Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Drive (Part 3)

The will be our last stop on the ol' family road trip. I'm starting to feel like Gramps when he used to pull out the slides from my mother's childhood. So that means you're probably as miserable as I was as a kid sitting cross-legged in front of the screen. This was our first trip to Crater Lake, and I found it fascinating. Here's what you need to know: It's a myth that the crater was created by a meteor millions of years ago. This is Mount Mazama, and the the whole top collapsed into itself during a huge volcanic eruption about 7,700 years ago. The water is nearly 2,000 feet deep. There is a boat that can take you around, and you can swim too. There are no streams that filter into the lake, but there are two surviving fish species in the water. They were introduced into the environment more than 75 years ago. You can fish as long as you use artificial bait. There are some great hikes, and the views will take your breath away.

Now the drawbacks. This was kind of a major one. Like much of the West, everything was on fire. There was a haze over the crater, and I could see smoke in the distance. You could smell it too. In fact, I just checked, and the north entrance we used is closed right now because of the Crescent Fire. Also, you really have to want to come here because it's way off the beaten path. I suggest staying over at Crater Lake Lodge. That's the building in the photo above. It was built in 1915, and it's open during the warm weather months. It looks a lot like it did back in the day. The halls are narrow (we sure were thinner back then), but the lobby is grand with an enormous fireplace, and just about everything is made from beautiful woods. There is a back porch with rows of rocking chairs and wonderful views. Everything moves a little slower here. So grab a chair, order a drink and relax. Yes, there's complimentary Wi-Fi, but don't even think about it.

Now on to the music. About a week before we took off, I found this nugget at a bookstore in town that also boasts a small shelf of vinyl. I'm glad I took the time to download a digital copy because it was a hit with the entire family as we wound down the back roads of central Oregon. The studio audience at Ultrasonic Studios must have thought they entered a boogie-woogie wonderland when Dr. John performed this one for WLIR-FM out of Hempstead, Long Island in June of '73. The show has been bootlegged for years, but this double LP put out by Let Them Eat Vinyl in 2013 is thought to be the gold standard. Here is a song you will know well. It was written by Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegün and first recorded by Ray Charles as his debut single for the label back in 1953. Dr. John's ensemble just shreds it, and the live atmosphere gives the organ, horns and background singers a little extra bounce. Just try not to dance to this one.

"Mess Around"

We listened to this particular song from Dr. John multiple times on the trip, and it was always followed up by this one from Squeeze because it came up next alphabetically on my iPod. Is this a great twofer, or what?

"Messed Around"


kevinpat said...

Well Bri this post is interesting to me for a number of reasons.

First off may I say that America is a wonderful place. Although I've not been, I am amazed by your pix and narrative what a vast and awesome country we share. (I won't mention how it breaks my heart to think of what we've done and continue to do to this gift we have been given…but that's another post on another site…)

Second. What incredible and diverse music that comes from this country. Country, soul, 'norlins, jazz, blues, pop all representative of the melting pot itself and it's peoples. Dr. John being one of many national musical American treasures, singing Ray Charles, another. Great song! Did not know this version and now I'm on a mad search for the entire set!

WLIR, Hempstead (Lawngiland) NY. A few miles from my hometown.Ha! Was a great station. (So much better than Wbab, which had Billy Joel, Foreigner and Pat Benetar on rotation…)

And lastly how do you get your family to let you be the dj on car trips? For every freedy johnston/neko case, I had to play three Barney tunes or 4 Sum 41s. Now that my boys are young men we don't do too many road trips. I did get everyone to sing the chorus to Rainy Day Women pt 35 (or whatever that number is) on the way to the restaurant a few weeks ago but they just liked yelling "Everybody must get….." which actually was kinda fun and funny.

My wife says sometimes I talk too much. Is this one of those times?? Sorry.

I like the Squeeze too. Sometimes the random play button does amazing work. Like it knows…..

Brian said...

Yes, I think you're going to want this Dr. John show. My kids are still pretty young. So, there are no fights for air time in the car... yet. My only close calls are that they got into Kidz Bop last year for a while. That's contemporary pop singles covered by a group of kids right out of the Mickey Mouse Club. I thought I was going to die... but hey, it's their journey.

Ian Balentine said...

The only time I've been to Crater Laker was to scatter my Grandma's ashes, and we only stayed for the day. Didn't have a chance to stay at that lodge. I'm a rabid Stephen King fan, and that lodge reminds me a bit of the Overlook Hotel in the Shining, so....nah, don't think I'll be taking my family there anytime soon. But what a beautiful lake!