Countdown to the 12th annual Harp Guitar Gathering!

I begin my trip report with Day Minus 2, as we arrived Wednesday afternoon in gorgeous Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!

(Photos – other than radio show – are mine or Linda Morgan’s)

Several of us arrived by dinnertime Wednesday (2 days before the event): Jaci & I, Frank (Doucette) & Kate, Joe & Linda Morgan and Steve & Vickie Farmer.   We soon met Dave & Anthony (Tone) Powell (this year’s hosts) who took us to a great restaurant at the Couer d’Alene Resort on the lake.

The next morning would see some of us running around on our HGG errands, while meanwhile the Powell brothers drove to Spokane to appear with Alex de Grassi on a special 2-hour NPR segment with guitarist/host Leon Atkinson.  Here’s the page (I haven’t found the link to play the segment yet).

Dave and Anthony Powell on the air!

Alex was there to do a Friday night show in Spokane on 6-string before his harp guitar-only show at our event. Leon, who has recently started playing the first Tonedevil nylon-string harp guitar, subsequently attended our event as a new local celebrity harp guitarist.

Host of Spokane’s “Guitar Hour” radio show, Leon Atkinson, with his Tonedevil

In the afternoon, we hooked up with the Powells and the others and drove an hour north to Sandpoint and the new Powell/Tonedevil “estate.”  After Tone purchased the small parcel with a tiny house and big shop on it, they were given another larger house and garage.  All they had to pay for was transporting them to the property (which they did)!  Amazing bit of logistics and serendipity.

The group entering Dave’s place, a remodeled trailer home.  Note “hobbit hole” underneath (no one braved it).  In front are trees from the property felled by a storm (one landed square in the middle of Dave’s roof…luckily when he wasn’t home).

Dave says when he gets stressed from building, he zones out in front of his fish tank for a cathartic ten minutes.

In the newly added house is a larger fish tank for Tone to stare at (he apparently has more stress).  Bottom right is a painted turtle found as a hatchling at their dad’s pond.

Tone’s house contains the Tonedevil showroom, hung with old and new experiments and latest production instruments (Frank and Joe checking out).

Steve Farmer tried out a new spruce top (which after playing all weekend he ultimately ended up purchasing), while wife Vickie cracks up at the inimitable Dan Pease, who had joined us for the evening with Bets.

The shop was amazing in that, like the TARDIS (Doctor Who’s police box ship, for non-geeks), it was far bigger on the inside than it appeared from the outside.  These guys have room.  On the wall at right are old Anthony Powell experiments…

…including his first 3 harp guitars.  HGG3 and later Gathering goers may remember them.  These historic and iconic lovelies belong in a museum!  (or perhaps a zoo)

Dave shows the group their new neck duplicator…

…and shows me his new spray booth

A nylon and a steel string HG getting close

Trying out a new pine top, which I found surprisingly open and bright sounding.  It also sounded great – and very natural – plugged in, thanks to the new custom pickup system Dave has perfected (coming soon!).

The following morning (Friday), we finally met up with the Bennetts, who had arrived after midnight.  Morgans, Bennetts and Jaci and I then went for a highly-recommended hike around Tubbs Hill on the lake.

This was an incredibly beautiful, easy 2-mile hike around a little promontory.

A ways out, looking back at the resort…

…when who should catch up with us on the trail than Ed and Sally Dowling!

Lots of “stop and savor” moments

A panoramic shot with my iPhone…

…and camera (the gang “gravel-combing” on a hidden beach)

An osprey nest (we’re pretty sure) – amazing!

While at ground level, we stumbled upon a small group (a “gaggle”?  a “gobble”?) of wild turkeys.

We hated to end it, but we had a Harp Guitar Gathering to put on!
(Linda Morgan behind camera, Jaci off to Staples…)

Next: Friday night banquet: Old and New Friends!