August 12th- Maybe it goes without saying, but I haven’t blogged in a really long time. With Alli being in home school and using my computer, it wasn’t always readily available. But, we have recently put Alli back in public school, and I have bought a new computer. So… here I am! Today is the second day of our tour. We haven’t played any shows yet, though, because we are driving to Utah for the first one. Utah is a 25 hour drive from where we live, so all of yesterday was spent driving, and all of today is being spent driving as well. We are heading to our friend’s house tonight in Ogden, Utah. The amazing 14 year old Sammy Brue and his wonderful family take us in everytime we are out their way, and we are so blessed to have friends like that! I think for this renewal of blogging I’m going to technically blog everyday, but just compile it all in this one document and then upload it at the end of the tour. Nothing super exciting has happened yet, except that I woke up this morning to a few texts at 7:00 am from Mary saying that the neighborhood dog had had her puppies, and then after school I received a picture of said puppies and there were 11 of those things!
August 13th- We played our first show tonight close to Salt Lake City. Tony performed a wedding ceremony for Beth and Troy Black who are raising 7 teenagers. S.E.V.E.N. That’s how we started off tonight’s show! Also, Beth’s friend Wendy bought, through our Pledge campaign, us singing Hey Grace, Hey Tony but replacing our names with Beth and Troy. I think they all really enjoyed that part of the show. Just to share a few more moments of our day with you, I’ll tell you about this morning. I must preface with the fact that Tony and I have been going to the gym 5 days a week for the last 2-3 months and have started to watch what we are eating more carefully. It’s been a challenge trying to do this on the road, but last night I took 30 minutes before bed to do Yoga on the Brue’s porch that overlooks the city lights and it was amazing! It was 77 degrees with a light breeze…….I live in a place where, in the words of my brother-in-law, “August will turn on you and burn you alive.” Anywho…this morning Pete, Tony, and I got up and went out to the Brue’s carport and set up yoga mats and the guys did weights while I did a series of pushups, burpies, squats, lunges, and all manner of despair. Then, Tony and I went to Riverfront Park and he jogged while I obeyed the Zombie Run App and switched between walking, jogging, and sprints (when zombies were attacking me). I saw a guy fly fishing and he had caught a trout and I can’t explain the joy I had for him in that moment, or maybe it was the fact that I had never seen anyone fly fishing and I got really excited. After our run, Tony and I went to Walmart and picked up some healthy eats. Most importantly, Tony ate an orange for the first time ever today, and I think that everyone on social media got a kick out of that.
August 14th- It’s now the end of the day and I’m sitting in dorm room 317 at a college eating almonds and worrying about how many times I’m going to have to get up to pee by myself. We played at Main Street Studios in Walla Walla and had a crowd that was on the small side, but attentive and excited, which is all that matters. Some cool things from today: (This first one is only marginally cool…) We saw a wildfire on the way to Walla Walla , and on our way to the dorms we saw the Foo Fighters concert and there were thousands of people there,and when we arrived at the dorm rooms we could hear the whole thing through our windows. It’s been a pretty cool day after a 10 hour drive!
August 15th- Gentlemen of the Road was today for us! It started yesterday, of course, but today, is when we got to participate. We had a show at 1 PM on the Spokane stage and it ROCKED! There were hundreds of people there and we had the biggest line for merch in the history of ever! We even met The Band Joseph, a band of 3 sisters that our good friends from Penny and Sparrow introduced us to. Afterwards, Tony and I sweet talked our way into the backstage area of the main stage so I could stand on the side stage to watch Jenny Lewis. It was awesome! She is a perfect specimen! Her hair!!! I even got up enough courage to talk to her after her performance was through. She was really sweet! We then watched a little of The Flaming Lips and saw enough of him throwing balloons and confetti and having people dressed up as mushrooms and rainbows out on stage, and even missed him rolling around in a ball through the crowd. It’s okay, though, because we had already gotten pretty close to him. Enough to know that his entire outfit was made out of duct tape. After a well needed nap, we all headed to Kontos Cellers for our last show here in Walla Walla. We have had such a good response here that it’s just been unreal! Anywho! Tomorrow is an offday and we have…well, I decided for everyone, that we are going to camp for most of this trip. So we are headed to Perkins Creek outside of Portland tomorrow and so I’m ready to share how our experience goes. Mostly just Chris’ reaction to camping. Also, as an update on the dorm bed situation…Tony and I slept in a twin sized bed last night together that was so high off the floor that he had to hold onto me for me to put my phone on the ground without falling. Neither of us slept much because I was too worried I was going to roll off the side and kill myself. Today, we found out that Chris had a double room and neglected to inform us. So tonight we are commondeering his room and I get a bed to myself! Woot!
August 16th- We had an off day today so we drove out to Clatskanie, Oregon to Perkins Creek Campground and set up camp for the night. We drug out our tents and started a fire to cook supper on a cast iron grill that I borrowed from my dad. I was a little proud to see “Stofer” aka Chris help Pete put up his tent until I noticed later that he had used the little pin that you hold up the rods with as a stake… After we had devoured our cheddar brats and grilled chicken tenders we settled down in some lawn chairs (Chris holed up in the car with his movies) and sat around a Coleman lantern and talked until we were tired. We had some wildlife show up on our campsite and Tony threw some Doritos to the poor thing. It’s probably somewhere with the squirts damning us to hell for it. The temp was down in the 50’s and so it was a nice night to snuggle for Tony and I. I never thought that I would live to see the day that Tony enjoyed camping, but everyone, save Chris, said that they had a great time!
August 17th- Early this morning we got up and made another fire in our grill and set my cast iron skillet on top and cooked eggs and turkey sausage. We had slept so well that it was almost lunchtime before we woke up. I say that, but when I exited my tent I found that Pete was already up in the lawn chair and had apparently been there since 5 am. Tony and I slept well, though. As the sun came up it began to get a little toasty, and so I decided to just take advantage of it and lay out until I had to get up to get ready for our show. It was so hot after a while that I got up and went to the creek to cool off, and just as I was about to make myself plunge my whole body into the icy cold water, Tony came up behind me and said that everyone wanted to try to leave early to get lunch in Portland. Skipping past the part where I got ready and Pete heard me singing in the bath house…we found a lunching spot when we got to Portland. Pete and I ate at a Thai food truck (he had curried rice and I had Pad Thai), Tony ate at a burger place right beside the food truck, and Chris took off to a pizza place down the street. After sound check, Tony, Pauline and Jedidiah (from the Wicks), and Brant and Raymond (from Brant Colella) went to Voodoo Donuts and grabbed our poison of choice. Mine was a maple bacon and Tony got a chocolate cake donut with coco puffs on top. We saved our donuts for later and went back to the venue (The Doug Fir) for some grub. It was fun getting to sit down and talk and relax before our show. Before we played I used my nice new computer to Skype with my BFF Lenny Piazza and we talked for almost an hour and a half. He was a good sport because it was only 10:00 my time when we were through, but it was 1:00 am his time! Tony also got some workout time in by doing push ups with me on his back. Today was a pretty good day and spending time with our friends The Wicks and making new ones with Brant and Raymond was just an added bonus. Tomorrow we will be in Seattle with The Wicks at The Tractor Tavern and everyone has been raving about how awesome this place is so we are all really excited!
August 18th- Today we got up and packed up our tents before the dew had dried from them to make it to Seattle in time for a radio show that we had set up with The Wicks. Upon arriving to the radio station, KESR, we found out that they were not expecting us and didn’t have any interview material to ask us, and so they turned us away. We left and decided to go into downtown Seattle and look around Pike Street Market. Tony and I bought the girls a present each and then I grabbed my sister a birthday present since she will turn 27 the day that we get back from this tour. We ate lunch at an Irish pub and I had a sausage roll because it reminded me of being in England. After lunch Tony bought some Salmon jerky (that later stunk up the entire car), and I bought a glass of fresh apple cider that they had turned into a slushy. I could have died happy right then and there! It was AMAZING! The show that night at The Tractor Tavern was a small crowd, but attentive and we even saw this guy that used to live in Florence, AL and had been at a show that we played with our friend Red Mouth about 2 years ago. I think that Pete also met a guy that was from where he grew up. We mostly just stayed in the green room laughing at the walls covered in poop jokes. There were all sorts of band names turned into poop jokes. For example: Cyndi Plopper, Neil Dung, Paula Abstool, and Alice Pooper are just a few. Then I kind of fell asleep before our set. That night we were lucky enough to have some guys offer to let us stay with them at their house and so we went there and hung out with Nick Foster (who has a band of his own) and Skylar (who may be moving to our part of town). It was here that I had my very first root beer that was alcoholic. I tried to sneak some on Chris, but his taste buds let him in on the prank. Wah Wah Wah…
August 19th- Matt Strutynski, who played with us last night at The Tractor Tavern, came in to Nick’s house this morning and asked us what time we were heading out for our show in Yakima, and so Tony started looking for a time and was informed that the place had decided to cancel on us. So today is a day off! The guys wanted to go back to downtown Seattle, but I had different plans. I drove out to Tolt-McDonald Park and set up camp for the night. I had dropped them off somewhere in Seattle and didn’t know how long they would be and I didn’t want to set up camp at night, so I drug our tents out and started putting them up. After putting up our tent and Pete’s tent (Chris is still sleeping in the car, of his own choice) I then blew up both of our air mattresses and put them inside the tents, got out our cast iron grill, took the trailer off the car, and was a sweaty mess by the end of it! There is a river there and so I took the trail down to it and got in. It literally took me 30 minutes to make myself get all the way in. It was the coldest water EVER! Right after I had took the plunge and buried my entire body in ice water, I get a text from Chris saying they are ready to leave Seattle. *Disgruntled* I grab my clothes and two towels and get in the car soaking wet. I put the two towels down so that the seat didn’t get wet, but otherwise I was in a car in my bikini soaking wet. If you’re wondering what the rush was, it was because Seattle was a 45 minute drive from the campsite. So this is how that drive went. Again, I am completely drenched in ice cold water, don’t have any clothes on, and so to dry off I just rolled down both windows, (something that wouldn’t fly if the guys were in the car) turned some Tokyo Police Club on full blast, and put on Tony’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style sunglasses! I was probably a sight to see! Driving 70 on the interstate, in a bikini, singing at the top of my lungs! It was freedom at it’s finest! I remember thinking at one point when someone was staring at me that I didn’t care because I would never see that person ever again, and started singing louder. When I picked up the guys we had to roll the windows up and turn down the music and I wondered if there was any way I could kick three guys out of the car and leave them to fend for themselves while I had fun. The answer was a divorce, so I settled in and drove them back to the campsite. Tony and I took to exploring the place and I took him to see the river, and we sat there in our chairs for a bit enjoying the view, and then we walked over the suspension bridge to the west side of the camp, where the bears are, and looked around at the Yurts. Yurts are awesome! Later we grilled steak and vege-kabobs, and I made myself a baked apple by putting apple slices, butter, and honey into a tin foil pouch and putting it over the fire for a while. It was really great! We stayed up for a while talking with Pete around a campfire, while Chris watched movies in the car, and eventually went to bed.
August 20th- As per usual on our camping mornings, we made eggs and sausage over a fire and fought off yellow jackets who wanted in on our sausage. After repacking our camping gear for the last time this tour and saying farewell to a beautiful park, we headed to our show in Spokane at The Big Dipper. The night was interesting, to say the least. Everybody that played was super nice, but the pairing of musical genres was eclectic. I feel like we made new fans there and ended the night with a jam band called the B-Radicals. After saying our goodbyes to The Wicks, we ran over to a diner and grabbed a bite and then walked into the most badly reviewed hotel ever. The stay wasn’t really as bad as most people made it sound, though the tub water never stopped running, and it took the desk guy 20 minutes to check us in because he was so high. All of this makes for a good story.
August 21st- Today we are heading back to the Seattle area, actually Redmond, to play a house show for some people that are cousins with some guys that Tony grew up with. Since we only had a 4 hour drive and we didn’t have to be there until 7, Pete decided we needed to go visit the quaint little German town in Washington called Leavenworth. So we did! Let me lead in by saying that the weather has been absolutely amazing the entire time we have been here, but stepping out of our car into a little miniature German Epcot in 70 degree weather was like being in heaven! Since we didn’t have all the time in the world, we made a bee-line to the spot selling the local beer. Pete and I split a sausage while there with some sauerkraut and spicy mustard on top. Still in heaven. After finishing off a pint of beer each, we left and went to a spot serving local sausages and I grabbed some more sauerkraut, stone-ground mustard, and horseradish on top of my brat this time and added another pint of beer. So, each of us had at least 2 pints of beer a piece and realized that the only person who could drive us to Redmond was Chris…. oh man. I don’t let Chris drive because Chris sleeps, literally, any and every time that we are in a vehicle, so I’ve decided to diagnose him with a number of sleeping disorders, including sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Basically, I’m terrified that he will fall asleep while driving. After 2 beer, I apparently didn’t care too much because I got in the back seat and immediately fell asleep for the entire drive to our show, a two hour drive, and we made it there alive and well. The show went really well and we made new friends, one of which has been made to promise to take me to Egypt when he crosses “seeing the pyramids” off of his bucket list. I tried a mojito for the first time and loved it, except for that part where I swallowed a mint leaf that then got lodged in my esophagus for the remainder of the night. I also met Mr. Trent.
August 22nd- We have started our trek back to the really hot and humid state of Tennessee…. 😦 Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be coming back home, but I’m really going to miss the weather here, and the camping. I think I’ll make a point to do more of it in the near future. It has been rather smokey on this journey home so far because I’ve heard that Washington is completely on fire right now. I did find out that we are traveling through Mitchell, South Dakota, which is where the Corn Palace is, and I plan to make everyone join me in a small detour there tomorrow. *High-fives self* We just stopped at a gas station that had a little fruit stand beside it and I went in to get some cherries and apples and the guy gave me some donut peaches that look and smell really good. I can’t wait to try one!
August 23rd- We have literally been driving since 10:30 am yesterday. Didn’t stop at all last night. We did actually make it to the Corn Palace and I was terribly disappointed. When I was here as a kid, it was way better. More corn everywhere. This is just a basketball gym now! I’m not really sure what else happened besides us getting really really stinky, but still going in at Buffalo Wild Wings for supper and hoping that nobody cared.
August 24th- It’s now almost 10 am and I’m on MY couch at MY house with MY dog laying in the floor finishing up this blog. We got home about an hour ago and hadn’t stopped last night either. So today is day 4 without a shower and my feet had been in my tennis shoes for 2 days straight and I about passed out when I took them off my feet. I’m glad to be home again, though, even if it is hot as crap. And I’m sure that eventually we will remember this tour as a good one. We just can’t think right now. It was so bad that on the last stretch of drive Tony made up a country song that made it sound like someone was talking about a girl, but then you find out later that he’s only talking about a rebel flag. I’m going to take a shower now…