Saturday, November 1, 2008

Opera House, Ashcroft, BC

Up early, but not too eary this morning. We’re staying in an old Inn/motel on the banks of the Thompson River, at Ashcroft, BC. This place has clearly been here a long time. A highway bridge for old Route 97C runs high overhead. I guess the road once passed directly by this place: an old sign on the wall faces the embankment and reads “HOTEI.” But it’s quite a thrill for us to be here. There are rapids on the river outside, and with our window open we can hear them roaring by. Across the river there is a CN rail line, and every once in a while they pull one by us. These are some of the longest trains we’ve ever seen. Are they a couple of kms long? A mile? We don’t know. They moan by, screaching wheels, steel on steel, grinding and banging and honking into the night. I‘ve been able to sleep through this stuff, but Michael’s wearing earplugs. Still sleeping as I head out for a morning run.

Runner’s log. A great run along the Thompson River from Ashcroft. I don’t know what direction the river is flowing here, but I’m running upstream, out of town, on a high, lightly paved road overlooking it’s banks. It’s mild with a hint of crispness in the air, and the strange, high desert hills are brown gold, with furrows of sand or rock. The leaves on the bushes and tres have long turned, but are still clinging to the sky, giving me a last display as I run by. Not a car or truck passes me in half an hour of running along this beautiful river. It’s quieter, up away from the rapids. The run is pretty easy today, although I didn’t eat enough yesterday to properly fuel this distance. On the way back the wind is in my face, so I’m working a little bit harder. As I approach Ashcroft I see another runner coming towards me. Good morning! Nice day for it!

We lounge around town for the rest of the day prior to soundcheck. It’s a 4:30 load in at the Opera House. Martin meets us at the door to help us load in. Wow! This place smells like dinner. Suddenly we are very hungry! Luck is with us and Martin has finished his kitchen work early today. It’s a dinner a show package for most folks— and Martin is a real chef. This is worthy! Soundcheck is done in about half an hour, and we enjoy a meal with Martin before the crowds arrive.

The Opera House was built over a century ago, and has rich, wooden walls and ceiling. Spruce or cedar perhaps? Great tone anyway! By showtime the room is pretty full. I’m impressed by how far some people have come to se us. Four car loads from 100 Mile House (that’s 160km from here), at least as many from Kamloops, including our radio blues pal Vince Almond, and Rusty— the guy who escorted us through Kamloops the previous day. We are especially grateful when people make such efforts to attend our shows. And dinner has been good here tonight!

We have a great first set, breaking for pie, cd and raffle sales. These folks want this tour jacket badly. A lotta tickets for this crowd! Short break, and we’re back in action. I start in with “It Won’t Be Long,” well my take on it anyway. Charlie Patton. Mmmm. We have a great set, give away a tour jacket, and before we know it the night is over. I’ve had a great night, and especially enjoyed hearing Michael’s tunes. This Tour is counting down. We stand outside the club after the crowd has departed. Say good-night. Good luck. So long. Good-bye.

We drop in on some of our new friends down the street. Rob’s a “scaler” I think he said. Climbs big cliffs and pries off rock. Crazy job. No crazier than ours, I guess. We’re off to the hotel. Early start for Prince George in the morning.

No comments: