Friday, May 29, 2009

Sacramento Jazz Festival Expedition

For the last 36 years, Sacramento, California, has been the host city for an event that was originally called The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. As the years clicked by, the event grew in scope and complexity, such that the festival organizers felt that the name should be changed to the Sacramento Jazzfest to reflect the new generation of participants and spectators. The weather for this year's festival could have been "custom-made" for a fun time in the outdoors, as the temperature and clear blue skies were picture-perfect over the Memorial Day Holiday. Jazzfest kicked off with a parade down the main street of "Old Sacramento", with various groups marching, playing music, or riding in vintage automobiles, displaying signs of the special "dignitaries" they carried.
There were venues of music performances throughout the Old Town and Downtown areas of Sacramento. Shuttle buses were available to transport attendees to events that were too far to walk between. Likewise, shuttle buses stopped at participating hotels to pick up folks who came to the city from out of town for the festival. There were so many performances to choose from that it was impossible to catch them all. In fact, the official program for Jazzfest listed twelve different varieties of music: Big Bands, Blues, Gospel, Gypsy Jazz, Novelty, Latin Jazz, Mainstream, Pop Cover, Swing, Trad, Western Swing, and Zydeco. The program described these as a "musical buffet' at which you can sample a little of this and a little of that, until your plate runneth over. Some of the events required a ticket purchase (which could be done individually or a four-day, all-event ticket) However, if you are on a budget, there are enough performances held in public spaces that don't require a ticket, that you can have a full day without spending a penny. (This is highly unlikely, however, when you smell the fresh-popped kettle corn being sold by street vendors!)
As might be expected, the crowds of people called for an increased police presence in the area,, but the three policemen pictured on bicycle patrol above, indicated there had not been any significant problems to deal with, in terms of rowdy, inappropriate behavior. Maybe that is because the Keystone Cops (Top Photo) had issued warnings in the opening parade that anyone not having a good time would be severely reprimanded.
Since Old Town Sacramento is situated on the Sacramento River, the Delta King Riverboat, which is permanently moored there, was the location I found most enjoyable to listen to music, and "people watch". The cool "delta breezes" coming off the river kept audience members comfortable as the performers belted out their rhythms along the water. There are hundreds of music festivals held throughout the U.S. each year, but it would be hard to top the Sacramento Jazzfest. Isaiah 23: 16b says " the harp well, sing many a song so that you will be remembered." I will for sure remember the songs of Sacramento, and I would definitely recommend putting this on your list of "future expeditions" if you have not yet done so! Miles of smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa

Friday, May 15, 2009

Return Expedition to South Dakota's Wall Drug

My first visit to Wall Drug, in Wall, South Dakota, was on the occasion of a motorcycle trip to that state to attend the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. So on that very hot day in August of 1990, I had no idea what to expect as we took the exit off I-90 to view what the billboards had been teasing us with for the last several hundred miles. Main Street of the tiny town was completely closed off to automobile traffic, and it was "wall to wall" motorcycles in downtown Wall, South Dakota. Making our way through the hundreds of road-weary bikers, we explored this most unusual "drug store" and took advantage of the free ice water their billboards had been advertising. And of course, we were captivated by the magnitude of souvenirs and memorabilia that covered every square inch of space in the establishment. For this reason, I was looking forward to an opportunity I had for a return visit last week, to Wall, at a time when there were more automobiles in the street than motorcycles. The visit last week had the added benefit of meeting the current owners of Wall Drug, who shared with our group the story of how it was started. Their grandparents, Ted and Dorothy Hustead, along with their father, Bill Hustead, moved to Wall and founded Wall Drug on December 31, 1931. It was the time of "The Great Depression", which was felt even worse in that part of South Dakota because of dust storms, drought, grasshoppers, crop failures and severe winters.

But Dorothy Hustead conceived the idea that many a hot, dusty traveler would welcome a drink of ice water from the Wall Drug well, and the first signs popped up on Highway 16. Suddenly, a sleepy little prairie town became the stopping off place for travelers across South Dakota. The Ice Water Store was born.

The Husteads were people of faith, and had probably read Jesus' words recorded in Mark 9:41 that say "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." A survey of the Wall Drug Enterprise of today makes it clear that the Husteads have not lost their reward! Besides a huge shopping emporium, there is a "Traveler's Chapel" that is beautifully furnished, and serves as a reminder of the source of all blessings this family has received. I would definitely recommend a stop at the world-famous Wall Drug. You can read more about the world's largest drug store at or phone 605-279-2175 for hours of operation. Miles of smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Motherly Moments" from Custer State Park Expedition

In recognition of Mother's Day, 2009, (May 10), it seems appropriate to focus on a "Motherly Moment" I was able to capture in a photograph during a recent expedition to Custer State Park in South Dakota. The photograph brings to my mind, the promise we read in Isaiah 66:13a (KJV) that says "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;"
Custer State Park is located in the scenic Black Hills area of South Dakota, and at 71,000 acres is the nation's largest state park. Likewise, it is the habitat of one of the world's largest free-roaming bison herds. Although one can drive through the park on their own (phone 605-255-4464 to reach the Visitor's Center) , I had the pleasure of being "chauffeured" through the park "safari style" in a converted, open-air vehicle operated by Buffalo Safari Jeep Tours (605-255-4541 or 888-875-0001)). This allowed me to concentrate on taking photographs of the buffalo, antelope, sheep, birds, and other wildlife that abound here.
The driver of the Jeep that I was in was a self-described "old-timer", named Dean, who has been associated with the park since he was a teen-ager, helping his uncle who was employed by the park, and lived there in a CCC-built cabin, that is still in use today. He provided many valuable insights and interesting stories that made the ride extremely enjoyable. They even furnish blankets for their customers, in case the weather is too breezy to enjoy in your street clothes. Their normal operating season starts with Mother's Day and goes through late October. So, if you are wondering what to give a mother that has everything---how about the gift of experiencing God's great outdoors at Custer State Park??!! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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