Real Life is Meeting by John Galgano (Bandcamp)

IZZ just released Real Life is Meeting by John Galgano, check it out here

“Doone Records is pleased to release, for the first time digitally, John Galgano’s solo album, Real Life is Meeting.

John Galgano is a founding member of art-rock group, IZZ, and has been one of the band’s primary songwriters and bass player since the band’s inception. Originally released in 2012, Real Life is Meeting presents nine tracks varying in styles and instrumentation, from the catchy, art-pop flavor of “Bigger on the Inside,” to the experimental, synth-based “The Only Thing,” to the bass-driven “Look Around” to the 19-minute piece “1000,” all the while taking the listener in unexpected directions.

Real Life is Meeting showcases Galgano’s humor, his introspective and confessional lyrics, and his surprising song structures. The result is a fluid and naked collection of philosophical musings set to music – meditations on what it means to be human in the 21st century.

Featuring IZZ mates Laura Meade, Brian Coralian, Greg DiMiceli & Paul Bremner. Produced & mixed by Shawn Bishop.”

To order, go here:

Avkrvst, The Approbation

Norwegian progressive rock group AVKRVST reveal details for debut album
‘The Approbation’.

New video for the first single “The Pale Moon” out now.Photo by Kristian RangnesNorwegian progressive rock group AVKRVST are pleased to reveal details on their debut album titled ‘The Approbation’, set to be released on June 16th, 2023.  The album cover and tracklisting can be seen below.
The band are also pleased to share the new video for the album’s first single “The Pale Moon” which you can see here:

 “The Pale Moon” is also available on all digital platforms here: band had this to say about the video: “The video for «The Pale Moon» is portraying a lonesome soul and his daily chores on a cabin far away from civilization – on his journey towards the end of life. All faith and hope is gone and the character is starting to lose his mind. Is he alone? Is there someone else present? Or is it just his mind playing games?

The video was directed by AVKRVST and co-directed, shot and edited by Simen Skari.The cover artwork for ‘The Approbation’ was created by Berlin-based artist and illustrator Eliran Kantor, who is well-known for his intriguing cover creations for metal bands.

1.Østerdalen 0:26
2.The Pale Moon 6:15
3.Isolation 5:41
4.The Great White River 6:30
5.Arcane Clouds 6:05
6.Anodyne 10:15
7.The Approbation 13:37Earlier this year the band shared a teaser video of them working in the studio which you can see here:

At the young age of 7 years old, Martin Utby and Simon Bergseth made a pact that they would form a band when they got older. Now, 22 years later they’ve done just that. An album is ready – 55 minutes of music inspired by everything they grew up listening to – everything from Mew, Anekdoten and Porcupine Tree to Opeth, Neal Morse and King Crimson.

All the music has been written at a small cabin, deep into the Norwegian forests (Alvdal, Nor- way). Simon (composer, guitars, bass and vocals) and Martin (composer, drummer and synths) have later been joined by Øystein Aadland on bass/keys, Edvard Seim on guitars and Auver Gaaren on keys.

 More to come.AVKRVST Online:

English should be America’s national and official language.

By Richard K. Munro, MA

Ilan Stavans wrote in a recent WSJ article “How We the People Built American English (March 3, 2023) that Theodore Roosevelt was on his deathbed when he “announced there was only one language for Americans and that was the English language.”  Stavans  gives the impression that TR was an “English-only” monoglot when in fact TR though an American nationalist was a multilingual cosmopolitan thinker.   TR was fluent in German and French and could get by in Portuguese and Spanish.  But TR was aware of the dangers of a chaotic polyglot society and for that reason, he felt English should be America’s national and official language.     In his book, The People’s Tongue on which his essay was based Stavans asserts that Proposition 227 was passed in 1998 “eliminating the teaching of students in any language other than English.”   This assertion, which has been made many times by opponents of Official English is false.  Prop 227 had no effect on the teaching of Foreign Languages (a requirement in California high schools) or Dual Immersion k-6 schools with parental permission.  A well-known example is the Sherman Academy in San Diego.     Official English is not English-only and allows for flexibility on the federal, state and local level.

TR was aware of the constitutional implications of a romantic bilingualism or multilingualism that could lead to separatism, inter-ethnic violence even civil war.   E. D. Hirsch has noted “multilingualism enormously increases cultural fragmentation, civil antagonism, illiteracy, and economic-technological ineffectualness.”    Some bilingual societies have been successful or reasonably successful. We have the example of the Roman Empire, the Vatican,  Finland and the Aland Islands,   Switzerland , Canada,  Belgium, Malta, Philippines, India, South Africa and Spain. The European Union has 24 official languages.   English remains an official EU language despite the fact the UK has left the EU.   The EU embraces official multilingualism and therefore has no one official language for its laws or constitution.   This is a critical problem for  EU because there is no  universal agreement on translations and interpretations. The Vatican has Italian and Latin as official languages but the Church produces liturgical texts in Latin, which provide a single clear point of reference for translations into all other languages.  Less successful bilingual/multilingual states over time include the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sri Lanka, Ruanda, Lebanon, Cyprus,  Kenya and the Ukraine. 

Diane Ravitch wrote of America as “a society that is racially diverse requires…a conscious effort to build shared values and ideals among its citizenry.”  This should include the recognition that English is and should be our official national language.    These shared values of America’s Union will be forged by our public and quasi-public institutions, which include our military, our sports, our houses of God, our press and media, voluntary organizations. our jury box and courthouse as well as our schools. The language of the rule books, Federal courts and juries must be in English (though of course interpreters can be used when necessary).  In addition, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, contracts, official documents, our laws and constitutions must be in English (though translations can be provided).    

So “official English” does not mean “English only.”  States may use other languages or translations for public safety.   States, even states with official English, may offer DMV tests in multiple languages if they choose.  The states and federal government can allow and encourage dual immersion schools and the teaching of foreign languages.   Denny’s can offer (voluntarily) menus in as many languages as it likes so as to welcome tourists and others.  

However, we as a society must be aware of the costs of official bilingualism/multilingualism both monetary and political. We dare not take our freedom, our prosperity, and our national unity for granted. America’s democratic pluralist experiment continues but it may yet be defeated if we do not exercise care.   Even Stavans says  “to create a nation, you need a language. “ The USA is an English-speaking nation and we should enshrine this fact nationwide in law.     This is why Pro English supports making English our official national language.

Richard K. Munro, MA

Teacher of  Spanish, English and history

Member of the Board of Pro English.


20 F Street NW 7th Floor

Washington, DC 20001


By RIchard K. Munro

More Notes on Latins, culture, and Language

I never grew up with Mexican jokes; growing up in the New York metropolitan area there were , then, very few Mexicans and Mexican Americans.   I remember Tio Pepe was one of the few well-known restaurants which served any Mexican fare at all.   Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and Cuban (Criollo) restaurants were much more common. I only made it through college by .99 cent and 1.99 cent plates of Arroz a la Cubana.   There was a strong Latin presence which included French-Canadians, Haitians, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Brazilians, and Central and South Americans.  And of course these groups were mixed with Greeks (born in Panama) Portuguese (Born in Africa), Irish (born in South Africa), Jews born everywhere. I knew many Spanish-speaking Jews in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Some were from Argentina,, some from Cuba, some from Costa Rica. Some were of Greek/Jewish/Ladino origin. I knew a teacher born in Cuba whose family had been Ladino-speaking Jews in Salonika and Constantinople prior to 1914. Can anyone deny the world is one big bubbling melting pot?

There was still a fashion of ethnic jokes however and I noted many anti-Catholic stories in which the Irish priests were always drunk and turning up with choir boys in their beds who had been frogs. I noted that the Cubans and Brazilians were really the only fully integrated groups; almost all the African American friends and acquaintances I had were Latin (Latino). In New York, in the 1970s there was almost no nativist feeling and the concept of what was “Latin” was broader.  It’s possible that there was some anti-Gay feeling but I have no memory of that because no one ever talked about it. We were normal young people. The boys liked shapely young girls and vice-versa. Living in Greenwich Village one had some contact with the Gay Community. I had some friends who might have been Gay but they never talked about it or acted out in any way. I considered that to be someone’s personal business.

Many Spanish-speaking persons of color considered themselves Latinos and not Black. Among the common people, the terms used by people were Boricua, or Latin or in Spanish “Hispano o Latino”. Spanish-speaking people did not naturally use the term “Hispanic” however and of course, no one had ever heard of LATINX (sic)

It seems to me Cubans and Puerto Ricans were much more likely to call themselves “Hispano” . Cubans and Puerto Ricans usually have much closer ties to Spain being officially Spanish as recently as 1898. ‘

Hispanic is a relatively modern word -I only heard “Spanish” as a youth- is still rare beyond government and census documents.

Hispanic is still an artificial government term essentially invented circa 1970. . Spanish-speaking people did not naturally use the term “Hispanic” however and of course, no one had ever heard of LATINX (sic)

People, it seems to me, prefer to call themselves by their name of national origin which is natural.

It doesn’t bother me if people call me Irish (I am part Irish) but my people were Islanders and considered themselves Gaels or called themselves by their tribal or clan name. Clans were legally independent kingdoms or regions until 1746. There was much loyal to the Chief and a strong remembrance of the Stewarts.

My people did not consider themselves Europeans or British either. Europe was “Roinn-Eorpa” the mainland. British people to them were Welsh people and of course the Saxon was English. 

Anglo was never a word that meant anything to me but English and sometimes protestant as in the term Anglo-Irish. Anglo-American meant a person of English descent.

I must admit even to this day I prefer “English-speaking” to Anglo because I am not an Anglo-Saxon. But I am proudly an Anglophile as I am Hispanófilo.  My children are Latins or Hispanic Americans but I have never claimed to be what I am not.  The Anglo-Saxons were the traditional enemy of the Gael. Calling a Gael an Anglo-Saxon is like calling a Pole a Russian or an Alsatian a German. The Irish word for Irishman or Highlander is “Gael”(Gaidheal in “Erse”). 

 Even most “Germans” did not originate in “Germany” but other places such as Russia, Romania, Poland, Switzerland and Austria. 

But even Mexican Americans are a divided people. They are severely divided by class.  Mexico itself is as divided by class as England  or Spain today, perhaps more so as England is more egalitarian today.   

I see discrimination against those Mexicans who are, obviously, of African origin. I see discrimination against Mixtecos who do not speak Spanish well (they speak an indigenous language of Mexico). I see discrimination against Latins who do not Speak Spanish well.  

I remember a young girl in my class -a huerita (fair-skinned girl) who was 100% of Mexican ancestry was taunted at not being Mexican by MEXICAN BORN students because she spoke so little Spanish (her parents and grandparents speak Spanish, but she and her brothers and sisters so far removed from Mexico did not speak Spanish.) They called her “pocha.” “Pocha” is somewhat derogatory for someone who is a “faded” Mexican that is someone very Americanized (anglicized).

But her skin color had nothing to do with her language: I know many darker Hispanics who don’t speak a single word of Spanish and have completely distanced themselves from their Catholic heritage believing it is not an important part of their heritage.  

Once again, as a Gael, I find this strange because my identification as a Christian is the single most important and ancient part of my heritage.  My surname, like many Gaelic surnames, is a Christian surname with a specific meaning and is a direct allusion to the early days of the Saints and Scholars of my people.  

I could not imagine being a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition without acknowledging my debt to the martyrs and saints who preserved and protected Western Civilization and the word itself.  So for me, my Catholic heritage is something indestructible and essential even more so than my national origin, citizenship or “race”.   As a young man I dated young women of many races and backgrounds but most were Christian and most were Roman Catholic. I never found the Catholic church to be segreated place quite the contrary. “Here come the Catholics” said Joyce , “here comes everybody.

I still have difficulty with the American idea that race is a color and not a culture or nationality.  Exactly what do you call the grandchildren of a woman of Spanish, American and Filipino origin whose grandchildren are -brace yourselves- of Mexican, Irish, German,  Polish, and Lithuanian origin?  

It should of no surprise to anyone that this woman is multilingual -she grew up in the Philippines and is a native Spanish speaker as well as a Tagalog (Filipino) speaker that none of her grandchildren speak anything but English.  

What do you call them except Americans?  

When my grandfather spoke of the French race or the English race or the German race or the Turkish race or the Spanish race -I am quite sure he never used the word “Latin” or “Hispanic” his entire life he was speaking of cultures, languages and nationalities not what Americans call “race.”  

I still laugh when I recall him speaking of the “Gallachers” as a “treacherous race.”  By that, he meant they were not “leal n’ true men” from the North but a people apart -urban deracinated Irishmen who no longer had the traditional Gaelic values.

To a “Teuchter” like him they were “soupers” or “pochos.”  Similarly, ladies who were highly anglicized were “South o’ the Dyke” Lassies in other words more English than the English themselves.  The men were “toffs” Every community has its terms to identify “the other”. Every community has it words of self-identification. And at different times people try to pass into one culture or another. Cultural diffusion and assimilation happen over time and over the generation.

CASABLANCA movie notes by MR MUNRO


classroom teacher of history, Spanish, English and ESL from 1987-2021



CASABLANCA…MOVIE NOTES for Mr. Munro’s Seniors










Humphrey Bogart

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman AS ILSA LUND

Paul Henreid


Claude Rains


1)    Casablanca appeals to such a wide audience because it is a skilled mix of many genres:

a)     It is a romantic film (one of the great romantic films of all time)

b)    It is a war film that clearly highlights “why we fight” (the Allied Cause vs. Axis)

c)     It is a drama of intrigue and spies involving terror, murder and flight.

d)    It is a drama of D.P’s (Displaced Persons or immigrants) trying to get visas

e)     It is a character study centering on Rick Blaine (Bogart)

f)    It is about seduction

and sexual abuse: characters are

coerced into sexual activity they don’t want to do.

g)    It is also a musical journey into popular and national music of the time making the film almost a musical.

h)     It is full of ironic lines and comedy relief (the pickpocket; the elderly couple trying to speak “perfect English” like an American; Captain Renault undecided how Urgarte died).

What part of Casablanca appeals to YOU the most?


2)    Diegetic sound is the sound that you might logically expect to hear in a film scene such as the dialogue, the singing, the clinking of glasses, the sound of a gunshot.  Non-diegetic sound is clearly dubbed or added artificially to a film –the characters can’t hear it. This includes the music score. The leitmotif

[1] of “As Time Goes By” is very powerful. So is the scene with the dueling nationalistic songs the Die Wacht Am Rhein [2](Nazi song) and the Marseilles (song of the French Revolution).  Consider the role of music within the film (diegetic and non-diegetic).

What effect does music have on our understanding of key scenes?  




a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation. “As Time Goes By” is a leitmotif in



Dear fatherland {VATERLAND}, put your mind at rest,–dear fatherland, put your mind at rest,–Firm stands, and true, the Watch, the Watch at the Rhine!––Firm stands, and true, the Watch, the Watch at the Rhine!

Much, as your waters without end, Have we our heroes’ blood to spend…

…the German youth, pious, and strong


the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

 Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23

). See also

Psalm 130:7-8

Luke 2:38

; and

Acts 20:28


  Catharsis: release, liberation , purification

3) One of the things that make Casablanca great is that it speaks to that place in each of us that seeks some kind of inspiration or redemption

[3]. On some level, every character in the story receives the same kind of catharsis[4]

and their lives are irrevocably changed. Rick’s change is the most obvious in that he learns to live again, instead of hiding from a lost love. He is reminded that there are things in the world more noble and important than he (such as freedom; the Allied cause) and he wants to do his part.  Symbolically he represents isolationist America which is turning like FDR (after the Atlantic Charter) to Britain, Churchill, De Gaulle and the Allied Cause.

a)     . Louis (Captain Renault), the womanizer and opportunistic scoundrel gets his redemption by seeing the sacrifice Rick makes and is inspired to choose a side, where he had maintained careful neutrality so as to save his own skin (and profit from the situation).

b)     The stoic  Resistance leader Victor Lazlo gets his redemption by being shown that while thousands may need him to be a hero, there is someone he can rely upon when he needs inspiration in the form of his wife, who was ready to sacrifice her happiness for the chance that he might survive the Nazi terror.

c)      Ferrari, the local organized crime leader gets a measure of redemption by pointing Ilsa and Lazlo to Rick as a source of escape even though there is nothing in it, materially, for him.  We cannot but think that his heart is touched by the beauty and tender love of Ilsa.

d)     Ilsa herself has a bad conscience; she has kept her sin (her adultery, her temptation) from her husband and realizes she can overcome this if she accepts her husband’s forgiveness. Rick may be sexier than the older Lazlo but Lazlo has fame and money and will probably offer a better life than Rick.  She won’t stay 26 forever!

e)     Then there is the beautiful young Bulgarian refugee; she is considering cheating on her husband with Captain Renault to get the exit VISA. We have to think she is also offering herself to Rick as well.  Rick is so moved by her suffering that he lets her husband win at roulette (this may be symbolic of American generosity in Lend Lease for the Allies).

Is redemption important for young people?  Can a former Nazi find redemption? (Think Schlindler)  Can the bad student today or the drug abuser of today or the greedy businessman (think Scrooge) really change their lives?  What about you?



Casablanca shows a number of competing motivations through Character positions. Think about what motivates each character (money, power, sex, friendship, patriotism)and how some of them are actively repressing desires and the costs and benefits(opportunity costs) of these courses of action. How do the characters give a modern audience a deeper insight as to the suffering of the DP’s (Displaced Persons or Refugees without papers) and what it must have been like during WWII?


In Concert: The Maria Schneider Orchestra Looks Up – and Soars

The Maria Schneider Orchestra presented by The Gilmore Festival, Chenery Auditorium, Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 12, 2023.

On the final date of a tour celebrating both a Pulitzer-Prize nominated album (2020’s masterful Data Lords) and 30 years together, composer Maria Schneider and her 18-piece jazz orchestra got down to business with aplomb and obvious delight. Launching “Look Up” (featuring supple, soaring trombone from Marshall Gilkes and Gary Versace’s lyrical piano), the MSO quickly gathered itself and swung hard, from a hushed opening through yearning, full-bodied ensemble passages into the charming reggae-tinged coda. It proved an inspired invitation into Data Lords’ contrasting aural portraits of disc 1’s grim “The Digital World” and disc 2’s expansive “Our Natural World”, and the Gilmore Festival audience, at this outlying event from an organization usually devoted to keyboard music of all genres, ate it up.

Pivoting to the dark side with the sardonic, Google-themed “Don’t Be Evil” (“and they can’t even live up to that low bar,” Schneider commented) bassist Jay Anderson set up the mocking tango pulse, Ben Monder spun out a fiercely rocking web of guitar, trombonist Ryan Keberle peeled off growl after growl, and Versace took the mood from pensive meditation to harried protest as the orchestra built menacing riffs behind them all. In the title role of “Sputnik,” baritone saxophonist Scott Robinson ran through an astonishing gamut of melodies, textures and sounds, feeling his way into orbit through the barbed obstacle course of his bandmates’ hypnotic, obsessively repeated laments. Throughout the afternoon, Schneider’s compositions proved gripping and brilliantly tailored to her players, while her conducting brought the music’s sure-footed rhythms and the group’s precision-tooled backgrounds into pin-sharp focus.

Flipping back to the natural world, soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson conversed with Johnathan Blake’s percussion (including wood-fired pottery?!?) and Julien Labro’s accordion on the pointillist “Stone Song”, with Schneider cueing gleefully off-kilter orchestral hits. Halfway between the two domains, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin (best known, along with Monder, for his playing on David Bowie’s Blackstar) attempted contact in the tense, Morse code-based “CQ CQ Is Anybody There?” — only to be answered by the dissonant howls of Greg Gisbert’s distorted trumpet, wickedly role-playing as artificial intelligence. During these works, the orchestra and Schneider listened hard to each soloist, visibly reacting to particularly special moments of improvisation, and shaping their support to match the fleeting moods.

Release followed tension quickly, via the throwback chart “Gumba Blue” from the MSO’s debut album Evanescence (with features from Gisbert, tenor saxophonist Rich Perry and Versace). Then the highlight of the afternoon: Schneider’s setting of the Ted Kooser poem The Sun Waited for Me” (originally written for soprano Dawn Upshaw and classical orchestra) translated stunningly into the big band idiom, with Gilkes and Labro “singing” the now-wordless melody while McCaslin pirouetted above, below and around lush ensemble backings that mutated from classical chorale to gospel groove. A ravishing experience!

But then, Schneider took the mike: “Can you handle this? This is about the annihilation of humanity at the hands of artificial intelligence . . . Sometimes it feels good just to face these things head on!” Cue the jittery, pulsating title track of Data Lords, with trumpeter Mike Rodriguez and alto saxophonist Dave Pietro raging against the dying of the light, and Schneider stoking the Orchestra’s encroaching singularity to a fever pitch in a shuddering apocalypse of a climax! Good thing we wanted an encore; Schneider decided to leave us with “something peaceful”: “Sanzenin”, a final vista from the natural world, with Labro fluttering over the Orchestra’s muted portrayal of a Japanese garden.

In sum, the overall impact of the MSO was overwhelming. Schneider’s thoughtfully crafted tone poems, her intense focus and leadership, her orchestra’s breathtaking ensemble playing and consistently creative, exciting solo work made for a musical experience that was visceral, invigorating, moving and beautiful in the highest sense of that word. Only the Bach Collegium Japan’s 2003 Saint Matthew Passion and King Crimson in Chicago in 2017 have been more powerful live shows for me. If you want to experience this one for yourself, I heartily encourage you to pay what you want and livestream the concert between now and April 12th!

— Rick Krueger

US Progressive Rock group Ascher release debut album ‘Beginnings’ Video for “What the World Can’t Give” out now

New US progressive rock group, Ascher, release their debut album ‘Beginnings’ today, March 16th. The album, containing five instrumental pieces and four songs, clocks in at fifty-seven minutes. From the opening instrumental title track to the bonus track closer, “The Instrumental Divide,” the album flows seamlessly through a sonic landscape of guitar-driven rock, vintage keyboard wizardry, and a lofty hook-laden ballad. The instrumental pieces power through enough time signature and meter changes to keep the die-hard prog fan happy while the thought provoking songs reveal a more grounded down to earth feel. 

The band features Doug Bowers (Guitars/Keys/Bass/Vocals),  Blake Dickeson (Rhythm Guitars), Rob Perez (Lead Guitar), and Kyle Graves (Lead Vocals).

 Beginnings will be available via the band’s Bandcamp page as well as all digital music retailers and streaming sites. Lyrics are also available on Ascher’s Bandcamp page.
To coincide with the release of the album, Ascher has released video for the track, “What the World Can’t Give,” which you can see here:

The band released their first single, “The Great Divide,” in February accompanied by a video.
Tracklisting:1. Beginnings (6:03)
2. In the Clear Distance (5:07)3. The Great Divide (7:44)
4. Ransom For the Righteous (6:19)
5. De Profundis (7:58)
6. Nail Soup (5:27)
7. What the World Can’t Give (6:03)
8. Wheels Turning Now (4:12) Bowers (Ad Astra, KDB3, Vertical Alignment) and Rob Perez (Visual Cliff, Bluesyndrome) have been collaborating on one another’s projects for years. A short-lived band formed in 2021 and disbanded in early 2022 yielded many co-written instrumental pieces that never saw the light of day. Toward the end of 2022, Doug began collaborating with guitarist, Blake Dickeson, fleshing out some musical ideas that Blake had developed over the years, Rob was brought in to add tasty lead guitar to the effort. When Rob suggested that the trio revisit some of the unfinished instrumental pieces, it was decided that a band might be the best expression of their growing repertoire. Thus Ascher was born. It quickly became apparent that Doug was not up to singing the melodies he was writing for his lyrics and the search for a proper singer was soon underway. Rob suggested a singer that he had recently encountered. Kyle Graves was writing lyrics for an upcoming album for Rob and Rob felt he would be a perfect fit for Ascher. Rob was right and the band was complete.
Ascher (picture above L-R):
Blake Dickeson
Doug Bowers
Rob Perez
Kyle GravesAscher online:

Salmo Mt. Lookout

It was late September 2021 and I was driving around Salmo-Priest Wilderness, basic plan was to locate this remote lookout tower. It’s at an altitude of over 6000 Ft, and expected be right around the intersection of Washington, Idaho and Canadian wilderness. Path leading to the tower was rated white-knuckle grade by this book on Wild Roads, so obviously caught my curiosity. Lady GPS who usually guides me was a bit lost, so had to use a map and chase Forest Road markers to identify that last section of the climb.

Entrance to this last leg of the route was flanked by overgrown shrubs, even though less trodden the road itself looked real. But, few miles into it I encountered that familiar feel of vehicle slipping sideways. Road itself was quite weathered, otherwise a Wrangler with high clearance and 35” tires wouldn’t lose traction. But once 4WD was engaged it was smooth sailing. Reaching the top, the Jeep and I were greeted with some thrilling hail and snow. This was definitely among those exquisite PNW moments.

Often my approach is to try and explore relatively risky back roads on Jeep before attempting on a motorcycle. But on hindsight, even on a capable machine like Wrangler, this particular road felt a tad unsafe. In general even moderately rugged forest roads could be dicier than difficult 4×4 trails. Because when nature weathers the terrain, it does in unexpected ways, while dedicated 4×4 trails are maintained and hence predictable. But, this risky attempt also gifted a rather remarkable experience. Standing at high altitude with near freezing temperatures, and with both international and state boundaries on the horizon, it was silence and splendid views all around. Finally climbed back into the Jeep, only to hear the rumbling of the light hail landing on the windshield, with a backdrop of dusky autumn hues. Catching some Black Sabbath on the trusty satellite radio made all this even better.