Day 11 – May 20

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Adios, Ghost Ranch! George and I each had a great time and hope to return to this magical place in the desert of northern New Mexico. Special thanks to Layne Kalbfleisch for her vision and her kind hospitality during our stay. See you next time!

We started the day at a worship service, celebrating Pentecost Sunday. I led the group in singing “Spirit (Bend Close to Me)” – a song I wrote about 15 years ago with my dear friend Ralph Blizard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBMMkXtXSs8

After lengthy farewells, George and I headed south to Albuquerque, where we met with Bill Groll, my Webmeister for the past decade and a half. Bill moved from Texas to New Mexico about 11 years ago, and we haven’t seen each other since. We had a swell visit and didn’t hardly mention business!

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We were the surprise recipients of a complimentary night at a beautiful Airbnb in Albuquerque. A woman and her daughter were with us at the Ghost Ranch, and they apparently felt some kinship toward my son George and me. In any event, they decided to treat us to a nice place to stay and a delicious meal. Thanks so much, Angela and Anna!

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Day 10 – May 19

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Busy day at the Ghost Ranch! Saturday was our final full day at this wonderful desert oasis, and it seems we never stood still. Breakfast was at 7:30, I led the morning song session at 9, then had my songwriting class at 10. Actually my student, Ron, and I agreed to work separately from 10 – 11, so our class time really started at 11. We put our heads together and came up with a song by 3. Here are the lyrics:

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George was busy all day getting ready for the evening student and staff showcase. He is pictured above with his band, Black and Blue Bluegrass. He sang “Love’s Gonna Live Here” and played the mandolin. In the picture are (from the left) Tim on banjo, George on mandolin, Ellen on guitar, Cooper on bass, Betsy on banjo, Ruth on guitar and Lewis on fiddle. They did a fine job!

Day 9 – May 18

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Staring into the afternoon sun with my compadres Bill Kirchen (left) and Rob McNurlin. I’m having a blast working and hanging out with these guys!

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Bill Kirchen and Rob McNurlin lead the morning song session, along with Erin Youngberg on bass and her husband Aaron Youngberg on banjo. I am scheduled to lead this session tomorrow morning.

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Songwriting student Ron Walker performs at a bluegrass student coffeehouse session on Friday evening. I have enjoyed working with Ron this week. On Friday afternoon, Ron and I held our class nearby at the spectacular Echo Amphitheater, located about five minutes away from the Ghost Ranch. Very inspirational!

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Friday night dance at the Ghost Ranch. Rob and I traded off between the bass and guitar. Here I am on the bass, Mike Gallagher plays the banjo, Rob on acoustic guitar and Bill on electric guitar. This dance was a highlight of the week for me!

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George with his new hat. Tired boy after a busy day!

Day 8 – May 17

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Things were in full swing today at Ghost Ranch. Students and instructors are here from all over the country teaching and taking workshops in bluegrass guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, honky tonk guitar, and songwriting as well as various arts and crafts. There is even a class in hiking! I am teaching the songwriting class. George, my travel buddy and photographer, is immersed in the mandolin class. He was too busy to take any new pictures today, but we can promise some fresh images tomorrow.

Check out www.ghostranch.org

 

Day 6 – May 15

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Onward and upward! Today was a brutal and beautiful travel day – the last for the next several days. George and I made our serpentine way from Aspen, Colorado, to Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. Take my word for it – there is no easy way! We thought we were lost several times.

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Remnants from another time dot the roadsides. George discovered this old bus at an abandoned drive-in theater.

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Please, officer, I am just trying to get to the Ghost Ranch. Yes, the Ghost Ranch. It’s like this place where, well, it’s hard to explain. Illegal, why no! You just make up songs, and learn to play the mandolin – no, that’s a musical instrument – and play honky tonk guitar. Well, no, it’s not really a bar. Oh, never mind, just write me the ticket!

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Made it!

Day 5 – May 14

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There is no way to prepare for the Rocky Mountains. So vast, so surprising, so colorful. I used to live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and should have known what to expect as George and I worked our way west out of Denver. Hardly! Had they grown? Had the sky gotten bluer? My God!

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George had a field day with his new camera. Nice shots, buddy!

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We met up with my nephew Eric Olsen, who has lived and worked at Aspen for 16 years. Eric is an impressive young man who moved to Aspen out of high school in Illinois. He started out at the bottom of the food chain and has worked his way up into a supervisory position. He took us to the top of the mountain – more than 11,000 feet above sea level – for a spectacular view!

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