Goodbye San Simeon, Bring on the Music Game

Today is our final day at San Simeon State Park; tomorrow we take a short but dramatic drive up Highway 1 to a new (to us) state park in the Big Sur area.  We’ll have no cell signal at all there, so I thought I’d post while I can.

For the last of our week here we’ve had no more stressors (except that my glasses broke, but I have a back-up pair and have now ordered a replacement back-up pair).  

We’ve walked along the beach, hiked through the hills near Hearst Castle, explored more of the town of Cambria, chatted with fellow campers who are locals (I traded knitting wool for wine), and have done some serious online shopping in anticipation of staying near friends in two weeks (friends who can take delivery of our stuff!)

I hate to post factual info about what I’ve seen, because then I’d have to know what the heck I’m talking about.  For instance, turns out the Eucalyptus tree that’s such a lovely gateway to the beach here is one of many now-invasive imports (this one comes from Australia, as you predicted, Jacqui). The ice plant comes from South Africa, and there’s German ivy throughout the woods here.  However, pictured below with the eucalyptus though is the native Florida Love Oak (I think).

Seems like everywhere you go, something’s been introduced to the native environment and gone hog wild (like the hogs in the woods in Florida!). I’m sure there’s a word for that, some environmental effect of globalism.  But that would be a fact I’d have to look up, and as usual I’m writing this offline and will have enough signal just to post it in one swoop. So I’ll tell you about personal, non-fact stuff. 

The Music Game

I’ve written before about this game we play, but it’s on our minds much more now and will be for the next nine months as we travel each week.  

We pick what we’ll listen to on travel days by a set of rules based on the alphabet.  For whatever letter we’re on that week, we pick a band that starts with that letter or an artist whose last name starts with that letter and listen to that artist’s music only.  For the whole truck drive. 

We have all kinds of careful rules—about band names that start with articles or have people’s names in them who lead the band and solo acts—these rules keep the game consistent.  We also try hard to come up with music without looking anything up, because it’s fun to brainstorm all day long.  

Actually, not: it’s fun for about 15 minutes, and then we start going crazy. We begin with legit candidates, then start spouting out absurd ones just because they come to mind, and finally I’m simply thinking of all words I know that start with that letter.  It’s kind of is a mix between a fun challenge and torture.  

The Nit Wit House in Cambria (made from local materials, aka the Anti-Hearst Castle)

Two main game rules

1) The act’s repertoire should roughly match how many hours we’ll drive that day.  So, if we have a short day, we pick someone who has only one or two albums out (or whom we can stand for only about one or two albums).  A long day requires a classic band with decades of music.

2) Tracy and I both have to approve. He’ll listen to metal and punk, I’ll listen to jazz and classical.  Neither of us shares any of those four genres, so they’re off the table … for the most part.  

Currently, we’re on round four of the alphabet, and I haven’t done the math, but I’m thinking we’ll go through the alphabet at least twice before next fall.  Well, arithmetic isn’t my strong suit, so maybe not that much.  But we have a long way to go.  Let me know what you think.  (Any entries with a / means we split the trip between two artists.)

Gambel’s quail

Allman Brothers Eric Clapton Donovan Fleetwood Mac Emmylou Harris Infamous Stringdusters Eilen Jewel  Kinks Taj Mahal Willie Nelson  Old Crow Medicine Show Pink Floyd Queen Steel Drivers Tin Can Fish Band Uncle Tupelo Velvet Underground  Doc Watson  X Neil Young  Frank Zappa

Avett Brothers  Blues Traveler  Joe Craven  The Dead Tongues The Eagles Aretha Franklin The Grateful Dead Jimi Hendrix Iron and Wine Janis Joplin Leo Kotke Led Zepplin Bob Marley Nirvana Buck Owens/ Lindy Ortega Phish Quicksilver Messenger Service  Railroad Earth Santana Tedeschi Trucks Umphrey’s McGee Stevie Ray Vaughen Johnny Winter Yarn/Pete Yorn Warren Zevon

Aerosmith/Arcade Fire Beatles Rosanne Cash Bob Dylan Earth Wind & Fire Peter Frampton Woodie Guthrie Heart Indigo Girls Valerie June BB King Lyndsey Lou Modest Mouse The National Old & in the Way Prince Suzi Quatro Railsplitters Steely Dan Talking Heads U2 Van Morrison (mistake: I didn’t realize his first name is Van) Waxahatchee XTC Yes ZZ Top

Dave Alvin Blue Line Highway Johnny Cash Doobie Brothers  Elephant Tevival Flying Burrito Bros Greensky Bluegrass Colonel Bruce Hampton Indecision James Gang Khruangbin Los Lobos/Lydia Loveless Mumford & Sons Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Aoife O’Donovan Tom Petty REM the Seldom Scene

2 thoughts to “Goodbye San Simeon, Bring on the Music Game”

  1. I’m not sure what Mat and I would have as off-limits. Probably the Eagles and country music for him and Bob Dylan and rap for me.

    It seems like NZ as a whole is highly aware of invasive species and the effect they have on our environment, I forget not everywhere is obsessed like that! But it’s been going on since forever though, people cart plants and animals around with them wherever they go, deliberately or not. We’ve had rats here wreaking havoc since the first Polynesians appeared with them hiding in their waka. Dogs too. And then the Brits had an actual ‘acclimatisation society’ whose sole mission was to bring lots of animals/plants over from Britain to make it seem more like ‘home’. Bonkers. Some guy wanted to import every bird mentioned in Shakespeare 🤷🏻‍♀️