Travels with MaryE

Most things I love best are about good light and good timing. That's where the adventures start. Don't be in no hurry here. Here you'll find a little bit about bluegrass music, fox hunting, life on the road, time on the mountain, and a whole lot about other things, too.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On the Bluegrass Trail

It's time again. My mind is turning away from blogs and city streets and back to the road. Sometimes I think of the road as home. Those of you who love the you ever wonder why? It's funny I love the road and I also love "nesting." These days I don't have my own nest, so when I travel some places I love to visit are those where I can tidy up someone else's nest.

While the best way to travel is by those little old roads that criss-cross America -- Route 11 is one that goes a long, long way, even away down into enemy territory (I am a Yankee, don't forget) -- sometimes even I take the "easy" (not so sure about that) way and hop on the interstate - 81 South to be exact. It's a pretty dull old road, really, but traveling alone and with very limited funds these days it just makes sense to GET to my destination as quickly as possible.

I'm headed to Ralph's. Now those of you who have never been to Ralph's need to get yourselves down there. Ralph's happens every Memorial Day weekend (easy to remember, no?) down near Coeburn, Virginia (that's way up in the mountains in the southwest corner in Dickenson County). Now I love that county. It's still wild and beautiful there and they have old country kinds of things still going on in Dickenson County - they still have a High Sheriff! Matter of fact before the old regime were voted out, I used to be pretty friendly with the High Sheriff and his deputies, too. They used to make silly faces and let me take loads of pictures of them you know looking really tough in a silly way with their hands on their holsters and their badges shining in the late afternoon sun.

Now they're Republicans, I think, so they're real uptight and stuff. I wouldn't dream of taking their picture now. Down in that country (it is like a different country down there) politics are Serious. Even Ralph is dead serious about politics. Matter of fact, I have a very old bumper sticker where Ralph was running for office, treasurer or something. He lost. I bet he'd win now.

But I wonder...if he did win...what would it be like? Like if you go up to Ralph at his record table there he's sitting in all his glory grinnin' like and old possum (y'all know that Ralph is my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E so I'm saying this outta love, not ridicule) and there's all his CDs and pictures and what have you sitting in front of him and he's got this plain ole rock sitting there at his right hand and under it is....well, his money! Yep, you buy a CD and he places the money under that rock! So I don't know if I'd vote for him for treasurer! But anyway.

I started writing this while still trapped in that place where honking seems to be the city's favorite sport but after a brief sojourn in the Catskills I hopped in my truck very early yesterday morning and drove...over 700 miles. Now it's relatively easy to do when you're on 81 south, but you still have to keep your eyes open, at least most of the time. That was the hard part since I'd had precious little sleep (you ever get so keyed up about getting a good night's sleep the night before a huge drive like that? then you can't sleep a-tall). Just when the alarm was going off at 5 am I started getting down to sleep. Too bad. I was off by 6:30 and got down here to Bristol, Virginia, 700 miles south, in just under 12 hours. There was some heavy rain and I just had to keep stopping because I was getting drowsy so all things considered 12 hours was pretty darned good. Most of the way it was blessedly cloudy, my ideal driving weather.

Ever see a T-ball game? I know you think I'm out of it, but today was my first T-ball experience. I think if things get slow up at Ralph's we should try to get together a game up there. Even I might be able to hit a ball off a pipe. Only thing is we'll probably have to play on all that boulder-sized gravel Ralph has had trucked in from somewhere. What's he got against grass? And how do cattle graze gravel? Must be tryin' to raise them lean, mean kind. Ralph, what gives?

Anyway, it's way too late and after watching Ralph videos for hours tonight, I'm ready for the big all are crazy if you don't get up there and check it out. Carter Stanley's grave at 3 a.m. It doesn't get any better than that. Now, I must go. Pictures to follow, okay??


At 4:15 am, Blogger texino said...

Yo, MaryE, I think that Florida Folk Festival is on my tour schedule for this weekend so that puts me out of range. I've played up at Carter's in Hiltons, but never have made it to Stanleys. Almost wrecked him on The Capital Beltway once. Ralph and them was driving this little shorty bus with Stanley Bros. written on it and I was driving a big old semi truck. I just wanted to see who all was inside being that I'm a fan, so maybe I got a little close. Heck you might have thought Bill Monroe was driving the way they over reacted with hand signals and all that. Must not have been used to the traffic and all in the big city.
be well Texino

At 4:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MaryE, I bet if you tried to take some of that money, you'd find out what the rock is really for!

Off to Overton in a couple of weeks to see Jeannette Williams, Chris Stuart and Backcountry, and Hit and Run (with the spectacular Rebecca Hoggan -- yow!). Come on down -- I double dog dare you.

Ken Brown
Austin, Texas


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