Notes from the Road – Havana, FL / Trenton, GA. Back on the road again – time for my SE US mini-tour. Two and one-half weeks in the camper doing shows in north FL (1), GA (2), AL (1), TN (2), WV (2), NC (1) and SC (1). I got on the road Saturday morning to head to Havana, FL, just outside of Tallahassee, for a gig at The Mockingbird Café that Lis & Lon Williamson put me onto. The 4 hour drive was a slugger along I-75 with 2,000 truckers and 5,000 morons through lightning, thunder and rain most of the way. There was one REALLY bad accident in the Gainesville area. Don’t know what happened first, but it appeared that there was a bad crash in the southbound lanes and then some idiot rubberneckers in the northbound lanes cracked up while trying to see if there was any visible blood on the southbound side. You know, as a species we aren’t getting any smarter at all. But, I made it to north Florida unscathed. I checked into the Big Oak campground just 10 miles from Havana, had a quick bite to eat and then headed over to get set up. Boy, did I get a surprise when I got out of the car and started towards the Café! There outside the patio entrance were Pete Gallagher and Pat Barmore up all the way from St. Pete / Tampa. Now, of course, my ego said “WOW, drove all that way to hear me!” In reality, there was some booking confusion. Lorie (the proprietress) had me booked and advertised, but Pete & Pat thought they were booked. Stuff happens! After a few minutes of head scratching it seemed like the sensible thing to do was just split the night. Pete & Pat had driven 5 hours themselves to get there so it made no sense to just say “sorry” and send them home. Problem solved. And, really to my advantage since my SoloAmp system won’t handle a duo, so Pete & Pat had to set up their Bose system – less work for me!! The Mockingbird is truly a lovely venue and the food is absolutely AWESOME. They had a special rib-eye steak that was just killer and the cheesecake with fresh berries was to die for. Their house specialty, black beans and rice, is also just as advertised – delicious. The café is quaint and spacious inside and the patio entrance is quite charming. All of the staff goes way out of their way to treat the performers as part of the family and get you anything you need throughout the night (including slippery elm tea – great for the vocal chords). We had a warm, receptive and generous crowd, a true listening crowd. I made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones. It’s always nice to have local performers drop in to catch your show – Mimi Hearns and Grant Peeples were in the house. Pat, Pete and I switched ½ hour sets from 7 – 10 and everyone had a great time. I’m really looking forward to playing The Mockingbird again soon. Sunday was my long drive day. I needed to get up to Trenton, GA where I’ve wangled a week’s stay at one of my KOA friend’s campground while I play gigs in TN and AL. It makes much more sense (gas wise and time wise) to leave the camper in one spot and drive to the gigs – nothing more than two hours away. I’ll play a couple of shows in the campground during the week as well. Works out great. I got underway around 10 am and took the back roads up through GA towards Atlanta. The corn was harvested back in the early summer and those fields are brown and in stubble, but the peanut fields and truck crops (beans, peas, etc.) are lush green and endless. The cotton is coming in as well and will be harvested in September. Some of the prettiest peach orchards and pecan groves I’ve ever seen lay along the route I drove. I should have stopped for pictures, but you know me. To say this is Bible belt country is a vast understatement. You can’t swing a worn out guitar strap without smacking a Baptist, Methodist or more fundamentalist type country church. I really enjoyed the first half of the day’s drive. I stopped in Dawson, GA for lunch at a great little Mexican grille. Had to stay away from the cerveca and the tequila though – Georgia back roads on a Sunday afternoon is no time to get stopped by the local sheriff with beer breath! Then I hit I-85 to I-285 around Atlanta and I-75 to Chattanooga – back to the world of morons and Nascar wannabes. I was more than ready to hit the campground when I pulled in around 6:30 pm. My hosts had left a map pinned to the front door showing me to my site. I got settled in, had a little pre-dinner cocktail while I wandered to see who my neighbors were, then had that wonderful ribeye steak meal from The Mockingbird (they fixed up an extra one to go so I’d have it when I got to my next stop!). The weather here is cool, clear and wonderful – goodbye heat! Stay tuned – more to come.