Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 13, July 22 The Purple Fiddle, Thomas, WV. What a great little venue. Located in the historic DePollo Store (circa 1890’s) this high ceilinged eclectic room is just a pleasure to play. The weather cooperated for us after all and cleared by mid morning, though the ground around the camper remained quite slick and muddy (clay). I nearly slipped and busted my keester a couple of times. After showers and some guitar maintenance we loaded up and headed east along US 33 to Elkins where we stopped for lunch. Now, last year when I came through I spent only a couple of minutes driving through a little part of Elkins and, for some reason, just wasn’t attracted to it. But, spending more time there this year I really like this small, somewhat artsy community. We had some lunch at a little WiFi café (hence, my posting yesterday) and I caught up on email while Judy perused the local real estate listings. She marked things of interest for later investigation and we headed on up through the mountains towards Thomas. Halfway to Thomas from Elkins is a little town (1,500 people) called Parsons. It sits right at the confluence of the Black River and the Shaver Fork River forming the Cheat River. Judy had marked a couple of real estate listings in the area so we took a minute to poke around. Wow! The rivers here are gorgeous! We found some promising properties right on the river and are going to come back tomorrow to check them out with a realtor – I’m pretty excited! On up to Thomas and, since we were running a little early, we passed on through and went to take a look at _________ Falls just a couple of miles beyond Thomas in Davis. Absolutely breathtaking! I took a few pic’s and, if I can work out the bugs in transferring them to my computer, I’ll post them at some point. For some reason the first batch of pictures (everything through Cherokee, NC) did not transfer correctly and appear to be useless. However, the pic’s I took at the Edisto and beyond are still in the camera so we’ll see if I can do better with those at some point. The Purple Fiddle has changed a bit. John has built a new stage with complete lighting and great sound up in the front of the space by the street – the old stage was on the back wall near the bathrooms and the bar. His theory, and a good one, is that this location is better for the performers and increases the attention and draw from the street outside. In any event, it’s a terrific set up. We got settled into our room at the Fiddler’s Roost next door (part of the compensation) had a bite to eat in The Fiddle and then I went about setting up and doing my sound check. 8 PM – show time! Unlike last year I had decent crowd at 8 and it improved even more during the first half hour so that I had a healthy group for the evening. The Fiddle charges the patrons for the music (which goes to the musician) and with good CD sales and an active tip jar I had a good night financially. But, more importantly, I had a great time playing the show. The crowd was a “you can hear a pin drop” listening group and responded so well to the stories and the songs. It was another very memorable show. Judy took some pictures, but she was pretty dubious about how they turned out so we’ll see. Gas prices have serious cut into the tourist traffic in Thomas this summer and John tells me that the financial picture is grim. If you know of anyone traveling this way be sure to tell them about The Fiddle and encourage them to put it on their route. This is a classic little venue that it would be a shame to lose! After the show we chatted with some new fans, had a beer or two, packed my guitars and then settled into our Roost room. Though it was pretty warm until the sun went down the temperature is dropping nicely. With the windows open we can hear the river across the road and the occasional passing car or truck. Cozy under patchwork quilts it’s time to drift off. See ya tomorrow. Wednesday, July 23 Rained again hard last night, but without the thunder storms and wind we had back in Buckhannon. Thomas is a good bit higher in elevation, 2500 ft. =/- vs. around 1000 ft. down in Buckhannon. It is cloudy this morning as well and we may get some more rain today. The need for coffee and food finally drove us down the street to the Flying Pigs for a little breakfast – chorizo, eggs, toast – mmmmmmmmm . . . In a few minutes we’ll head back to the Fiddler’s Roost and pack up. We’re going to spend the next couple of days looking at little pieces of heaven (river property) in hopes of finding something affordable that suits our desires. I’ll lay off the posts for a day or two here, but will keep making entries so that I can do a catch-up post on Friday when I take Judy to Charleston to fly home. Then I’m on to Bristol, TN for shows there and in Johnson City. Stay tuned!