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Old 10-18-2008, 11:30 AM   #1
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VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos

VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos

Hello inmates! I’d like to formally introduce myself to the Asylum: I’ll be “viola-tor“ to YFFs. I’ve been lurking for a while, moderately active for a time, and this is my first ride report. It’s gonna be a doozy, one of those long journals I hope, though I can’t claim that mine will be as entertaining or as good of a read as some of the round-the-world riders’ reports, we just have to see how the adventure pans out, eh? I’d be really pleased if as many chicks are featured in my reports as there are in the Viking’s, but statistically I’m not sure that’s even possible! I’m taking some turns (literally and figuratively) in my life that could bring everything together in a sublime way, or it could turn out the other way, the dark way, but I don’t think so. It’s just crazy enough to work! I keep thinking there will be defining moment to start the report, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, since the wheels are already in motion (pun intended). There’s no sense in putting it off any longer, that would just mean more reflecting and catching up on what’s happening at an already fast pace.

Here’s the pitch: A talented but struggling musical artist defies tradition and combines his passion for motorcycle travel with the art of classical music to chase his dreams across the country (and beyond?). I know, I know, it probably doesn’t sound so grand to the ADVRIDER community here, but in the realm of classical music this is pretty crazy talk! I have a very real chance of combining my quest for a major symphony orchestra position with adventure motorcycling into a whole lifestyle, and THAT to me is very exciting indeed!

“Outside?!? What if there’s a spider? OMG!”

“Ride a motorcycle? What if it rains? OMG!”

Over the course this ride report I also hope to bring a little culture to YFFs. I know a lot of the motorcycle community isn’t into classical music, and anything I can do to bring more fans to this great genre one inmate at a time can only help the cause. I’m exploring the idea of a parallel report geared more towards non-riders and musicians which will expose them to the trials and tribulations of the motorcyclist, for many of THOSE lofty artists are ignorant of the dark arts of adventure motorcycling. I’m working on some blog webspace for the non-FF’s civilians.

In case you hadn’t guessed from my name, I play the viola (get it? Viola, Violator, VIOLA-TOR!!!). For you ignorant FF’s it’s like a violin in appearance and is played up on the shoulder, but it’s considerably bigger and sounds a fifth lower than a violin. It’s pronounced VEE-OH-LA, which doesn’t really make sense when you think about it, but that’s the way it is. Violas typically have a more mellow sound, darker tone, and have a rich resonance that fills the role between the more well known cellos and the violins in the orchestra and in string quartets (which have two violins, a viola, and cello). Violas and violists are also the butt of many musical jokes, more so than probably any other instrument, kinda like blond jokes! It’s part of the tradition and all in good fun.

Q: What’s the difference between a viola and a chain-saw?
A: You can tune a chain-saw.

Q: How do you know when there’s a violist at your door?
A: You know because they can’t find the key and don’t know when to come in.

Q: What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?
A: The viola is bigger, so it holds more beer! (Alternative answer: It burns longer.)

There are hundreds if not thousands of these jokes...

All the rest of the details and back-story should become clear in the first few posts. Some of the motorcycle related subjects will seem redundant or self explanatory, but I hope that there will be non-riders reading my reports too. Likewise some of the musical content will be elementary for a musician, but I’ll try to make this educational and entertaining for everyone. I’d say I play music very well (pro for 10 yrs), I’m an experienced rider (fast approaching 100,000 mi), a decent writer, a decent photographer, and my video skills are growing too, so put it all together and it should be a good ride!

Whatcha think?

Highlights of what’s to come:





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Old 10-18-2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by viola-tor
There are hundreds if not thousands of these jokes...
q. Why are a viola player's fingers like lightning?
a. Because they never hit the same place twice!

You were at WF08, weren't you?

Hope your ride report is as good as your playing.


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Old 10-18-2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 9Dave
You were at WF08, weren't you?

If this is the same guy, I have a few good photos of him from WF

GSX650F 2009
<--- where all the pictures are!
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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That's some intro

Now let's get the ride report under way!
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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Well the tuning of the instrument has been done Now get on with the music
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:25 PM   #6
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You've got at least one inmate here that listens to classical music.

We recently attended a salon style concert played by three members of the Philomel Baroque Orchestra. The instruments, recorders, cello and gamba, harpsicord.

The weather was was unseasonably warm and humid, the venue was a Fairmount Park mansion. The cello and gamba needed constant re-tuning.

Looking forward to your report.

in closing:

Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a violin case?
They think he's carrying a machine gun and might be about to use it.
Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a viola case?

They think he's carrying a viola and might be about to use it.
2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
Wayne aka "CigarSki"
error id:1Řt
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ratty2austin
If this is the same guy, I have a few good photos of him from WF

Yesiree, that's me!
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:54 AM   #8
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Orange beasts and Black beasts.... I'm in for this monster story

KTM 950 Adv -03 "The Silver Mistress"
KTM 625 SXC -04 Sold
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:11 PM   #9
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The night in Ely (preface: DaddyBigDaddy is crazy!):

First off let's get some "extra" booze...

DaddyBigDaddy trades his new shirt from the Owl Cafe for a vintage Netscape polo from a random guy on the street. Everybody wins!

Let's party! I only gamble with my life (motorcycle) and career (classical music), not with real money, but it was fun watching Ken.

24 hour diner in the casino, excellent! (and $2 margaritas, oy...)

"Dude, where are the escorts?"

This guy was a local who showed us the "hot-spots" and invited us to his house to party it up some more. ADV SALUTE!!!

Bar hopping. Hot-ex-con-meth-head-bar-tender-moms apparently live in Nevada... DUH!!!

How the hell do you work this &*#^&@(*#& thing?!?

Oh man, we were outlaws that night. The pirate/harley gathering at the same hotel couldn't hold a candle to us so they went to bed leaving the two of us on the rampage in the streets. I haven't partied like that since college, I don't know where DaddyBigDaddy keeps his energy reserves at his age; he was an animal. Dude, I'm glad we bumped into each other, that was crazy fun!

Damn, if this is any indication of what kinda trouble my new KTM will get me into this should be a fun ride, eh?

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Old 11-08-2008, 04:20 PM   #10
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Man, I am SO jealous! That Adventure sure is pretty! I have your same "horde, spend big when the time is right" mentality. So I'm hoping a nice Orange Beast is in my future too.

Looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wildabeast
Man, I am SO jealous! That Adventure sure is pretty! I have your same "horde, spend big when the time is right" mentality. So I'm hoping a nice Orange Beast is in my future too.

Looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
Oh yeah man! Thanks, she IS purty! Save those pennies, it's SOOOO worth it. This bike is ridiculous...
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:39 PM   #12
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Owwwwwww... Morning hurts when one has a hang-over and it’s almost 100 degrees by 9:30 a.m. Mrumph-frumphple, let’s ride. Arghlemfle.

Eastward, ho! At least after Ken shows me how to check the oil on my bike and I buy a quart to top off. We’re in such poor shape we take the WRONG highway out of town for ten miles before realizing, even with his GPS. Don’t worry, we’re professionals, we know exactly what we’re doing...

More of this:

And this:

In such arid conditions we all need to do our part to protect and hydrate the native plant species:

Well! how do you really feel?!?

At a gas stop a cashier-man has his “special” child with him behind the counter who wants to know what’s in my pack. I tell him I’ll show them what it is, but that they would have to trade me something since I’m a professional (I did this in a charming way, not being a jerk). He says I can take my pick of an ice-cream bar (but felt it necessary to tell me I would have to pay for my gas!) , so I whip out the Black Death right there in the convenience store and proceeded to play Bach and Schubert, two of my stand-by’s. The boy is naturally thrilled, and everyone else seems puzzled and/or amazed. A strange performance situation to be sure, but that’s part of this whole experiment: becoming comfortable playing in less than ideal environments and situations at a moments notice. It’s surprisingly difficult, and riding a motorcycle for hundreds of miles with a hang-over doesn’t put me in the best possible physical state to perform well, but again, that’s part of the challenge!

As we leave Ken says, “Well, hey! You got some free ice-cream out of the deal!” To which I reply, “No, I worked for it! There’s a difference...” A lifetime of learning to play an instrument for a $1.50 ice-cream isn’t exactly a living. I wish more people understood that.

Ken had been complaining about a front-wheel wobble problem since yesterday, and he kept trying to talk me into selling my Scorpion tires to him. “Are you really gonna carry those all the way back to Texas? Really???”

He was subtle (not!), but he finally wore me down when we reached our split up point at this Yamaha/KTM dealer which didn’t carry tire sizes for the 950 Adventure. Okay, fine... I know that when I get back to Texas I’ll most likely end up buying a set of these exact tires for double the price, but oh well! It will be nice to not be schlepping them for the next few weeks, and there’s a friend in need. Moto-Karma!

I left DaddyBigDaddy at the shop with his bike on the lift getting my barely used shoes put on and turned north to go up the west side of the Utah Lake (Provo Lake?), a route I’ve never taken before. Ken invited me to ride with him to Colorado for some trails, which was very, very tempting, but Logan calls. I’m sure I could learn a lot from riding with him and his friends, perhaps we can meet up again.

Riding behind the lake:

I hate riding I-25 through Salt Lake City, but there’s really no other way through that corridor that doesn’t add hours I don’t have for today, so slab it up, baby!

Finally I arrive in Logan with my now-infamous dramatic entrance: Arriving at the backstage door during the intermission of a UFOC opera production when all of my musician friends are outside dressed in pit black. Everyone is so happy to see me roll up and my heart swells up in my chest as I see many of my closest friends from across the country all gathered together for this amazing festival of music. I’m so proud of my new bike and of the crazy events of the last few days from the BMW breaking down to buying my dream bike for a fly-’n-buy, camping, partying, riding... I’m looking forward to a good nights sleep and some R&R for a while in here in the north-east corner of Utah.

MUCH more to come!
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:17 PM   #13
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One of the great things about being a classical musician is the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues all over the country, or even the world. Most symphonies seasons coincide with the school year so many have a summer sabbatical. During this “time off” most musicians perform in various summer music festivals that are most often in beautiful, cool mountain locales. Lucky us! Some of the most famous summer festivals are Tanglewood, Aspen, and Santa Fe Opera just to name a few. Chances are if it’s a pretty place to visit in the summer there’s probably a live classical music festival happening somewhere near by. This sounds like it could work with motorcycle trips nicely, eh?

The downside is the compensation. Many musicians feel that they are getting a subsidized vacation by “getting” to play with a summer festival, which I agree with to an extent, but having to show up to work isn’t a vacation to me (as much as I like my job). I decided a while ago that if I only stand to break even (or lose) on a summer festival I might as well be on moto-vacation for real, unless it’s a rare opportunity to work with some amazing musicians (“Networking” I think people call it in the real world).
Such is the case for the Utah Festival Opera: I played as principal viola there for four summers but it started to not make sense to work my ass off for nine weeks when I could make the same amount of money in three weeks in Texas and still get to ride to Utah and enjoy all the fun things at my leisure. No brainer!

Logan Utah is the home of Utah State University, so the Opera Company kinda takes over the town during the summer while all the students are back on the farm. Most of the orchestra stays in a block of student apartments which is outrageous fun. I don’t think many of us would want to live like that long term, but for a couple months in the summer it’s a freakin’ blast! Like being in college again, but everyone is more respectful of each other (we are adults... sorta!). Get-togethers every night after the shows, drinks, meals, conversation, and general hanging out with like-minded colleagues in a relaxed, scenic environment. Excellent.

So I get to have some fun while all the other poor sods are slaving away in the pit! First thing is to sleep, a lot. I’m exhausted after playing my own music festival (Cactus Pear), and then the stress and excitement of first breaking down on the BMW and then getting the KTM and riding it here over a couple of crazy days. I sleep in for several days.

The day after I arrive the many of the musicians are playing a chamber music concert benefiting a local animal shelter. I volunteer to be the court photographer.

I like the violist's bow in this photo:

The “official” dog of the Utah Festival Opera is Birch, who was adopted by a musician during a summer here. He’s the inspiration for the benefit concert, and he’s one of my best hiking buddies while I’m here! It works out great ‘cause he and I can take off while everyone else is in rehearsal or performances.

I like Birch. I like big dogs in general! He seems pretty happy, and so do I!

I spend two afternoons working on a paint-protector project for my orange beast. It's probably the nicest vehicle I'll own for a long time, so I figure I'll at least make an effort to keep it looking nice. This orange/green-fleck paint job looks cool in the sun! Here are my patterns I made for the paint-saver film (flipped 'em over for the other side):


This stuff is really cool, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it. I think I mentioned it before, but I despise cleaning/detailing, so I'd rather spend some time putting this stuff on so I don't have to worry about the paint for years.

There's more fun to be had here in (and near) Logan, including cutting my teeth on some off-pavement riding with my new beast and other exciting adventures, all in the next couple posts...
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:09 AM   #14
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"If you sit around waiting for death to take you, you will miss life. Die living life to the fullest, don't live dying!" -patient
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Old 12-10-2008, 06:07 AM   #15
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Moto music

That Viola is very impressive. I thought I was good building an Aluminium (Aluminum) guitar about 20 years ago. It is quite heavy on the back of the bike.
Maybe someday I will post some pictures
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