Santa Rosa, California

2 in the morning before I retired last night, had a couple of glasses of wine with friends back here at the hotel after our show in Oakland. Up around 8 and down to Peet's for the usual, then back for 90 minutes of punishment at the world's greatest gym. It's only one week into the tour, but we already have the winner in the best gym category. Back to the room to mop up some e-mail and shower...the sum of my day prior to our drive to Santa Rosa.

We piled into a couple of SUVs for the 60 mile drive to Santa Rose that took us over the Golden Gate Bridge and through Marin and Sanoma counties. It's been at least 30 years since I've been this far north of San Francisco by car and this is beautiful country. I remember playing at a club in Cotati about 20 miles south of Santa Rosa in 1980 with Rodney Crowell and the Cherry Bombs. That was the last time I've been up this way. We arrived at the Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts and I was surprised at how small the venue was, just under 1,600. Everyone connected with the venue was great, from the wardrobe mistress to the catering staff and made us feel very welcomed. The audience was outstanding and due to the size it was a very intimate gig. I had a bit of a struggle all night with the old right hand, but was able to overcome most of the problems. It's funny that as it heals and changes day by day, I find that I'm having to alter the way I physically play things to accommodate.

After the show it was back in the vehicles for the return to San Francisco. Seeing the city across the Bay and coming over the Golden Gate Bridge at night was beautiful. Back in the room about 1 a.m....exhausted....sleep.

EPILOGUE: THE CHINESE RESTAURANT. A few days ago I mentioned going to a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown with my cousin for dinner. The view of Signal Hill, Coit Tower and the Bay from 6 stories up was great, the food, just OK. The Empress of China was clearly tired and faded when we walked in and I felt that I'd slipped through a time warp of 4 or 5 decades. The wall of photos of famous folks who have dined there would've been impressive if any of them were still living. I think most current 8 X 10 glossy was Carol Channing. As my cousin and I were leaving Chinatown after the meal we bumped into Mark's manager Paul Crockford, tour manager Pete McKay and his wife Tina who were looking for a place to eat and asked where we'd dined. When I saw Pete yesterday he relayed their experience that night. They'd eaten, enjoyed the view and after their meal a check dutifully arrived. When he glanced down at it, to his horror, Pete noticed a giant rat scamper across the floor by their table. Women began screaming and several waiters were running through the restaurant chasing after the thing with meat cleavers. It was a scene straight from a Three Stooges two-reeler titled "Moo Shu Rat" and a meal one doesn't soon forget, but would like to.

So long,