Monday, December 29, 2014

Songs From the Road

While on the road near Twisp, WA, I was continually impressed by the programming on the local radio station, KTRT - The Root. It may have been the the hyper-engaged state elicited from being in a new place, but the station seemed to consistently play the right song at the right time.  Now, it was the sole radio station within reception and I only listened on the few trips I'd take to town. Once or twice a day for a few minutes, but I Shazamed more songs in six weeks than ever before. Many songs were unrecognized by the app.

KTRT Membership CardI heard there was only one d.j., but after checking out their website, it looks like there are quite a few  The commentary between songs was comedic and devoid of celebrity gossip.  It was refreshing not to hear a top 40 song for six weeks or of the ever-so-important lives of celebrities. They ceased to exist in this world. 1,300 miles away from Hollywood and worlds away from relevance.

I've included a playlist below as well as an image taken while cruising and listening to these tunes. With songs from Gary Clark Jr., Ottis Redding, and Etta James, the mix is heavy on blues, but listen also for world, folk, and electronic tracks.

This is the only track I could not find on Delhi 2 Dublin Remixed  ----------------------------->

KTRT - The Root, representin'!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Methow

sunset in Twisp, WA
It's winter in the Methow Valley (pronounced, Met-how, not Meth-ow). Valley residents seem to love the winter, often proclaiming, "it's not even cold yet!" I beg to differ as the low last night was 7 degrees with daytime temps maxing out in the high 20's.  If this isn't winter yet, I'm truly frightened at what awaits........

The Methow sits to the east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascades Range.  The air is crisp and dry due to it's position at around 1,100 feet above sea level. The valley borders the Okanogan National Forest and the Pacific Crest Trail, making it a popular spot for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Gear lists for the winter include: skis, snowshoes, snow mobiles, snowboards, fat bikes, ice skates, and fishing poles. With over 120 miles of groomed Nordic skiing trails, the Methow Valley attracts cross-country and down-hill skiers from all over the world.

Benson Creek Rd., Twisp WA
The largest towns in the Methow are Twisp, population 939, and Winthrop, 415, with only a few thousand people living in this entire valley. Fortunately, there are two local coffee roasting companies (hallelujah!) - Blue Star and Lariat Coffee Roasters. Between these two roasters, Twisp and Winthrop have more coffee roasters per capita than Seattle.  Both towns shut down early in the winter, so be sure to stop in for a hot cup of joe before 4:00 pm.

Local bars and breweries are a common meeting place, and offer refuge from the frigid night time temps.  I recommend the Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop, serving the acclaimed Ruud Awakening IPA - recently named one of the 20 best american IPA's by Hi Consumption. All Schoolhouse beers are brewed with chlorine-free water flowing directly from the North Cascade mountains, allowing for truer malt and hops flavors to be distinguished.  The Old Schoolhouse Brewery is open every day and stays open late, which around here is after 8:00 p.m.

Methow River, Winthrop, WA
So, what do locals do in the Methow after 8:00 pm if not out at the pub? I'm not sure, but based the extreme temperature change after the sun sets (around 4 o'clock), I think they are scurrying home to change into their smart wool, heat up some deer stew and sit near the fireplace.

Methow - your stunning vistas and views of the Cascades melting into the Twisp and Methow rivers are so fantastically beautiful, I understand why valley residents love living here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Every Heart Vibrates to that Iron String

It's been 3 months since I resigned from my job. My whole team of five resigned and all without another job lined up.  How is it possible that a company could create such an unpleasant work environment that such capable people would walk away with nothing? This is a story for a another post (which I plan to write soon) but I'd like to start this new blog with a quote written by Ralph Waldo Emerson that empowered me to resign and is now inspiring me to write:

"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. 
Nothing is at last sacred as the integrity of your own mind. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages...In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."

Hwy 97 near Wenatchee, WA
With this blog, I hope to experiment with travel writing, journalism, and share those gleams of light which flash across my mind from within.  Though I hope someone, somewhere will get something from these writings, they are essentially an exercise for me to honor the contents of my own mind.