Sunday, July 10, 2005

No No Reno (7/1), and Salt Lake City (7/2)

posted by Majestic Ape at 11:12 AM

We leave South San Francisco around 3:45 pm thinking that its about a 3 hour drive to Reno. Traffic leaving the city on a three- day holiday weekend is pretty horrendous. It takes 2 1/2 hours to drive 70 miles. I run the heat because the temperature inside the van is rising rapidly and it feels like the heat is coming from the engine. Jeff turns the heat off about 3 minutes later.

" Why did you turn off the heat?" I ask.

"The sealant should be taking care of everything," he responds. Brilliant. He doesn't have my intuition. He only has data. He only believes in laptops.

I pull over to get gas. Its freaking hot in the van. Paul gets behind the wheel. We hit the mountains.

We have been warned many times that this show in Reno will be unattended. There is a Judas Priest concert in Reno that night and everyone and their hairy-legged mother in a 300 mile radius is going to that concert. The promoter is going to feed us but no local bands are willing to play the show with us. And because its expected that the turn-out will be so low, we can't get a financial guarantee. We had tried to get Rodeo Boyz to come to Reno to play with us but the promoter absolutely didn't want to feel responsible for taking care of two 'out of town' bands.

Anyway, at the top of a mountain, the van fills with smoke.

We pull over, grab our bags and jump out. Erick douses the front end with the fire extinguisher. Smoke just keeps pouring from under the hood. We can't get the hood open. Then we swarmed by mosquitoes. I call AAA. We are only about 50 miles from Reno and I have AAA plus which should get us a tow of up to 100 miles. The AAA phone operator informs me that we can get towed to Reno and the promoter has offered to put us up for the night. Maybe we can even drop our equipment off at the club and do the show. All hope isn't lost yet! Two locals pull over to see if we need any help. They chuckle about Judas Priest. They are on their way to that concert in Reno! A cop stops and shines his bright light in the van. He is satisfied when we tell him we are just waiting for a tow truck. I'm sure we just look like 4 miserable pathetic homeless children at this point, certainly not unruly mountain lawbreakers.

The tow truck arrives. The driver tells us he can't take us to Reno. He is the only driver available in the Sierra's and because of the Judas Preist concert, he is absolutely swamped with tows. He will drop us in Donner's Pass. How perfect. There is one gas station and one hotel. The hotel isn't much different that Motel 6 and they charge us $208 for a room that night. Erick and I eat gas station burritos for dinner. We sneak into the hotel kitchen despite the sign on the door that reads, "Employee's ONLY". We know how much those burrito's taste after a nice microwave treatment. We want to go for a walk but its totally dark and there are a lot of drunk yahoo's running around the gas station. It also only appears that we can walk to the highway or into the woods. He goes up to the room and plays his bass. I sit by the pool.

I get up at 7:00 am and call my mom. I haven't talked to anyone from home for days. She tells me that a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.

At 8:30 am, Paul and I go to the gas station. They will call us soon. While we eat our free Holiday Inn breakfast, the gas station attendant calls. At first, they think its only a hose. After the hose is replaced, they test drive the vehicle and anti-freeze pours from 6 locations. We need a new radiator. Price? $800. They estimated completion time is 2:00. We have a 9 hour drive to Salt Lake City. We HAVE to play this show. We have a $300 gaurantee and after the horrible costs we are about to endure, we can't afford to lose another dime. I put 6 hard boiled eggs into two coffee cups. I also take 4 oranges and head back to the pool. This is no time to get scurvy.

After the noon checkout time, I wander into the woods. I find the sign that marks the precise spot where the Donner party missed the trail that would have sent them on to the West Coast but because of early snows, they missed it and got trapped in the mountains. Ultimately, they ate their dead compatriots to survive. I walk the path. Its beautiful. The flowers, the trees, the grasses, the streams. Maybe this wasn't such a bad place to get stuck.

We leave Donner Pass at 3:30 pm. We can still make it to Salt Lake City by midnight and play our set. I have called Clayton from the Rodeo Boyz and he agrees that we can make it. He will even rearrange showtimes and playing order.

The drive is all desert and we drive many miles as gas stations get farther and farther apart. A few hours after Reno, it is announced that we are about to run out of gas. The van is huffing and puffing a bit because we are so damn low on fuel. When I politely ask that maybe, as a band rule, we shouldn't let the van get below 1/4 of a tank, especially in desert and mountain regions, I hear, "I'm not taking the blame for this." I blame no one.

Jeff says, "Looks like we'll have to call AAA again. Twice in two days!"

"We aren't calling anyone, " I respond. "There is no cell phone reception in the middle of the desert."

There is, however, a swarm of locust. They are covering the roads.

Somehow we make it to a gas station. Sweet relief. I think nothing until we are 10 miles outside of Salt Lake City and I hear those same sweet words.

"I did it again. We are going to run out of gas. We are lower than empty." The driver swerves the vehicle back and forth some. Apparently, this is a manuever performed by race car drivers to slosh any remaining gas into the engine.

We are granted with another small miracle. We roll into a gas station and fill 'er up. We pull up in front of Burt's Tiki Lounge exactly at 11:45 pm, the precise time that Microsoft Streets and Trips told us we would arrive. After Jeff leaves the vehicle, someone throws his suitcase. Someone is not happy with Jeff. Someone swears at Jeff in his absence. I leave the vehicle and watch the Rodeo Boyz play their set. They are AWESOME!

We load in and play. The crowd is highly engaged! I love these people. Jeff asks for someone to bring him a coke. No one does. The crowd and/or the bar is chastised. I want to play one set with all good, happy feelings. I really do.

Afterward, we all go back to Clayton' house. People eat, drink, and party for many hours. I eat a bunch of food and try to go to sleep. At 6 am, I become aware that I am in someone's kitchen. Its Clayton's kitchen. He and a few people are still awake. They are watching VH1 videos from the 80;s. I want food. He tries to talk to me.

"Amanda, are you thirsty? Do you need something?" I hear Clayton talking to me. I don't think I process. I don't think I answer. I eat some green algae protein powder and go back into the basement. When the alarm goes off shortly after, I contemplate jumping ship and staying in Salt Lake. We have to be in Denver by 5:00 pm to play an afternoon Barbecue at Larimer Lounge and then we are playing our evening show. Its another 500 mile drive to Denver. I don't feel good.

The voice that runs through my head all day speaks these words, "Request permission to abort mission."

Beep. Beep. Beep.


Anonymous nick garcia said...

awwwwee amanda ape don't give up yet! just think about neil dimond, do you think he would have given up, NO he just writes somthing like solitary man if he gets down! i belive in you like i believe in peter pan, faries, toadstools, the coming revolution, all that shit! you are a Rockstar! capital "R"!

nick garcia
aka serenity
aka everyonelivesanddiesalone
aka the great white mexican

11:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home