Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 19 & 20, July 28 & 29 Let’s see, where was I??? Oh yeah, Berea, KY – nice little over night stop. Had very little to do to break camp so I was underway by 9:30. The original plan was to be in Louisville, KY (Shepherdsville actually) by noon with time to get the lay of the land and begin promoting for Tuesday’s KOA show there. However, I noticed that the brand new tires on the brand new axles I just had installed on the camper before I left were wearing very unevenly on the front set of tires, enough that I was becoming concerned about them making it back to Orlando. So, I checked the GPS and found a tire place near the Interstate and pulled off. After checking a number of things the tire guy (what are they ‘mechanics’, ‘technicians’, ‘rubber analysts’, what?) surmised that the front axle was slightly misaligned and was causing the rapid, uneven tire wear. Well, I have a warranty back in Orlando, so I didn’t want to have this guy do any serious work. I just had him switch the front tires to the back and the back to the front – let the other set wear for a while until I get home and can get this sorted out. So, with my little tire sidetrack, plus a stop to get a prescription refilled, reload on water, gas up, etc. I actually didn’t pull into Shepherdsville until about 1:30 pm. Nice KOA park and they’ve done a nice job promoting the show. The real question here will be how many folks there will be in the park mid-week. Unlike Cherokee, NC this is not a high traffic tourist area and the park is not even half full as best I can tell. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of folks to play for if I can get them to toddle on over Tuesday night. Now I had another issue to attend to – in Bristol, TN I discovered that one of my speaker cables is shorting out. So, I needed to pick up a spare. Once I got in my campsite I did a little google research and found a chain music store about a half hour away. I made the run to get that and a couple of other nic-nacs and got back to the campground around 4 pm. Wow was it hot!! In the high 90’s and they say tomorrow it’ll hit 100! I may need to get back to Florida to cool off! I sought the shelter of the AC for a little rest before going out to scout the possible show sites. At about 6 I took a sweltering stroll in the late afternoon sun and determined that there was really only one logical spot that would be shaded at 7 PM on Tuesday and had available power for the sound system. With no rain in the forecast the fact that it is out in the open towards the front of the park should not be a problem. So the Tuesday night concert will be in the shaded grassy area adjacent to Site 309. Dinner time – thick juicy pork chops with seasoned lima beans and broccoli – YUM! My next door neighbors have two little boys, Aaron and Cody, who have adopted me obviously concluding that no old guy in my condition should be left unattended. Cute kids. Used some of my WV firewood that I stocked up with in Parsons before leaving there to build a small, warm night fire and picked some tunes. As usual, folks will always stop by to hear what you’re doing and I’d tell each one about the concert on Tuesday. Before I knew it 11 pm rolled around and it was time to crash. Too tired to even start my “NFTR” post so I just shut off the light and snoozed out. Tuesday, July 29th Eight AM, coffee, time to get to work promo’ing the show. Aaron and Cody invited me over for pancakes and bacon (courtesy of their folks Mike and Michelle Smith) and so I got my morning sugar and caffeine high going. I went on down to the campsite I’d selected for the show and set up my speakers and sound board (covered in case of rain) with signs promoting the “sundown concert” at 7 PM. I gave the front desk some additional postcards promoting tonight’s show for anyone who came through today and I put up a dozen or so additional posters in key locations (i.e., the bathrooms and pool area). At about 3:30 I’m going to walk the campground and hand out cards to anyone who’s around. Wish me luck! . . . . LATER ON . . . So now I’ve handed out about 30 postcard invitations and chatted with folks about the show. It’s still hard to tell what kind of turnout I might have. The heat is going to deter some, but that’s why I emphasized the “shaded grass” next to Site 309. I’m going to bring my super, duper, blow your shorts off, stage fan which should help me with the heat a little. Nothing left to do but get ready to play. I’m going to have my early rice and beans pre-gig meal in a few minutes, then I’ll go ahead and do a sound check down at Site 309 (starting to sound like the scene of a paranormal gastric event of some kind isn’t it? OH NO, NOT SITE 309!!!!). I also plan to hook my iPod up to the system about ½ hour ahead of time and let the music help with the draw (hopefully). I’ll let you know how it goes. MUCH LATER ON . . . As I said in Johnson City, some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you. Well, that old bear meat is pretty tastey let me tell you! I had one of the best listening crowds and nearly the best CD sales of the tour – on a Tuesday night. The heat did get things off to a bit of a slow start, but two or three songs in I had a nice little group of 30 or so. The audience had shade right from the get go, but I was in the sun for the first 30 – 40 minutes. People kept filtering in and out and I had the usual “cheap seaters” sitting at their campsites and enjoying the music from afar. Though I’d rather have them in close, it creates some lighter moments when you get clapping and whistles from 100 yards away, to the left and to the rear, after a song – pretty comical at times. The sound system was carrying wonderfully out across this meadow-like spot and as the sun continued to descend it was really a beautiful setting. I had a symphony of crickets accompanying me (or me them) as the light turned soft in the trees. The crowd was terrific and I really enjoyed the show. 9 PM seemed to come too quickly. It was still light, but fading fast. I wrapped it up and the crowd showed their appreciation by buying CD’s and padding the tip jar. Four couples bought everything I had, both CDs and the DVD of my Octagon Arts show back in 2006. I chatted with the group, took an offered beer from one of those that had come best prepared, got hugs from some and had pictures taken with others. Great night. So now I’ve had my wind down time sitting at the campfire next door with my “adapted” grand kids, Aaron and Cody, and their folks Mike and Michelle Smith. I learned something sitting there by the fire – the hub for UPS air is in Louisville. As we sat by the fire I noticed a real increase in air traffic on landing routes into Louisville. Mike said “well, it must be just after 11 because the UPS planes are coming in.” And boy did they ever! It was if they were landing single file with only a minute or so between them and we were right on the glide path – high enough so as not to ruin the peace of the fire, but noticeable. Well, tomorrow Chattanooga!