173.July 12

We are at Harriman State Park in NY,

the closest one to the city. We had some trouble getting in, because no one under 21 is allowed to stay here without parent or guardian. They were afraid we would bring alcohol in and have a party. But we finally seemed OK and out of state enough. So they let us stay. They gave us a campsite at the very back of the Park. But it isn't very secluded right where we are. At least it wouldn't be if all the campsites were filled. We got here at 3 PM yesterday and just took our time. I re-packed by bags so I could fit everything in the smallest space possible. I have two largely stuffed to capacity bags, a camera bag, and a sleeping bag. I will leave Jill's guitar with Lars until he comes to my house to stay on July 28 and 29.

After I got my things organized, a man from the next campsite ( a very nice one hidden away in the trees nearby.) came and asked if he could borrow our guitar. He was a professional musician who lived in Queens, and his wife mentioned that we had a guitar. I said sure'. He seemed very nice and authentic. He asked us over for a few beers and to listen to him.

After we got the car packed up for the night and the tent up, we went over. It was not hard to find, because there was a constant stream of music coming from their site. We thought we could also find about a good area to park our car near the city. When he had come over, we had been strategizing an attack plan to fight our way into the city and subway in to the park.

He had learned our names from when we loaned him the guitar, so we were greeted with a friendly smile. His girl friend was there too. She was from Brazil. He was an Italian American who fit the part of Billy Crystal on City-Slickers. He played guitar for us, all his own songs. He was very good, and his songs were enjoyable.

His girlfriend had mad appetizers and drinks. Lars had some, but I didn't have anything to drink, despite how friendly and persuasive they were. I said I'm from the Midwest, we don't drink there. He knew better, it was just a joke. But they were still very friendly. The appetizers they made were great. An eggplant dip called catalpa or something Brazilian.

We listened to incredible Brazilian music on their tape deck as we ate and talked. They were very nice and interesting. He was a technician for TV programs full time, worked part time as a teacher of homeless children (he taught them how to use camera and recording equipment.) He worked a bit as a communicator for a TV show down in Brazil (Portuguese). However, he only really works on the weekends. I guess, so he was camping here. His girlfriend was a tourist agent, but was now unemployed. She told stories about Brazil and all about places to go in NYC. He did too. We talked about environmental problems. he had passed us the guitar and wanted to hear songs we had written. Lars played a great guitar Spanish song and something before that he had written. Then we talked more about the environmental summit in South America I played Judgment Day, because it fit into what we were talking about. He really liked it. They liked my voice too.

By this time, it was so dark that we had the lantern burning, hanging on a nail on one of the trees. They started making salad and cooking chicken for us and themselves. We sat and talked about each person's different area and where and how people react with each other in different places. We talked about relationships between people, and how the different cultures begin them and continue. After dinner, we asked him where we should park in NYC, what area would be safe to leave the car. He said that we could park it outside of his mother's house and she would watch it for us. Isn't that Italian. He said everyone on her street knows each other and that she would love to keep an eye on our car, because she never leaves the house. She lives in Queens. This sounds great. Free parking in the city. He gave us directions there. Then he asked what time we were leaving. 11 AM. He was too, and had to drop his camping equipment off at his mother's house before he went to work at 1 PM. This is perfect. We are following him to his mother's house and he will arrange everything. The subway is 10 blocks away from her house, we can walk there. and then we can take the subway to our hotel. Nothing could be easier. We are so happy, because Lars could not decide how far out of the city he wanted to park. This is going to make today so much easier. Plus, we met really nice people who we know in the city.

We stayed at their campsite until 12:30 midnight. They gave me some ice tea to make, and we had brought our lantern over and the guitar, so it was a fair exchange of services. But we had such a great night. These are the first people we talked to that we met on the trip. At least the first we had done anything with. I have everything packed. It is now 9:12 am and Lars got up. I had already prepared breakfast and washed last nights dishes before I started writing. We are having plums, musk melons, bananas, and peanut butter and jam. This is a great way to end the trip.


In Urinetown, the musical, we are actually starting to nail some things. A week now until opening night, and it is starting to feel like this will really happen, and it will happen in a good way. After extra work on "The Cop Song" with my officers, I joined Sara and Rachel on the back porch of the American Legion in Spring Grove for a longer night of drinks and brainstorming great Urinetown drinks and dessert names.


Split, Croatia 2017