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The art of The Eclectic Ensemble occupies a middle ground between abstract and popular, familiar enough that people can relate but unique to the point of being unpredictable. It sparks the imagination of the audience through an unusual arrangement of rhythm, timing, texture and presentation. A different experience with out a preconceived role.

 

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All good things end

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Training across the snow covered fields of WI. You can see wind swept patterns in the snow. I don’t know how but you can see it is getting colder. The snow just looks different.
We had the a fantastic Bon Voyage in Carbondale last night. Perhaps by the cards we were playing or just our honest look, the bar tender invited us to hang out after bar close and kill time waiting for the train there.
We must have been entertaining to the after hours crew. We got free drinks and got to talk of our

adventures and Charlie got to show off his collection of drawings. It made us feel very cool and we were properly adjusted for the long train ride we are still on.
It is almost at the end of the trip just a few more hours and we are home. Charlie and I will continue playing cards and partying like rock stars, but this is also a time of powerful reflection. So many incredible things happened on this journey it is hard not to be reflective and getting life answers.
We are also talking art!  This trip has been one big source generating adventure. We played music and got back to the basics almost every day. Charlie has been drawing like mad. I have given it my best to develop story telling skills…. Point being this adventure is fuel for our art for many things to come. Music, stories, drawings… Life inspires art, art inspires life.
2 nights ago
Took a walk around Carbondale after dark last night. Off in the near distance we heard some rocking guitars and driving drums. The kind of rock we hear in our heads when charging up a tough hill or while performing dangerous manoeuvres.  We followed the rock to a door at the back of a pool / Jacuzzi warehouse. We went inside to discover 4 guys that looked the part rocking out. They were pretty closed to us till they saw my lightning pants and then agreed to play us a tune.  It was a fine tune. After they ended some other guy stepped out from a small sauna or secret room off to the side. We expressed gratitude and slipped away just as mysteriously as we appeared. It was a proper Spinal Tap episode and just what our night in the city needed.

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Garden Of The Gods

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Sitting outside a laundry station, sneaking shoots and working on getting the worst ever smelling socks clean. It has been too cold to really undress at night. I sleep with about half of my clothes on. Once it gets dark (5:45) we crawl into the hammocks and konk out till sun up at 6:15.  I’m not sure if it is the hours of hard pedaling or the hours laying in a stinky sleepingbag but my laundry smells of doom. 
This morning I  had the great fortune of meeting a woman who has a bicyle rest stop in her yard. Water and chairs to sit in. Plans to include an electrical outlet so cyclists can charge their gear. Best part was the FRIENDLY German Shepard that welcomed me to the rest stop. Typically dogs chase me on bike trips, this guy just wanted to hang out and get pet. I was glad to oblige. Turns out the woman running the rest stop is a life long motercycle rider. She is well into her golden years now but showed me a picture from her younger years when “women did not ride motercycles, I was a bit of an oddity ” how fantastic!  What an honor to meet you!
The ride has been VERY rural. Very few to zero bars or restaurants. This morning we happened upon what I consider 5 star cuisine.  Long bar with stools, old soda jerk set up with mirrors on wall. A table with a bunch of old boys that are the entertainment as well as knowledge base. I got there before Charlie and did a B-line for the one broken stool at the counter. I almost fell over after I hopped onto it and gave a loud Tim Donahue ” WHHOOAA” But managed to stay upright. Both the waitress and I had a GREAT laugh over that and rest the stool so Charlie would fall for it. I knew I was at the best place ever for breakfast. Seem to be a place where all the lawyers and liability laws could not get to and it is possible to have a practical gag stool. Charlie fell for the stool, everyone had a good laught. Coffee and food was good to. We got off on a great start.

Land Between The Rivers

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I’m  in my hammock, right beside the Cumberland river, down in a ravine trying to stay out of the wind. I got to enjoy the sun set here on the beach. Lots of blues and pinks, gold at the northern stretches of the beach. Now it is dark and a beautiful sky of stars have come out. My body is tired from another full day and my nose burns from the constant wind. Here in my sleeping bag it is cozy and peaceful. Except for the #u&*ing dog that has been barking straight for the past 45 minutes.
We have been traveling through a very interesting land these past few days. The stereo types had us exptecting something much different than what we are experiencing. Day after day we have meet people that have been great to talk to and totally open to our freaky style, maybe even entertained by it? I’m wearing pants with large silver lightning bolts on each thigh and 2″ electric blue fringe going down the side of the leg. I also have a very intimidating facial hair style right now. Charlie does most of the talking I just lurk around in the back ground.
Mornings have been very cold, below freezing. The gold shimmer of the morning light playing off of the thin sheets of ice and frost have been fantastic.  It makes that early time of day special.
I can now hear something lurking around in the woods surrounding us. We both have about a half pound of Ham in our bags tonight so we are expecting visitors.

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3 cheers for southern IL & KY

Just finished setting up our hammocks in a pavilion at Land Between The Lakes.  There is a storm coming in tonight and we needed a roof. Could be up to an inch of snow.
We did 80 miles of western KY “rollers ” today. The sun was shining strong and made for a great day. We got past the dry counties and had our first beers in two days. We will play a little more music tonight and then tuck in for a potentially tough evening. The wind already has us preparing for a night of light sleep at best.
memorable moments of past couple of days:
*The drivers of southern IL & western KY have been amazing! They have made us feel very welcome and safe!
*We road to an ancient wall. 400-600A.D. made some fine observations then road on through the gorgeous rolling hills of Shawnee National Forest.
* Can see the ride working on us. Our faces are mildly red from wind burn. Hair is disheveled. Don’t smell the freshest.
* Met a guy at a gas station that took the time to escort us to the city park for camping, to the best restaurant in town and talked with town sheriff to ensure the green light for us camping.
* Road a 30 mile stretch that I will remember forever as the road of death. Just about every creature you can think of was laying dead, hit by a car, along side the road. Including rare birds and cute house pets. Was enough to drive a guy to tears.
* Ride concluded with a glorious transition from twilight ride to night ride. A very rare occurrence of perfect conditions that make for unforgettable miles.

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Cosmic Intervention

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Just as any proper journey should start so has this one. Complications manifested into missing our connecting train and we ended up staying the night in Chicago. I must give us high folly points on this account. Perfect joke -is-on-us timing! Even though we sprinted and performed amazing feats of physical skill along the snow clogged streets of Chicago, all while carrying 2 arm fulls of carry on luggage, we managed worst timing. Got to the gate just in time to see our train roll away. For the second time of the night! So common is this in my adventures that it hardly got a cuss word out of me. Just a flat not smile and a knowing look to Charlie of, now this trip is real. Fortunately I have a cousin in town that took us in. This became a chance to get to know Chicago a little better.
Seeing Chicago in a blizzard from the raised light rail commuter train was beautiful. All the cars buried in snow or stuck in parking lots and alleys eased our embarrassment and gave us something beside our selves to laugh at.
Today the sun is shining and we are back on track. Literally.  By mid day we will be on our bikes and making America proud.
PS: Charlie is the sketch artists summarizing our day …