27/10/19 – The sweet smell of Ashland

The “Do not drink and drive” signs along the interstate show the image of a martini glass. We pass countless logging trucks; the huge 18 wheeler Peterbuilts and Kenilworths. I can’t see into the cabs but I’m pretty sure they’re not sipping cocktails up there. You need a big beard to drive one of those and beards and martinis don’t mix.

Tim’s comatose in the passengers seat and I’m in highway cruise mode. Both hands on the wheel nodding my head in time to the clipped tones of a BBC historian who’s telling me about Romans, Nazis, Catherine the Great and Cardinal Richelieu. Possibly not all at the same time. The voice is soothing. 

Last nights after-show partying in Ashland hit a peak. While I was playing my set, Tim mingled with the locals and by the time I came off stage I was able to drop into conversations that started with circumcision and went rapidly downhill from there. Having found the oh so in-crowd we then bounced between bars ending up in a club where exotically dressed/undressed people danced provocatively, rave-style, hands in the air to the softly thumping beats from the stage. A Pony-tailed DJ sent waves over the enraptured crowd, nearly all of whom were wasted, trashed, smiling the happy smile of variously ingested substances. 

This is the west coast. Shops selling weed, dope, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, have sprung up everywhere and the leafy aroma is omnipresent, seeping out of doorways and pores. If you don’t smoke it you can chew a THC laced jelly baby or smear some on your lips from a balm. It’s not legal in all states yet but one by one, legislatures are being swayed by a one word argument. Money.

It was both a short and a long night and now we drive on through valleys with mountains in the distance. Truly stunning scenery straight out of a western. I can picture the wagon trains and the Comanches on the ridge. We’re only out of Ashland half an hour before we pass the “Welcome to California” sign. 

Goodbye Oregon, Hello fire-blackened hillsides. Whose idea was it to plant non-indigenous eucalyptus trees? We’re on the Bay bridge into San Francisco when my phone starts to emit a sound I’d never heard before . The emergency/danger signal, broadcast to all phones in the region. Off to my right The Golden Gate Bridge is half hidden, in mist not smoke, but somewhere just up to the north, the fires are still burning…


French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website:

October US tour day 13 – The sweet smell of Ashland : « les barbes et les Martini ne se mélangent pas »


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