Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 4, July 13th Ah Sunday, the day of rest – yeah, right. I roused for coffee at about 7:30, made some breakfast, did a little computer work and was loaded and ready to roll a few minutes before ten. Pretty good, a four hour plus drive to Natural Bridge / Lexington and do it all again. Talked to Judy shortly after I left – did I mention that she stayed at home and is going to fly up (love those frequent flyer miles) and meet me for the middle week of the tour? I bet I didn’t tell you what she was staying home to do, right? Well, she had work of her own to do, which was why she originally decided not to join me for more of the trip. But, since she was going to be at home, she is also mowing the lawn with my little lawn tractor, doing the taxes (a lot of the issues with which are my music expenses / income – notice I listed expenses first) and other miscellaneous chores that I’m evading by being hundreds of miles away. One issue this morning was the lawn tractor – we had a brief lesson before I left, but it was too brief and some remedial instruction was required. There are numerous quirks and safety features to circumvent and one was keeping her from cranking the danged thing. I talked her through it with all the understanding and loving patience that a traveling musician who’d like to enjoy connubial bliss with his comely spouse again in the near future can quickly muster. I could tell that it was getting pretty hot in Florida, and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the sunshine. But, I spoke to her again later and it seemed the machine had succumbed to her considerable charms and whacked the grass as directed until the rain rescued her from further labors. Having left her there to do all the work while I sing for my supper I am diligently focusing on the audience and proclaiming my tireless (tiresome?) motto: BUY A CD, SAVE A MARRIAGE!! Could be that the motto was never more true. Back to the road – I dallied a bit near Richmond to pick up a few things I needed, including some $3.99 gas, and plodded on towards Natural Bridge. About 50 mile away I hit a hellacious rain storm – I’m talkin’ a real frog strangler. Folks were pulling over and sitting it out while the rest of us proceeded at a cautious crawl up and down the more mountainous part of I-64 West. I never paid much attention to those “grade warning” and “runaway truck ramp” signs before, but pulling the behemoth motel behind me they became suddenly, simultaneously, important and terrifying. Plus I’m thinkin’ “rain + small campground + Sunday evening + . . . well, you get the picture – I’m heading for a pocket full of water and not much else. No, No, No! says the good little (naïve and annoying) angel on my shoulder – think positive! Anyway, I get to the campground at around 3:30 pm. I can see there’s not too many folks in the park, but I expected that on a Sunday night. I went to check in and low and behold, right there in front of both of the check in folks, was a stack of the park maps they give to everyone when they check in and stapled neatly to every single one was my post card that I sent them promoting tonight’s show – now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! I was quickly in my very nice, convenient, shaded site and headed over to the pavilion to set up – in the rain, of course. Now this is a much smaller and newer KOA. So the pavilion was also quite small and not as “up town” as the previous two. Nevertheless, the staff was all over anything I needed and were genuinely excited to have me there to play. Set up was quick (getting’ pretty good at that), went and showered (are you sensing a pattern here?), fixed a quick ham, broccoli and rice with hoppin’ john dinner and set about restringing my Collings, my main guitar, as the strings were as dead as shoelaces after the last couple of days’ adventures. Now, unfortunately I left my glasses in the car. I’m sitting on the bed in the camper putting the new D’Addario’s on the guitar. If you’re a guitar player you’ll probably know that this brand of string has a little color coded ball at the end which tells you which one goes where – If you’re not a guitar player just hang in there, this’ll only take a minute. Do you know what happens if you inadvertently reverse the D and G strings (because you’re too blind to see the difference between a tiny black ball and a tiny green ball in a dimly lit camper)? Well, first the “D” string won’t stay in tune and it buzzes slightly. And the “G” string resists every effort to get it to come up to pitch until the tuner is so tight you think you’ll have to put a wrench on it. Being the genius that I am I thought the tuner was freezing up on me and given what I paid for the guitar this was causing those little short words to slip out again. Never did I think that maybe I had made an error in string selection until the D string I had put in the G position popped with a sharp crack like a bullwhip and scared the you know what outta me – what a putz. Having survived the exploding G string incident (hey, where have I heard that before?) I headed over to do my show. The rain let up in time so that the beginning was dry at least. A number of folks walked over right at 7 pm with their camp chairs slung over their shoulders. I noted with amusement that they simply laid their chairs on picnic tables and sat on wooden benches while I played the first song or two. I then took it as a good sign when they went ahead, set up their own chairs and got comfortable. A nice show with a nice crowd, again some good CD buyers (not the near perfect sales of last night, but strong nevertheless), and very friendly bunch. For the second night in a row a teenager bought a CD – I love it when the songs reach the younger crowd. The rain came back towards the end of the show and trapped a few of us under the pavilion where we sat and chatted while I organized my gear to load out when the rain let up. So now with brown whiskey in hand I settle in for the night. I’m glad I have a couple of days off now because the throat is feeling a little ragged. On a couple of my songs with higher notes I noticed I was “reentering puberty” a time or two tonight. I’ve got some slippery elm tea that patch that right up. I’m going to stay here in natural Bridge tomorrow and then head down to Cherokee, NC on Tuesday – about 6 hours away. Next show is Wednesday night there in Cherokee. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ . . .