Frisbee in Wuhan

Getting 28 children and their 70 suitcases through and across the streets of Beijing on foot past very persistent beggars and then through security was quite an adventure today.  However, the bullet train from Beijing was worth the effort and energy.  The ride was smooth as silk and the train traveled at 305 kilometers and hour.  It was a great way to travel and see the countryside wiz by.  Unfortunately, when the train made it’s stop in Wuhan a voice came on and announced (in Chinese) that the train could not continue due to a flooded tunnel.  While we waited for a bus to take us the next 6 hours to Changsha, I took most of the boys out to play frisbee in front of the terminal.  We had a lot of fun throwing the frisbee around for a couple hours until the bus arrived.



Cold Travels

Well all that snow seemed great last night, but the morning we woke to was just cold and no sign of white.  However, somewhere along the line the generator for the bus stopped working.  Usually that just means no power for our laptops or for watching movies.  However, now that temperatures dipped close to freezing heat became really important.  However, there was no time to fix the generator so we rode 5 hours on a near freezing bus to our next stop.  Brrrrrrrrr.Tonight’s performance was by far the very best of the tour.  Made even better because we caught it on video tape.  I can’t wait to see it.

On the Road Again

The night before we left town for the second leg of the tour, Matt called to make sure I would be there at 7:30 sharp so we could leave at 8 sharp.  Mary told me not to hustle to much because we almost never leave on time.  However, I err’d on the side of caution and got theree right at 7:30am.  Apparently there was some delay with the truck we were taking on this leg of the tour and it might be a little while before we could leave…

8 hours later we were on our way to Pennsylvania on what turned out to be a 36 hour bus ride.  We pulled in to our motel at 5:30 am – 2 days after we left. Needless to say we were a little tired.

Sold Out in Florida

Well, we got to bed at 4am and housekeeping rolled through the door at about 9:30, but it felt more like 5 am.  Turns out one of our girls ended up with mouse droppings between her sheets when she tried to lay down.  Several of the crew had no air-conditioning and slept in 80-90 degree tropical humid heat for 2 nights.  If you are ever in Fort Walton, Florida DON”T stay at the BEST INN.  (It just can’t be.)

We were given the option to either go to Target or eat at the crab shack next door at 1 pm.  Both seemed pretty necessary, but I opted for nourishment.  The hotel was sitting right on the dock of the bay and right next door was a wharf of a restaurant where they served some disappointing, but filling crab cakes.

After eating I went and slept for a while and watched a little TV.  We were told to be on the bus at 4pm to go to the theatre.  We all assumed there would be some sort of dinner arrangements.  (This would later turn out to be a mistake.)

As we circled all around the campus looking in vain for the theatre the boys noticed a pretty intense hissing sound coming from the front right wheel.  Something was leaking!

No time for that though, we pulled into the loading dock and joined the crew who had been working all day to get the set in.  The theatre turned out to be world class with union stage hands waiting to tend our every need.

We set up, did a sound check and it was pretty much time to start the show.
Sound had some problems with feedback early on, the show went pretty well and the 1400 seat theatre was sold out.  They seemed to really eat the show up.

Once the show was over we all pilled out on the loading dk and waited for the bus repairman to arrive to fix whatever the hissing was.  Of course now, for fun, the generator wasn’t starting either which meant no air-conditioning.

I had easten at 1pm and had nothing since and it was rapidly approaching 1 am.  There was talk of a beer run and some of us recommended that it might be a good idea to do a food run as well.

Subway seems to be everywhere and so we all put in orders for Subway which a gracious stage hand volunteered to shuttle us to obtain.
We got into the hotel about 1 and we all hit the sack pretty hard.

First Day Out – 19 hour Bus Ride

It wasn’t the sound of my alarm clock that awoke me at 6 am this morning, but instead the reminder alarm of my cell phone.  I set that to remind me to call my guitar player Paul and make sure he was awake.  Although I made it home shortly before 1 am last night, I hadn’t gone to sleep until about 3.  I had spent those 2 hours talking to my wife Mary about everything under the sun, not wanting to say goodnight and go to sleep because then it would be time to leave.

Last  night was supposed to be our second rehearsal with our new bass player, Lauren.  However, due to “circumstances beyond control” our rehearsal was canceled and Lauren is from Seattle, WA and is the most recent bass player to join our little band of 5 instrumentalists in the band which accompanies the new musical adventures of the 3 Red Neck Tenors.

Now I say supposed to be our second rehearsal because the bus containing our music and several of our singers is still on its way back from Oklahoma where it had been undergoing repairs.  We can only hope that this represents the end of any troubles with our bus.

So it’s 6 AM and I call Paul and try to sound as peppy as possible.  His girl-friend Lindsey answered the phone and confirmed that they were in fact up and moving.  Later on the bus she said I sounded pretty asleep which is consistent with my memory of our conversation.

Well, I shoved the last of my belonging into my suitcase and zipped it shut.  I crept into my son Max’s room and gave him a kiss on the cheek to say goodbye.  Hey responded with a yawn and rolled over and went back to sleep.  It is going to be hard to leave him behind.

Then I went in to say goodbye to Mary.  She wished me safety and told me she loved me and I was out the door.  Besides saying goodbye to my wife and kid for 8+ weeks I am also saying goodbye to my house.

My wife and I bought our current house about 5 years ago and are just about to close the deal on selling it.  We are having a house built in Aledo which is significantly bigger, better school, and higher priced.

So farewells are flowing pretty freely as I had kissed both members of my family goodbye and just closed the door for the last time to my home of 5 years.  However, no time for that – I’m late!

Now, as I’m sure will become exceedingly evident in the entries to follow this, the Grapevine based production company is not exactly famous for doing things according to any kind of schedule.  However, I didn’t wish to start the tour off late, so I broke the land speed record for traversing from Fort Worth to Grapevine.

When I arrived there was of course plenty of time before we were underway and I was able to run to Chick-fillet and grab some breakfast.  I moved into my spot in the back of the bus and proceeded to sleep off and on for several hours until it was noon.

When I woke up we had pulled into a bus stop somewhere just before the Texas – Louisiana border.  I’m usually pretty disoriented when I first wake up, but add to that being at some non-descript bus stop where the clearest landmark is the presence of trees that are much taller and greener than the normal central Texas variety.  Apparently there was no further plan for lunch than this truck stop so I bought a Hotlink, a bag of pretzels and a water.

Tonight we stopped just out of Jackson Mississippi to indulge in some local Mexican food.  Now we’re headed further towards Alabama and eventually to our destination of Niceville, Florida.  Our estimated time of arrival is now 2:30am.

Traveling hasn’t been to bad, but it’s only 9 PM now so we’ll see how I feel when we get to the Hotel 17 hours after leaving Grapevine

Preparing to leave home

I am about to embark on a nine-week national tour by bus and it was suggested to me that there might be a few people curious about what life is life on “the road.” Since I am about to have buckets of extra time on my hands I thought it would be fun to share a semi-daily journal entry with those that might be interested.  This is the first entry to get things started.

Just to set the stage here.  I am 29 years old, married to my wife Mary and father to my son Max.  I have worked as a musician since high-school and have enjoyed a steady increase in successes.

My current employer is the Aledo United Methodist Church.  I am their Director of Music and Fine Arts.  They have graciously granted me a sabatical (leave of absence) so that I may join the National tour of The 3 Redneck Tenors as their Musical Director.

Basically, I will be playing keyboards, leading the 5 piece band and maintaining high standards for the cast of the show on a tour of cities across the United States (mostly east coast).  We travel by bus built in the ’80’s, and once owned by Disney on Ice.

This show was just created so it’s really still being developed as we tour.  It has been exciting, and challenging to be part of such an ambitious project from almost the begining.  I hope to continue to report on the ongoing adventures of our little tour.  I hope it will be entertaining to some and that it will provide an outlet for me whilst away from my friends and family back home.