Village Chat Aug. 15, 2017
It's summertime and people are traveling and running into all kinds of fun stuff.
Matt and Eileen Vukicevich were in British Columbia visiting their son Eric, a Ph.D. student, and his girlfriend Sarah. They ended up in the town of Nelson, and after a hike and a good dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, they wandered down to a bar they'd heard about where there might be live music. But there wasn't. The band had canceled and there were about 10 people in the place, along with a lonely guitar, a set of bongo drums, and a piano up on stage. Eric started talking to the owner of the bar, and pretty soon the two of them were up on stage jamming, Eric on guitar and the bar owner on drums, and then people started to trickle in and it got crowded and noisy. The bartender got up and sang a few songs, and before they knew it, that place was rocking, people were dancing, and the tip jar was filling up! The bar owner gave them free beers, and then left the stage to go cook food because people were hungry, but he was replaced on drums by various people in the crowd, and even a piano player. Matt said, “Eric covered Wood Brothers, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Todd Snider, Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones and others the beer won't let me remember. He even played a song he wrote about Bigfoot!” They all finally stumbled out of there at about 2 a.m. See what can happen when you travel with an adventurous, open mind?
Thankful for the retirement gift from his company, Dennis and Carolee Fagent enjoyed a trip to France in July for Le Tour de France. As part of a tour group, they followed Le Tour through the French Alps, down to Aix en Provence and Marseille, and finally the grand finish in Paris. Carolee said the highlights of the trip were Dennis getting to ride part of the official course each day, and both of them riding bikes down the Champs-Élysée early in the morning the day of the finish. They also added a trip to Normandy, the castles of the Loire Valley, and spent some time on the left bank in Paris, hanging out with artists, writers, and poets. Sounds magnifique!
Kyle Bunte has been spending this summer hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. After graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the spring, he started out in April at Campo on the California/Mexico border, and on Aug. 9 he reached Washington State, crossing the Bridge of the Gods at the Columbia River. He expects to reach the Canadian border at the end of August. Unfortunately, Kyle had to bypass the Sierras due to the epic amounts of snow this winter, much of which is still up there making hiking perilous or impossible. After Kearsarge Pass, he made the decision to “flip” up to Sierra City and resume the trail from there. The plan is to return and hike the 400-mile Sierra section in September when the snowmelt and creek crossings are improved, thus completing the whole PCT.
At the end of July, Kyle's mom Kathleen Bunte and his uncle met him in Bend, Oregon, for a couple days off trail. Kathleen said, “We floated down the Deschutes, tasted some good beers, and constantly fed Kyle. He has lost a lot of weight but is very fit and going strong. He's on his second pair of shoes, second set of trekking poles, on his second backpack that is about five pounds lighter, and is growing quite the beard now!”
Glen Ellen resident Serena Spry made the Dean's List at Azusa Pacific University for the 2017 spring semester. Serena is a Youth Ministry Major at the evangelical Christian university in Southern California. Congratulations, Serena!
Granite Chief, the nickname Grant Benziger has had for over 24 years, is also the name of his new solo project and EP, an amalgamation of electronic and acoustic music, all written by Grant. Granite Chief was mixed and co-produced by his long time collaborator Jason Mater.
A Glen Ellen native and part of the Benziger winemaking family, Grant grew up next door to Jack London State Park, and Jack and Charmian London are a definite influence in the first track “Haunt You (Charmian).” He explains in a press release, “The beauty and history of the land constantly inspired me through my many projects and pursuits. Reading his books as a child and hiking and playing there regularly gave me a strong connection to Jack and the area. Taking my girlfriend there on a long hike, sharing his story and the land made me feel like I was seeing it for the first time all over again. At that point the song “Haunt You (Charmian)” basically wrote itself. I began to see us in them. Both couples, artists, travelers and wild ones; not to mention willing to do anything for one another.”
There are five tracks altogether. It's good stuff. Check it out at soundcloud.com/granitechief. Also available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.
Jeanne Bender, Pete Hogan and Pat Randall took a 12-day trip to Ireland recently, and unlike summer here in California, it rains there in all seasons! Even so, they said it was lovely, and they even remembered to take along their Kenwood Press. Thank you!
Tracy Salcedo writes guidebooks for hikers and lately has focused on the historic aspects of classic hiking areas. Her latest book is Historic Yosemite National Park, and she's also written Hiking Through History San Francisco. Last month, Tracy had a speaking gig for The Marin History Museum. Her talk was entitled “Hiking Through History in Marin and Beyond,” and she figured there would be about three people there, “my parents and my brother!” But there were more than 50 people, and they had a great conversation about historic hikes throughout Northern California. Tracy said, “they even liked my slideshow, despite the fact I had no control over how fast the pictures clicked through. That's Lassen... that's Tahoe… that's Denali… that's San Francisco…”
To see all her books, go to her website, laughingwaterink.com.
That's all for now. Thanks to everyone who sent in their news and photos for Village Chat. It's easy to do. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP