02/2/14

We Haven’t Forgotten–We Promise!

We know what you’re thinking, and it’s not an unreasonable question:  where is this documentary the Locavaux Crew has been talking about making since April 2013?  What happened to this big production, this Kickstarter wonder-child they’ve been teasing us with, this big hoopla they’ve been talking about with every Facebook message, Instagram, and blog post?

Well, the Locavaux Crew has been working long and hard these past few months to create a unique and polished product that we would be proud to share with our friends, family, Kickstarter donors and general fans— one that showcases our incredible summer road-trip aboard Georgia the bus, and one that, most importantly, highlights the musically talented and tight-knit communities we discovered on our route.  With this ultimate goal in mind, we have decided to pursue a new format in which to feature our project: an online-based, interactive documentary.  Anyone and everyone will be able to access our journey online, connecting on an individual basis with a well-curated collection of film clips, still photography, written word, and audio segments. You, the viewer, can explore America’s local music scenes and the communities they inspire just as the Locavaux Project did this past summer.  We feel that this new documentary format can most appropriately feature the footage we collected this summer, and also allow for a sense of exploration and musical discovery on the part of the user.  This new media documentary will be released in late February, and will be disseminated on the Internet.

So please stay tuned and keep looking out for our official documentary release announcement!  We know it’s been a long time coming, but we promise–the final Locavaux Project documentary will be well worth the wait.

And what better way to pass the time then to take a look at these other awesome online-based, interactive documentaries?  Check out our inspiration as we enter the final days of postproduction!

Hollow Documentary

Prison Valley Documentary

High Rise Documentary

 

01/6/14

Georgia, On My Mind

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that The Locavaux Project has officially sold Georgia, our beloved bus and home of this past summer while on the Locavaux Project roadtrip.  As difficult as it was to say goodbye to our girl, Georgia, we know that her new owners, the hip-hop, soul and jazz collective based in Chicago, Illinois, Sidewalk Chalk, will love her just as much as we did.  Her musical journey will continue as she serves as a mobile home for the group’s upcoming spring tour.

Georgia, you might have started out as a retired Massachusetts school bus, but you quickly became the Locavaux crew’s mobile home, taking us across the country in search of local music scenes and (literally) driving us right into one of the biggest adventures in our young lives.  You had a tendency to be a bit finnicky at times (shall we remind you of that evening in late July you decided to turn your break-line alarm on just as we began our drive over the Bay Bridge in San Francisco?), but the scenic views your 23 windows provided us with of this diverse, crazy country made up for your mechanical mishaps every time.  You didn’t like the cold (particularly hail storms in Wyoming), but man were you the center of every conversation we had.  You were the envy of all other roadwarriors, and our parents’ generations understood and appreciated your allusions to Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters (remember when we met an actual ex-Merry Prankster outside of Olympics National Park in Washington?).  Your roof supported not just an entire rooftop deck, but memorable rooftop parties, late night jam sessions, highway dinners and even car seats for a few joy rides through national parks.  Truckers freaking loved you.  You maxed out at about 60 miles per hour, but you taught us to slow down and take it all in (and always enjoy a road beer while you’re at it).  And of course, you were the stage for many a dance party (the best of which featured not just this song, but this one too), sing-along sessions, and endless playlists of music both old and newly found.  No one made highway rumble strips sound as good as you did, and because of you, we experienced this country as it should be experienced: from the road.  Cheers to seeing your almond-colored self out on the open highway a few years down the road, Georgia.  Thanks for one hell of a ride.

 

12/30/13

2013: A Locavaux Retrospect

It’s that time of year where everyone and their mother releases 2013 “Best of” Lists, full of superlatives and highlights from the past 365 days.  Some of our favorites that have been released so far?  A list of all of the things James Franco did that you did not, the top scientific discoveries of 2013, the top things we searched for on Google in 2013, and NPR’s list of the best music of 2013.  And so, in light of these bullet points and numbered lists, The Locavaux Project thought it might produce it’s own “Best of” list, highlighting the most memorable moments, individuals, music, and places the Locavaux Crew has come in contact with over the past few months.  It might be a bit lengthy, but hey, this past year has been one of the best we’ve ever known.  Cheers to more moments in 2014 that will make all of your “best of” lists this time next year!

Most Out-of-this-World-Looking National Park:  The Badlands, South Dakota

If that’s not what Mars looks like up close and personal, then we don’t know what does.

Best Sandwich: Any Sandwich from Paseo in Seattle, Washington

Baguette + aoli + cilantro + pickled jalapeños + romaine + caramelized onions + meat = why have we never eaten Caribbean food before?

Most Used-Phone App:  (two-way tie) GoogleMaps and Shindig

For when we were lost (often) and for when we wanted our friends to be jealous of what cool, new craft beers we’re drinking (often).

Best Beer:  (two-way tie) The Alchemist’s Heady Topper from Stowe, Vermont and Good Nature Brewing’s Rabbit in the Rye-PA from Hamilton, New York

We would do terrible, awful things to get our hands on either of these two craft brews again.  Trust us.

Most Scenic (and Entertaining) Road Side Dinner:  Somewhere on the Coast of Oregon

Georgia pulled up on the sand, mere feet from the Pacific Ocean, with Pat grilling burgers on the Grooler?  Yeah, that happened. 

Best Highway Travel Feature:  Rumble Strips

Ask Chase Jackson and Pat Connolly about the many perks of a rumble strip.

Most Professional Bus Driver:  Chase Jackson

We wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without him.  Seriously.

Most Underutilized Appliance on the Bus:  The Grooler Grill-Cooler

It holds all of our beer and it grills out food?  Thank you Frantzen Family for the gift that kept on giving!

Best Bus Dance Partner:  Meegan Smith

When we were tired, hungry, and thinking that our brakes weren’t working, Meegan always knew that she could lift our spirits with a little Whitney Houston-inspire song and dance.

Best Bus Greeting:  Park City, Utah

Four square underway, friends to wave us in with a saved parking spot, a welcome party raging inside, and house drinks in the Locavaux Project’s honor.  Thanks Ryan Gerstner and Crew!

Best Rock Show:  West Water Outlaws of Boulder, Colorado playing at Cervantes Other Side in Denver, Colorado

We actually wanted to head bang along with these guys.

Best Bus Dance Party Ever:  The last evening of filming in Iowa City, Iowa

Thank you DJ Pat Connolly, Avicii, and Missy Elliott.

Best Kept Secret:  Skunk Hollow Tavern Open Mic Night in Hartland Four Corners, Vermont

Sometimes the most talented folks come out of the middle of nowhere.

Most Mouth-Watering Pie: Noon Mark Diner in Keene Valley, New York

That blueberry crumble tastes just as good sober as it does not-so-sober.

Best Bus Fun-Fact Provider:  Ellie Schmidt

We’re not kidding—the girl is an endless fountain of “Did you guys know?” trivia.  Perfect for long drives through the Western states.

Funniest Interview:  (three-way tie) The Olympics of Iowa City, Iowa and Postmadonna of Seattle, Washington and Valentiger of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ask The Olympics about the history behind their band sticker; Postmadonna about The French Fry song, The Hobbit song, and the Bill of Rights song; Valentiger about why they love hecklers in audience crowds.

Best Highway:  The 101 in California, Oregon, and Washington

No question.

Busiest Music-Centered Community Event Calendar:  Portland, Maine

From battle of the bands to cover band sing-offs, this town has something happening every night of the week.  Check out Food Fight Portland Summer 2014!

Cheeriest Morning Person:  Hallie Kohler

This is what we like to call a sarcastic award.

Best Collaborative Effort on Stage:  Chasing Shade and The Olympics at the Blue Moose in Iowa City, Iowa

A goodbye-concert for Chasing Shade as they headed to Los Angeles, a welcome back-concert for The Olympics after a summer regional tour, and a classic Fleetwood Mac song made for the perfect last evening of the Locavaux bus tour. 

Friendliest Bar:  Green Lantern Pub in Copalis Beach, Washington

Thank you for the giant box of Pop Tarts—you fed us breakfast for the rest of the trip!

Most Mesmerizing Live Music Act:  Billy Strings & Don Julen of Traverse City, Michigan

True talent is incredible finger picking while playing on a catamaran on Lake Michigan.

CD Played on the Bus on Repeat:  Tabled Fables by Rabbit in the Rye of Hamilton, New York

If you haven’t listened to their EP yet, be prepared to become obsessed.  Fast.

Best Bridge:  (two-way tie) Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California and Astoria-Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon

Bridges are more fun when seen from a bus seat.

Most Consumed Food on Bus:  Hard-boiled eggs

Yes—weird, but so true.

Best Boom Mike Guy:  Pat Connolly

He even had the creepy beard to prove it.

Best Farmer’s Market:  Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, California

Hallie and Katie’s paradise.

Most Inspiring Not-For-Profit:  (two-way tie) The VERA Project in Seattle, Washington and Hear Nebraska in Omaha, Nebraska

We’ll always get behind people who support their community’s own local music.

Most Entertaining Dogs:  (two-way tie) Postmadonna’s Finn of Seattle, Washington and Dave Worthen’s Lucy of Seattle, Washington

What the Locavaux Crew would have done to have its own bus dog…

Best Underdog of a City:  (two-way tie) Omaha, Nebraska and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Our new favorite US cities!

Most Adventurous Bus Companion:  Nora Edmonds

Seriously, the girl was down to do anything, at all times.

Best Cover Song: Mr. Wacky of Wacky’s Warhouse in Pacific Beach, Washington play John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”

A wacky man with a talent to make us all pause and listen.

Most Likely to be Found at a Bar Talking to Complete Strangers:  Katie Scribner

She has a knack for getting herself into odd conversations with odd people.

Best Way to See The United States:  Through the many windows of a school bus.

Trust us on this one.  

11/29/13

Giving Thanks

It’s been a few weeks since we last wrote to you all on the Locavaux blog.  We’re sorry for the lack of communication on our part!  We haven’t been online as of late because of our numerous meetings of the mind—the project is growing and taking new directions, and we can’t wait to share some of those new plans with you soon.

In the meantime, we thought we’d share what we’re thankful for these past few months, because, as they say, ‘tis the season.  The Locavaux Crew is thankful for many things, really.  In specific?  We’re thankful for break fluid, smooth highways and park rangers that turn a blind eye.  We’re thankful for those warriors of the road who came before us, like Ken Kesey and Neil Cassidy, who proved that life seen through the window of a moving vehicle is worthwhile. We’re also thankful for “free” overnight parking, road beers and the kindness of strangers.  We’re thankful for music venues, from dive bars to bonfires, historic theatres to sidewalks.  We’re thankful for sandwiches from Seattle’s Paseo, too.

But what we’re most thankful for?  The people we surround ourselves with these days.  We’re thankful for the friends and family that have supported the Locavaux Project, and our passion for local music, from the beginning; new friends and fans gathered on the road this past summer; the talented musicians from all across the country we’re honored to feature in our project; the bar owners and venue managers who support those local musicians and the communities they inspire; those individuals we met for just a few fleeting moments who listened to our tales of life on the road and bought us a drink in celebration.  We’re thankful for community, because we feel like we’re part of one big, local music-loving family that spans the entire width of this country.  So take a cue from the Locavaux Crew and surround yourself with good music and close company this holiday season.  Happy Thanksgiving!

11/4/13

Queue Up: Music Documentaries

With Halloween and the first days of November behind us, the Locavaux Project is celebrating two months of postproduction now under our belt!  The film is slowly but surely coming along with a loose and rough sketch of the entire film to be completed in the next few weeks.  There are plenty more teaser videos to come as well, so stay tuned!  The reception to our first teaser was so incredibly positive, we couldn’t be more excited to give you all even more glimpses of the sounds and sights from the bus tour this summer.

As first-time filmmakers, Chase, Hallie and I have looked to a number of sources for inspiration, guidance and instruction as we edit and produce the official Locavaux Project film.  With this in mind, Chase, Hallie and I gather at Chase’s cabin most Sunday evenings to watch musically-inspired documentaries.**  What has become a Locavaux Crew tradition of sorts, this weekly screening helps to not only broaden our musical knowledge but also enlighten the team on how documentary film makers document, present and narrate musicians’ stories and their live music.  So far, it’s been a great way for the three of us to understand and approach our own footage.  Here are a few documentaries we’ve enjoyed thus far and a few on our “to watch” list that you might enjoy in the comfort of your own homes as the temperature steadily drops outside.

**Chase would most likely have me clarify that Hallie and I are not the best at gracing the weekly screenings with our presence–but when we can make the drive out to the cabin, we’re there!

Have Seen’s:

Sound City (2013), Dave Grohl

Having recorded the album, Nevermind, with Nirvana years earlier at the famous recording studio, Sound City Studio, in Los Angeles, Dave Grohl returns to the now run-down studio to unearth its rich history of analogue recording and talk to the cast of characters, such as Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Slipknot , who once recorded there.

Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012), Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace

This documentary follows LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy over a 48-hour period, from the day of the band’s final concert at Madison Square Garden to the morning after the show.  The film features intermittent segments from an extended interview between Murphy and pop culture journalist Chuck Klosterman.

Big Easy Express (2012), Emmett Malloy

3 bands, 6 cities, and thousands of miles in between…  Big Easy Express documents indie folk heroes Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford & Sons, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes after they climb aboard a vintage train in California and travel towards New Orleans, Louisiana on a “tour of dreams.”

Will See’s:

Searching for Sugarman (2013), Malik Bendjelloul

Searching for Sugarman details the efforts of two Cape Town fans in the late 1990s, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true, and, if not, to discover what had become of him–Rodriguez’s music, which never became popular in the United States, had become wildly popular in South Africa, but little was known of him there.

20 Feet From Stardom (2013), Morgan Neville

This film follows the personal history of backup singers and stars Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Jo Lawry, and the world just beyond the spotlight in which they live their lives.

How to Grow a Band (2011), Mark Meatto

Filmed over a two-year period, Meatto’s documentary tells the story of how ex-Nickel Creek member Chris Thile worked his way through a divorce and made a creative leap by forming the high-regarded folk quintet, The Punch Brothers.

AKA Doc Pomus (2012), William Hechter, Peter Miller 

Doc Pomus, paralyzed with polio as a child in 1920s Brooklyn, reinvented himself as a songwriter later in life, creating some of the greatest hits of the early rock and roll era.  The penman for such classic songs as “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” and “Viva Las Vegas,” Doc Pomus was widely unacknowledged for his contributions to the music of the 1950s and 60s and largely unknown to the public until Hechter and Miller’s documentary, AKA Doc Pomus.

And here are a few classic music documentaries that no music buff should go without seeing:  Gimme Shelter, the 1970 feature chronicling the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert; No Direction Home, the 2005 Martin Scorsese film examining the life and times of Bob Dylan; Stop Making Sense, the famous concert movie by Johnathan Demme featuring the Talking Heads performing live on stage in 1983.

10/15/13

Locavaux Project Teaser Video Release!

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here–the very first TEASER VIDEO for the Locavaux Project Documentary! With this glimpse, you’ll get just a sampling of the many hours of footage we shot during our journey, as well as the wide range of music we listened to and the countless stories we gathered along while traveling.  We hope to give you a taste of life on the road and an idea of what’s to come!  Enjoy!  Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks…

09/17/13

Postproduction Update: Feeling the Kickstarter Love

Hello Locavaux friends and family!  Exciting things are happening over here in Hamilton, New York:  we’re all moved in for the fall (Hallie and Katie in their in-town attic apartment and Chase in his cabin-in-the-woods getaway) and postproduction has officially begun!  We’re sorting through footage now (did we ever turn that camera off?) and beginning to piece together our special story of local music in the United States.  As we reflect on our trip and relive countless memories on camera, we can’t help but think of what made this unforgettable trip happen:  YOU!  Thanks to the incredible crowd-funding on Kickstarter, we were able to give Georgia the fuel she needed so that we could see as much of the United States, and the incredible people that populate its small towns, big cities and everything in between, as possible.

Kickstarter proved to be an incredible resource for us, inspiring in its goal to help small, independent companies make their dreams a reality and humbling with regard to the outreach we personally received from friends, family and strangers alike.  As our bus made its way across the country, we made a number of friends who were inspired by our experience with Kickstarter’s unique approach to interactive, creative support, in turn choosing to launch their own Kickstarter campaigns in the hopes of achieving their musical dreams.  Here are a few currently in the midst of their funding period that you should take a look at—why not continue your support of local music scenes around the United States?

Postmadonna

We met Postmadonna while visiting Seattle in early August, and they introduced us to a rad new music genre we had never even heard of: Math Rock!  Combining experimental rock with a progressive, instrumental indie-rock sound, these guys know how to create music that is as catchy as it is complex.  The Locavaux Crew can confirm just how awesome Postmadonna’s unique sound is:  we heard them play a practice set in their Seattle basement and were blown away by their guitar-playing and drumming talent (read our review of them here!).  This group of four talented friends just launched a Kickstarter to help fund their collaborative tour, “Does It Please,” with So Much Light.  Check out their unique sound on their premiere LP, “Introducing Postmadonna” and help these Seattle locals pay for a touring van and gas.  Trust us, we feel their pain—providing for a gas guzzling mobile home is not cheap.  Good luck, guys!

In the Basement Theatre Co. & Rabbit in the Rye

We’re incredibly excited to announce that two musical groups we interviewed while on the road—Pittsburgh’s In The Basement Theatre Co. and Hamilton’s Rabbit in the Rye—are joining forces in Brooklyn and producing a stunning sensory experience, “The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo.”  In The Basement Theatre’s own troupe of multi-talented actors are turning a ten-room former hospital basement into an interactive, progressive theatre space in which audience members will walk hand in hand with an estranged orphan as she tears through a diabolic bayou searching for her desired skin.  The progressive folk-rock trio, Rabbit in the Rye (our dear Hamilton friends, whose music review of ours you can read here!), is providing the soundtrack to this dance-driven, interactive and immersive theatre experience.  This expansive project, which features weekly concerts featuring musicians from around New York City, could benefit from further funding for general production costs, including set design and costumes.  So support local acting talent and music and check out Diablo’s Kickstarter!  The Locavaux Project can vauch for their awesomeness, as we attending one of their weekly concert series just two weekends ago—Rabbit in the Rye, you get us every time!

Will Houlihan of Haunt the House

You might remember reading our (ecstatically enthusiastic) review here of Providence, Rhode Island’s own Will Houlihan, known on stage as Haunt the House, here way back in June, and so you can’t even imagine our excitement when we heard our favorite Bob Dylan-Elliot Smith hybrid was announcing the release of his second album!  Will, a gentle soul with the lyricism and guitar skills of a seasoned vet, recorded his first album, Rural Introspection Study Group, as a solo effort; for his second album, he plans to put together an entire band featuring other accomplished artists in the Providence area.  So help our dear friend, Will, out and support his musical endeavors on IndieGoGo (a crowd-funding site similar to Kickstarter)!  Trust us, he’ll soon be on your autumn-inspired, indie-folk 8tracks playlist in the near future, we just know it…

So come on, feel the Kickstarter love and help support these projects!  From personal experience, we know how wonderful it is to feel supported by friends and fans nation-wide.

 

08/27/13

The Grand Finale: Iowa City, IA One More Time!

With Katie rescued from her Rapid City, South Dakota motel room and back on the bus, the Crew made its way to I-90 for the final leg of the tour.  Scheduled to arrive in Iowa City, Iowa later that week for one final concert, the Crew enjoyed the sights of one of the United States’ most famed highways.  After leaving Rapid City, we (of course) stopped by Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, enjoying the much-advertised free ice water, five-cent coffee, strangely wonderful sculpture park and delicious donuts.  Not ones to miss a scenic byway or the chance to visit a National Park, the bus made it’s way later that afternoon to the Badlands—the otherworldly geological deposits and the vast gray-white canyons captivated the Crew, its rugged landscape and eerie beauty like something from a science-fiction movie set.  Pat, Ellie and I sat atop the rooftop porch as the bus slowly drove through the park, the sun setting in pinks and blues across the white backdrop of the Badlands and the wind rushing by us.  Unfortunately, the ride was cut short by a park ranger who didn’t think that sitting on top of a moving bus was the safest of ideas.  That evening we camped on the banks of the Missouri River, fearful to leave the bus after a swarm (more like plague) of mayflies had greeted us at the river and splattered across the bus’ windshield.  The next day was spent driving on the not-so-beautiful portions of I-90 (no offense to you, southern Minnesota), ultimately leading us to a campsite at Myre Big Island State Park.  In honor of it being our last official night camping on the bus, Pat cooked up a delicious meal of stir-fried rice and grilled corn (that I had paid far too much for solely because they were being sold by adorable small children) over an open campfire.  We sipped on Grain Belt Beer (not bad!), nibbled on s’mores and enjoyed each other’s company and conversation.  It was a bittersweet final evening spent in the wilderness with Georgia bus and our fellow bus mates

The next morning we hurtled towards Iowa City, Iowa, excited to meet up once again with two Iowa City-local bands we had interviewed earlier on in the Locavaux tour—Chasing Shade and The Olympics.  The Olympics had just returned from a regional tour, and Chasing Shade was leaving the next day for Los Angeles to pursue studio time and a professional producer, and so, in the spirit of local support and love of Iowa City music, the two groups decided to host a collaborative concert at the popular local joint, The Blue Moose Tap Room!  The Locavaux Crew was beyond excited when, just a few weeks earlier, we had learned that two of our favorite bands from the tour were performing together in their hometown—it was going to be a prime example of the vibrant and supportive Iowa City community we had once witnessed a few weeks back and an opportunity we couldn’t miss!  We arrived to Iowa City late that afternoon and reunited with the members of both Chasing Shade and The Olympics, happy to see familiar faces and swap summer adventure stories with the two groups.  We even took a few minutes to interview both groups, asking them about the importance of the approaching concert that night and their plans for the future.  That evening we enjoyed ourselves at The Blue Moose Tap Room while listening to both groups perform incredibly well played and energetic sets on stage.  Having listened to both of their CDs numerous times over in the bus throughout the earlier portion of the summer, the Crew was able to dance and sing right along with the other fans!  However, it was particularly moving to see the giant crowds of fans and family supporting the arrival home of The Olympics and the final hometown performance of Chasing Shade—talk about community.  The highlight of the night, you might ask?  The two groups on stage together performing The Chain by Fleetwood Mac!  Or maybe it was the five-person bus dance party the Crew had while getting ready for our evening out.  From the reuniting to the dancing to the singing to the late-night snacking, it was an evening perfectly befitting of the Locavaux Project and it’s winding-down tour.

The next morning we enjoyed a locally-famed breakfast from the Hamburg Inn (Pie Shakes—you seriously need to try them) and headed back to good ol’ I-80, an interstate we had become familiar with earlier on in the trip while heading West through Iowa.  We spent the morning taking in the open road and as much of life on the bus (that we had started to take for granted!) as we could before reaching our final destination:  Chicago.  With heavy hearts, we dropped Ellie off at the airport later that afternoon, sad to say goodbye to one of our most beloved (and enthusiastic) bus mates.  We made our way north of Chicago to Lake Forest, Illinois and the Scribner’s driveway; we were happy to be greeted by family and a delicious meal but couldn’t knock a notion of melancholy upon realizing that the bus ride of a lifetime had officially come to an end.

Despite the end to our incredible and eye-opening road trip tour of American music scenes, we’re excited to announce that the Locavaux Crew will be living in Hamilton, New York this coming fall as we work on postproduction and editing for the documentary feature.  Stay tuned for more announcements regarding the documentary, and, even more exciting, the new reincarnation of Georgia the bus!  She’ll be living in Hamilton as well, so who knows what new business plans the future has in store for her…  Thank you for your continued support and love, words cannot describe how inspiring this summer on the bus has been for the Locavaux Crew and friends.

08/25/13

Wild Wyoming

When Katie took off for a long weekend at camp, the Locavaux crew was delighted to welcome Ellie Schmidt to the bus in style, with a trip to the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. Chase, Pat and I were lucky enough to have visited this past winter, and our good friend Will Daniel and his family invited us (and the bus!) back. After hiding the bus at a service entrance, the four of us joined the Daniel family at Warren Miller Lodge for some more local beers– Madison Brewing Co’s Salmon Fly Honey Rye being a group favorite. We indulged in games of horseshoes and volleyball in the yard before heading up to the Daniel’s newly-built and gloriously woodsy home for stone fired pizza and fresh fruit. What a relaxing day!

Yellowstone National Park was our next destination, and after one moose sighting at the Yellowstone Club, we were eager for more wild animal sightings. Our hopes were finally fulfilled on the last stretch of scenic byway before we exited the park, when the bus was stopped abruptly by a heard of bison, munching grass at the side of the road and lumbering across. Moving in slow motion, their strategic road-crossing pattern didn’t allow for a large enough gap to let a bus pass between, and kept us trapped and looking on in awe. Pat snapped some selfies with the beasts, too! Yellowstone awed us with more than just wildlife (we also saw some elk and big horn sheep, and Chase spotted a black bear!). A hike around the geysers and hot springs transported us with an other-worldly aura. Mars? The Moon? The only thing recognizable was a very potent, sulfuric scent that permeated the air with every hiss of steam from the crusty holes in in the ground. We learned that these geothermal features are called “fumaroles” and are the hottest in the park–up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit! Rainbow hued rock and opaque, neon blue pools were scattered between the fumaroles, and we gazed out at this expanse, which was so utterly different from the lush looming pines and red rock we’d traversed in the park so far. Returning to the bus with sulfur lingering in our hair, we soon spotted something exciting at the side of the road–hitchhikers! Our ongoing bucket list included a hitchhiker pickup, but we had been cautious to pick a worthy soul. These two, a girl and boy our age from Israel who had been working at a JCC Camp in Colorado, simply wanted a lift back to their car. Harmless and friendly–the best kind of hitchhikers!

We popped out of Yellowstone into Cooke City, stopping in a 100 year-old general store before heading to our destination in the Sunlight Basin. 7D Ranch, where great friend and fellow Colgate-alum Ross Mower had been sharing his wealth of fly-fishing knowledge with lucky guests all summer, was situated on the Sunlight River in northern Wyoming. We entered the Shoshone National Forest on a 9-mile dirt road (nice and bumpy on the bus!) and as our cell phones went from “Searching…” to “No Service” we relished in the idea of being in the middle of nowhere. We lay on the rooftop deck that night, snuggled in blankets and wool socks. Above us, stars coated the deep black sky, bright and close together. That night was the peak of the Persied meteor shower, and we sleepily counted fireballs shooting overhead before crawling off the rooftop deck and into bed. (Ross braved the cold and christened the deck as an overnight crash pad.)

The next day was an adventure, to say the least. We headed out with Ross to explore a segment of the Sunlight Creek – trekking through rapids and rocks and ducking under mossy walls of water. Standing atop a smooth white boulder, Ross flung his fly fishing line over the river, the thin thread glinting in the sunlight. A peak into his box of flies amazed Ellie and me, who knew little about the sport, and Ross delineated some basic tactics: “Match the hatch!” The prickly, bright bug-like bundles of thread and rubber imitated whichever current fish-food was buzzing near the water. (note: Ellie caught her first EVER fish!) A few hours into our adventure the weather flip-turned on us; grey clouds rolled in with a light but steady drizzle. We munched on the sandwiches we’d packed over a small wood fire Chase had created on a cleared ledge, looking down on the rocky rushing river below.

Rise and shine! The next day we took off at the crack of dawn. Our first sunrise drive of the trip was, fittingly, our exit out of Sunlight Basin. The sun’s warm glow illuminated white birch trees and red clay crevices as we headed up numerous switchbacks to Dead Indian Pass. We arrived mid-day to a campground in the Big Horn Mountains, where we would stay that night. An afternoon of hammock reading, wildflower picking, moose watching and enjoying the last hours of cell-phone free life culminated with a weather phenomenon turned classy. Pea-sized hail ricocheted off the metal roof and we donned dresses and collared shirts to celebrate in style. Our propane stove emitted plenty of heat to warm the bus, and Chase braved the weather to collect snow and properly chill some wine.

Unfortunately, the bus didn’t appear to enjoy the temperature drop and refused to start the next morning. Uh, oh. Visions of thousand dollar tow-truck expeditions to the nearest town (not near) and other trip-ending scenarios played through our minds, as Chase tried to trouble-shoot sans internet or phone connection. We decided to wait around ‘til afternoon and give the engine a chance to warm up, even though Katie’s plane had already landed 250 miles away that morning. She got really familiar with the Rapid City airport, while we hung out with the moose, intermittently dumping boiling water on the engine and lighting the grill underneath. In a stroke of luck, a campground host appeared and let us use his landline–Chase kept his bubbling anxiety to himself and handled the situation smoothly. The first good news of the day came in the form of a local mechanic, the second was watching good ‘ole Georgia come around a bend to pick Ellie and me up from a nearby dining lodge! What a relief. We headed out of the Big Horn Mountains about 12 hours later than planned and drove through the night to Rapid City where Katie was waiting in a Motel, Manhattan in hand. We spent our first and only night in a Walmart parking lot (highway honking and hot asphalt didn’t hold a candle to the mountains sounds we’d spent the last week waking to), rescued Katie and headed east for the final leg of the trip!

 

08/22/13

Big Sky Territory: Missoula and Bozeman, MT

Coincidence is generally defined as a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent casual connection, but for the Locavaux Crew, coincidence is just part of our daily routine.  After leaving Seattle, camping out in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and jumping into the cool waters of the beautiful Coeur D’Alene Lake, we made our way into Montana towards the valley city of Missoula.  Having been given a few tips on places to check out in search of local music by a friend who studies in Missoula at the University of Montana, we walked towards Main Street in the late afternoon to take a look at The Top Hat Lounge, a music venue, bar and tapas joint.  We walked in, immediately liking the selection of local brews on tap (try the Blackfoot IPA!  Seriously!) and got talking to our friendly waitress.  Coincidence 1:  The waitress’ husband is in a Montana-wide famous jam band, Miller Creek!  Coincidence 2:  Just that evening he happened to be recording in a Missoula studio with his band!  We were elated at the opportunity to film during a studio session, as it’s something we don’t often have the chance or timing to do, and so we called our friendly waitress’ husband, Tom, and scheduled to meet him that evening at Club Shmed Studios in Missoula.  With the rest of the evening ahead of us, we decided to come back to The Top Hat Lounge later that evening to catch a bit of the night’s featured local band, Kung Fu Kongress.

We explored a bit more of downtown Missoula, abused the free baskets of chips and salsa at a local Mexican restaurant, and made a hearty dinner of beans and tuna in a nearby park.  We returned to The Top Hat Lounge and walked up to the stage to introduce ourselves to Kung Fu Kongress when it happened again.  Coincidence 3:  As I was speaking to the trumpet player, I felt a tap on my shoulder—hello Lauren Depaul, long time high school friend!  Lauren, a student at University of Montana, happened to also be dating the very trumpet player in Kung Fu Kongress that I was speaking with.  We enjoyed a few drinks with Lauren while listening to the funky, jazz-inspired music of Kung Fu Kongress (who was performing their very last concert before all heading their separate ways across the country!).  We then made a beeline in the bus over to Club Shmed to hear Miller Creek in the studio.  Coincidence 4:  The studio is owned by Miller Creek keyboardist and ex-Weezer band member, Shmed.  No big deal.  We listened to the band play some recordings as back up to an up-and-coming Missoula rap artist and later interviewed Shmed on his experience running a studio in Missoula and his days during the 1990s rock scene in Los Angeles.  We then joined the members of Miller Creek in returning to The Top Hat Lounge, enjoyed a few drinks with friends new and old, and called it a night at closing.

We made our way to another Montana favorite the next day:  Bozeman!  Coincidence 5:  Without any prior planning, we arrived to Bozeman to find that it was the weekly event Music on Main, where three blocks of Bozeman’s Main Street close down and feature a local band on stage, local food truck vendors, and no open container laws!  Score.  We wandered around Main Street that evening, filming the local band 10 Feet Tall and 80 Proof, interviewing entertained audience members, and enjoying a few PBR deals at the local bars.  We spent the evening out on the town, making new friends and playing extended games of darts at the bars.  The next morning, we woke up just a bit bleary eyed and the Crew dropped me off at the Bozeman airport—just a quick four day hiatus from the bus to visit camp friends at my camp’s 80th reunion! Chase, Hallie, and Pat took it easy and checked out Gallatin County Regional Park before hitting up Dave’s for local brews and sushi. Ellie Schmidt, longtime friend and Colgate alum, hopped on the bus the next day, bringing the bus crew back to 4.  No coincidence there, we had been urging Ellie to join us since we started in early June.  Thanks for the good times, Montana– we’re pretty fond of your mountain towns and sounds!

 

08/12/13

Just for the Fun Of It: Seattle, WA

Friends Reunited With:  6

This weekend in Seattle, we were fortunate enough to stay with four Colgate alum in their lovely house in Capitol Hill—Dave, Sebastian, Sarah and Greta, thank you so much for the hospitality!  We also hung out with fellow Colgate classmate, Abby Callahan, and Katie’s high school bestie, Jeff Nichols!

Bars in Which We Imbibed:  4

We enjoyed ourselves at quite a few local Seattle drinking holes, ranging from large beer halls to intimate, Christmas-lights-lit hole-in-the-walls.  If you’re ever in Seattle, make sure to visit Von Trapp’s Beer Hall, Montana, The Unicorn, and Cha Cha’s!

Local Not-For-Profits Visited:  1

The Locavaux Project sat down with Beth, program director at the Seattle-based Vera Project, an all-ages volunteer-based music and arts venue.  We got a tour of the facilities and learned a little bit more about the all-ages venue that hosts up to 100 concerts each year, most of which are local Seattle groups.  They also provide classes in screen printing, sound mixing, live recording, musical journalism, and even lighting.  Sign us up!  Check out everything awesome about Vera Project here!

Number of Pickle-Back Shots Taken:  too many

We learned of a new trend while in Seattle:  pickle-back shots!  A shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice.  Great?  Awful?  We’ll let you be the judge of that.

Millionaire’s Parties Attended:  1

Drew, we might not know what you do, but what we are certain of is that the party you threw at your rather large home on Mercer Island is one for the books.  Thank you for hosting the Locavaux Crew and entourage, giving us rides in your epic golf cart, and allowing us the chance to jump into beautiful Lake Washington!  This Seattle Seafair spent at your home will not soon be forgotten.

Local Food Hot Spots Eaten At:  6

If you haven’t noticed, we folks here at the Locavaux Project like to eat.  But hey, when it’s local fare, why not?  We tried noodle dishes at Chungee’s Drink ‘n Eat, burritos at Rancho Bravo, cheese curds at Beecher’s Cheese, Cuban sandwiches at Paseo, pho in Chinatown and coffee at Bauhaus Coffee!  But seriously, if you need a food lovers guide to any of the cities the Locavaux Crew has visited while on tour, holler, because we always find the best eats.

Touristy “Seattle” Sites Seen:  7

I mean, when in Seattle, right?  We checked out Fremont, Ballard, the Space Needle, Seattle City Center, Pike Place Market (Beecher’s Cheese!), Queen Anne’s scenic lookout and the Ballard Steps.

Dogs Met:  2

We got to know Lucille, aka Lucy, Dave’s loyal furry friend and Finn, Postmadonna’s camera-loving canine.  Can the Locavaux Crew get a dog for the bus now?

New Music Scenes Discovered:  1

While in Seattle we discovered a musical genre none of the Locavaux Crew was remotely familiar with: Math Rock, a rhythmically complex, often guitar-based style of experimental rock and indie rock.  Math rock is becoming a burgeoning experimental rock scene in Seattle, providing a new musical outlet amidst a sea of flannel-wearing, Fleet-Foxes-wannabe singer-songwriters.  Postmadonna, a math rock group of pretty major influence in the local Seattle music scene, was kind enough to play a few songs for the Locavaux Project and answer some questions about this progressive music style.  Check out some math rock for yourself, and give Postmadonna a listen here!  If you’re ever in town, check out The Comet, a bar and math rock concert scene.  You won’t regret it.

Meals Cooked by Chef Greg:  2.5

Greg, aka Chef Greg and host Sarah’s main squeeze, did not shy from showing the Locavaux Crew his culinary skills.  From French toast and home fries to eggs benedict with smoked salmon, we wouldn’t complain one bit if Greg found himself on the Locavaux bus cooking dinner for the crew.

 

So thank you Seattle, you showed us what it means to be an exciting, enthusiastic and energetic local music scene full of fun and supportive people.  We’ll be back soon, we couldn’t bear to think of being away for too long.

08/6/13

Washington Wilderness (and Wackiness)

We left Portland filled with donuts, faint memories of craft beer and shirt taking-off competitions, and a new travel companion:  Nora Edmunds!  We set off for the coast once again, anxious to get back to Route 101 and those vast, never-ending Pacific coast horizons.  Our first day back on the road we drove through beautiful Astoria, Oregon and hurtled across the incredible linkage of bridges that connects the North Western tip of Oregon to Long Beach, Washington.  We camped in Cape of Disappointment (we hope this is a sarcastic name, as its really quite beautiful out there!) National Park that evening and enjoyed our first official round of campfire s’mores.  We continued north throughout the week with the ultimate goal of reaching Olympic National Park in northern Washington by mid-week, parking the bus in the sand and camping on two beaches mere feet from the Pacific Ocean tide.  Early Tuesday evening, we stopped in Copalis Beach and wandered into The Green Lantern Tavern.  We made friends with some wonderful locals, got talking to the new owners of the bar, and even became addicted to a gambling game of sorts.  After spending $8 with no luck, the owners took pity and gave us the price for free:  a box of 48 poptarts was ours for the taking!  Thanks Green Lantern for providing the Locavaux Crew with breakfast for the next two months!  As we journeyed north the next day, we came upon Pacific Beach, Washington, a small fishing town and home to Wacky’s Warehouse.  Wacky’s Warehouse, owned by none other than Mr. Wacky himself, is a hole-in-the-wall oddities store that also features a donated open mic area that is often frequented by locals.  The Locavaux Crew was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Wacky play some songs on the piano and hear about his days as host to a pirate music radio channel straight out of the back of his store.  He also treated us to tales of his own cross-country trip in the 1960s in a renovated postal service truck!  What a life Mr. Wacky has had—we’re pretty sure he’s the perfect “This American Life” material for NPR.

Speaking of lives we wish we led, fate led us to a gas station just outside of Olympic National Park in which we met Rhodes, a member of the famous 1960s Hog Farm gang and friend to Ken Kesey!  For those of you who know any member of the Locavaux Crew, you know that we’re incredibly inspired by and big fans of Tom Wolfe’s novel, “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test,” a journalistic recount of Ken Kesey and his attempt to spread LSD across the United States by means of his gang of friends, The Merry Pranksters, and their beloved bus, Furthur.  Upon meeting Rhodes, we immediately tackled him with questions of his own adventures on Furthur, what type of man Ken Kesey was, if Neil Cassady, the driver of Furthur, was as cool as he seems in the novel, and so on.  Rhodes, if we could have, we would have had you recount tales of Electric Kool Acid Tests for hours on end, but I guess we’ll just have to wait until our next chance encounter.  Georgia sure was proud to get a few compliments from one of the more famous bus passengers of our time.  We made it to Olympic National Park’s Lake Quinault that afternoon and explored a few of the nearby trails into the famous rainforests of northern Washington.  We ended the evening with a drink on the lawn of the beautiful park lodge on Lake Quinault and made it to our campsite, where we made a few new Canadian friends, jammed on the guitar, and made s’mores over an open campfire.

We drove on towards Seattle the next morning, deciding to stop outside of Olympia, the state’s capital, to try and find a little local music and celebrate National IPA Day the right way.  Luckily enough, it didn’t take long until we happened upon Buzz’s Tavern, a small sports bar and home to weekly open mic night.  We enjoyed an incredible selection of talented local drummers, guitarists, vocalists, and bassists, all hosted by the friendly and attentive Scott (who makes his living in the area setting up high quality open mics for all).  Our favorite act?  A family band, consisting of a father and his two children, entitled, “Me and My Dad.”  We even got to interview them following their first Open Mic ever!  And so after a week of beaches, rainforests, Merry Prankster run-ins, IPAs and open mics, the Locavaux Crew was content and ready for the next big weekend stop:  Seattle!

08/2/13

Bros, Beers and Bands: Portland, OR

You know it’s going to be a good weekend when, upon arrival, you’re met with a kegerator.  Georgia rolled into Portland late Friday night and arrived at our good friends (and fraternity brothers of Pat and Chase’s), Mike Dineen and Bobby Legaye’s apartment.  The boys ushered us into their apartment to a welcoming party in our honor, fully stocked with a kegerator of Natty Light (our favorite!).  The night was spent meeting Bobby and Mike’s friends and coworkers, giving tours of the bus, maybe, just maybe, partaking in a few beer bongs, and enjoying late-night drinks on the bus rooftop.

The next morning, we hobbled over to a local sports bar for a glamorous $2 breakfast and, once filled with pancakes and eggs, made out way to the Pearl District for a scheduled interview with Ben Weyerhauser of Rags & Ribbons, a favored band among the local Portland music scene.  The interview with Ben, which took place in one of the Pent House lofts of the Pearl District apartment building (those views!), was extremely informative and eye-opening as Ben spoke to the saturated Portland music scene and the benefits of working within a community of musicians and artists.  We said our well wishes to Ben, afterwards heading downtown Portland for the annual Oregon Brewer’s Festival.  For the entirety of the afternoon we tasted local Oregon beers and enjoyed getting to know a few new favorite breweries.  Hey Ninkasi, Hallie and I see you…  As the evening wore on, we made our way back to Bobby and Mike’s apartment to greet two more Colgate friends and alum:  Mack Woodruff and Sam Leff!  Remember Sam from Pittsburgh?  Mack and Sam are in the midst of a cross-country road-trip towards Los Angeles, where Mack starts work at a talent agency in just a few days.  The gang, once reunited, enjoyed a few drinks and made their way to the bars on 21st Street in Portland.  The evening was spent enjoying a few “local” musicians take on some karaoke songs (Mack and Sam’s rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever” will, for lack of a better word, forever be engrained in our minds), hosting countless rounds of “who can take their shirt off the fastest?” and subsequently filming it (over and over and over again).

The next morning was made more tolerable with another $2 breakfast and a trip to the NIKE campus, where both Mike and Bobby work.  Our personalized tour of the workspace ended with a trip to the employee discount store—the boys were finally given their ideal shopping trip!  Newly outfitted with swag, the gang made its way back to the apartment.  While the boys visited the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, Hallie and I met up with Hallie’s friend from camp and Sasquatch festival friend, Katie Kelly, for dinner at Por Qué No? Tacos.  We reminisced on our first year at Sasquatch Music Festival together (four years ago!) and learned about the “real” Portland, hipsters, weirdness and all.  We met back up with the boys for a Sunday night locals concert at Rontoms bar—Hands In and Hustle & Drone, both Portland-based groups, rocked the house with synth-fueled beats and indie-electro hits.  We had a few drinks, took a few photobooth pictures, and ate a slice of pizza (because honestly, there are way too many pizza places in Portland to not eat some pizza).  It was a great end to a weekend well-spent in Portland.  The next morning we said our goodbyes to Bobby, Mike, Mack and Sam, and headed out towards the coast once again.  Of course, we had to stop at Voodoo Donuts and the food carts of Portland to get in our fair share of locally famed foods.  Thanks for a great weekend, Portland—we couldn’t have asked for better friends to spend the weekend with while in your fine city.  Stay weird, Portland!  We’ll miss you.

 

 

08/1/13

Hot Springs and Hippies

The coast came and went, and by Thursday evening we traveled inland towards Eugene, Oregon.  The bus was met with applause and thumbs up as we traveled further into what we now like to call the hippie capital of the United States.  After a quick quinoa dinner (admit it boys, you liked it!), we made our way to Luckey’s Saloon for a concert by Eugene locals, The Long Hello.  What great female vocals and jazzy guitar!  Ellie Schmidt, our good friend and Colgate graduate, arranged for her cousin, Mac, to meet up with us and hang out at the concert.  Nice to meet you, Mac!

We hopped on the bus late that night and began the journey towards Cougar Springs, a local hotspot (literally) that we had been turned onto by a passerby in Mill Valley. That morning, we hiked in along the beautiful coast of Cougar Reservoir and were met by a series of cascading pools fed by a cavernous hot spring.  We made friends with an older woman who captured our imagination with tales of her young life living in the Haight in the 1960s (quote of the week:  “I saw the Beatles a lot back then, but I don’t really know what they were like.  I was on too much acid!”) and luxuriated in our newfound natural spa.  We then jumped into the more temperate waters of the reservoir, jumped off some boulders, swam under a waterfall, and ate lunch while listening to a man play guitar on the cliffs near our parked bus.  An afternoon for the books, we’d say.  And off to Portland we then went!

 

08/1/13

Cruisin’ the California Coast

Despite being bummed to leave San Francisco and say goodbye to our friends, we had one thing on our mind that kept us traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge and onto the 101: the coast. Having all grown up in either the Midwest or on the East coast, the Locavaux Crew was ready to explore new territory and see the sights. We stopped quickly in Mill Valley to have a drink and enjoy some late afternoon snacks with friends Jimmy and Emily Hughes, took in a few Open Mic Night acts at the local (and famed) Sweetwater concert hall down the road, and eventually got on the highway for Napa Valley. Mr. Scribner, who works at two vineyards in the Napa Valley area, kindly offered dinner, beds and even a wine tasting to the bus crew—it was an offer we couldn’t resist. Papa Scribs bought us a delicious dinner of burgers at Gott’s Roadside stand, took us to the company house where he works during the week, and we called it a night. The next morning, the Locavaux Crew took a tour of both Rutherford Hill and Chimney Rock wineries, learning from each of the winemakers at the vineyards all about the winemaking process and upcoming harvest season. After buying a few bottles of wine (when in Rome, right?) and regretfully dropping off Meegan at the bus stop, we packed up the bus and headed for the coast. Meegan, we miss your late-night bus renditions of Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Tracey Chapman already!

We arrived to the Pacific Coast late that afternoon and ogled the incredible shoreline from the awe-inspiring vista that is Route 1. We stopped in Mendocino, home to the most western point in the continental United States and, conveniently, Hallie’s uncle! Our visit to Mendocino was sadly short-lived—Mr. Jetton treated us to dinner, a tour of the quaint town of Mendocino and a peek into their music festival tent before we said our goodbyes and headed out in search of a camping spot. We pulled off of the side of the road a few miles down the highway, engulfed by darkness as soon as the bus lights went off, and hit the hay, unsure of what we were going to be met with when we woke up. What did we wake up to, you ask? Only a vast, cliff doted view of the coast with giant boulders lining the beach. It was, you know, decent. The rest of the week was spent zig-zagging along the coastline on Route 1, enjoying the small beach towns that continuously populated the Pacific coast and gazing in wonder at the beauty of the California and Oregon wilderness. We made our way further north towards the California-Oregon border as the week wore on, exploring the Redwood National Forest and visiting one of the country’s famous Drive-Thru Trees (sadly the bus didn’t fit—but we crew members walked through for kicks). We spent our evenings singing along to Hallie’s guitar, enjoying some homemade bus cooking, tasting some local beers, and sitting in wonder at the Pacific ocean sights immediately in front of us. Everything is just bigger out West—bigger beaches, bigger boulders, bigger cliffs, bigger trees… It’s breathtaking. There’s a saying we’re reminded of as we look back on our time on the coast: “In the east, man is God, but in the west, nature is God.” Judging by that beautiful stretch of coastline we were lucky enough to experience, we couldn’t agree more.

07/28/13

San Francisco, CA

Our arrival into the Bay area started out with a beep.  Literally, a beep.  About 30 miles outside of San Francisco the brake line warning went off, beeping at an irregular pace that not even the loudest dubstep song could cover up.  We were perplexed:  we had just gotten a new brake pad and the brakes seemed to be doing just fine.  We drove on into the city, Chase keeping his nervous anxiety to himself, when all of a sudden, on the Bay Bridge, it stopped.  We were home free!  Apparently Georgia likes San Francisco.  That evening we arrived to Colgate friends Ally Latta and Bailey Hagan’s apartment in Nob Hill, weary from a long day’s drive, but managed to muster up the strength (and thirst) to hit up their favorite bars on Polk Street.  Our good friend Jess Leslie even tagged along!  It was a Colgate reunion, west-coast style.

The next morning we gathered the troops to visit the famous San Francisco farmer’s market in the Ferry Building.  Kristen Weiner, a sophomore at Colgate and good friend to all, joined us—Colgate reunions continued!  We (well, largely the girls) walked around in awe as we ogled stand after stand of fresh produce.  After gorging ourselves on free samples and some tasty Chinese food at Out the Door, we picked up a few pounds of tomatoes and peaches (in preparation for a homemade dinner the next evening) and… wait for it… had another west coast reunion with Chase’s childhood friend, Chris Maddox, on our way back to the apartment.  The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering the Mission district of San Francisco, exploring thrift shops and local bars (conveniently around happy hour time—be sure to check out West of Pecos and Zeitgeist for some great deals!).  That evening we wandered to a cheap sushi joint to treat Chris to dinner as a reward for his Kickstarter donation (thanks Chris!), closely followed by another trip to Polk Street for some late night bar-hopping.  Ally and Bailey seemed to find their new favorite haunt at Kozy Kar.  Sunday was spent exploring even more neigborhoods—while Chase and Meegan rented bikes and trekked across the Golden Gate Bridge, the remainder of the Crew walked around the Marina district and logged a few miles of city walking.  The evening coalesced with a dinner of homemade shrimp tacos and farmer’s market fresh tomatoes and peaches salad, and ultimately led to a Sunday night concert series at San Francisco’s renowned music venue, Bottom of the Hill.  The Crew listened to some fantastic folk-rock and jam inspired tunes by San Francisco locals, Anju’s Pale Blue Eyes and Shady Maples!  Both groups were incredibly friendly, gave wonderfully informative interviews, and wished the Locavaux Project well on their travels up the coast towards Portland.

San Francisco, you’re one cool cat of a city.  We like you a lot—you’ve got great food, great bars, and great music.  We like you enough to maybe even move back there…  Georgia was even a big fan of you—so many new colorful and painted bus friends, she didn’t stick out nearly as much as before!  But we haven’t gotten to Portland, OR yet, and that’s home to the most famous bus of them all…

 

07/28/13

Alright Nevada, We Feel You.

We’re not going to lie, Nevada.  We were dreading the long drive through the entirety of your state we had last week.  We were dreading the one hundred plus degree temperatures.  We were dreading driving through the night (in order to stay somewhat cool) as Chase cranked up the electronic music on the bus and cracked himself out on energy drinks.  We were dreading running out of water and sweating in places we didn’t even know existed.  We were dreading rattle snakes and tumbleweed.  But then:  we spied the beautifully pristine and vast Salt Flats in the nighttime distance.  We came upon an amazingly delicious little tortilla factory in Winnamucka and subsequently had an incredible taco night on the bus.  We found an oasis of murky blue waters at Rye Patch Reservoir and spent the afternoon cooling off in the lake and sipping on Mike’s Hard Lemonade Margaritas.  We watched the sunset reflect in purples, pinks and reds on the surrounding canyon walls while perched on the rooftop in the middle of a desert.  We jumped into the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe!

So Nevada, we’re sorry for ever doubting you as a state.  You proved yourself a pretty neat place for a gang of friends to drive a bus through and hang out.  You might have proven to us that hot wind does exist, and your unreal daytime temperatures might have caused Hallie to have a tad bit of heat exhaustion, but overall, you were pretty swell.  Thank you, Nevada, for proving the Locavaux Crew wrong in all the right ways.

07/22/13

Park City, Utah

You’ve done it again, Park City, Utah.  Having already visited Park City and Hallie’s friend, Ryan Gerstner, for a junior year spring break (it was an epic time, we’ll keep it at that), Hallie and I were excited to return and see what musical treats the small, mountain town had in store for the Locavaux Crew.  The drive in through Wyoming and the northern region of Utah was breathtaking:  vast pastures, rolling horizons of mountains, and dusty canyons.  We stopped at a pull-of in Wyoming for a delicious rooftop dinner and were elated at the amount of honks and friendly waves we received from passersby.  So much love for Georgia, the bus!  We got into Park City later that evening and were greeted by Ryan and crew, who had graciously arranged a mid-trip soiree at their house for the Locavaux Crew.  We met plenty of Park City locals, had a few drinks, and promptly passed out.

The next day we took the gondola up the mountain to see two of Ryan’s friends, Paul and Mike, play guitar to the people at the top of the mountain.  Both skilled acoustic guitar players, these two had passing crowds of tourists and locals singing along to country favorites.   We then made our way back towards Ryan’s house to take a drive to some scenic points of Park City and explore an abandoned mine shaft up the mountain.  Hunger struck soon after, and so we walked downtown to explore Main Street and its host of shops, restaurants, and bars for the remainder of the afternoon—so many sushi restaurants, so little time!  Ryan, in an attempt to get us in touch with the most local music talents in the area, decided to turn us onto the Park City DJ scene; he was able to arrange a meeting with Chris Shields, part of a local DJ set, Cosmos and Cameos, at his studio space in an Arts Collective building up the street from Ryan’s house.  We got to interview Chris and watch him work on new material with his computer and turntable.  It was unreal to witness a real DJ at work.  Never again will I look at electronic the same—that is some complicated stuff!  After standing in awe of Chris’ DJ skills (and goofing around in the recording studio with all of the fancy equipment) we made our way back to Ryan’s place for a BBQ with the Crew and Ryan’s neighbors.  The night ended with a visit to town to see some local bars (if you’re ever in Park City, make sure to go to No Name and O’Shuck’s) and subsequently learn about the strange liquor laws in Utah—no drink specials at bars?  Say what?

Our final morning in Park City was spent working on the rooftop porch (almost finished!) and interviewing Mountain Town Sound events manager, Brian Richards.  Brian coordinates free, outdoor concerts around Park City that feature a host of local musicians–check out the wonderfully diverse lineup they’re providing this summer here!  The manager of Starbar, a music venue in town that hosts a wide array of local DJs from Park City, heard about the Locavaux Project and offered to show us the bar and have Chris perform a mini-set especially for the Locavaux Crew.  I won’t lie—it was awesome.  I don’t think I’ll ever be offered a private DJ party at a sick club at 4:30 pm in the afternoon on a Wednesday (with champagne!) ever again in my life.  Chris proved once again that he’s someone to watch out for in the future at music festivals across the country as he provided some sick beats to our audience of ten.  We then interviewed Koby, the manager, and learned about his role as promoter of local electronic talent in the town.

We walked back out into the afternoon light of Main Street, grabbed a quick bite of sushi (it was an opportunity we couldn’t’ afford to miss) and said our goodbyes to Ryan and company.  Thanks for a ridiculously good time, PC.  You were the most entertaining stop we could have asked for before the most unanticipated portion of the trip:  the vast nothingness that is the desert of Nevada.

07/17/13

Coloradical

Reunions are a great thing, wouldn’t you agree?  The Locavaux Crew had reunions left and right during our time in Colorado this past weekend.  Not a bad place to be reunited with friends, eh?  It all began when we arrived to fellow Colgate graduate and beloved friend, Haley Mirr’s, house outside of Denver:  “Guys, I’m gonna cry!  This is awesome!” she exclaimed while fiddling with the locked door that separated us.  Once reunited with Haley, it was only about thirty minutes until the next wave of long-awaited get-togethers with the arrival of Tim Connor, another fellow Colgate graduate and Boulder, Colorado native, and Pat Connolly, the Locavaux Crew’s newest and most anticipated member.  Welcome to the Crew, Pat!  Pat will be hanging out on the bus and helping us out as we continue to travel the country with Locavaux Project.  After much-needed catch-up time, showers, and a delicious dinner at View House (thank you, Mirr family, for treating us!) the Locavaux Crew plus entourage ventured over to Cervantes Other Side to catch West Water Outlaws perform.  West Water Outlaws, a local Boulder group of high-energy rock musicians, drew a huge, enthusiastic crowd.  Their classic rock and blues hybrid style had the whole audience moving and grooving—these seriously talented musicians knew how to make people have a seriously good time.  More reunions ensued as Katie’s cousin Mason, who works at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Denver, came to give West Water Outlaws a listen and as Chase’s best friend from high school and Colorado University student, Ben (also coincidentally the guitarist in West Water Outlaw’s cousin) joined in on the fun.  We closed the evening with an alleyway interview with the four members of West Water Outlaws and headed home to Haley’s house to crash for the night.

The next morning we took our time venturing up to Boulder to spend the day with Tim’s family at his house in Gunbarrel.  The Locavaux Crew enjoyed a delicious dinner and great conversation with the Connor family while taking in the incredible (and much anticipated) views of the mountains.  On Sunday, the boys took advantage of the sun to play a few holes of golf (Chase got a hole in one!) while Hallie and I updated the blog, edited photos, and planned the coming weeks of the roadtrip.  Tim was kind enough to lend us his car to venture into Boulder and explore Pearl Street Mall.  Unfortunately (and I swear it wasn’t my fault!) we got into a tad-bit of a fender bender in a Boulder parking garage.  As if my chances of driving the bus weren’t slim enough, I’m pretty sure there’s absolutely no chance now that Chase will let me touch the wheel of the bus.  Womp womp.  After some retail therapy to ease the pain of a half-hour wasted exchanging insurance information, Hallie and I met back up with the Locavaux Crew and made our way back in the bus to Boulder.  Time for more reunions!  Meegan Smith, fellow Colgate graduate and guide for the Locavaux Crew while in Ocean City, Maryland, joined up with the bus.  Meegan will be helping out with the Locavaux Project for the next week and a half, so get ready to see a lot more of our favorite sort-of ginger!

After a quick drive up Chautauqua Park to take in some scenic views of Boulder, we made our way back to Pearl Street Mall to interview a local Boulder DJ, Ehren Wright, a.k.a. So Down, and got to know a little bit more about the electronic scene in Boulder.  Ehren gave us insight on his experience as a DJ and producer in the area while also enlightening us on his own aspirations to fund a mobile-DJ stand through Kickstarter!  It was a crowd for dinner that night as the Locavaux Crew was joined by Haley, Ehren and friends, and also my longtime camp pal, Breda Anderson, at Rio Grande for Mexican food!  Quite the lively bunch.  We moved the party to the bus and had a relaxing evening chilling in the bus and on the rooftop porch.  There was even a massive sleepover on the bus!  The next morning, it was then time for the not-so-great part of reunions—the eventual goodbye.  And so, with a few more hugs and signatures in the Locavaux guest book, the Crew (now up to family-band size with five members!) set off towards Park City, Utah.  Despite leaving a few friends behind, the sight of the mountains ahead of us was all we needed to get excited to get back on the road and see what the West had in store for the Locavaux Project.

 

 

07/14/13

Midwest is the Best Part II: Iowa and Nebraska

Seriously, we aren’t kidding when we say that Midwesterners are the best.  The Midwest hospitality and friendliness didn’t stop in Minneapolis—as we visited Iowa City, Des Moines, Omaha, we felt even more love from the great plain states.  So much so that we decided to give you a list of the highlights, a.k.a. the nicest of the nice things we experienced in Iowa and Nebraska these past few days.

Iowa City, IA

·      Meeting up with the Iowa City local band, The Olympics.  These kids waited around for us (we ran a tad late due to a fuel filter change outside of Minneapolis—that wasn’t so nice) to play us a few of their songs and hang out on the bus.  We haven’t laughed that hard in a while.  We also learned that beakers are the new hipster drinking-vessel of choice.  See you later, mason jars!

·      Grabbing a cup of coffee with Elliott and Griffen of Iowa City group Chasing Shade to talk about local Iowa City musicians, their aspirations for the future, and their own upcoming Kickstarter campaign.  These guys were incredibly nice and enthusiastic to answering any and all of our questions.  Good luck out in Los Angeles, you two!  We know Chasing Shade is bound for great things.

Des Moines, IA

·      Meeting up with Onnalee Kelley (a fellow Colgate-graduate) and her family in their lovely home in Des Moines!  The Kelley’s not only provided us with an air conditioned bedroom and showers during one of the worst heat waves the bus has experienced yet (95 degrees!) but also took us to a tasty Mexican food diner, fed us a delicious breakfast, and did our laundry.  Thanks Kelley’s!  We’ll never pass through Iowa again without stopping by to say hello—you guys are the best!

·      Speaking of delicious Mexican food:  El Patio.  If you’re in Iowa City, make sure to stop by this restaurant because man does that place do enchiladas right.

·      Meeting up-and-coming Des Moines band, DesMunks!  These guys let us peek into their practice session to hear a little bit of their incredible local music.  A little bit of jam, a little bit of funk, and a little bit of jazz, these three musicians are cooking up something really special in Des Moines.

Omaha, NE

·      Upon arriving in Omaha, we stopped by the city Visitor’s Center and met the nicest folks!  One older woman offered to take us out to a vegan dinner, and another (actually a musician herself) gave us a copy of her own band, Drake Hotel’s, CD!  She’s really quite good, check her out here!

·      Sitting down for dinner and drinks with the founder of HearNebraska.org, Andy Norman, and devoted HB team member, Lauren Schomburg.  These two were the most enthusiastic, devoted individuals we’ve met yet while on the road.  Their passion to bring the world-renowned respect the local Nebraska music scene deserves is incredibly admirable and outrageously cool.  We tip our hats off to these guys, they’re doing great things for their community and for the aspiring musicians in Nebraska.  Make sure to check out what Hear Nebraska is all about here.  What’s more, they took us out to dinner to a great little spot in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha: Benson Brewery!  Good food, good beer, good company.  What more could we have asked for?

·      Interviewing Jeff Taffola of Saddle Creek Records.  We got to sit down with one of the members of the Saddle Creek Record Label team and talk about what it’s like to work for a record label based in Omaha.  A cool guy with even cooler bands signed to the label.  Check their musical roster out here!

·      Later that evening, the Locavaux Project’s bus’s name was born:  Georgia, The Nutty Bus!  It’s fits perfectly for our almond-colored, slightly loco bus lifestyle.

·      Exploring the Old Market district of Omaha.  A burgeoning scene of independent record stores, restaurants, bars and clothing stores.  We wandered around and did a little bit of retail therapy before hitting the open road to North Platte, Nebraska.  Our favorite purchase:  matching hemp Aladdin pants.  Chase even got his own cream, hemp shirt.  Cult status, here we come!

North Platte, NE

·      A nice, comfy, and cheap camping site right next to the Platte River.  We sat on the rooftop porch, ate dinner, drank some vino verde, played a little guitar, wrote in our journals, and got ready for the journey to Denver, CO the next day.

So, thanks Midwest.  Your temperatures might not have been that pleasant (90 degrees is a little much), but the people that call you home sure were.

 

07/11/13

Midwest is the Best Part I: Minneapolis, MN

There’s something about the Midwest that just can’t be beat.  You email a band in Minneapolis asking to film their set, and the next thing you know they’re touring you around the city, taking you to their favorite beach hangout and asking if you need their car to do any bus errands.  I’m getting ahead of myself—let’s backtrack to our arrival into Minneapolis, Minnesota this past Saturday evening.  It was a long hot drive from Sayner, Wisconsin to Minneapolis but we made the best of the drive, stopping at Lake Hallie (bucket list check off for Locavaux member Hallie Kohler) and picking up some Wisconsin-famous cheese curds to snack on while driving.  As is the fate of most roadside snacks on the bus, the cheese curds did not remain for long.  We arrived to our friend and fellow Colgate classmate, Laura Jaffee’s, house in the Uptown district of Minneapolis that evening, greeted by not only Laura but an entire gaggle of friends!  Carter Cooper (another Colgate graduate) and a few friends from Laura’s hometown were there to hang out that evening having celebrated the Fourth of July in MPLS a few days prior.

We quickly caught up, gave a tour of the bus, and headed to downtown Minneapolis’ most famed venue, First Avenue, to film a local band Laura had turned us onto:  Carroll.  Carroll was actually performing at a smaller stage connected to First Avenue, Seventh Street Entrance, but the gang took a look inside the famous main stage, first, just to see what all the hype was about.  First Avenue is among the most popular local venues in MPLS, bringing in up and comers from across the world to nationally renowned artists (of all genres!) to small, Midwestern-based independent groups.  Seventh Street Entrance, the younger sibling of First Avenue, is a small stage with an audience capacity of about one hundred people and is most famous for its showcasing of the underground punk and metal scenes (fun fact:  back in their early punk years, the Flaming Lips preferred to play at Seventh Street Entrance of all of the venues in Minneapolis!).  The Locavaux Crew got to Seventh Street Entrance in time for the opening act, Adelyn Rose, an indie rock band from Eau Claire, Wisconsin featuring a female lead singer, Addy.  Eager to get a female perspective on local music (having interviewed largely all-male or male-led groups), we sat Addy down and talked to her about the pros and cons of being a woman lead-singer in a small, up and coming, local Wisconsin band.  Carroll came on next, and it was clear from the emphatic cheering received by their first song on-stage that they were the local darlings of the MPLS indie rock scene.  The venue was packed as audience-members swayed to smooth, synthesizer-heavy sound characteristic of Carroll’s tracks. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the incredibly friendly and hilarious four friends that comprise Carroll following their set—we discussed the incredibly (almost to a fault!) supportive local music scene in Minneapolis, their days as Macalester students in neighboring St. Paul, and the awesome collaborations that take place in MPLS among musicians and artists.

And now to that part about that famous Midwestern friendliness.  The crew woke up sweltering in the bus (eighty degree mornings + closed windows + no air-conditioning = human oven, bus-style) and joined Laura and friends at French Meadow Bakery for an out of this world delicious breakfast.  Seriously—if I could eat there every day for every meal, I would, no question.  But for now, might I recommend the vegetarian huevos rancheros?  We then got a call from Carroll guitarist, Max Kalicke, asking if we wanted to hang out and see some of the sights in MPLS.  Already stationed at Calhoun Beach for some lake cooling-off and sunbathing, we met up with Max nearby, hopped in his car, got a quick tour of the Lake of the Isles area, and headed to a more “colorful” lakefront, Hidden Beach. On a separate note:  have we mentioned that whenever the Locavaux Crew gets in a car after traveling in the bus for while, it feels like we’re in a racecar?  Minivans even feel like the stuff of NASCAR.  We hung out with Max and friends for a while, discussing Carroll band members’ favorite memories of concerts and festival appearances, swimming about in the lake, learning about local hotspots in MPLS and St. Paul, and making a plethora of “I’m starting a new business” jokes.  Chase, Laura and I even took our chances and went swimming/wrestling in the natural mud pit found on the side of the lake—it got real messy, real fast.  We said out goodbyes to Max that afternoon and relaxed at Laura’s apartment, talking a walk later that evening in the Uptown area to survey some more local bars and music venues, and headed to bed on the earlier side.  We drove Laura to work the next morning (best arrival to work ever), enjoyed yet another delicious breakfast (Cuban this time!) at Victor’s 1959 Café, and headed out towards Iowa City, Iowa.  Thank you Minneapolis for proving that, while we’ve been met with nothing but hospitality and friendliness all across this fine nation, good ‘ol Midwesterners know just how to make three out-of-town kids on a bus feel right at home.

07/11/13

Keep the Nutty Bus Crackin’ (er, Rollin’)

We have excellent news!  After a burst of tired, delirious joke-cracking upon our arrival in Omaha, NB, we discovered the name for the Locavaux bus and mobile home-Georgia!  We had been musing on this name for a while.  When on the highway, Georgia seems a fitting name for the bus as she lumbers (gracefully, mind you) through beautiful, vast stretches of open road that the Locavaux Crew has come to love so much.  But we also knew that the almond color of the bus had to be incorporated into the name, as her color stands our amidst a sea of black, red and forest green cars and stark white trucks.  So, because the state of Georgia is known for its production of nuts, we’ve given Georgia the bus a nickname–the Nutty Bus!  We’re excited to finally give our beloved bus, home and office space the full name (and nickname!) she deserves.

And with the bus in mind, and her laundry list of mechanical needs and the expensive cost of fuel to keep her happy and running, we have even more good news!  Many people have asked us if it is still possible to continue to donate to the project despite the close of the Kickstarter funding period.  We’re thrilled at the prospect of continued support for the Locavaux Project, so we’ve created a donation button located on the right side of the “Home” page of this blog.  The PayPal account we’ve set up is an easy and extremely helpful way to give any amount of money directly to the project and to help us continue to travel the country in search of the incredibly talented and diverse local music scenes we can’t seem to get enough of.  So please consider donating if you haven’t already and thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the overwhelming kindness and support you have shown the Locavaux Project.

07/11/13

Wisconsin: Cheesy Bavaria

So sometimes I feel as though we don’t talk enough about the in-between parts of this journey, meaning the travel we take between these incredible towns and cities of the United States we’ve been fortunate enough to visit.  Isn’t there the (incredibly clichéd) saying that goes, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey?”  Well, on that oncredibly original note of mine, I can’t think of a better place to start this post than with the portion of our journey from Traverse City, Michigan to Sayner, Wisconsin, a stretch of road that led us through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We took the scenic route towards the Mackinaw Island Bridge, passing by tall pines interspersed with beautiful vineyards and cherry orchards.  The Mackinaw Bridge was in and of itself an incredible sight—with a vast expanse of Lake Michigan below us, Mackinaw Island visible in the distance, the bus hurtled on into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  For the next two hours the Locavaux Crew’s faces were plastered to the bus windows as we passed beautiful stretches of Lake Michigan beach, dune grasses and pine trees.  **It should be noted that we broke away from the spellbinding vista that is a Great Lake and stopped at one of the many famous Pasty shops in the UP.  Pasties are a traditional pastry enjoyed by Yoopers since the mining boom in the early years of the state’s existence, consisting of veggies and meat enveloped in pastry dough that keeps warm for long stretches of time.  It should also be noted that those Pasties were devoured in record time.  We continued driving that evening as we made our way to my family’s cabin in northern Wisconsin, enjoying the lengthy daylight (sunset at 10 pm!) and the beautiful, pink and blue sunset.  We had a quick night’s sleep on a road side rest stop, woke up early, and made it to the small, Northwoods town of Sayner, Wisconsin by noon the next day.

Upon arriving at the Scribner cabin on beautiful Plum Lake in Sayner, Wisconsin we were greeted by 1.  The family’s rather large, gallumfing yellow lab, Clovis and 2.  A wonderful waterside lunch on the pier with brats (when in Wisconsin!), veggie burgers, copious amounts of pickles, watermelon and the ultimate Wisconsin summer beer:  New Glarus’ spotted cow.  The remainder of the day was spent laying on the dock reading, catching some rays, and cruising around the lake on the family ski boat.  That evening, after yet another delicious meal of homemade pizza on “The Big Green Egg” (the new, greatly cherished and slightly goofy-looking grill purchased by the Scribner family earlier that week), the Locavaux Crew made a quick stop into the closest, larger town, Minocqua, to hear a little bit of local guitar legend, Tuck Pence, at the closet-size bar that is the Little Brown Jug.  After hearing a few songs from the talented Willie Nelson look-alike, we made our way to the Sayner Pub, home to the most popular Wednesday evening act in all of the Northwoods, The Marvins.  The Marvins are one of the more renowned cover bands in northern Wisconsin, known for their fun renditions of classic rock and their drummer and namesake, Marvin, a colorful, elderly fellow who isn’t afraid to run the risk of offending a few crowd members with his less than appropriate commentary.   I excitedly showed Chase and Hallie the bar and introduced them to many a familiar face in the crowd; having enjoyed myself at Sayner Pub’s weekly night with The Marvins far too many times to count in the numerous summers I’ve spent in northern Wisconsin as a camp counselor, I was excited to give The Marvins and the Sayner Pub the attention they deserve.  We spent the evening hanging out with seasonal vacationers, counselors from neighboring summer camps, and locals to Sayner, dancing the night away and partaking in some traditions of The Marvins evenings at Sayner Pub (i.e. “surfing” on the boys camp counselors backs during Marvin’s rendition of “Wipe Out”).  It was a good time had by all.

The next day, also known as the Fourth of July, the crew relaxed by the water and went tubing in the perfectly cool waters of Plum Lake.  Chase even rigged up the old Sunfish Zuma and sailed around the lake—that’s probably the most action that boat has seen in close to seven years.  We ate dinner in Minocqua on the shores of Lake Minocqua and then made our way to Otto’s Brat and Beer Garden, where we would be filming that evening.  As we walked in, we just barely caught the city of Minocqua fireworks.  Happy Birthday America!  And so began night two of witnessing yet another favorite, local bar act of the Northwoods, Brad Emanuel.  Also a cover artist, Brad performs with only his outstanding voice and incredible guitar skills every summer each Thursday and Sunday night at Otto’s Brat and Beer Garden, a local hotspot in downtown Minocqua and home to some of the rowdier crowds every summer.  Add the fact that it was the Fourth of July this particular evening, and you’ve got packed table dancing, pitchers on pitchers of Wisconsin beer, and some audience members dyeing to sing along with Brad at the top of their lungs and raise their glasses to his infamous drinking cheer, “Get ‘em up, get ‘em up, get ‘em up!  3, 2, 1… Drink!”  The Locavaux Crew got a kick out of filming the excited audience members surrounding the energetic and fun-loving Brad.  Fans were excited to cheer for the camera and tell us why they can’t resist coming back each summer for another night of Brad at Otto’s.  We met up with a collection of my own camp friends on a day off (hey Clearwater!), visited a few more local bars (ah Thirsty Whale, it had been far too long since I saw you last), and called it an evening when the bars finally closed down.  Thanks to the little sister, Becca Scribner, for so kindly picking up the Locavaux Crew at such an ungodly hour.

Our final, picturesque summer day in Sayner was spent spending even more time by the lake, exploring all of the fine shopping and local attractions that Minocqua has to offer (curse you Fourth of July vacationers for making it so unreasonably crowded), getting ice cream at my favorite soft serve spot, Brick’s, and hanging around with the Scribner family on the back porch of the cabin.  We went to a water-ski show in Minocqua put on by the Min-Aqua Bats, a local ski team comprised of excellent skiers and wakeboarders, ranging in age fro twelve to thirty, who put on weekly shows to showcase their incredible talent and crazy aquatic stunts.  Hallie and Chase were blown away by their talent as the Bats sent ten skiers off of a ski jump (with nine landing it!) and a mass barefoot a mile around the lake.  That evening we enjoyed a few s’mores by the campfire at Plum Lake Manor and called it quits early to rest up for the drive the coming morning.  We left the next afternoon (only after I quickly zipped over to the camp I’ve spent the last twelve summers at, Clearwater Camp for Girls, to make a brief celebrity appearance), sad to say goodbye to the perfectly temperate waters of Plum Lake and the always present company of Clovis the lab, but excited to get the bus on the open road.  Thank you, Mom, Dad, Becca and Clovis, for not only providing wonderful food, comfy beds, and always intriguing conversation for the Locavaux Crew, but also for having patience with my never-ending sense of adventure.  Next up: Minneapolis, Minnesota!

07/6/13

Michigan: America’s High-Five

And so it’s begun:  the Great Lakes trek of our journey!  We crossed over into Michigan last Thursday and headed north for Ann Arbor.  We met up with Hallie’s longtime bestie and Ann Arbor resident, Bizzy Roach, and headed to the Blind Pig, renowned music venue and home to Iggy Pop’s very own start!  The Locavaux Crew was in for a different sort of evening as we waited through a few opening acts for the main attraction, local Ann Arbor pop punk group Hung Up.  We listened with… anticipation… to two local heavy metal/scream-o groups, Alaska and 1876, enjoying a different sound from the usual folk rock and jam-band sound we’ve become accustomed to.  Katie even head-banged in an attempt to blend into the crowd.  The crew was able to interview two members of Hung Up (the bassist was nowhere to be found and the drummer was suffering from a samurai sword induced finger injury) and learned of the burgeoning punk scene in Ann Arbor that emerged largely from the popular skate culture in the area.  The boys played a few songs for the crowd, riling up the audience members with some loud vocals, a heavy bass rhythm and some impressive hang banging of their own.  It was a new experience for the Locavaux Project, to say the least.

After spending the night in an Ann Arbor senior citizen community center parking lot, we woke up early and headed out towards Grand Rapids where Chase planned to meet with up with some fellow Colgate-ers (shout out to Rico, Mia, and Nora!) and head to an electro festival, Electric Forest, in Rothbury, Michigan.  Having already enjoyed ourselves at Sasquatch! music festival earlier this summer, Hallie and I said our goodbyes (and well-wishes for survival) to the bus and hitched a ride with Mrs. Kohler up to Hallie’s northern hometown, Traverse City.  We spent the next few days basking in the glory that is a full-sized kitchen and access to fresh seafood and produce, touring around Traverse (while attempting to avoid the tourist crowds attending the annual Cherry Festival), tending to Locavaux administrative tasks and enjoying some delicious local beers from northern Michigan.  Here’s another beer tip:  if you’re ever in the area, try the Perrin’s Grapefruit IPA—it’s unreal!  On Saturday evening, Hallie, Mrs. Kohler and I headed north to the Kohler cabin located on beautiful Torch Lake and made plans to attend a Michigan-native band, Valentiger’s, performance at the nearby brewery, Short’s Brewing.  While enjoying some of Short’s more popular beers, the three of us enjoyed listening to the upbeat folk rock trio while mingling with other loyal fans and beer-lovers.  Valentiger’s fun, folk sound got people up and dancing, cheering, and singing out loud to some of their favorite classic covers and Valentiger’s own hits.

Chase joined back up with the rest of the Locavaux crew the next morning—the bus officially survived its first music festival!  Chase was eager to get back into the swing of filming and interviewing with bands (right after taking a quick nap to catch up on sleep post electro music festival).  That evening, the gang took an evening off from filming and enjoyed a home cooked meal with the Kohlers.  Hallie and I even visited the Cherry Festival carnival in Traverse, intrigued by the bright lights and classic carnie rides we had spied earlier on in the week.  Our final day in Traverse City was spent updating the blog and visiting Hallie’s favorite parts of Traverse, including the Old Mission light house at the end of the peninsula, and the small, cabin-filled summer retreat, Neah ta wanta (where Chase used to vacation as a kid!).  Chase was excited to relive his childhood adventures and show Hallie and I where he spent many a summer biking around, playing with friends in Lake Michigan, and generally causing trouble.  That evening, the Locavaux crew was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a small, local concert aboard the Traverse City catamaran, the Nauticat, and listen to an incredible nighttime performance by local bluegrass favorites, Billy Strings and Don Julen.  The two performers—Billy, a twenty-year-old guitar player and Don, a forty five-year-old mandolin player—blew away the crowd with their incredible finger picking skills and foot-tapping, blue grass tunes.  The Locavaux crew had an unforgettable time cruising around the bay, stargazing, and listening to some of the most talented guitar and mandolin players we’ve ever heard.

 

So thank you Traverse City for showing us all that northern Michigan’s local food, drink and music scene has to offer, and thank you to the Kohler family for playing host to the Locavaux crew!  We couldn’t have asked for a better host family.  Stay tuned for even more Great Lakes adventures with our next update on time spent in northern Wisconsin!

 

07/1/13

Pittsburgh: Pleasantly Surprised

Having said goodbye to Hamilton, we headed south through the state of New York, stopping briefly in Corning, New York to grab a quick (but entirely too delicious) slice of pizza with Chase’s uncle and cousin before making late-night camp at Allegany State Park in southern New York.  The next morning we began out trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It didn’t take more than about two hours before we heard a rather large thunk towards the back of the bus.  Was it one of the lengths of wood for the future rooftop porch falling over?  Had we hit a rock on the highway?  Nope.  It was the thunk we had all been silently dreading—a flat tire.  Luckily, we were able to hobble to the closest truck stop and order a new set of tires for the bus.  Goodbye food budget, hello ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner!.  We spent the next five hours waiting for the technicians to replace the tires and learning about the nature and culture of truck stops (which, by the way, is not so lovely and wonderful).  We were finally able to leave after a delicious bus-cooked meal of stir-fried squash and onion over rice (who says fine dining on a bus isn’t possible?) and made it to Pittsburgh later that evening.  Lucky for the Locavaux crew, we made plans to stay at the lovely Leff family home and were greeted with beers upon arrival.  The next few hours were spent slicing everything and anything with the prided deli slicer owned by Mr. Leff.  That man sure does know his deli meats.

The following day was spent installing the bus rooftop porch and taking a personalized tour of Pittsburgh as led by the Sam Leff.  Did you know that Pittsburgh has two hundred bridges, a.k.a. the most bridges in one city in the world?  Neither did we.  And man is the view of the city from Mount Washington beautiful!  We enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked meal with the Leffs that evening and learned about the vibrant and growing arts scene that is emerging in Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately, we were unable to see much in the way of live music in Pittsburgh as that particular evening did not seem to boast many performances at the local bars and cafes, but we did receive a giant list of places to hear music most other nights in case we returned in the future.  If you’re ever in the area, here are some suggestions we received:  Altar Bar, Mr. Smalls House of Fun, Beehive Café, and Coca Café!

 

The next morning we were fortunate enough to have lunch with Katya and Jesse, friends of Joe Mettler’s and active participants in the local music and acting scene.  We discussed local music in Pittsburgh, the Locavaux Project, and their own plans for “In the Basement” productions (check out their work at http://www.inthebasementco.com) over a delicious meal at Coca Café.  Thank you Katya and Jesse for stimulating conversation and inviting us into your beloved city!  You’ve pretty much convinced us that we need to come back to Pittsburgh soon.

But for now, it’s time for Michigan and the Great Lakes!

06/25/13

Upstate New York: Back to Hamilton!

It’s official:  we can now say that the bus has had its first stab at water travel!  Leaving Burlington, Vermont (which we were only able to explore for a quick hour-bummer!), we decided to check one item off of the Locavaux bus bucket list and take a ferry from Charlotte, Vermont to Essex, New York.  We loaded the bus onto the ferry and enjoyed some beautiful views of Lake Champlain while munching on some homemade organic cookies that a fellow ferry passenger/sweetest older lady ever fed us.  After making landfall in good ol’ New York State, Hallie and I insisted that Chase drive the bus straight to Keane Valley in the Adirondacks, home to the most delicious and tasty pies at NoonMark Diner.  Having tasted the infamous pies four years prior while on our Wilderness Adventure trips during Colgate’s pre-orientation, we two foodies were excited to clue Chase in on how amazing Noon Mark’s baking was.  **Spoiler alert:  the blueberry pie purchased that afternoon at said diner was devoured by approximately ten o’clock p.m. that evening.  No prisoners remained.  We enjoyed spending the afternoon driving through the winding highway roads of New York’s Adirondack State Park, cruising through Lake Placid and the Winter Olympic buildings and taking in the striking scenes of lake and pines. On a whim, we decided to scout out a lake-access road outside of the Tupper Lake area for a potential campsite—we ended up driving right into a spacious parking lot that was home to an AmeriCorp student training center!  We made friends with not only the students (who were all around the same age as ourselves and recently finished with their backcountry training) but also their leaders, all of whom were incredibly welcoming to the Locavaux crew and insistent on giving them gift for the road (Carhart overalls, bug spray, flannels oh my!).  After an evening spent relaxing with our new friends and making dinner on our yet-to-be-used Grill-Cooler, a.k.a the “Grooler” (thank you Frantzen family!), we woke up the next morning for a quick dip in Tupper Lake and an early departure to Hamilton.

We made it back to our old stomping ground of Colgate University in Hamilton that afternoon, excited to see some familiar faces and attend our launch party at Good Nature Brewing’s new storefront on Broad Street.  The evening was a major success—by seven o’clock crowds were pouring into the tap room, asking questions left and right of the Locavaux crew regarding our project, the bus and our plans for the future.  Chase managed to parrallel park the bus outside of the storefront, and so bus tours were in high demand during the event.  Needless to say people were extremely impressed with his handiwork so far.  Our three good friends from Colgate, Sam Freccia, Jeff Gordon and Nora Edmunds, proved they are the Locavaux Project’s number one fans by driving all of the way up from Portland, Maine and New York City! The evening was perfect, filled with great beer (I personally recommend the Rabbit in the Rye IPA) and wonderful music provided by the talented “jam machine” from Syracuse, Master Thieves!  The four band members were extremely fun to interview, not to mention excellent providers of some great dancing vibes.  So thank you to Matt and Carrie of Good Nature Brewing for promoting our project and allowing us to use your space to officially celebrate the end of our Kickstarter funding period and thank all of our supporters for their love and support!

At midnight, we celebrated even more great Locavaux related shenanigans with a personalized happy birthday sung by Master Thieves and the entire audience at Good Nature in honor of Locavaux co-founder, Hallie Kohler’s, 22nd birthday!  Happy birthday Hallie!—the Locavaux Project would not be as fun, adventurous nor as artistic in spirit if it weren’t for you!  The remainder of the evening was spent with friends, new and old, at some of our favorite Hamilton late-night hot spots (Hourglass, it had been far too long…).  The rest of our stay in Hamilton was everything a weekend in summer-time central New York should be—a pancake brunch at our good friend Joe Mettler’s picturesque cabin in the woods, some paddle-boating and swimming in Lake Moraine, a late Sunday night BBQ dinner at Joe’s in honor of Hallie’s birthday (with banana bread birthday cake, of course!), and the Locavaux crew’s favorite evening activity:  a bonfire jam session (followed by a quick midnight dip in the lake behind Joe’s cabin!).  We left early Monday morning just a little heartbroken to leave the upstate New York landscape we’ve come to love so much over the past four years but ready and excited for the coming days of filming and travel.  Thank you, all you wonderful friends and family of Hamilton and Colgate, for giving us the best send off we could have asked for!  Next up:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

06/23/13

New Hampshire and Vermont

What began as an inconsequential stop to see a few Colgate friends and visit the quaint town of Hanover, New Hampshire (and check out their talked-about farmer’s market) turned into one of the more exciting stops the Locavaux Crew has had so far.  We were fortunate enough to become the focus of a CBS New York intern project thanks to the always-reliant Colgate network of students and alumni-big thanks are in order to Tess Heffernan for reading about our project online and suggesting to her fellow interns to use us for their story!  The seven CBS interns met us in Hanover and proceeded to film the Locavaux Crew perusing the local farmer’s market, giving a tour of the bus, and answering a few questions about the bus renovation, our mission, and ultimate expectations and hopes for the project.

The CBS crew was checking out Hanover and stumbled into a local guitar shop, getting a tip from the owner to visit what he considered the ultimate local music venue in the larger New Hampshire-Vermont area—a near-two hundred and fifty-year-old New England tavern in the small town of Hartland, Vermont called Skunk Hallow Tavern.  CBS told the Locavaux Crew about the guitar shop owner’s suggestion, and so the bus traveled to Hartland and arrived at the hole-in-the-wall venue (sans cell phone service) with no idea of what to expect.  The crew agrees that the small, Christmas lights-lit, wood paneled bar (run out of a colonial-style home dating back to the American Revolution) was the most intimate and local scene we have filmed thus far on our journey.  The Skunk, running an open mic night everyWednesday for the last fifteen years, was host to a varied collection of local musicians and singers.  All were extremely talented and passionate to perform with one another, share a few laughs over Long Trail beers, and encourage anyone and everyone to come up and play a few songs or join in on a jam.  The owners, attendees and musicians were all extremely friendly and accommodating to our crew, answering our questions, talking to us about our project, and giving recommendations for local music on our future route.  We were lucky enough to even have a few musicians join us on the bus for (our first!) late night jam session!  Thank you Skunk Hallow for inviting us into your community with open arms-we’ll never forget you!

The next morning, we made our way through Vermont and marveled at the beautiful North East landscape.  The expansive fields butting up to green mountains made for some pretty stellar photo opts and eye oggling.  On a chance exit taken off the highway near Stowe, Vermont, we found ourselves driving up to the house of a fraternity brother of Chase’s, taking in the most incredible views of the town of Stowe and Mount Mansfield.  Thank you to Jimmy Mallon and his family for hosting us at their beautiful home!  Our night off from shooting turned out to be a relaxing evening spent by the bonfire admiring the star-filled Vermont sky.  We woke up refreshed and ready for the drive to camp later that evening in the Adirondacks.  We should add that on our way out of Stowe that morning, we stopped by the local, award-winning brewery, The Alchemist, and tried their infamous IPA, the Heady Topper.  Whoa.  Do yourself a favor and get to Vermont in the near future and try out the Locavaux Crew’s new favorite beer.

Stay tuned–band photos to follow!

06/20/13

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine, what can we say? You introduced us to not only the most vibrant (and eclectic!) styles of music but also fed us the tastiest food we’ve had on the East Coast. Could the Locavaux Crew ask for anything more? We arrived in Portland this past Sunday night and met our gracious host for the next few days, friend and fellow Colgate graduate, Molly Frantzen. That evening, we had the lucky opportunity to attend the exclusively local and popular concert event, Food Fight Portland, which consists of local restaurant staff forming bands of all musical styles in order to compete against one another in a creative and hilarious battle of the bands. Hosted by the incredible Heidi Powell and Spencer Albey, Food Fight Portland was an exciting event to both socialize in and film. We felt like local celebrities as we interviewed talented musician after talented musician, listening to some incredible (and comical) covers and original songs by Portland’s finest in the food industry. The intersection of local music and local food at Food Fight Portland we witnessed and filmed was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Locavaux Crew, and we can’t thank its organizers and participants enough for working with us! Best of luck in the next few rounds to those of you that won!

The next few days were spent sampling some of Portland’s finest food (Lobster rolls at Lobster Shack, Ramen at Pai Men Miyake, and fish tacos at La Cantina! We were in foodie heaven) and playing tourist as Molly showed us the beautiful Maine coast in Port Elizabeth and the colorful harbors in her own hometown of Falmouth. On Tuesday night, our last evening in Portland, we were fortunate enough to watch and film the practice session of the talented and crazy cool local marimba band, The Maine Marimba Ensemble. We were so excited to witness a local band with such a different sound than what we had heard earlier. We also met the owner of the carpentry workshop in which they practice, Rick Romano, who was the epitome of support for local music—years earlier, when the group had been performing at a wharf down by the water in Portland with a sign asking passersby for suggestions on free practice space, Rick fell in love with MME’s sound and offered them his studio as a free practice space. If that isn’t community support for local music, then we don’t know what is.

 

So thank you Portland for feeding our stomachs and filling our ears with only the best food and music that the city has to offer. A big shout out to the hospitable and welcoming Frantzen family for housing us, playing tour guide to the Locavaux Crew and putting up with our rather cumbersome bus in your driveway! And now: hello Hanover, NH!

06/18/13

Time Lapse Renovation #3

It’s finally here, the moment you’ve all been waiting for- THE FINAL BUS RENOVATION VIDEO! We’re on the road with only two days left on the Kickstarter, so help out the Locavaux Project in its final fundraising push! Thank you all so much for your continued support!

06/17/13

Onward to Rhode Island

After a great start in Ocean City, MD, we headed north after a spending the night at Chase’s house in Hunt Valley, MD.  We decided to take 83N to 81 through Harrisburg instead of trucking it up 95 and spending money on all those tolls.  We stumbled upon Promised Land State Park in eastern Pennsylvania where we spent the night.  The park is beautifully situated around Promised Land Lake with miles of hiking, running and horseback riding trails zig zagging all over which were great to explore in the morning.

From there we hopped back on 84 and headed to Providence Rhode Island, stopping briefly to grab lunch with Chase’s brothers Sam and Cooper.  Cooper decided at the last minute to join us for the night and we arrived in Providence just in time for a four band set downtown at AS220.  We were also joined by Katie’s childhood friend, Oliver Tully, and the Locavaux Crew’s friend form Colgate, Nora Edmonds!  The streets were packed with people for the Providence Pride weekend making for quite the lively and enthusiastic crowd.  AS220 is a local community art space that doubles as a venue, bar, and gourmet restaurant serving excellent food.  Check out the pictures below from a few of the acts!  Big thanks to the Tully family for providing a few beds and an amazing breakfast for the Locavaux Crew and friends while in the Providence area.

We’ve since arrived in Portland, ME and are busy exploring the music and food scenes the city is famous for.   Stay tuned for more pictures and a mini webisode of our first week on the road!

06/14/13

The Journey Begins

We hit the road on June 12, traveling from Baltimore (where we have been completing the last-minute renovations and stocking up on supplies) to Ocean City. We couldn’t have asked for a more stellar, fun band to film as our first stop on the Locavaux tour: Hot Sauce Sandwich, comprised of four Ocean City, MD natives and childhood friends, played at Kirby’s Red Onion Grille in Ocean City on Wednesday night, creating a great reggae and rock sound that brought out a dancin’ and groovin’ local crowd. We were nothing less than thrilled to have these four christen the bus and be the first local band to sign their names on in the inside–we’ve decided to collect signatures from all artists that we meet!