Saturday, July 23, 2011

The last week or so

I left off last in Boston, and now am updating on the past adventures of heading down to the South. But before I do, I should note that the first map that I posted on my blog of the tour is incorrect. Or rather, not the route that we ended up taking. This means that we may have, in fact, driven over 11,000 miles on tour instead of my original calculation of 10,100.

Our third leg of the tour after rocking out in Kenosha for the weekend began with a drive into Chicago, taking a brief unplanned tour around the antiquated downtown district, and heading for Cincinnati, Ohio, where we bunked. Nothing worth noting happened in that city, so I'll continue on. Our next night was in Nashville, Tennessee, the current heart of country music, and one of the largest music-producing cities in the U.S. This was a much greater night than the previous, for a few reasons. First, we had arrived early enough into Nashville (passing through Kentucky) that I actually got to go for a dip in our Motel 6 pool, which was way too heavily chlorinated. Upon nightfall, we suited up into pirate garb and strode downtown to busk on a busy street corner. Every single bar was packed and plugged in with live shows of country and blues, which is interesting on a Tuesday night. Alas, we had a great time playing, albeit an exhausting and incredibly sweaty one, and ended up sleeping great that night.

We woke up fresh and rearing to go, or at least I felt that way, since our next stop was New Orleans, Louisiana! I headed the 9-hr. drive, only stopping as we always have been for breakfast and gas. I must say, the chain restaurant Waffle House is the best breakfast chain I've ever eaten at. The prices are cheap,  a lot of the food is somewhat mediocre and greasy, but the waffles, especially of the blueberry sort, are unbeatable. Unless I learn to make them.

We drove through the rest of Tennessee, which has interesting grey sedimentary rock jutting out from the hillsides that reveals that area's former landscape-- a shallow sea. We drove the length of Alabama, in which two things are of note. One, Birmingham had twister damage, including a few tall light poles bent in half and also flattened, and a whole bunch of forest uprooted. And two, that the drive down the 59/20 Freeway has huge forests, with 60ft.-tall trees on either side of you as you drive over the rolling hills.  As soon as we got into Mississippi, we were hit with a sheeting downpour, overhead lightning, and difficult visibility, which cleared up only a short time later and left us with clear blue skies. As you drive further South, the trees open up their space a bit and become more sparse. We got into Louisiana, and were pretty soon hit with a different kind of landscape; more swampy, bayou-feeling.

Oddwood busking in Nashville. (Photo by Jorge Miguel)

Our time in New Orleans was great; we ate gumbo and more at a well-known eatery on Magazine St. called Joey K.'s, hung out and played a show to literally no-one at Cafe Pyrtania (due to it being a college area and no college students in the summer), and drank what amounts to weasel piss to get drunk and loose. After our show, we headed to the French Quarter, specifically Bourbon St. to wander and hopefully see a few key bars. Lafitte's, which is the oldest bar in America, built in the 1770's, and Frenchman's, a place of great atmosphere and live music of sorts. Well, we were given the runaround for correct directions, and everyone else in the band decided it not worth the trouble to further explore. I was drunk, and having a great time conversing with random locals and a few foreigners; not unlike my time spent in South America. It honestly felt that way to me, so I got pretty pissed when I found out everyone wanted to go back to the motel. Oh well, I know I will come back to this city again and I suppose I'm generally more outgoing in the travelling sense than the rest of Oddwood.


The next day we left the city a different way, crossing vast expanses of water on seemingly endless bridges, and this is when I saw all the still-present damage and destruction from Hurricane Katrina. Houses had visible water damage, fences were broken or bent far out of shape, some hotels and various shop buildings were closed, with grass and plants trying hard to break through and reclaim their land.

I must say that New Orleans has such a charm to it, and a weighty feeling to the vibe, that it is nominated as my favorite city we've seen thus far on tour. The houses all look old and tired, the people are super Bohemian (carefree) and friendly, and the food is exceptionally different than what I would normally ever eat in Southern California.

Playing "Pitter's Pirate Pub" in Cape Girardeau. (Photo by Jorge Miguel)

Our next stop was on the way back up to Kenosha, and that is in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. We played a great show for a bunch of cool townsfolk, and to a much bigger crowd than we had expected. All in all, it was a fun city, and hopefully we'll have an excuse to stop there again as Oddwood. Another tour, perhaps? Well, we'll see.

We're heading to a bunch of fun cities this week; Wichita, Kansas, where if you may remember from our tour last year we blew the pub out of the water and out of ever wanting to have live music there again; Colorado Springs and Green Mountain Falls, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico for the second time, and Tuscon, Arizona, where we played back in 2009 (view that blog posting here); then finally back home to San Diego! I cannot wait to sink my face into an amazing burrito when we return. That, and I'm looking forward to the beach and my lovely Pacific Ocean. And to living with a good friend.

So that's all for now, more for later. Until then, this is Drew Peters.

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