Logan, UT

After recording in Idaho a couple posts ago, the next day found me leaving Mountain Home,

This is the one that puts the "Mountain" in "Mountain Home".

hopping on the highway,

This road is what puts the "ghwa" in "highway".

and proceeding towards Utah, which happened to be a scenic drive to rival all scenic drives.

A scenic scene. A scenic scene, obstacled by a bridge. A place where, hypothetically, deer and antelope play. This is a glorious "essence of road trip" type shot. The bug splatters became pretty intense on my way out of Idaho. Man!  Being a good old Nebraska boy, these images never get old for me.

Soon I was entering the part of Idaho known as “The Super Scenic Part That’s Even More Scenic Than the Previous Part.”

Near all the livestock, the bug splatters took on a distinctly bloody color.  I want a steak right now. A lesson in singular perspective.  Lines converge towards a single vanishing point, colors become faded with distance. If I were a cow I would consider this the good life. Idaho: drive-thru safari?

Soon after that, I was crossing over into the part of the U.S. known as “Mormonland.” On maps, however, it is called “Utah.”

The sign says "Logan."  That's where I'm going.

“These scenic scenes are nice, although you probably photoshopped them all,” says Mr. Yerfulovit in his customary growl. “But you still haven’t answered my question.”

That question being…

“What’s in Logan?”

Well, I was originally intending to hit Salt Lake City, which is large and well-known. However, the only people to reply to me in SLC were busy or nonresponsive, and someone had contacted me from Logan, so that’s why I went there.

So, after entering Utah, I turned onto the highway headed down towards Logan,

Headed towards the valley wherein lies Logan.

whereupon I saw Logan stretched before me like a lion in the sun.

Therrrrrrrre's Logan!

A short drive later,

Glancing to the left. Glancing to the left again.

I was in Logan, whereupon I met-

“What the deal, man?” interrupts the mob of teenagers. “Why you all usin’ that fancy English?”

Why you barely using English, homeslice?

“Whatevs, dawg.”

Anyway. In Logan, I met up with my contact and soon to be co-conspirator, Anthony Aronovici. He had contacted me on Couchsurfing, mentioning that he could play some trombone, worked at a music store, and might have some other musical connections I could record. Sounded like good business to me.

“That’s good business,” I said to myself at the time.

“Are you trying to coin new slang?” asks Attractive Girl, with that one-eyebrow-up look that she does.

Stop asking that! Every time you ask that you cast aspersions upon the authenticity of my neophrasology!

“Haha, good one,” she chuckles.

Thanks. So, back to Anthony. I met up with Anthony and several of the happening peeps he lives with, including Kaelee Jensen. Over the course of eating some delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, I explained the project in greater detail and discovered that a) Kaelee also plays the trumpet, and 2) Anthony is totally excited about teaching English in Korea. Anthony was motivated to finish up some classes which would enable him to do just that.

I, on the other hand, was motivated to record them both. So Anthony, Kaelee, and I headed over to the music store where Anthony works and laid down some fine, upstanding horn tracks.

Obelisk of Strength!  That may not sound anything like Tower of Power... but they did. Actually, "Obelisk of Strength" sounds more like a prog rock band than a funk band.  They would do concept albums about ancient monuments.

You may question my use of “fine, upstanding” to describe horn tracks, but I assure you these tracks, if they were citizens, would be the type that recycles, votes, and writes their local paper. They did a great job.

Thanks for playing, guys!

They also hosted me for the night, and barring the unfortunate incident of a roommate’s early, recurring (and apparantly ineffectual) alarm, my stay with them was nothing short of awesome.

See you in Korea, Anthony! Hope you get over here soon.

NEXT: Either Fort Collins, CO or Carputer, Part II, depending on which gets done first.

Kalamazoo, MI

The trip into Michigan went seamlessly (can you imagine if it would have had seams? Worst). There was one little “adventure” though. I drove to the wrong house. It had the same house number and everything. But I got a strange feeling about it.

Look how wrong it looks.

Seriously, look at that house. Don’t you get a strange feeling looking at it?

“Pretty much… no,” says Mr. Yirfulovit.

Mr. Yirfulovit! What are you doing here?

“No idea. Pretty sure you just invented me right now.”

That’s ridiculous!


Okay, well, getting back to the story of the wrong house. My strange feeling was no doubt due to the fact that I had stayed with my hosts (Bob and Lori Brown, parents of my college friend Adam Brown, who you may remember from such posts as: Twin Cities, MN) before, and I had no memories of this place.

Knocking on the door resulted in a complete stranger answering the door and looking at me quizzically.

“Hi, I think this is the Wrong House. I’m looking for the Brown residence.”
“The Brown residence…”
“Yes. Or, is this Duane Lane?”
“No, it’s over there.” (pointing)
“Oh. Thanks.”

Wasn’t that an exciting adventure? I thought so.

After actually arriving at the actual Brown residence, we were off to record Mr. Leonard Duke. Over the years I’d heard a good bit about Mr. Duke from various people from Kalamazoo.

Leonard Duke: Living Legend

When I met him, he was a friendly, unassuming man with dirty pants. But more on the pants later.

His music collection indicates a love of jazz. The massive amount of musical instruments and equipment in his house indicate a lifelong love of music. At one point an inspirational science teacher, Mr. Duke somehow also acquired mad skillz on a wide variety of instruments.

Me: I hear you play tuba.
Mr. Duke: Sure. I have a sousaphone around here somewhere.

A few minutes later, we were recording sousaphone. Then banjo. Then trumpet. Then flute.

Instruments a-plenty.

I kept expecting one of them to be his “weak instrument” but I guess we never got to that one (it’s probably the Nay).

Leonard Duke, Polymath

Pretty amazing. Mr Duke put down excellent parts on a handful of songs, and then asked me if I was good at welding. I said no, which was true. He mentioned something about his own personal project, and when I expressed a desire to see his project, he took me back to his garage.

Leonard Duke, proud owner of a driveable Model A.

That, my friends, is an old car. The Lovemobile is a young whippersnapper compared to that car. It is also, no doubt, the reason his pants were dirty. It turns out Mr. Duke keeps it in working order, and was in the middle of fabricating some structural aids for the rear, since a recent rust removal at a body shop had meant significant portions of the body were removed.

It'll be driveable again in five days!

Then it was back to our hosts’ place for the night.

Speaking of our hosts, they have a boat. They live near a lake, and graciously offered us a ride on their boat before we left. So we trundled down toward the lake,

Throoough the treeees...

hopped in the boat,

Eating up the knots.

and proceeded to carve gigantic ruts in the smooth surface of the lake.

Quite a wake.  Also, I'm quite awake, thank you.

It was fast and fun.

lake, trees, sky with clouds (by Zach Bardon)

“I don’t believe these hosts really existed,” says Mr. Yirfulovit. “You just found those images on Google, to trick us.”

That’s ridiculous. They are real. I would like to show you a real picture of Mr. and Mrs. Brown, their daughter, and their niece, in their boat, on the lake. I took this picture myself.

Out with the family.  Not mine, of course, but still.

Then, we were off to lunch with a professional volleyball player named Betsy Bailey, who had contacted me through Couchsurfing. She plays for a team in France and comes back home to the States on the off season. Pretty sweet.

Three amazing athletes, just hanging out together.  You know, being athletic and stuff.

We had a good time chatting, and then JH and I were off to the next stop.

NEXT: The Next Stop.