Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 1, July 10th And so it begins. My summer tour this year will include shows in 7 states, 12 shows in all, and will cover 4,000 miles in three weeks time. With gas prices at $4 can you say STUPID!!! Geez, I think I heard you! I booked this quite a while back before it was obvious that gas prices were racing the space shuttle to the moon. It’s actually worse than it sounds. A portion of the tour, 7 shows, are hosted and sponsored by KOA Campgrounds. What that means, for those of you who are missing the obvious, is that not only am I driving 4,000 miles, I’m doing it in my Ford Expedition towing my 24’ camper. Now that time I KNOW I heard you. I better sell a lot of CD’s or this will be a financial train wreck of the first order. Oh well, live and learn, die and forget it all, as my Grandmother used to say. I got on the road later today than I had hope, but as usual I stayed too busy (and / or too lazy) to get an early start a few days ago organizing and loading up. So I left it all until last night and this morning which didn’t let me get on the road until about 1 pm. My first show is Friday night in Wilmington, NC so I made a campground reservation in St. George, SC to put me within about three hours of the show tomorrow. I’m at a great little campground called Jolly Acres in St. George run by some very nice folks whose names I didn’t linger on long enough to remember in my haste to get checked in. However, they are wonderfully accommodating and if you’re heading this way sometime I highly recommend that you stop in. I have mixed feelings about long distance driving. On the one hand it is exhausting and gives you a tremendous case of TB (tired butt). On the other hand it gives you a lot of quiet thinking time. I thought about a lot of folks today, friends and family both. Some thoughts are just triggered by the quiet and letting your mind wander. Others are triggered by a billboard or a song on the radio (or in my case my iPod – in the shuffle mode I got a couple of good Steve Blackwell songs laid on me today). There’s a lot to be said for the luxury of quiet thought. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but in hunks of time like this I think it’s a very good thing. One guy I always think about these days when I’m on the road is my musician buddy from NC, David LaMotte. When he was in FL in December I picked him up at the airport and the first thing he wanted to do was get something to eat at Waffle House – I know, that’s what I said too. But, as David explained it, Waffle Houses are cheap, a good source for protein if you are not a meat eater (as he isn’t), fast and they are totally consistent (whether that’s good or not I’m still not sure). And, they are EVER PRESENT – you can’t get off at any exit on any major highway and not see one. So, when David’s on the road he hits them frequently. Tonight, as I entered SC, I hoped off and hit a Waffle House – that one’s for you Dave. Something needs to be said here and it pains me greatly. I have long been a dedicated complainer about our department of transportation in FL and the condition of some of our highways (I-75 and I-95 in particular). I have been grossly unfair to our DOT. I-95 through Georgia and SC is undoubtedly the worst highway there is and I manage to forget it every year. In SC in particular there are some potholes so big that folks were fishing in them – from boats! They jarred my poor camper so badly that one side of the roll up awning broke loose (gotta work on that in the morning). In any event, our highways are so far superior I am ashamed of myself (a little anyway) for having complained about them. So, you can look forward to, dread, ignore, delete, block, etc. three weeks worth of Notes from the Road. I don’t get back to Orlando until August 3rd. Judy is joining me for the middle week when we hook up with Jack Williams, et al in SC on the 18th and will accompany me to my shows up in WV. Then she’ll abandon me again for the final week which ends up in Jacksonville on Aug. 2d in a show at The European Street Café with Larry Magnum and Lis Williamson. I should be well worn and road weary by then. Stay tuned! Doug Doug Spears 36 Interlaken Road Orlando, Florida 32804 407-257-4242