not all who wander are lost...

I've been wracking my brain lately with what my next post should be about. Should it be serious? Funny? Talk about recent shows? None of these? And then it hit me...write about your travels! You see, the truth is, a lot of shows seem to run together. Sure, I'll remember a specific venue or if a crowd was especially awesome (see last post), but otherwise each show tends to run into the next. And before you know it, it's been 6 months of being out every weekend playing 2 - 3 - 4 shows a week. I often wonder where that time goes and how it flies by so fast. But, then again, I wonder that about life itself as I get older too. 

Ok, I went off on a tangent there. What I really want to talk about is what I do with my days off on the road. I tend to not do a very good job of wanting to "lay low" on my days off. If I'm anywhere near anything even SLIGHTLY cool, I'll take off for the day. Most days I don't even have a plan, just a destination I'm heading and I'll figure the rest out as I go! I might also need to add that the band refers to me as a cheap ass, but I have no problem spending money on experiences. Everything else? Not so much. My take is that memories are really all you have in the end. So I'd like to have a lot of good memories rather than a bunch of material things.

I'm writing this sitting in a hotel room in Chico, California and have been gone from home for over a week. I have no working cell phone - I'll hit on that later - which is why I'm probably writing this instead of sucked into reading the news, social media and other mindless things. So, let me tell you about my adventures lately.

The last few days we've had some days off near San Francisco. I used that time to spend time with some family friends I haven't seen in 10 years over a lunch and drive around the city/bay - thanks again Larry and Nancy! Another day, I decided I was renting a car and exploring, whether anyone else wanted to join or not. The rest of the guys did decide to join so we took off for Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods is a collection of Redwoods just a little north of the city. It's awe-inspiring and it makes you feel like you're so small. Your neck starts to hurt from looking up constantly. The Redwoods tend to make you humble. You think you're something special on Earth? Some of those trees have been here 3,000 years! It's amazing and if you haven't been there, it's well worth the time and money spent. We then drove to the Golden Gate Bridge overlook (picture posted below is by Derrick Young since I lost all mine when my phone quit working). It was windy and freezing for us southern boys, but a spectacular view. Soon after we headed into the city for dinner and then back to the hotel. The following day was spent returning the rental car, doing laundry and taking the BART (train) into the city for dinner/drinks and to see a friend play at The Independent (an awesome music venue). Then comes the part where my phone stops working.

Long story short - my phone froze up last night on the way back to the hotel. I shut it off to do a fresh restart and wouldn't turn back on. I tried frantically for an hour and finally accepted the fact that it was done. Sadly, all my pictures and contacts from the last 6 months are most likely gone as I (stupidly) did not back up my phone. Let that be a lesson folks! Luckily, I was able to get to a Verizon in Chico today where they could get me a new phone over-nighted to the hotel tomorrow. I immediately left Verizon and had to buy a watch (a purple one at that, very stylish) at Big Lots just so I could tell time today and tomorrow. Today was strange not being totally tied into the outside world, but it was also kind of refreshing and fun. And it didn't stop me from my usual exploring. 

After my return from Verizon and a quick lunch, I decided I was going to rent a bicycle and ride to Upper Bidwell Park. It's a gorgeous place to hike or ride on the outskirts of Chico. Taylor (our sound guy) and I took a long ride to the park. We got lost and re-found our way - all part of the adventure! We ended up down some backroads near a stream where we pulled off, found a watering hole and dove in. Swimming in that stream in the middle of nowhere was probably one of the highlights of my trip so far. The temperature was perfect and the water crystal clear. I swam/floated in that stream for 45 minutes and couldn't have enjoyed myself more. It was just what I needed after the stress of the phone situation. It put things into a little bit better perspective for me and it taught me a lesson: you can't let the bad things bring down a good moment. However, I will admit, I really wanted a damn picture to remember that moment! ha! Later on, the band toured the Sierra Nevada Brewery, went our separate ways for dinner and took time to relax. Overall, today was a great day, even without something I thought was so important to me. Though, I really do hope I've got a working one in my hands tomorrow :)

I feel like I've rambled through a lot of this. But, hey! - I never once promised this would be written well. I think the main point I had in writing this was to encourage people to get out and explore. See the world, even if it's just from your own backyard. And try to make the best of a (seemingly) crappy situation. Your brain may not want you to, but try to focus on the good. Today actually ended up being a memorable day BECAUSE I didn't have my phone and I actually enjoyed the moments instead of trying to capture them. I never realized how many times I've worried more about capturing the moment than experiencing it. The moments are worth it, I promise you. And lastly, I remind you to always remember...

not all who wander are lost. 


Golden Gate Bridge 7/31/17

Nigel Knop