I just finished my annual two weeks of vacation and the most important aspect of it was not the break from work or the sleeping in, but the quality time I was able to spend with my daughter, Piper.
The band Furthur, made up of members of the Grateful Dead, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the albums Working Man's Dead and American Beauty by playing them in their entirety at the Furthur Festival held in Angels Camp, Calif. this past Memorial Day.
Besides playing those two albums in their entirety, Furthur also performed the albums Anthem of the Sun, Aoxomoxoa, Terrapin Station and Blues for Allah.
When I heard that line-up I had to attend. It wasn't really a question. I wanted my wife to travel with me but she took the responsible route and stayed home to work. But with Piper introduced to the Dead in 2009, I loaded her up and off we went, California or bust.
I have to give a shout out to the Cub, she's a great traveler. It must be from all those trips we took to Seattle when she was just a baby. Sure, I heard the occasional "Are we there yet," but they were few and far between. For a 4-year-old to be that cool on a 14-hour, one-way trip, I can only count myself as lucky.
On the way we talked, sang and basically made our already strong father-daughter bond even stronger.
The Cub and I crashed at a cousin's house in Sacramento and then arrived in Angels Camp on Friday afternoon. The Gods must have been on our side because we set up a tent right next to three Deadhead families that had five kids ranging in ages from 5 to 14. They immediately adopted the Cub and she was set for three days of music, dancing and good times.
She bonded with these other kids so well that when I would go and check on her she would tell me to go back to our tent, that she was fine. It was cute in a sort of independent way.
I also have to give a shout out to these five kids. They were the coolest youngins' I've ever met, totally down to earth and just pleasant to be around. I chalk that up to being raised by totally cool parents.
The Cub had a blast playing with her friends and I had a blast hanging out and listening to some great music. Along the way I bought Piper's first tie-dyed t-shirt, a tie-dyed dress and some flowers for her hair. After that we were ready for our trip to San Francisco.
We left Angels Camp and crashed at my cousin's house in Sacramento and then headed for the city by the bay the following day. While there we were able to get our picture taken in front of the house that served as headquarters for the Grateful Dead in the Haight district, visited the Golden Gate Bridge and wandered around Chinatown. In Chinatown I was able to visit City Lights Books, where I stocked up on some books by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. I even found the long sought after And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks, a truly marvelous read.
After San Francisco we headed to San Jose to spend the night with my aunt and uncle before heading back to the Lower Valley the next day.
The Cub and I had a blast and I think it will be a trip she will remember for some time to come. All the photos I snapped should help to make that happen.
The two weeks flew by and as always, the 14 days seemed like 14 hours. But my 2010 vacation will always be special to me for as long as I live. It was the year that the Cub and I strengthened an already strong relationship and the year she cemented her status as a Deadhead in training.
There's nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.