Monday, October 06, 2008

Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello in the park (for free.)

We backpackers love cheap thrills. Free ones are even better. That's why I saw so many backpacker types at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park's legendary free music festival. It's hard to pinpoint the greatest moment: Ralph Stanley serenading the crowd with "O Death,''; Robert Plant and Alison Krauss trading vocals on "The Battle of Evermore,'' with that eerie mandolin riff echoing just behind them; Elvis Costello doing his barnstorming version of "Friend of the Devil'' -- my third-favorite Dead tune -- and a rave-up of Merle Haggard's "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down,'' with Jim Lauderdale harmonizing. The legendary Emmylou Harris motored right past me and waved to the crowd as event staff rushed her from one stage to the next. It was an unforgettable day in the park.

Also this weekend, I took part in the Bridge to Bridge 12 K run, on what must be the loveliest urban footrace course on the planet: the Embarcardero, Fort Mason, the Golden Gate Bridge and up into the Presidio. It was not free, but it raised money for a great cause -- the Special Olympics. I ran at a desert tortoise's pace, but who cares? These days, it's all about the experience, not the stopwatch.

also, in other (unrelated) news: I will be speaking at the Livermore Public Library this coming Tuesday (October 7) at 7 p.m.
The event is part of their Authors, Arts and More series


JD Grant said...

So, being a runner I've got a reccomendation for you. The Death Valley Marathon in February of each year.

The course has to be one of the most unique and beautiful on the planet. You run through Titus Canyon from East to West, so once you get to the top of White or Red pass at about 5 or 6 thousand feet you have about 16 miles of downhill running.

Beautiful course, and the competition consists almost solely of people who really enjoy running in the outdoors.

Check it out if you have a chance and then you could do a reading at the awards ceremony afterwards!

Anonymous said...

Wow -- this sounds like a humane alternative to the infamous Badwater race.

JD Grant said...

Yeah, I'm really not a big fan of running but Titus canyon is just so pretty I love this one. I think the closest I'll ever get to the Badwater Ultra is race support.

cactuseaters said...

JD -- I would really like to try this one someday. It sounds beautiful. For now I am sticking with my plan to run a marathon in December up in Folsom (mostly because it's pretty close. It also comes highly recommended from one of the broadcasters at KFOG, my favorite Bay Area radio station..)