Time to Move

I’ve been here at my noisy little bit of paradise for 3 1/2 weeks now, and tomorrow it’s time to move on. Not that I totally want to. But this park doesn’t have any availability after this Friday, so I’ve got to go. This is the time of year for bike week (not MY kind of bike, though), school vacations, spring break, and soon, Easter. I called a few places I had stayed before, but they were booked. Finally, the third place I called had availability. It helps to have a small rig. More spots you can fit into. The only downside is that the studio trailer has to be parked “in storage”. I asked if it was noisy there and they said no. BUT, what if there’s a motor running most of the time? That would be a problem. It’s all part of the anxiety of not knowing what’s up at the next location. Fortunately, I shouldn’t have to worry about power since I’ve got the solar panel on the roof. It hasn’t worked well here because the trailer is mostly in the shade. I could use it in a pinch, but I’ve just been running an extension cord into the trailer instead. I’m planning to have two power outlets installed in the trailer when I get back – one for powering the studio using an extension cord plugged into an outlet, and the other so I can run an extension cord into the van and use solar power if I happen to be somewhere where I can’t plug in.

So, flexibility has been key here. With all the noise from planes, trucks, motorcycles, etc, I’ve had to be creative when it comes to work. I honestly don’t remember this much noise before, and I think it’s because the wind had been coming primarily from the east and south, which has the planes approaching the airport directly over the park. Today the wind was from the northwest and there was a BIG difference. I was actually able to work during the day. My usual routine has been to start work as early as possible in the morning, which is usually around 9, since I work late in the evening and am quite tired by the time I finish. I haven’t quite acclimated to daylight savings time yet, so I’m not getting up much before 8. I work for as long as it’s relatively quiet, then walk the beach looking for sharks’ teeth if it’s not high tide. Sharks' teeth

Then lunch, maybe a chore or two (laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the litter box, etc), office work, and maybe a little reading. I have a light supper and then head back into the booth to record in the early evening when it’s fairly quiet. Last night it was quiet but HOT, and I spent a lot of time wiping the sweat off my face. I’m not an evening person, but you do what you have to do to get the work done. I had a phone patch session today and, other than waiting for a passing plane, it was quiet. I said a quiet prayer of thanks during the session.

On one occasion I rode my fat bike about 5 miles up the beach, crossed over A1A into Guana River Estuarine Research area and rode around there for a few hours before heading back along the beach. The fat bike was perfect, as there’s a lot of deep sand at Guana River. Even so, I saw a lot of hybrid bike riders struggling along the paths.

Lunch at Guana River

So, I’ll be at my new park for 6 days, and then I head north to meet a friend at a seaside town in North Carolina. To be honest, it’s been close to 80 degrees here lately which is a little too hot for me. In NC it’s in the 60s, which sounds great. Back home in Maine, it’s still in the 30s some days.Just one of the reasons I really dislike March in New England!

I ran out of data on my Mifi wireless broadband device and figured I’d need about 30GBs more while I’m on the road this month. $185! Someone told me that Sprint has an unlimited data plan, so I’ll be checking that out next time I hit the road. So, just in case I want to stream a movie or something, I’m sitting in the common area of the park office uploading files. I’s not the fastest connection, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen either.

So, before I sign off for now, I just have to share some correspondence I received a week or so ago.

20150314_08494520150314_085059 (2)If you can’t read the text, here it is: “Ms. Saltus, Thank you for your recent visit and the confidence you placed in us to repair your van. We pray you made it to Florida safely. Should you ever need us please give us a call. Thank you again, Dun Rite.”

Well, I must say that in all the decades I have been driving and getting vehicles repaired, I have never received a thank you note. Particularly from a repair shop off the interstate that I will probably never have the occasion to visit again. But if you’re ever on I-95 in northern South Carolina near a town called Florence, and need auto repair, Dun Rite would be my recommendation.

The next time I write will probably be about the gear I’ve brought and my actual setup.

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An Unhappy Client

cropped-the-intrepid-in-st-augustine.jpgIt was bound to happen sooner or later. I had booked a live session with a client, but unfortunately, the winds were not favorable that day. When the wind is from the north, all is well. When the wind is from the south, there’s an airplane either landing or taking off every minute from the small airport located just a mile from my site. It’s hard to believe that such a small airport could have so much air traffic. But it does.

So I emailed the client, explained the situation, and offered to record some takes on my own, or even just do the session but re-record any noisy sections afterward. She emailed back asking why I didn’t tell her that I would be in my mobile studio next to an airport. I explained that most of the time it wasn’t an issue. And that, in fact, when I had been on the road for 19 months a few years ago, we had done several sessions without a problem. I learned long ago not to tell people certain things because then they’re listening for them. “I have a cold,” for instance. Most of the time, we hear the nasality but our clients don’t. And honestly, even if I were in my home studio, there’s no guarantee that a brush cutting crew wouldn’t show up on the road outside my house and start making a racket. Sometimes there are just things beyond our control.

Still, it bothered me. I pride myself on giving good service and providing exceptional audio, and it pains me when that doesn’t happen. (Fortunately, most of my clients think that what I’m doing is totally cool.)

Also, my new mobile studio isn’t nearly as quiet as I would like it to be. I just picked up some special weather stripping for the studio door and plan to install it today as it’s been raining and the drips from the trees overhead sound like pebbles being tossed on the roof. Sigh. I’ve been recording first thing in the morning and early evening until 9 or 10 or whenever I start to feel worn out (I’m more of a morning person, so working into the evening is hard for me). It’s much quieter and I can get so much more done with so much less frustration.

It’s times like these that I ask myself why I’m doing this. I can’t really explain it. It seems as though I was born to keep moving. I drove cross country (in the first of 3 full size vans that I owned over 20 years) when I was 19. I cycled cross country when I was 32. And I am having fun, even if work is very challenging. My living space is quite small, but when compared to living in my van the first time (which wasn’t customized and therefore had no kitchen or bathroom) or living in a tent when I cycled, this one is fairly luxurious.

I’m also very fortunate to have some friends in the park where I’m staying, and one of them allows me to borrow his minivan when I need motor transportation (such as yesterday when I had to go to Home Depot to pick up the weather stripping – route 1 is scary in a car, never mind a bike….) and today when I wanted to go to yoga but it was cold and rainy. Thanks Bill!