basilwhite (basilwhite) wrote,

20070905 Bozeman, MT - Museum of the Rockies and Gibson Guitar Factory

Went to the Museum of the Rockies. Here's my understanding of the history of the Rocky Mountains in five phases:

  1. Rocks.
  2. Cyanobacteria.
  3. Dinosaurs.
  4. Blackfeet Indians.
  5. Oldsmobiles.

Currently the Rockies are in their "Late Oldsmobile" period.

A toddler is wearing a t-shirt that says "They Shake Me!" So why does she talk so much?

I called my buddy Brian McClure. He was sitting down to dinner with his parents before driving to Baltimore to fly to Baghdad to fulfill his obligations to the Virginia Air National Guard.

I called the Gibson Acoustic Guitar Factory to see if I could get a tour. I sweet-talked my way onto one of the four slots on their weekly tour. Four people a week get in on Wednesday at 3:30. Love my silver tongue.

The Gibson receptionist is answering the phone and assembling tuning pegs with a cordless screwdriver when she buzzes me into the office. She tells me I need closed-toe shoes so I run across the street to Ross and buy $22 Airwalks for the tour. My tour guide is Valerie Bolitho, a lutier with 17 years of tenure. Her off-the-rack guitars are 25k. She assists the boss with the custom guitars at $50k. The sad fact is that she said that she knows that no one will play most of the guitars she builds, with two notable exceptions: the one she built with wolf-paw sound holes and a wolf-paw pickguard that she had a picture of Arlo Guthrie playing, and the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl guitar she built for Disney for which she had a picture of Johnny Depp playing. She basically builds guitars out of wood, plastic, glue, abalone and mother-of-pearl into works of art using computers and dental instruments. Brain surgery has greater fault tolerances than the Gibson custom acoustic shop.

In her free time she quilts. Ironic, because I'm here at a ranch with Aimee for quilt week with celebrity quilting teachers with TV shows and the 9 Quarter Circle ranch owner lady bid on a custom Gibson. Note to self: introduce Valerie the Luthier and Kelly the Ranch Owner to each other.


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