From the mountains of West Virginia to the deserts of Australia


Dave's not a dead man. (See last week's blog here)
Imagine my surprise on Wednesday when we pulled into the camp site we've been at for years and found Dave there, all set up and waiting. The military boys had just pulled in as well and were setting up camp.

Of course, as soon as we pulled in they stopped and there were hugs and hellos all around. Strange how you can see a 'family' like this for five days out of the year and become so close.

The unfortunate thing about it is, along the way you lose 'family' and don't know what might have happened. Though Dave was okay, his wife had been too ill to travel to The Bash the year prior.

Dave explained to me that when they left The Bash two years ago, he drove her straight to the hospital. At first I thought I was remembering things wrong, and that she hadn't been ill, but once I sat around a fire later that night, I did remember her being a little under the weather. I think my memory was an understatement.

Dave explained that she had cancer and fought it as best she could for almost a full year, but like cancer often does, it spread from one place to another and she finally passed on January 7, 2019.

She and Dave were married for 53 years and had not only children together, but watched as her family expanded to grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. I'd say at the age of 72, she lived a fantastic life if you think about the family and fun she and Dave had together. Marlene loved to ride motorcycles with Dave.

And Dave, being my adopted West Virginia family, knew that I also love to ride. When he handed me something with a hug around the fire, it brought a tear to my eye. Their group, the Rockwood Legion Riders, had created patches in her memory and Dave wanted me to have one.

I took the patch, and the hug and promised it will always be on the jacket I wear when I ride. Dave was satisfied with that and gave me a big smile. And then, he gave a swig of something clear in a mason jar.

That's what Dave is like. Even when things are tough, he's the type of guy to make you laugh. So, we left sorrow behind and enjoyed the few days our rag tag group would have in Ritchie County.

Though the days sort of meld together, Friday night always brings excitement. There are two acts in a concert, with fireworks after. The opening act, Everette, I had heard of and they didn’t disappoint.

With dancing in the crowd, I didn’t bring my actual camera, but I kept my cell phone in hand and snapped a short video while dancing along, and few quick photos.

Friday came and went, and Saturday arrived early. After helping with the set-up, I hustled raffle tickets all day long offering chances on everything from a Henry Goldenboy to a Christensen Arms MPR 6.5 PRC. (That Christensen can drop at elk at 1,200 yards with no issues in trajectory.)

After a long day of working, and not winning $100k, we spent the final night around the campfire with the guys. The slip and slide was set up down the way by the cowboys and after a jar or two of 'shine,' I decided it was worth the risk.

The bruises the next day reminded me that I was, in fact, getting a little too old to do that sort of thing.

The trip home was beautiful as the fog broke over the Appalachian Mountains and the weather continued to offer gorgeous landscapes as we made our way.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were business as usual. Thursday though, offered a treat.

While I was on vacation Jonathan Charles Fox happened to connect via text and ask me out to The Forestburgh Playhouse to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!

Obviously, I accepted and brought my camera along. Having seen the movie, I had a pretty good idea of how spectacular this was going to be.

Dharma the Wonderdog and I explored the amazing flowers that they have (and Jonathan trailed close behind). When the show started, she sat between us and promptly took a nap. I was too engrossed in the dance numbers, the singing, and most of all… the costumes.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kyle Laing as Adam/Felicia. His personality fit perfectly IMHO. (Sorry Jonathan… I had to steal it.)

The audience seemed to be just as captured as I was and swayed in their seats, sang along and even participated on stage in the second act. Since it was opening night, I was seriously impressed with how much the cast had managed to accomplish in the two weeks of rehearsing.

Not that I’m an expert, but I did enough dancing on stage to know that completed choreography isn’t as easy as some of these people make it look.

So, kudos guys.

Now it’s Friday, and I’ll be headed off to the opening night of the Wayne County Fair. There’s awards to photograph and a car to paint before the demolition derby kicks off.

Who knows what photos I’ll have for you next week.


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