2002 US TOUR DIARY
8/17 We head east into the rising sun toward Montana skies. Everyone
at Jay's Upstairs in Missoula is intoxicated to near death. Cool metal
band from Utah to watch out for is Compound Fraxxure.
SUN. 8/18 We head further east. As far as Buffalo, WY , where we stop at a rest area and drink whiskey and beer and pass out.
8/19 On to Mt. Rushmore. The bigger spectacle is wild fires throughout
the Black Hills. S. Dakota repeats itself for several hours until we
reach the first rest area inside Minnesota where we drink to sleep
TUE. 8/20 Minneapolis is found beyond pastoral tableaus
of farmhouse, silo, church steeples, and rolling plains. This place is
clean. So is Lee's Liquor Bar- remarkably so. The walls and floors shine
from the labors of the tipplers who reside in the apartments above the
bar. They appear from the woodwork at closing time pushing brooms,
putting up chairs, wiping walls and tables. They are paid the next day
at drinking time. We are told the only way out of the upstairs
apartments is in a county cororner bag.
We would like to thank 'Cookie' for putting us up for the night and buying us a round of White Castle burgers.
8/21 Cookie is on the phone this morning with a representative of a
credit card company. Cookie assures him that there is no minimum payment
required of him yet as he scrapes resin from a pipe. If indeed there
were a payment due it would have been mailed in by now. Cookie can't be
sure for there are so many offers that appear in his mailbox daily.
Cookie asks the representative where he's calling from. "Florida? Wow,
why are there so many great guitar players from Florida? You ever
listen to Molly Hatchet?...No? ...well, all right thanks for
Today we drive through Wisconsin and attend a
White Sox game in Chicago. You must be careful where you turn near
Comiskey Park. Olde Style is a tasty beer.Sox beat Twins 10-2.
8/22 We try to get some sleep at a rest stop in Indiana early this
Thursday morning while being devoured by bugs and feeling like hot
licked postage stamps in the humidity that gets worse by the time we get
to Cincinatti. This 200 year old city proudly offers heat, blight, and
racial tension. We missed a riot by a few days. We would like to thank
the staff of Sudsy Malone's for their generosity. Rich the sound guy
even gave us his cut for gas money. Thanks again.
Eastward through the land where coal miners, steel workers, and Amish
fight for space at the early morning gas station scene. Pennsylvania is a
long passageway to New Jersey where drivers on the Garden State Parkway
were courteous and accomodating to our lane changing needs. They have a
friendly local hand signal that seems to say, "Welcome to the Garden
State, weary traveler." This night we played at the Brighton in Long
Branch which is just blocks from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. We're told
this is the ocean that brought Americans to America.
North into the night we drive to New Hampshire where Dustin's parents
live. Live free or die they say up there although I doubt there's much
choice about the latter. Dustin decides to attend a wedding in Maine
while we're there. It turns out that his brother Aaron is the groom.
Later that evening we trek back to Cambridge MA where they film that Car
Talk show on NPR. We find the Kendall Cafe and have our best show of
the tour there. Big thanks to Norm and Ruth !
SUN. 8/25 Back in
the 18th Century a group of Puritans bored of burning witches decided
to build a tourist trap in southern Massachusetts and named the hamlet
Sturbridge. "Let's wow future travelers with our simple buildings and
creepy graveyard!" they proclaimed. "Let us put the carriage repair
shoppe on the far edge of towne where the stranded must parade past our
souvenir merchants!" After crawling along the Mass Pike for an hour our
van decides to sputter out and break down here. We get a room at the
Sturbridge Host and get drunk.
MON. 8/26 We walk around
Surbridge. The van is ready at about 4pm. We have about 28 hours to get
to St. Louis. The van tries to be funny again in Milford PA, but we're
wise to a loose disributor cable. Driving, driving, driving, driving.
8/27 Seeing 'Vacation' too many times we avoid even going near East
St. Louis and take a crazy back way into St. Louis from the north off
70. It eventually leads us to downtown, not before I cut some guy off
at a wierd traffic circle when I turned right across his lane. Dustin
said the reason he never honked was because he was too busy shitting
himself. We find the Way Out club and get another motel room. This
neighborhood looks like no good. Later that night our wing window is
broken out while the van is parked behind the club. The bad guys stole
nothing from us but hit the other band's van and won a free boom box.
The Way Out is a way cool club though and we'd like to thank Bob and
Sherri for being so nice.
WED. 8/28 Wichita, KS seems harmless
enough from the freeway yet to no one's surprise the club is in the
sketchy part of town. It seems fitting also that the van decides to act
up again and show us that a rear tire is split and about to blow. We
decide to play the show at Kirby's and then get towed after loading it
back up. Were told leaving it overnight at this neighborhood's service
garage would be a bad idea. Enter Mike and Lucy- a husband and wife
team, local hepcats/ guardian angels who put us and the van up at their
pad. Kirby's Beer Store is way cool too and many thanks to Steve there
After Wichita our van decided to
cancel the rest of our tour by breaking down just long enough to miss
the next show. Twice. We regret not making Ft. Collins, CO or the
Neurolux show in Boise. At least our gas costs and repair bills far
exceeded any money we made.
SLD and Rick Hromadka
4 days ago