Never in a million years could Don imagine that he would take this path in his life, and yet, here he is. It began innocently enough.
When we were preparing to embark on this full time lifestyle, one of the things we had to do was downsize our possessions. That was easy enough but we also had to consider how our hobbies would play into this. I was into scrapbooking. Don coached girls softball and dabbled in golf, fishing, and music, more specifically, he played guitar and sang, mainly for his own enjoyment.
It was obvious from the very beginning that I would cease my scrapbooking when we moved into the Suite Pea. After all, where would I store a roomful of albums, stickers, photos, and all of the other supplies that made my hobby possible. In its place I took over this travel blog that Don had started a few years back.
Don retired from his coaching, sold his guitar, downsized his fishing gear, and loaded what remained of it and his golf clubs into the pass-thru. It didn’t take long into our traveling for him to realize that he seldom used his clubs nor rods and tackle. Thus all they were doing was taking up valuable storage space. So what to do to alleviate boredom on the road? He could only spend just so much time napping and reading. This was when he decided to pick up a guitar again and as fate would have it, we just happened to be parked in a little COE outside of Nashville. What better place to shop for a new guitar.
Over the ensuing few years Don honed his picking and strumming. Don’t get me wrong, he’d always played the guitar well, ever since he was a little boy. As a young man he played gigs in bars and special events both solo or with a band, but with a job transfer to another state and a growing family, those days were put behind him. Now, being retired and having time on his hands, he was back at it again. Then, just for fun he started writing his own tunes and lyrics. At some point, he put them on YouTube and somewhere along the way a radio disc jockey from A1A radio heard one and contacted Don. This started the ball rollin”.
He started playing more gigs. He made a few connections. The next thing we knew, he had a recording session scheduled with Pirates Cove Studio. Which brings us up to the present.
We originally had made plans to meander around central Florida for a while before making our annual pilgrimage north to see family. Instead, we found ourselves on the Eastern Shore in Lower Alabama, an area we’re both familiar and comfortable with.
On the day of our arrival we met with friends Kenny and Connie, who were also passing through, at Lambert’s Cafe for dinner. Lambert’s is known far and wide for its delicious southern-style cuisine and “throwed rolls”. A visit to this region wouldn’t be complete without at least one meal eaten here. Don spent the next two days practicing his music, as he was due in the studio at 9 AM sharp Friday morning.
Come Friday, Don was up before the roosters crowed. He swore he wasn’t the least bit nervous because he felt he was well prepared, but he was excited. As was I for him. When Don arrived at the studio, Danny Taddei, the owner, operator, and fellow TropRocker, made Don feel very comfortable. He gave Don the grand tour and explained the process to him. It was a long day for the two of them, Don didn’t return home until almost six that night, and they still had more work to accomplish.
With the weekend off, the three of us took a road trip. Since we were only 1.5 hour’s drive away from Biloxi, MS, we took the opportunity to check out an RV park we were considering as a future wintering spot. We’re glad we did! Although the ratings and reviews were high for this particular park, it really wasn’t our cup of tea. We felt the sites were way to close together for anything other than a short stay. Besides that, the park wasn’t a good dog walking park and the surrounding area appeared seedy, if you know what I mean. The trip wasn’t a total loss though, the world renowned Shed BBQ restaurant was a mere 19 miles away.
This was our first time eating at The Shed and I’m glad we were forewarned about what to expect. The place is…how should I put this, …a dump. But OMG the Que was by far the best we’ve ever had! If you don’t know by now from reading this blog, Don and I are foodies and we love good barbecue. We’ve tried some of the best BBQ joints in Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and the Carolinas and let me tell you hands down, The Shed has them all beat.
Don’t let The Shed’s appearance scare you off. This bbq joint has won the GRAND WORLD BBQ CHAMPIONSHIP, their sauces & rubs have also won numerous awards. They’ve been featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, & Best in Smoke, as well as Live with Regis & Kelly & the Travel Channel’s Man vs Food. Numerous magazine articles have also featured The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint. So, with this portfolio, how can you go wrong?
On Monday Don & Danny were back at it. It was another long day in the studio. I on the other hand had my own issue to deal with. The furnace thermostat wouldn’t kick in automatically and once it was manually started, it wouldn’t shut off. Fortunately we are in one of our club parks where we are on a first name basis with the resident RV repairman. Pat Buie’s honest and does good work. He came out right away and took care of the matter for us. Thankfully it was just a little corrosion and Pat got it cleaned up and back operating efficiently.
Tuesday, our last day in LA, Don’s back in the studio. Hopefully his recordings can be completed up to the point where Don’s vocals and strumming will no longer be needed. In the meantime I will prep the Suite Pea for her morning move.
So what is the next phase for Don? We really don’t know. It may not lead anywhere at all but one never knows unless one takes a chance. He doesn’t have any illusions about this, he just thought it’d be nice to be sitting on a beach somewhere and hear one of his songs played on a local TropRock station. Now that would be awesome!
Here’s lookin’ at you kid…….