Sometimes, it takes a while to realize we're on tour. Sometimes, I don't realize it until we're halfway through west Texas, getting stared down because I didn't tuck my t-shirt into my jeans. Sometimes, it feels a lot like those first few days of summer vacation, where you have to fight off the Pavlovian instincts of nine months of 7 a.m. Algebra and embrace the glorious newness of 3 months of 10 a.m. Judge Joe Brown, but part of your brain just isn't letting go. This time? Not so much. After a day during which we dined on cheeseburgers and pizza (tour staples, sadly), all the geriatric symptoms of tour have begun in earnest: my knees hurt, my ears are ringing, and I can't find my keys. In fact, tour hammers home that "you're only as old as you feel" point a little too firmly. I'm in my mid-twenties yet I feel as if I should be watching "Murder She Wrote" and lusting after Angela Lansbury. In other words, pass the creamed corn.
Right now, we're a dozen miles east of Alpine, California, a bustling metropolis of trailer homes, scrub grass, and about thirty Indian casinos of varying sizes. This particular drive in this particular van feels very poignant as, last time through, this was the drive that killed our last van, Patrick Stewart. Well, honestly, that's a lot like saying a nineteen year old dog with three bad legs was killed by a half-marathon in the Mojave, meaning: it was nine-tenths dead already. Point is, Phoenix is where we purchased the Donald, the new van which cost us the Rumpelstiltskin-esque price of financial solvency and a few first borns. So this drive is dedicated to you, your comb-over, and your irrationally inflated ego, the Donald. Welcome home.
Dave & I also got to go home last night; "home" meaning the place where we grew up and dorked out on Spiderman comics until leaving to get a college education I'm barely using. Plus, we played the Casbah, which is the club where all the cool bands played when I was 16 but I could never go to because they don't do all-ages there so I stayed home and, well, read Spiderman comics. Anyway: a great club that's always a little too loud and that always gives you a W.C. Fieldsian amount of drink tickets. We played with a couple fantastic LoCal natives, the Transfer & Roman Spring, saw some old friends, and slept in beds that didn't have lizards in them. Even got to try out some new songs, an event that always makes me part nervous, part giddy, and generally skittish. All in all, a pleasant beginning to our five weeks away from home.
Now? Well, we keep driving. Soon, we'll be in Arizona, the van-killing-est, Border Patrolin'-est, Steve Nashiest place on the planet. Personally, I'm excited for that weird brand of Arizona gas station where you can get everything from snakeskin wallets to ceramic buffalos to hats that say "My Ex-Wife's Car is a Broom." I can't wait to indulge my addiction to useless rubbish. Anyone want a bolo tie with a picture of Jesus riding a hippo? Actually, I think a better question is: anyone not want that? Good. I'll pick up a few thousand then.