Bisbee. Again. My truck was safe and sound where I left it two weeks ago. I unloaded my gear from Matt’s truck back into mine. This is where Matt and I part ways. He is continuing on to Flagstaff. He has kids to see. A bed to sleep in. A wife to have sex with. I have none of those things waiting there except a place to stay for a week so I am taking my time getting back.

I am a bit worn out. Three gigs in as many days. All said I played nine gigs over the last two weeks… plus a couple of open mics and all those songs around the fires and such at the Woodzie. “That ain’t working!” as the old Dire Straits song goes but it is, for me anyway. For every J.P.Whipple Show I bring two guitars (usually my Guild and my Dobro), plus a banjo, my lap steel, accordion, amp and my trash drum set… with all sorts of accompanying equipment. I don’t have to. Most one man bands usually stick to one guitar and drums but I like to give the audience something more than what most others do. That’s just how I roll. I respect my audience and want to entertain the hell out of them.  It is a lot of work. Booking all these gigs. Traveling. Carrying all my shit in and out of places. Playing my ass off for three hours every night. . I hope someday it works for me and I get something back.

I sit down and start my computer at The Grand Saloon. I look up at the TV that has everyone else transfixed. Someone bombed the Boston Marathon. Really? I can never understand the madness of this world. Killing random people. For what?

I drive my old Toyota north rather than taking the obvious route through Tucson and Phoenix. I am too tired to drive all the way to Flagstaff like Matt. My truck is not as comfortable as Matt’s… with cruise control and air conditioning and nice seats. My truck is hot and shaky. The spring winds are fierce. I battle my way a couple hundred miles and stop in Saffron where there are some hot springs. There is a little place there called “Essence of Tranquility”. They have some cheap campsites and private pools. Sounds perfect. I stop for the night, strip naked and let the miles float away in the warm water.

For a tour that almost didn’t happen. My first adventure into Texas went as well as I could expect. A few of the shows were duds but everyone treated me well. I met some great people. I met many talented musicians from Michelle Stewart in Austin to Jack Pledge and all the folks at the Woodzie… including the other “John Whipple”. I seem to have a few doppelgangers down there too. Not just the other John Whipple who people confused me for (even though I now perform as “J.P.Whipple”). I learned in Alpine that someone is going around as “Barefoot John” too. I had to convince someone that the “Barefoot John” who sent them a CD was not me. I am just a John that goes barefoot. I do have the domain “barefootjohn.com” but that is only because I think it is much easier to remember than “jpwhipple.com”… which I also own. I considered using “Barefoot John” as a stage name before but I think that is the sort of name that leads one to draw certain conclusions about my music… which would almost certainly be wrong. Besides, someone else is apparently using that name.

I take the back roads back to Flagstaff. I avoid Phoenix and I-17. I try to avoid the superhighways any chance I get. I like to slow down for the little towns. I like to see the Main Streets… the little shops and cafes… I like to see where people live… what makes them proud to be where they are. I will take that over blurring past a fucking Pilot truck stop every fifty miles any day. I got time to get to where I am going.

The road is my home.

I will spend a few days in Flag. I have to paint another house. Get a little extra cash for the next trip. Summer is coming so I am heading North. Taos. Colorado. Utah. Idaho. Washington. Oregon. Montana. Minnesota. This is a long one. I have no idea how things will go or where I will end up. I don’t know where I am staying or how I will get by between gigs.  I am just going to check the oil, put some air in my tires and go… and go.

That’s how I roll.

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