David Hakan's Blog

I will post here when I can about life on tour and my work with The Online Musician Course. Please subscribe here to see all the posts. 
I will also send these to Facebook on my David Hakan page. Thanks.

Day 14 Building the Gypsy Wagon Studio

posted Jun 13, 2017, 4:04 PM by David Hakan

Day14 Building the Gypsy Wagon Studio
All of a sudden, I have two zillion things on my Must Get Before July 5 list, as I prepare to go south to Florida to pick up my Gypsy Wagon Studio. Generator: check, traffic cones: check, candle lanterns: check (LED of course), HD hitch: check, Brake Controller: check, gas can for the generator: check, fans: check, Hot Spot with antenna: check. 
There have been dozens of small details that needed hammering out (pun intended). You can see in the picture the holes for the small LED amber lights that will line the arch and continue down both sides at the roofline. You can see the stepped wedge around the door and matching door frame to keep out any sound. The floor will be a big surprise....KaChing. But well worth it. 
I have tried not to panic. I have tried to think of everything. We as a team are in uncharted waters. But this ship will be seaworthy. 

Little Lady - My Dream Guitar

posted Jun 7, 2017, 7:27 PM by David Hakan

Little Lady - My Dream Guitar
For one year, I have been playing my 3/4 size guitar, writing songs on them, trying to play out with them. They convinced me that I need to have a 3/4 size guitar as my Main Guitar. 
The problem is that these are student/travel guitars that cut corners in one or more ways. Wouldn't it be nice to have a professional guitar that is a 3/4 size. My small hands can really play so much more cleanly, for hours. 
Cole Clark of Australia did a prototype of just such a guitar, with the famous 3-way pickup. They said it would be ready in the fall of 2016. 
Why did it take me so long to get one?
They wanted it perfect. They had to reinvent the amplifier, they tried to certify Rosewood for it. They tried to use Australian Redwood for it. Their website Still says they are unavailable. 
I tried to order in this Little Lady 2 model in Missouri, but the music store dropped the Cole Clark line. The closest dealer is in...Minnesota. They said there were two at the North American Distributors warehouse in...Quebec. One was 100 year old Redwood top with Blackwood back and sides. 
Now I have always thought that buying a guitar "long distance" was really, really stupid. But I didn't want to wait another whole year. 

Well, I have used up all my good Karma on this one. The guitar arrived today. It is My Dream Guitar. Here's a picture and videos coming soon. 

4 Years 4 Miles

posted Jun 5, 2017, 3:24 PM by David Hakan

4 Years 4 Miles
It was 4 years ago that I had to stop running. Now for someone who had then been running for 37 years, this was just a bit traumatic. 
Running is often called a positive addiction. Even two weeks off of my running schedule made me, well, cranky. 
I was out for my regular morning run before work. Out two miles, back two miles, shower, shave, dress and race to get to work on time for my classroom. 
I had been having a bit of trouble with leg cramps at that time, and had slowed my pace to avoid more. I was out at my turn around point when I got a bad cramp in my left leg. It would not relax. Walking did not make it go away. I looked at my watch and realized that if I walked back to my house I would be late for work. I couldn't call the school. 
So I ran back anyway. 
This, I found out, is a good way to injure your calve muscle. The rest of that year I really slowed down and shortened my runs. Through physical therapy I tried several things to get me back running. 
When summer came. I gave up running and went to the gym to do my cardio on the elliptical machine. I spent two years trying everything that has even been rumored to help cramps. Nothing worked. 
It was total chance that I was at a friend's house when her physical therapist made a house call. I paid for a session and she explained why she thought I could get back to running. 
So I started physical therapy again. (Keep in mind that there is no cure for cramps just like there is no cure for laryngitis.) There was only one avenue that had yet to be tried, nerve pathway damage. 
As soon as I tackled the problem from that point of view for a few weeks, things began to change. I started running Last Summer for very short, slow runs. 

Now one year later, I'm back. Almost my old speed, and an easy 4 mile run with no cramping. The extra bonus is that now I can be sure to take the time to run every day. 

Some of you may ask, "Why are your shoes up on top of the dresser?" But that's because you have not met my Wild Kittens who like to chew on shoe strings. But that is another post. 

More Truck, You Need More Truck

posted May 30, 2017, 7:10 PM by David Hakan

More Truck, You Need More Truck
When I was at MerleFest, our camp neighbor was pulling a small Airstream with a Silverado (Chevy) truck. 
I explained as well as I could about my Gypsy Wagon Studio. He said, "You need more truck."
The builders kept estimating that the final wagon would only weigh about 4,500 lbs. I said, "I don't think so, really."
So I told them to wait till the exact tandem axle trailer was ordered and the wood was in, and the final design done for the back porch. 
(Stay tuned for the post on the back porch. Heaven for Stage 11.)
So they finally said, "You know what? This is going to weigh 6,000 lbs!"
I start looking Right Away for More Truck. I need time to get gauges installed, a hitch, and a work cap to hold gear securely in the truck bed area. 
Now the Chevy Silverado is the truck of choice for almost all the big trailers I've seen in my travels. (City work trucks however, are almost always Fords.) So I look at several Silverados in KC. Now there are about seventy-eleven different models and packages for these. Nowhere does it list How Much It Can Tow. I am also, not the only one in town getting a truck to travel with this summer. Trucks were going in a few days or a week on the market. 
So I found a truck in my price range that can comfortably tow 9,600 lbs, And has 4-wheel drive. I snatched it up. (Yes, I could have shopped longer and gotten a better price, but these installations will be done about one week before I leave for Florida to pick up the Gypsy Wagon Studio.) 
So I realize that this is my first truck...ever. It looks big. It feels big on the road. But it is quiet and smooth. You know those uphill, short, highway entrance ramps? This 5.3L engine just sprints up these...when it is not towing, of course. So here it is in all its Silver glory. 

Day One Building the Real Gypsy Wagon Studio

posted May 30, 2017, 6:50 PM by David Hakan

Day One Building the Real Gypsy Wagon Studio
All the pictures so far have been of the Test Shell which is (still) in my garage in Kansas City. 
Now, finally, I have pictures of the Real, yes, REAL Gypsy Wagon Studio as it is being built in Florida. I also, hope soon to have an artist's sketch of the finished wagon based on the final design plans and the bigger trailer. It was exciting to see the framing come together, but I Drooled over the nice big shop being used to build it in. 
It will be built free standing then lifted onto the trailer to be attached. We are talking 3,000 lbs. (I hope they don't drop it!)
Here is the photo from last week. 

Gypsy Wagon Yellow

posted May 17, 2017, 2:59 PM by David Hakan

Gypsy Wagon Yellow
It has been over a month since posting that I actually put money down on the Gypsy Wagon Studio. It is being built in Florida by the folks at Trekker Trailers. 
So before I dismantle the Shell, I used it to test some different stains and paints. 
The paneling on the front and back will be cypress. (Here in MO that is considered an "exotic" wood and is hard to find.) So I can't really finish my tests till I get some cypress shipped in. 
The exterior latex is another matter. So I used two colors for the trim on the front of the wagon by the door. The one on the left is a straight crayon yellow, the one on the right is Forsythia, which has just a drop of red and is more saturated. 
Which do you like best?
I have to get this right because both sides will be painted yellow. The railing on the front porch/stage will be yellow. This will get noticed when I arrive someplace. 

Tandem Axle Trailer

posted Apr 21, 2017, 3:19 PM by David Hakan

Tandem Axle Trailer
The Gypsy Wagon Studio will be heavy. The walls, floor and ceiling will be 4 or 6 inches thick to keep out sound. Weight is one way to keep most sound frequencies out. Think double the weight of a regular gypsy wagon. So we are going to start with a two-axle, tandem, trailer. Yes, this will cost more, but it will be more stable going down the highway. Heavy duty stuff. 

Gypsy Wagon Man

posted Apr 18, 2017, 11:15 AM by David Hakan

OK, just call me the Gypsy Wagon Man. The Deal Is Done. 
After 8 weeks, I finally got the detailed quote from Trekker Trailers on my Gypsy Wagon Trailer they will build. (Well, I did keep adding stuff. But those things will help make it Wow...just WOW.)
Monday I sent in the "half down" payment to get on the build schedule. I should find out soon when they expect it to be ready this summer. 
It feels good to be out of limbo, out of questioning, soul searching, contingency planning and waiting for Someday. 
This will be Way Cool. 
But this means I am Now in the recording and filming business. I am upgrading my gear and software now and can do projects pretty much up till August when I leave for Colorado. That is, when I get back from my North Carolina Tour May 5. 
Make me a Wanderer's heart. 

Blizzard of '17

posted Mar 28, 2017, 5:19 PM by David Hakan   [ updated Mar 30, 2017, 7:46 PM ]

Blizzard of '17
I had a good show at the Taos Inn in New Mexico Friday, March 24. I had one dinner customer fall in love with my song, Are You Going My Way, and he bought a CD with that on it. 
Then it started snowing. I thought it was just that we were up in the mountains. I packed up and got ready to drive to the KOA campground in Raton, NM about two hours away. 

But I found out that about half my route was in the mountains, two-lane, no shoulder, 20 mph curves, no guardrails, and more snow. I pulled into my KAO cabin just as it got dark. Still snowing.

For some reason, I got up at 5:30 am. I decided I should get an early start. This was my longest leg of the trip, a seven and a half hour drive to WaKeeney, KS by Hays, KS. I showered at the KAO, and the lights went out and then back on once. I thought, that would be bad. It would have been really hard to shower and dress in the dark. By the time I got back to my cabin, the power went out to the whole campground, including my little space heater. I decided I might as well pack up and go since it was 61 degrees in my cabin. 3 miles north of Raton, there was a big pile up on Interstate 25 and they CLOSED I-25. So I went back to my exit to the gas station. Then realized the WHOLE town had lost power. Luckily, the power came back on in the gas station and I could fill up my tank and use the restroom. I let the car idle and ran the heat and waited there till 10:30, then tried to go north again. I-25 was Still Closed. So I came back to the gas station to wait. About 12:30 I realized that the staff had closed the gas station and gone home. I also saw some cars turned around by the wreck coming into Raton With No Snow On Them. Hummm? The highway to the east was closed, I couldn't stay in Raton overnight because they still had no power. So I headed south (The opposite way I needed to go.) on I-25. In 20 minutes the roads were DRY. The only open highway going east was 412. It was 40 miles south out of my way, at Springer, NM. 

It was by then about 1:30 pm. The woman at the gas station in Springer said, "You better fill up your tank if you are going east on 412, because there is nothing out there for a long way."
She was right. There was Nothing, no towns, no farms, no stores, no cows or horses, sometimes no fences. Just the two-lane. Backroads USA. 
So I just kept driving, trying to make it to Dodge City, KS by nightfall. In Boise City, OK there was one convenience store open. The line at the bathroom was 5 deep. (Yes I filled up, just in case.)
The towns on this route were mainly at the big grain elevators or big cattle feedlots. I mean Big. I have never seen so many cows in one day. Thousands. Cattle Empire. (It really is called that.)

I made it to Dodge City, KS just as it was getting dark, to the Love's Truckstop. (One of my favorites.)
I fought a 60 mph wind from the north most of the way east from the storm that hit I-24 in NM and CO. But I had "A Hard Rain's A'Gonna Fall" on the stereo and lots of road food munchies.
Then I had to drive the 90 minutes north on two-lane at night. I was toast when I got to WaKeeney. I had been in the car since 7:30 am until about 9:30 pm, with just a couple of 15 breaks. 
I knew this long day on two-lane would be a long hard drive, but I had NO idea what a challenge it would be. I couldn't have done it without my Subaru. 

Tractor Brewing Company ABQ

posted Mar 25, 2017, 9:36 AM by David Hakan

Put a neighborhood bar with a Wednesday night Songwriter Showcase and you have a really fun evening. Especially if you are the one performing. Cool big-city vibe, young and old, scruffy and upscale and a great staff ready to hear original music. 
They were also smart enough to park a food truck right out front, since they don't serve food. The food truck staff gave them table numbers and then delivered their plates inside when they were ready. More like a mobile kitchen. Very cool. 


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