Good people, great times
The Club Dave Passport Tour rolled through western Nebraska last weekend. It was an adventure I wanted to take for a long time, and it couldn't have been better.
A couple weeks ago, I talked to Ellen, the owner along with her husband of 17 Ranch Winery in Lewellen. I convinced her during our call that I wasn't crazy, but I still don't think she expected me to show up on Saturday afternoon to play music for a mostly empty 17 Ranch tasting room.
In a scene reminiscent of an old Western, I sat down at the bar, and before I even asked, she grabbed a glass and poured me a drink. In this case, it was Pioneer Punch, the winery's rhubarb wine. The wine is made in the back room from locally grown rhubarb, and it's delicious. I bought a bottle on my way out.
Ellen didn't think her tasting room was the right place for my music (hmm, she didn't say why...) and suggested I go down the street to The Most Unlikely Place. That's where I met Cynthia and Dennis Miller. They served me mint tea while we chatted about music and I played a few tunes. They offered to set me up with gigs in Ogallala next time I'm in the neighborhood. All I can say is, it's not unlikely to find people like Ellen, Cynthia, and Dennis in Nebraska.
Scratch 1 off the bucket list
Carhenge has been a Nebraska tourist attraction since 1987. My kids will tell you I've been talking about going there just about that long. If you can picture a replica of Stonehenge made from junk cars and painted flat gray like the stones of England, well, you can figure out Carhenge.
Just outside Alliance, it sits in a field off the highway and attracts cars, campers, buses, and musicians. There will be a solar eclipse party there on August 31.
Tangled Up But Not Blue
And finally, Scottsbluff - just about as far West as you can get without crossing into Wyoming. Scottsbluff is a progressive town with a lot going on. My gig was at the Tangled Tumbleweed.
The Tangled Tumbleweed looks like it might have been a gas station, once. I thought it was a burger joint, but I wasn't even close. The night I was there, they were having an Italian wine tasting. The menu is mostly tapas-style, with an wide variety of interesting and awesomely good food. The chicken, hummus, and chickpea pita I had for dinner was proof of that.
I set up on the patio, and it soon filled up with my favorite kind of audience -- wine drinkers! I had a great time playing for them and met and talked to a lot of genuinely interesting, friendly Nebraskans. I would go back and play there anytime.
This account of my trip wouldn't be complete without mentioning Tasha and Netta, the proprietors, who were so welcoming and generous, I didn't want to leave. They wouldn't adopt me, so I had to shut it down at 10:00 and let them close up.