Man I have had one heck of an October. I think I can say this is the best month of October of my life. I sure can’t think of another one that compares. Between the traveling and presentations and concerts and new people I have been meeting and old friends revisiting the past month really has been off the hook. And I still have more than a few days to go. And those remaining days I am happy to say are going to be split between my two favourite places.
As of now I am chilling in my hotel room at the Hampton Inn in Bedford, Massachusetts. As great as this trip has been, I haven’t been sleeping well. So some R n R was needed this afternoon. My morning was absolutely awesome! Like the perfect way to kick off this final week of my awesome-October or AWESTOBER. I spoke at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, MA. Something about Catholic Schools, I always meet the nicest, most genuine people. Today was sure no exception. The staff treated me like gold from the moment I arrived and the students were the perfect audience. They laughed; they cried; they came along for the ride that is my presentation. Thank You Bishop Connolly!!
My presentations this month have all gone really well. I am happy to say that. I feel in my groove for sure. Old parts are working. New parts are starting to jive. The response has been totally positive. Last weekend (not this one just past but the one before) I had the pleasure of speaking at the SADD Saskatchewan Provincial Conference. This too was a completely rad experience. SADD SK have always looked after me over the years. In fact, the entire province of Saskatchewan of whom I have met thus far have been great to me. My second ever SADD Conference was in Saskatchewan back in ‘06 or ‘07. WAY BACK!! My first ever speaking tour outside of my home province of British Columbia was in Saskatchewan. I have spoke in The Land of Living Skies more than anywhere else beside Beautiful BC. It was great to see old friends and make many new friends over my recent weekend in Regina.
Shows have been great too! The night before I left for Regina, SK I saw one of my all time favourites the Mad Caddies in Kelowna, BC. Having been a fan since I was a teenager and because the band has toured so much over the years we have gotten to be friends. Which I must say is pretty cool to me. I am closest with the horns section (Eddie & Keith) and Sascha (lead guitar) who are some genuinely rad dudes. Keith missed this tour because he has been touring and recording with Mariachi El Bronx (another band you should check out). Like seriously check out Mad Caddies and Mariachi El Bronx. You don’t even have to be into punk. This is just straight up good music. Here I will make it easy for you Mad Caddies – State of Mind & Mariachi El Bronx – Sleepwalking. Oh ya the show in K-town was RAD as always!!!
I caught another deadly show this past Saturday night in Brighton, Massachusetts. I love catching shows out of town. The band I saw is a local Boston area ska band called Big D & The Kids Table (I know their name is a nightmare! The singer even commented on how they made the name up when they were young as I think many bands do and then got stuck with it). I can’t say I would normally go out of my way to see Big D as I don’t really listen to them. However, on Saturday they were playing an Operation Ivy (think the band Rancid before they were Rancid with a talented man named Jesse Michaels on the mic). Green Day covers one of Operation Ivy’s songs. Lots of bands do. For late 80s / early 90s ska / skate punk Op Ivy are as about legit as they come. The cover show was mint.
My tours around Boston before and after the Big D / Op Ivy show were fun as usual too. I tend to gravitate towards the Faneuil Hall area. Saturday night was no exception. I started my night eating a massive steak and lobster feast in a nice steak house called Durgin Park. This places dates back to the 1820s! I love that about Boston.h with history!! It was so busy inside Durgin when I arrived that all the low tables were occupied, so I actually crashed two probably late 70 year old ladies party. I politely crashed I should say. I asked if I could join them and they said sure. I love meeting new people on the road. I even met a few ladies closer to my age throughout the remainder of the evening. People were having fun and fully embracing the Halloween spirit in Bean Town. Myself included.
Last night I explored Providence after I landed in my hotel for the evening in Westport, MA and realized the proximity to the capital of Rhode Island. I love cities and ever since I started coming to New England I have wanted to explore Providence. I am glad that I did! Providence is such a cool city.
I got a very young, hip, liberal vibe. It is a total college town from what I gathered with plenty of pathways and explorable ground to cover. The restaurant I ate at Hemenways (a great seafood joint) just so happened to be within minutes of Brown University and The Rhode Island School of Design where Seth MacFarlane creator of Family Guy went to school and hatched the idea for Fam Guy. Fam Guy is on in the background as I write this btw. Last night as I rolled through the park adjacent to Seth’s old school I couldn’t help but think some of his crazy creations were likely created right here in this very park.
Which leads me to today… After my presentation, I further explored Rhode Island at the suggestion of staff at Bishop Connolly. I am glad that I did. It was a beautiful sunny fall day. The vibrant fall tones of the leaves and foliage coloured my drive south in crimson, amber and gold. As much as I am a summer guy I felt myself embracing the autumn in an entirely new was as I made my way towards the Atlantic Ocean. My destination was Newport, RI about the most historically rich cities in all of the USA. This was a nice surprise because I love American History. I cruised around doing the drive-by tourist thing for a while at first before stopping at a place called the Cliff Walk. Here I got out and rolled my way along a paved pathway winding between sprawling 19th century mansions and the Atlantic ocean. The autumn sunshine beamed down on me as I rolled. It was balmy enough that with just a few added degrees it could have been a summer day. The views were spectacular. I took many pics along with my many gasps of fresh Atlantic sea air.
After my jaunt around the cliff walk I did some more drive-by tourist stuff. I just went wherever my attention led me. The famous Newport Mansions, once summer homes of American icons such as JFK and president Eisenhower, are definite head turners. Newport was once the playground for America’s richest and most famous. The buildings are fantastic. I also love old architecture and this place is rich with it. My final destination was an old American War Fort from the 1800s. I drove Fort Adam’s windy roads most of which bordered the ocean. I have to say I fell in love with this gem of a town and would love to come back some day. If you are ever near Newport, Rhode Island check it out.
I was all smiles as I drove about an hour and a half north to my current destination. A GPS error took me on a bit of a detour through Bedford, MA which is also a lovely place. Picture windy streets with hundred plus year old homes most of which are surrounded in forests and lakes and creeks and rivers. Quaint. Definitely a picturesque New England place. I feel so lucky that I get to visit these awesome places in my travels speaking. What a bonus. Life is good. And next stop is southern California and I think anyone who has read this blog before, or who follows me on any form of social media or even has just chatted for 5 minutes with me knows that I got some serious love for SoCal. So yeah, I am a happy man! My two favourite places in one week. Coast to coast. My time I am definitely of making the most.
More stories to follow in the coming days…
Thanks for reading!