woensdag 22 november 2023

Amsterdam, Spain, and Orchestra

With the summer also came our trip to Europe. We had a couple of gigs planned and Bas had to sell his EU gear, because we are not planning to play in Europe anymore. Too much of a hassle.
Amsterdam Our friend Cindy had arranged a concert at a bar in the heart of town, where 1000 years ago the locals had built a dam to divert the river into a number of canals, forming an articial delta. We were playing near the Amstel river, over which a number of friends came from the Elektrohaven, where you can hire electric boats to see the colorful canals of Amsterdam. We had brought our bass amp, and Cindy brought a small PA for Ilene's cello and vocals. Eric (from Eat at Joe's, the former Melkweg restaurant) waited for us at the back of the train station. He had hired a semi electric transport bike, that doubled as terrace chair after he'd arrived at the café. We installed everything, and waited for our drummer Karst who also used a bicycle and cart to transport his drumkit. It took a while so we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the city, the tourists on their group-bicycles, the ringing bells of the trams, and the student overlooking the scene from her room window, high up. She was lucky enough to witness live music coming from the bar for free, daily! Finally, Karst arrived and immediately installed his kit. A couple of friends came in, among which a few that I hadn't seen in ages. Others had promised to come but forgot or something happened. We began right at eight, the arranged starting time. Eric and Mary (who also had arrived) got some food for us, the sweet hearts. We could stay in their nice appartment in the city centre, where we could stay before as well. Ilene's friends rock! My friends too, for coming to see Bas, shake hands, exchange stories, giving updates on life. All were curious to know how our life in America was going. After playing the first set, filled with Freewheeler originals, we turned it into a Jam Session, and Cindy sat in, with Dan on bass, Cici on washboard, and a unknown singer. This gave Bas the opportunity to mingle a bit. He thinks it's the last time he will fly, ever. After the concert was over, the stuff got packed in, we walked (with bass amp on tiny wheels) to the apartment and decided to walk to the Leidseplein, where our friends were playing in the Bourbon street bar. Rain made us decide to call a cab, which turned out to be a Tesla S model. Not too comfy, we both thought. Driver wasn't very sympathetic either. It saved us a walk, and we hoped to be in time to jam with Lamar. Unfortunately, he didn't invite us right away and waited until it was too late to get us on stage. We smoked and like always I wasn't allowed to bring my beer outside; when I came back inside, the bar staff had stolen my beer (this must've been the 100th time; celebrate) so I will not ever return to that hell-hole. For me, live music goes together with cold beer and a good smoke. If the place cannot offer that (at the same time) it just is not for me. I'll not spend my hard earned bucks there. That's the choice we have. After the gig, the drummer, that I knew from Tilburg as Albert, invited all to come to his afterparty. It was late, we were tired. As it was raining, we had to take a cab back to the Geldersekade. We walked back in, and crashed immediately, to be waked up the next day by sounds of neighbors walking up or down the stairs, which is kind of the soundscape for every Amsterdammer. Spain We had booked a Ryanair flight to Reus, but missed the plane because the parking we had booked was full, and Ilene's bag was too big to fit in the ridiculous bag-spacer. There were no other flights, so we were basically robbed by the Ryanair staff. Never again. Our friends in Spain were a little disappointed we couldn't make it. So were we. That's how life goes, sometimes. Budget traveling sucks, don't do it. Orchestra Once back, Ilene heard she had a concert with the orchestra she is in, Two Rivers College. She had to study Tchaikowski, Schubert and other composers that were not easy parts. The concert went fine, as many of her friends showed up. Currently she is working on Beethoven. Bas is working as a gardener. For him, music is entertainment and as soon as it loses that status, he prefers silence.

donderdag 1 juni 2023

June 2023 update

So we're in June already, and it's not quite as hot as normal. The past few days we heard pumping noise from a sunken boat. There is another boat that sunk, unfortunately the 'Alacran' 57' Chris Craft Steve owns. We tried to help him with advice but he won't listen and always tries to cheap skate everything. Now he's in for much more, with a boat that has only 1 future: to be wrecked. The other sunken boat will also be taken to the 'claw' as it's called; harbormaster Robert found a huge hole in the bottom. An entire plank disappeared! Since this is my fear for our current now 60 year old boat, I want to sell her ASAP. Ilene has other ideas though, and if she keeps it up, I am going to check out another Situation. Not in expensive CA, but in Moorea, where ppl are simpler. I must say that today's affair with a trumper that didn't help with the boat, but accused me of looting while he was the first to point at things that he wanted, was part of how I currently feel. I've spent my last seven years here and I have to say the USA didn't do much for me. Okay, I could 'enjoy' free healthcare, and had a colonoscopy and appendix removal. I can ride a toyota pickup truck around and have a puch and a honda, and we have a toyota camper and miller marine 29' sailboat, so yes we've built up some capital. About our home, I don't know.... and I don't want to wait until we again have to come up with 25K. Which eventually just will sink, as these ships were only made for a maximum of fifty years above the waterline. The planks aren't even 1/2" thick! And with all of the weight we've put on her they've been trying to stay dry, but in reality got more and more rotten in the core. How easy could I break one plank last September! One that we replaced, of course. But there still is water in the bilge, and that is a NO GO for motoring.
Now the interesting story: on free-boat.com I had found a 43' Buchanan yawl in Moorea. The owner wants to give it to someone that has wooden boat building experience. And a bit of money as he expects the person who takes over the ship to pay for the past spring months of March, April, and May. Combined with the flight cost and the cost of repairs, this would be hard, unless we sell one of our vehicles. I'm thinking about the mopeds first. Land Squids!!! Ilene said my dad told her during one of their walks that I sometimes live 'too much' in my fantasy. He never understood it was my only hideout. I'm following the Ukraine war a lot and I do really hope that it will be over soon, and the Russians throw Putin c.s. in jail. Russians have tried to frame their war as a 'civil' or 'proxy' war. This time, the only ppl on the home front that want to end this war are Trumpers, does it mean they are our modern day hippies? lol

maandag 12 december 2022

Uh.... wait... where did 2022 go?

All of a sudden it is December 2022. Scary how fast time goes, as we get older. To Bas Bass it seems time was going slow until his 40th birthday, after which each year seemed to be shorter then the previous one.

Much has happened in this year. During January, Bas got messages from his family that his father was not doing so good. But, since his first stroke in 1999 this was always the same message. Dad always confirmed with me that although he had an irregular heart, the doctor told him it was allright. This time, it wasn't. My younger brother called me at the end of the month, and told me to book a ticket, since Dad had to go to hospice. He was dying, now for real. I got my ticket, and Ilene brought me to the airport, after we had taken our vaccines. We found out that also in this terrain there are villains, dressed as doctors, with an official looking office and staff, taking people's money while the Biden government offers free jabs. These people must be trump voters: uninformed, throwing money at problems instead of informing themselves, and letting crooks get away with it. If you are or were a trump voter, we hope you have learned that he is NOT the solution to our problems; he IS the swamp he was shouting about. He IS casino mafia. It all comes out now, so we are not afraid of any court cases from the trump organization, nor the hitler jugend.

Anyway, Bas went to the hospice just in time to hold his dad's hand. Dad looked really really old, his breathing was rough, he didn't eat or drink, and the nurses, who were very nice by the way, told us he'd had no water in days, refused it. It was hard to look at Dad this way, and I had to smoke, after which we got in the car and drove back home. The next day, we got a call around noon. Dad had passed over to the next phase. Bas and his family had to organize the funeral. At this stage, the family decided that it was good if Ilene came over too, for the funeral. 

Dad's grave at the Mook Cemetery.

Although a professional undertaker was hired for this job, who made sure all necessary phone calls were made, and that there were enough cards, envelopes and post stamps to write invitations for the funeral mass and coffee table, it still was a lot of work: not forgetting important friends, or family feuds, which we luckily don't have. Organizing the church mass, choosing a coffin, a spot for the grave, text for the grave, what kind of stone, all of these things we push away while we don't have to deal with it. Finding songs Dad really liked, and going through family photo albums to make a dia-show outlining Dad's life, it all took a busy week, after which we got to watch light hearted movies with mom 'I am a widow now' or going to visit old friends. 

In August, we decided that we needed to take the bottom work on our 59 year old wooden ship serious. We found the last person who still did this work, Ramon from Diablo Boat Works in Bethel Island, and after three months of hard work, we could splash her, and feel more secure about waking up dry.

Jeannette and her family bringing a visit to us in Tiki Lagoon marina, July 2022. Ilene checks for fish.

Galt Music Exchange, where we teach

About the Covid shit, and gigs: in 2019 it was getting clear that the more stages closed, the more bands were cut throat, the previous year a band connected to the sacramento blues society already stole one of our regular gigs. The gigs we did in 2019 and early 2020 were fun, but our drummer problem wasn't solved, as Eric moved to San Diego, and our other regular drummer chose to play with other bands he used to sit in with. There are about six other acts with a woman singing the blues, and they all want 100% of the attention, some even need thirty internet radio stations for this, we're glad we can be happy with no internet radio at all.


Ilene now works with an orchestra and Bas has his own band and other projects, they teach at home and in a music school. Bas likes to work as a gardener as well, and plans to give sailing lessons in the summer of '23. Computer programming and web development courses also are in the pipeline.

The Freewheelers wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and New Year!

Our new marina makes us happy!

Sailing Talisman over the San Joaquin River

woensdag 22 september 2021


 After discovering that we've paid already 18 months rent over the sailboat without ever being able to use it, I realize we're in for almost the same amount we paid for the ship. I'm about ready, btw, to just go out and sail her, without ever after being forced to pay rent to a bunch of ultra rich mofo's (i still don't understand why we let this all happen; well, it went day-by-day, each day a little more, exactly how frogs let themselves be cooked).

First I hoped to get her inboard motor running, the previous owner thought that the problem was in the transmission. Well, when I finally got the guts to get in there, I found out that the prop shaft wouldn't allow me to take the tranny out anyway. After disconnecting it from the tranny I discovered that the prop shaft didn't like to turn except with brute force. 

So I guess that must be the cutlass bearing just in front of the prop. Which also is rusty, and has 3 blades, but not folding ones like in the Albin O22-R. We just have a normal O22. Ilene, 50% owner of the ship, won't allow me to try to do the work when she's in the water (i've seen excellent examples in where just a plug was just to plug up the prop shaft opening, and the rudder I can take off easily; I'll do it all by myself, and plug it in myself, however it would be a lot easier if someone could help me). 

So I had to go find an outboard, which my wife found first, and bought from what at the time said to be a friend, an old Evinrude, that her ex-mechanic husband 'always had kept in good condition', well, when I brought that engine to a local repair shop, they didn't call me back in half a year. Only to tell me eventually the entire engine was shot, not worth putting more money in. At that time I'd already installed new reed valves, and a complete new CDI and impellor. Checking the engine however would've cost me more then the total value of these new parts, so I simply decided to let the motor go.

Then I bought a Johnson 9.9hp from 1975. Actually, the same engine, so that I could take parts from one and build up the other. It ran when I bought her, had electric start, so I worked hard on getting a fitting mount and installed an on and off switch, that operated a solenoid, that connected to the outboard wires.

A dude who said he was an 'outboard specialist' helped me a little bit, he even gave me a grinder, etc, then took off the hose connection which he dropped in the water (I went back in and found it), after which he disappeared again. He was with a small woman painter, but slept with another woman (the crazy one who sold her houseboat to the girl I worked with in the shop) and as soon as the new owner of the Tollycraft discovered they actually were staying on his ship without being allowed he kicked out him and her. I must say, these crack meth heads are pretty good liars!! They believe in their own lies...

Anyway, this Johnson worked fine in 2020, but in 2021 it decided not to spark anymore, ever after, so I've thrown away more months again, trying to get it to work, then in the hottest July and August ever, didn't even go to Talisman, for which I found guilty. Now that it is September again, I'm not going to wait any longer, I'm just going to buy a BRAND NEW OUTBOARD! 

Reliability also is important, and money in my bank account is depreciating as we speak anyway.

Bas Vossen-Hound Dog cover with the Haven Acres Jam Band (Jeramy Norris & David Tanner) pre-covid.