage to the kids.”

Feeling rested and ready we walked on down the hill to E Bidwell Street.  The concert at Folsom Lake College was less than two miles from our hotel.  We got dinner on the way.

The college was on a hill about half a mile from Bidwell.  Dinner took longer than we planned so we were cutting it close.  Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, the opening act, was scheduled for 8:00.  By the time we walking up the hill we had only about ten minutes.  Two cars passed us; we were the only walkers.

“We can get a ride if you want,” I said.

She thought I was joking about a very short Uber ride.  She did not answer me.  I turned slightly towards the road.  The first car stopped, asked if we wanted a ride. After nearly thirty years of marriage you learn  to miscommunicate.

We got in that car.  Two guys that looked like brothers asked if we had ever seen John Prine.

“Talked to him once, but never seen him perform,” I said.

”Oh, you’re in for something special,” they said.

The car pulled into a slot and parked.  We got out; the brothers stayed in the car.

As we neared the entrance a lady was yelling about parking permits.  “Do you have  a parking permit?” I yelled back, “We walked!”

Walking up was a cowboy-type that reminded me of Sam Elliott from The Big Lebowski, the ironic smirk with an overgrown yet wise old mustache.  When I said, “we walked” he said, “All the way from L.A.”. I said, “How did you know?”  He said, “Just a guess!”  True story.

He also looked a lot like Bobby Weir of the Grateful Dead.

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