The Stoke Chicken, Scars, and Rainbow Videos

5/20/18 Sunday

I’m sitting in my van, enjoying my morning cup of coffee and watching cars & trucks stacked high and wide with mountain bikes slowly queue past me.  I’m at California High School Mountain bike Championships in the East Petaluma Hills, which takes place on a sprawling 250-acre ranch owned by a generous family who’ve donated the ranch to the event so kids from all over the state can come and race.  I don’t know if this is actually true or just my admittedly limited observation, but the racers and their families seem to be overwhelmingly Caucasian and appear to rest pretty comfortably in the upper registers of the income scale.  I imagine bicycle racing in general is something that the moneyed class is more apt to participate in, considering quality mountain bikes (and road bikes for that matter) cost upwards of $2k or more, not to mention the other gear and vehicles to tote them around. Perhaps there are other parts of the state or country where mountain bike racing has more racial and socio-economic diversity.  I’d be interested to find out.

The reason I’m here at all is because I played my first gig since October with my good buddy Arann Harris last night, who I drummed for regularly for three or four years until he retired from the music biz two years ago.  Last night’s event was the cap-off of a long day of racing and it turned out to be super fun to play some music with the boys again.  Fast and loose… fast and loose.  I’d been nervous I’d play terribly due to many months of barely even touching a drum, but it was pretty much like I’d never left.  It’s a relief to know that ability won’t leave me, even if I ignore it. 

The last couple of days have been an interesting array of activities. Thursday afternoon I had a chance to hang with my son Mickey for the first time since he’d come home from surgery a few weeks back.  We enjoyed some burgers at Buster’s in Willits, then went to see the new Avengers movie at the charming (and kinda janky) Noyo Theater. When the kids were small, we’d periodically take them to see movies in the theater they were excited to see, and I would unfailingly fall asleep in the middle of it.  Every time.  No matter how hard I tried not to.  I felt pretty confident that wouldn’t happen again since this was supposed to be an action-packed, explosion-filled film, and not a kids cartoon kinda thing.  And goddammit if I didn’t fall asleep.  It was only for a minute or two, but it happened. 

When I dropped Mickey off at home, I asked to see his scars and make a few photos of them, and they’re looking great.  I’m super stoked for him, and he’s super stoked on his body for the first time in a long time.

On Friday I spent some time making photographs of food at Oco Time, the best sushi restaurant in Ukiah.  It was fun watching them make those delicious rolls and specialty plates, and they were all so gracious and kind to me. I made my way down the 101 to Bodega so I could meet up with my friends the Rainbow Girls to discuss collaborating on a music video.  As you might remember from my earlier post, they hosted Bodega Day and live on a gorgeous property of rolling hills lined with eucalyptus and aspen trees.  Their house is warm and homey, and I enjoyed spending a couple hours with them hashing out ideas and making plans, then just hanging out enjoying each other’s company. 

As the sun went down, we parted ways and I headed to the Shire to park and crash for the night.  Travis and his family had grandparents in town visiting so they were otherwise occupied, which was totally OK.  I snuggled into bed and watched a movie till I fell asleep.

Yesterday morning I woke early and fixed myself some breakfast, enjoying the bright and clear west county morning. Travis was also up early, and came out to say hi just as I was about to walk “the loop” through and around the property he lives on.  He decided to join, and we enjoyed a brisk tromp and the opportunity to catch up.  He went on to attend family stuff and retired to the van, parking my chair by the open van door and enjoying the morning as it warmed.  Around 10 or so I decided to head out to the coast, driving to Salmon Creek again and parking on the bluffs above the ocean.  It was super windy and a bit cold on the coast, so I opted to keep the van closed up.  Kinda disappointing, but that’s how it goes.  I spent the entire day on that bluff, alternately working on photos, writing, reading, and just staring out the window at the roiling sea below. Pretty great way to spend the day.    

And now I’m here at the end of the day, tired but feeling good, laying in my old bedroom of my parents’ house.  Gonna spend a day or two here working on the van again.  My day consisted of parking my butt in the middle of the race course and playing some rally music with Arann for the racers as they speed past.  I did this with him last year, and it was pretty fun.  We just sit there until racers come thundering into the turns and dips near us and we fire up the drums and guitar to provide them with as much encouragement as we can.  Arann dressed in a chicken costume too, which everyone appreciated.