Thursday, November 20, 2014

18- All 50 States In 55 Years

Tennessee 1 was easy. I was born in Memphis. Mississippi 2 was just down the road and home to my mother‘s family in Eupora, where we visited frequently. My father was a young trainee with the W. T. Grant Co., which moved our family often. The first move I remember was to East Alton, Illinois 3 around 1950. I attended Kindergarten there. From East Alton we moved to Nashville and I began 1st grade at Hattie Cotton Elementary School.
In the middle of the year Grant‘s transferred Dad to Kalamazoo, Michigan 4. While there, we moved to a second house at 315 Garland to escape from a rough neighborhood. Kalamazoo led to Elgin, Illinois and then on to Carpentersville where there were 2 more moves. By 9th grade, I‘d been in eight schools. Other than driving with the family to nearby Missouri 5 and Indiana 6, my intention to tour all 50 states stalled until I graduated from high school and left for collage in 1964.
While attending Memphis State University and playing in rock bands over the next 4 years, I traveled throughout Arkansas 7 ,Alabama 8, Florida 9 and Louisiana 10. My parents moved a few more times, once landing in Owensboro, Kentucky 11 where my brother and I visited for the holidays. It was the first time Dave and I ever smoked a joint together. It was the 60‘s, Man.......You just had to be there.
On April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis I was playing for Bill Black’s Combo. We left town in a rush just beating the curfew as National Guard troops and tanks moved into Memphis. We traveled to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, West Virginia 12 , passing through Virginia 13 on the way, for a gig for the Corps of Cadets. The dance was a military formal, with drawn sabers forming an arched receiving line and all.
After graduation in 1968 I moved to Chicago to play with my brother Dave’s band. We played in Clear Lake, Iowa 14 among many other places. The following summer, 1969, I moved back to Memphis and went to Atlanta, Georgia 15 for the Atlanta Pop Festival. Later that summer I played with Chad And The King Lears on the Gary Van Zeeland Tour throughout Wisconsin 16, stopping in Beloit, Stevens Point, Appleton and so on.
In the fall of 1970 two friends and I took off on a cross country trip covering a number of states including Texas 17, New Mexico 18, Arizona 19, California 20, Nevada 21, Utah 22, Wyoming 23, Nebraska 24,
South Dakota 25, North Dakota 26 and Minnesota 27.
In 1971 I moved to Dallas where my new wife and I soon honeymooned at Lake Texoma in Oklahoma 28. In 1972 I went to Colorado 29 for Christmas just prior to our divorce.
I started playing with my second version of the band, Freedom Street, in 1973. We preformed all over the country, including Hutchinson, Kansas 30 and Hilo, Hawaii 31.
In 1984 KUSA-TV sent me to New York 32 to do a story about the Statue Of Liberty restoration. While there, the station asked me to photograph the home of a gangland character living in Connecticut 33. KUSA also sent me to Washington D.C. for a story about an NTSB investigation involving a Colorado plane crash.
Margie and I drove to Expo in Vancouver B.C. about 1988 staying in Idaho 34, Oregon 35, Washington 36 and Montana 37.
In 1989 I left KUSA-TV and began work as a freelancer for a show called America’s Back Roads. For one trip we started out in Maine 38 then shot stories in New Hampshire 39, Vermont 40, Massachusetts 41 and Rhode Island 42. On another trip we covered New Jersey 43, Pennsylvania 44 and Ohio 45. In 1991 I went to Alaska 46 to shoot the US Extreme Ski Championships
In October of 2001 while working for Oswego Creative, we visited Maryland 47, Delaware 48, North Carolina 49 and South Carolina 50. Over the years I have visited and worked in many of these states, all but one of the Hawaiian Islands and a couple of territories, several times in Porto Rico and all of the US Virgin Islands.   Country road take me home….