Sunday, August 17, 2008
The Winds are Wending
In my experience there aren’t many places windier than my current stomping grounds, Indian Valley, ID. I think I have some basis for opinions about wind: after all, I lived in Burlington, VT for several years, where the winds can come down straight from Hudson Bay in winter; & I lived in Baghdad by the Bay for a goodly stretch, too, & there can be some pretty stiff breezes off the Pacific in that loveliest of cities; & I spent some quality time in the Windy City back in my youth.
But all of those places are way outdone by Winnemucca, NV, a place that haunts my imagination because I seem to end up there periodically throughout my adult life, sort of willy-nilly. Thankfully, we’ve actually found a place to eat there (but only if you get to town before 2:00 p.m.)—but if you do & you’re hungry, check out The Griddle—& if you’re in Winnemucca & you’re hungry, you’d best eat because without getting into the dining options further west on I-80, let’s just say it’s a long way to Reno….
But Winnemucca’s outstanding feature is the wind—invisible obviously—well, not obviously & not really invisible, because you’re greeted to Winnemucca not only by the strange street lamps but also by cyclone fences where tumbleweeds are piled high. & the last time Eberle & I were headed west through Winnemucca, just after getting onto I-80 west out of town I was in the passenger’s seat looking up from a map because my peripheral vision told me we were about to have a 75-mph head-on collision with a VW bug. In fact, we were having a collision with a tumbleweed roughly the size of a VW bug, which fortunately gives away a lot in mass & density to said vehicle.
So way back when, on our way to visit our good pal Audrey Bilger in the suburban wilds of SoCal, we composed a song about Winnemucca, & Eberle & I sing it on all our road trips, especially the ones that take us to the south & west along our beloved Highway 95 through countless miles of desert. The words are:
O I don’t know the bully wuffalo
But I surmise the loaring rion
& I can tell the zalloping gebras
the sagas of pagacious senguins
O-O, the winds are wending
O-O, ‘round Winnemucca
The weeds run wild & free
It’s important that the word free be sung on about the lowest note you can hit, or maybe a tone or so lower than the lowest note you can hit. Hey, it’s not "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," but it passes the time on a road trip, & as Utah Phillips said, “a revolutionary song is any song you sing yourself.”