Saturday, September 5, 2009

Badass Badge time!

One of the most common comments we hear when we talk about our schedule is " Man, maybe you need to get a new booking agent." Because our tours often take turns for the absurd. We backtrack like crazy, make monster drives between gigs, and sometimes take redonkulous excursions to Colorado.

But hey, it's how we roll.

I've been wondering lately what it's like for other bands. Because ever since I've been in the Wheel, this is how it's been. And honestly, I understand. It would be silly to come all the way to the East Coast and then not play absolutely as much as you could when you were here. I mean, the traveling is tough, but always doable.

I wonder how the other folks do it though.

I realize this blog has just become a diary of travel insanity. I feel like the only thing I've been saying is "Dude, check out what rocking travelers we are. Did I mention we are doing this with a baby!?!!?"

The gigs have been rad, Claire has been wowing them in the opening slots. I stood by the side of the stage last night and her performance gave me steady goosebumps. Lisel watched for a while, but she was so moved by the music that she tried to sing along, and we had to move it on outside.

And I feel like the Wheel has been turning it on lately. We're hitting a level of groove that comes from playing lots of show close together. The solos get hotter. The band becomes less of a bunch of individuals, and more of a collective.

But dude, shows are an hour and a half. We spend most of our time on the road. Literally.

And honestly I kind of impressed with us.

When I first started touring with my own band, in a minivan mind you, where I was the primary driver, I might have complained once or twice to Dave about how hard things were. And he would turn my frown upside down by telling me that every trial brought me one step closer to earning my badass badge. And when I got home from driving straight for 36 hours from Rhode Island with Chris Miller, Dave actually gave me a badass badge--a toy sheriff's badge on which he had stuck the word "badass"

I still have that badge.

And I feel like we all deserve one after this trip. Even, or should I say, especially Lisel.

Because you would not know that this kid has traveled more than 3000 miles on this trip (I'm including airfare here). Dave and Claire and I have each had our over it moments, when the rigors of this trip undeniably got under our skins. But Lisel? If anything she seems happier and more fun to be around.

The kid keeps coming on in a major way.

I think that makes us lucky badasses.

We're now in the home stretch of the tour! We drove from New York to Maine. All told, about a 10 hour trip, with the last hundred miles taking three hours due to the twistinest, turningest roads we've ever seen. Those roads were annoying during the day and absolutely terrifying at night. We had to leave right after the gig because our next show was in Towanda, PA. That's about a 12 hour journey there. The first 150 miles were all non interstate. And intermittantly foggy.

And one big Moose danger zone.

I had never seen a Moose until the night before last. But Claire's friend Maryanne had warned her that Rangley was Moose central. There are a bunch of bogs in the area, and apparently Moose are suckers for bogs. So while Dave drove, I stayed on Moose patrol. I thought I'd be in the passenger seat for maybe 45 minutes.

I stayed there for 4 hours. I did not get off High Moose Alert until we hit the highway.

Because we saw Moose!

The first one was well on the other side of the road when we passed it. It was big but not so scary.

What was scary was the mother-baby moose combo that walked, ne sauntered, across the road in front of us.

Until I actually witnessed actual Moose, I thought seeing one would be cool. Bit when I saw that moose family saw, and I saw the first, all I could do was scream the warning scream of "Moose! Moose! Moose! Moose!"

Because they were huge! I think Claire put it best when she said they're all shoulder. And head i think. Skinny little legs, but everything else is all hugeness. Like the size of our vehicle huge. Like that baby looked like it could have taken out the baby bus and kept on truckin'.

So yeah, there was no way I was going off Moose patrol after that.

Did I mention there was lots of fog? That seemed mostly due to the profusion of bogs. Everytime we would drive by a bog, it would get all foggy. And since we knew the likelyhood of a Moose appearing out of the fog increased around bogs, Dave and I came up with a site specific way of saying slow down.

Fog. Bog. Moose.

We thankfully had no more Moose encounters. And we have never been so grateful for Dwight D. Eisenhower and his glorious interstate highway system!

Claire took over and rocked the next four foggy hours like a pro. Then Dave took the wheel and dogged her on in, only stopping to grab breakfast at Morey's Diner and House of Miniatures

Yes, I said House of Miniatures. No,, I do not have a picture. You know it's towards the end of a trip when we don't even bother to bust out our iPhone cameras, which we have in our pockets, to snap rememberances of a restaurant whose owner is also a miniatures enthusiast and therefore has adorned nearly every square inch of her establishment with dollhouse type dioramas.

It was partially cool, partially creepy.

In Towanda we let Claire have some alone time in the hotel room, and took the baby bus down to the courthouse green. Dave slept in the back. I played with Lisel on the grass until she too was ready for a nap. And then I laid between the two people I love the most as they slept.

And in these moments all the insanity of this trip made sense. The crazy routing, the never ending drives, the late night Moose Patrol. We get to hang as a family unit. And Dave and Claire and I get to play music. The gig last night in Towanda? Excellent! Great crowd, sweet music. I even met a MAMOD reader, Steve. What could be better?

And it's totally worth it.

Even. Fog. Bog. Moose.

-- Post From My iPhone

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