Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 24 Saturday, August 2nd Having stayed up late solving all the world’s problems we all slept in a bit. But soon enough Hank’s two big standard poodles roused the household. With the large guest list Hank opted for breakfast out rather than rustling up several dozen eggs, etc. at home. Sandra Bullock was, unfortunately, still not home and sent her regrets for not being able to join us for breakfast and a big send off. We had a HUGE breakfast at a great local restaurant. The waitress was quite sweet – in my “up too late and up too early” condition as everyone ordered coffee as asked, melodramatically, for a BIG cup of black coffee. When the drinks arrived everyone else got the standard tan restaurant mug of coffee, but she had rustled around in the back and found me a really big blue mug for mine – very funny. Any remaining world issues were adequately resolved over breakfast – peace, tranquility and prosperity will reign I assure you. Bruce and Laura said their goodbyes and left from the restaurant while the rest of us went back to the house. I showered quickly, loaded my guitars and other belongings back into the behemoth parked out front and finally managed to lumber away at around 1:30 pm. On to Jacksonville! Now the plan was to go to Lis & Lon Williamson’s fabled homestead on Little Lake Gatorbone in Keystone Heights where I was to spend the night after our show at The European Street Café. Those of you that are more geographically attuned than I was in my still somewhat foggy condition have already thought to yourselves that I was going to pass the location of the show and travel some distance to the Williamson abode before turning right around and backtracking to Jacksonville. I was thinking that Keystone Heights was closer to Jacksonville than it was. When I put their address into my GPS I was shocked to see that instead of arriving around 4 pm, in plenty of time to change, chat, load guitars and head to the show in time to do sound check, etc., I would not get there until a little after 5 pm! Uh oh. I called Larry Mangum, our host for the show, who lives in Jacksonville and was on the road himself returning from the birthday gathering for Frank Thomas (HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK!!), to see if I could stop at his house, change and then just continue on to the show in the behemoth. Then I’d follow Lon & Lis home afterwards. You have to stay fluid on the road! Larry’s got a great place in Jax just a couple of miles from The European Street Café and we hit the house within minutes of each other. I had a few minutes to poke around while I was waiting my turn in the facilities and perused Larry’s studio / office adorned with all of his memorabilia from his many great bands he’s fronted over the years. One really caught my eye – a picture of the Larry Mangum Trio with a young, suave Larry with a big, mod, swept back hair do, beard, mustache, hippie gauze white V-neck shirt, gold neck chain, etc. He looked for all the world like one of the BeeGees, no kidding! We were at the show in plenty of time and I found a parking spot for the “touring coach” next door behind the ABC Liquor Store (how apropos). Lis and Lon soon arrived and we sound checked etc. as our crowd began to flow in. I have been looking forward to this finale show to the tour with Lis and Larry for a long time. Ray Lewis has done a dynamite job making a go of this series in Jacksonville. He has worked tirelessly and selflessly to provide a first rate venue for this music and we greatly appreciate his commitment – THANKS RAY! The room was at capacity when Lis kicked off the show with Florida Cracker Girl and for the next hour and a half we traded songs, jokes and stories. A wonderful crowd. What a homecoming! Thanks to all who came out! After the show Lis & Lon led the way back to Gatorbone. It is necessary to clarify a little. Lon was driving and using the GPS to get him back to the interstate. However, Lis was in disagreement with the Lady on the Dash and directed Lon onto a different route. Poor Lon, getting conflicting directions from two women at the same time and ending up quite turned around. I actually pulled into the lead at one point with my GPS homing in and got us the highway so that Lon to retake the lead position. Wow, I’m dizzy just thinking back through it. Out in the seclusion of Gatorbone we got out the brown whiskey. Lis whipped up some blueberry pancakes and bacon and we sat out under the trees behind the house to eat. Afterwards, drinks refreshed we walked down through the woods and sat by the lake listening to the night and chatting about all sorts of random stuff. Lis kept seeing falling stars, but it could have been the scotch – not sure. In the end we didn’t get to bed until about 3 a.m. Ah, the sleep of the well fed and the well satisfied. Tomorrow it’s one more tank of gas and home to my bride and Orlando.