We Are the Willows tour diary, Vol. 3
Well, the third week of tour has passed. I've had about 50 cups of coffee, spent about $300 on gas, eaten about seven square meals, and met a ton of cool people. I've been in some really cool towns and some towns that I won't feel bad about never coming back to.
Champaign, IL is a cool town with lots of college munchkins running around in clothes that their mothers wouldn't approve of. I'm pretty sure that I didn't see one unattractive person in that city. I played a house show at this guy Darwin's house. The state of the house somewhat resembled what may have been the chaos and craziness at the dawn of time...clothes, dishes, and beer cans scattered around like primeval particles and atoms. Naturally, I slept in the family van.
The show was super fun! House shows rule.
I then made the drive to Pierceton, IN. The highways in Indiana are either big super highways or country roads. Driving on country roads for 5 hours should have been evidence enough that I was not in for an evening of feeling like a rock star. Pierceton, IN has a population of about 800 people. The Blue Lion coffee house is located just off the main street in town that has about 10 buildings on it. The Blue Lion itself feels a bit like Hogwarts school of magic. There are rows of wooden tables where young witches and wizards can get their fill of magical delights before battling evil. Coincidentally, there were a lot of youngsters playing computer roll playing games.
The local band didn't show up, there wasn't a sound person or much of a sound system, and the guy who booked the show was nowhere to be seen. The workers didn't even know there was a show that night. But luckily there was a nice youngster who helped set up the stage while I got the sound running. Then the third band (another out of town band called, Desert Neighbor) showed up. They were super nice guys and they sounded great. Then, a guy named Michael from Fort Wayne, IN showed up. He had heard me on MPR (apparently he listens to the current!) so he and his daughter made the 45 minute drive to see me. I couldn't believe it. Apparently it was the perfect night to feel like a rock star. It's just that I had forgotten my leather pants.
I then headed towards Bloomington, IN. Another college town. I've never seen so many midriffs! I played at a joint called Rachel's that was very nice. Nice folks, nice bands, nice room.
The next day was my first day off. I thought I would be welcoming it, but I actually got really restless. I wanted to be on the road to the next town. I did find some fun things to do; I went to the University art museum and tried to look like I understand art. And, this is incredible, I went to a night of LIVE BAND KARAOKE! It was amazing. I was laughing the whole time. People were having so much fun.
Cincinnati is an interesting city. I biked down a main highway/street 127. I biked through neighborhoods of almost every socio-economic status. All on the same road. Maybe that's not that unusual...I guess one can do that in South Minneapolis, just by going down Chicago Ave....but, it was interesting seeing it in another city. The downtown area is pretty neat.
I played at a joint called the Comet Bar. They fed me a delicious burrito (square meal #5) and gave me a couple of beers. Not many people showed up. I think I played for three people. But one of them bought a CD! Yahoo!
Driving into New York state was incredible. It is a beautiful drive. I felt like taking pictures the whole time I was driving. But I thought, "Safety First!" and pulled over to the side of an incredibly busy highway and took a picture.
Jamestown, NY is a quaint town with really great buildings and great people. I played at The Labyrinth and had a hootin' good time.
Ithaca, NY is no different than the rest of the state. It's gorgeous, or gorges, depending on how funny you are. I biked around and nearly died because of all the hills. I played at a joint called, The Shop with a local band called Blow! It was a fun show.
I then had two days off and that time wasn't too hard to fill because of the hospitality of Johnny and Bruce from Blow! Johnny let me crash on his couch and make his shower a lot grungier than it was before I showered in it. They took me out for beers, showed be a bit of the town, and Bruce even hired me to work a shift at this weird hippie wonderland he works at.
On my last day in town I went to Taughannock state park and "camped". My intention was to set up my tent and have a real ruffin' it experience. But I decided that I like sleeping in my van so much that I forgot about the tent and just parked by the fire pit and hung out. I roasted some hooves and lips and sat by the fire. I contemplated life. I thought about all the awesome hippies I had seen the day before. I counted how many times I heard them say, "Whoooooaaaa!" It was magical.
The next morning I want for a three mile hike to see the 215 foot waterfall. I really shouldn't have eaten six hot dogs.
More travel stories and van stories to come.
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