So, for this weekend, I flew to Siberia (which sometimes goes by the name "Detroit,") and got the van from the airport parking ramp, where it was a pleasant 4 below. I know people in Minnesota laugh at such warm temperatures, but I do not live in Minnesota, and thus I was not laughing. In fact, with my eyes watering, it was more like crying. However, I was able to collect the frozen teardrops and put them in my pocket as emergency fluid in case I should suffer some roadside mishap.
Point being, I got the van and drove it south to Cincinnati, in preparation to meet Michael in Knoxville the next day. However, just as I was about to leave town in the morning, I got a text from him saying that his flight had to return to Los Angeles and make an emergency landing. Everyone was fine, but he rebooked on a flight to Cincinnati. Which meant, I now had about 5 hours to kill in Porkopolis. It occured to me to go to the Cincinnati Museum Center, which I did.
I now know more about Cincinnati than the next guy.
For example, they kill some beautiful birds in that town.
Also, I learned that polar bears want to hug you.
Or maybe they want to box you. Or maybe just high-five you. It's hard to know, exactly, since there are so many polar bears in Cincinnati that my small survey is relatively inconclusive.
Anyway, Michael did make it to Cincinnati, and I happily met him at the airport. However, nobody seemed to know where his luggage might be. Then we raced off to the right--I mean, east--and arrived in Asheville precisely five minutes before we were scheduled to play. Well, actually, we arrived at the gate sometime before that, and the security guard helpfully gave us the complicated directions to get to the camp, which is apparently somewhere deep inside the compound of the Billy Graham Cove place. (You've got to wonder about a place called the "Billy Graham Training Center." I mean, how can you possibly have an entire compound dedicated to training Billy Graham? I think he knows his stuff by now, don't you?)
Fortunately, the participants were there for the night, and they patiently waited while we set up the sound stuff. We had a great time, and we were sad to leave. But we had to move it on down the line, as they say. Michael found out that his luggage had gone from LA, then to Denver, then to Chicago, where they took it off the plane, refusing to take it anywhere else until he called them, which he was doing at the time. He asked them to send his stuff to Raleigh. (More on that later.)
The next day we made the short drive to Newton, NC, where we played in a warehouse. Interesting venue, and certainly a creative use of space.
We had a great time, and then drove off to Raleigh. Along the way, Michael got a call from the baggage department at the Raleigh Airport, trying to confirm his address in California, so they could send his luggage back to his house. He was able to talk them into holding onto his luggage, and we drove directly to the airport to pick up his clothes and guitar, now that the weekend's concerts were complete.
In the morning, Michael dropped me at the Raleigh airport so I could fly home, and he headed off to Washington because there was somebody swearing, or something like that. I got home and rested for a couple days, then headed back to the airport . . . but that's your next installment.