SERFA 24 (Part 3

Return From SERFA

There were plenty of takeaways this year, but “The Return from SERFA” wasn’t nearly as dramatic as last year when I nearly ran out of gas. That warranted a Pedestrian Ramblings on its own, but this year's trip was eventful.

I planned to leave Black Mountain Sunday morning, stop in Asheville at the legendary donut shop Hole, and then motor up to Charlottesville. We have some dear friends that live in a lovely retirement community near the university and I wanted to stop and see Ned and Janet, and was hoping my stop would be a bit of a surprise. I had never driven this route before and enjoyed this section of the mountains. I need to look up the elevation of a few of the peaks. While this section of the Appalachia might not be as high, it was certainly rugged. When you are zipping along at 75 miles an hour it is impossible to imagine what it must have been like to traverse this region on foot, horseback, or with a wagon. I found myself thinking about how incredibly important a guide was and what a big deal the Cumberland was. Of course, I was thinking about the conference and all the things that I felt I needed to attend when I got home. This included physical care of the Creek House, to-do’s for music, and some personal housekeeping as well. I wasn’t in any big rush, I intended to spend the night in Charlottesville, visit with my friends for a few hours the next day, and then continue to Falls Church to rendezvous with MJ at Rachel and Viresh’s house before heading home. 

I was going through that part of the world where Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia touch. I pulled off to take a road break at a Virginia Welcome Station and was immediately entertained by the musical theme of the facility. There were a couple of guitars on display, one hanging on the wall, one in a floor stand, and a mocked-up set for a simple recording booth with included a mic and stand and a “recording” light. 

The guitars were even in tune. I could not resist the opportunity to take a “selfie” and even recorded a short video playing part of Dave Gordon’s song Dust Eating Cowboys At The Rear Of The Herd. 

This prompted a conversation between the attending host, Joan, and I. She produced a dulcimer and played her version of Big Bend Gals. Joan was also quite adamant that I needed to visit the music museum in nearby Bristol, which thankfully, I did.

Bristol straddles the Virginia/Tennessee state line and factored significantly in the history of American country music. This museum is associated with the Smithsonian and was a wonderful stop. 

It was yet another addition to all of the ideas, notions, and motivations careening around in my head after spending the past few days at SERFA.   

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