Free Range went to the desert.
We were extremely lucky to have timed our trip to Arizona and California in time to see the beginning of the super bloom -- yellow and pink and purple and white flowers covering the desert floor.
Aside from the spectacular beautify of the southwest -- not just the flowers and cactus, but the amazing rock formations and glorious skies -- one event stands out in my mind.
One night, we pulled our instruments into our outdoor shelter and were singing and playing around our propane fire pit (well, it doesn't smell as good as a real fire, but we never get ashes in our eyes, either).
Two men stopped by to listen, and eventually they asked if they could join us. One fellow is a very good blues guitar player, and his uncle who he was traveling with recently retired after 35 years as a professional bass player. They joined us on guitar and a handheld acoustic bass, and we played for a couple hours -- everything from bluegrass duets and fiddle tunes to Last Date and Sleep Walk.
The next morning, our neighbor in the next campsite told us how much he enjoyed the music. He had recently gotten into bluegrass and was (and this doesn't happen very often!) delighted to be camped next to a banjo player.
And here's what he said that will remain one of the favorite things anyone has ever said to me.
"I stayed out here to listen as long as I could. I'll remember that for the rest of my life."