Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

One-sixteen: Tour Diary volume one

Posted by ilbebe on May 29, 2012

And now, let us abruptly shift gears to a different tale of travel, wonder, and self-discovery. The following is a transcription of the journal I kept during the Ill-Fated Datura Blues “Tour” of January 2001. I was nineteen. As you will see, Adele had achieved a considerable deal more than I at that ripe young age. Slight modifications have been made for clarity and, as always, to indulge myself in lengthy tangents. Enjoy.

[Preface: Meet the band. Ryan Jones, guitar. Owen Ott, drums. Garrett Kelly, bass. Myself, guitar.]

January 4, 2001. Thursday. It is of note that my trip started on a poor night’s sleep. Though I’ve been back in Arcata since the second, I slept on the floor at Iverson [the house on Iverson Street where seven of my friends were living in conditions that could have been generously described as abject squalor] that first night back. I was looking forward to a good quiet night’s sleep at my room back in the dorms, and I speculated, correctly, that there would probably only be a few other people in the building, enabling an good nine hours rest before hitting the road. But in addition to being too excited to unwind enough to rest, the fucking fire alarm when off for a half-hour starting at 1:30AM. The on-duty RA, a tall, ugly fuck named Anthony, showed up about ten minutes after it started ringing but was unable to either turn the alarm off or determine why the hell the thing was ringing in the first place. A maintenance worker finally arrived on the scene to assess the situation and gruffly mumbled something about this happening every winter during break due to carbon monoxide accumulation, but that failed to make me feel any better about standing around in the 35-degree weather in a t-shirt with a useless ugly guy and the least-attractive girl in my building making small talk for half a fucking hour. When we were allowed back in, I lay in bed with the lights off staring at the ceiling until 5AM, when I finally drifted off.

I awoke today around 11AM wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep.

Walked into town, $1 pizza slice, saw Jake Gantry, went to the House [Iverson], ate some more of Josh P’s food [Josh P was a friend of ours who had left a bunch of food to rot in the fridge while he was gone for a month over winter break], took out the trash. 3:00, the agreed upon time for meeting up to practice, came and went. 3:30, practice commenced, practiced two songs. [It is important not so much to note that we didn’t start practice on time- that’s pretty standard for bands. What’s important is that we really needed to practice, as we’d just in the last two months radically shifted the direction of the band and started playing a completely new set of lengthy instrumental songs. That we started late and thus only practiced half of the set further sets the tone for the days to come…] 4:00, pack up the cars, it seems as though it will be a tighter fit than I thought. [This is a massive understatement. We were taking two cars because, despite the fact that all the shows we had booked were via old friends of Ryan and Owen, none of these friends could guarantee that we could borrow drums and amps, meaning we had to bring all of our gear. This meant bringing either a van or two cars, and the best we could do with our limited funds was bring Ryan’s ’85 Maxima and coerce Owen’s babymama K to loan us her car, a late-model Corolla. It was only as we packed up the cars after practice that I was made aware that K’s condition of “loaning” us her car was that she would be coming on the tour and bringing her and Owen’s four-month old daughter, K2. As you can see, the alarming omens continued to appear at a frighteningly brisk clip…] Me, Ryan, Garrett in Ryan’s car, Owen and the K’s in K’s car, we part ways and “hit the road”, which is to say that the Maxima does not actually leave the Arcata city limits for another hour as Ryan goes several different places to pick up things and do last minute errands. We finally leave town headed north for Crescent City [90 miles north of Arcata] at 5:15. The show is supposed to start at 6.

Owing to the time crunch, we do not stop for me to hug Babe’s balls at the Trees of Mystery. [Do a Google images search for ‘Trees of Mystery Babe’ to see what I’m talking about] Peak speed of the Maxima, fully loaded down with three guitar amps, three guitars, and three adult humans, hovers around 45mph uphill and 70 downhill. We arrive Crescent City at  6:30 to find Owen, K, K2 and Hades Drug Gun [band from Arcata who we basically bribed into playing the CC show with us] standing outside a locked-up venue. Puddin Tame was the name of the place, little coffee shop in a strip mall. Handwritten note taped up in the front door reads “Show cancelled due to unexpected moments.” Odd. Our only contact info for the show is the number for the coffee shop. We decide food will calm our disappointment.

The Burger King across the street has a fascinating VR game center. Garrett makes a picture of his face on a monkey’s head. We flip the “Meat or Marzipan” token of decision for the first time to decide whether to find somewhere to stay in town [We were counting on someone at the show offering us a place to crash; you can see the bind the show being cancelled left us in here] or pressing on to Eugene. Eugene was Marzipan, CC Meat, and Marzipan won. [The Meat or Marzipan coin was made by someone at an art-night party the week before Christmas; the intent behind it was to take the notion of flipping a coin for decision-making away from the realm of money and into the world of dietary choice. Made perfect sense at the time.] I eat my meal plus the burger patty out of Ryan and Owen’s burgers, they having recently gone veggie. [This was a decision that vegetarians and friends-of-vegetarians will recognize as a very frequent pain in the ass when trying to find a decent meal out on the road. Not that I don’t sympathize; on the contrary, I have eaten a LOT of meat that vegetarians ordered because you sound insane to people from the redder areas of the country when you get a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s and say “No meat please”.] We press on to Eugene a little after 7.

Ryan makes a bizarre comment about K being our guard dog. We stop to take a picture at the Oregon border, my free pink camera doesn’t work. [No recollection of what I mean by ‘my free pink camera’. This may have been one of numerous barely-explicable inside jokes we generated over the course of the trip.] Finally stop at a Chevron in Cave Junction to call Owen and Ryan’s old pal T who we’re staying with in Eugene to let him know we’re coming that night instead of the following.

Hit I-5 in Grant’s Pass and I start counting the exits. [This was before California started numbering freeway exits; I was charmed by Oregon’s practice, which I later discovered was already in place in most states by 2001. Another strange example of the gridlock-plagued CA legislature lagging years behind the rest of the country in implementing simple practices to improve the lives of its citizens. Harrumph.] Town names: Merlin, Drain, Happy Camp, Curtain, Wilson. [I think I found Wilson funny as a town name because I’d recently seen Castaway for the first time.] Also: Jumpoff Joe bridge, Umpqua River.

We stop at another Chevron and see hot dogs 2/$1. We pass on this deal, as we did earlier on a “Large Hawaiian” for $11.99. [Obviously this must have been at a pizza place, but road delirium was already setting in and I imagined being able to buy a human adult for less than twenty bucks. This was my first visit to Oregon, Washington, and BC, and, expecting wall-to-wall weirdness, I started seeing it everywhere. Witness the list of amusing town names mentioned in the prior paragraph…] Hit Eugene around 11 after listening to a tape of ourselves. Find Tig’s place around midnight after thoroughly canvassing neighborhood in search of it. [Earliest such incidence of not being able to find where we were going directly because Ryan, like oh-so-many other people, greatly overestimates his ability to recall how to get somewhere in a town you’ve never lived in that you’ve only ever been to once. Aargh.] I try to go to sleep, but it doesn’t work. I write this. Hasta la pasta.

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