Day 5,6,7 – Rachel. Was. Right.

(I’ve got to wrap this tour up. Too much has happened in the days since.  I’ll condense, be conciser, what have you. It’ll be the highlights reel. It’ll still be long though, so get comfy. And thanks for joining in.)

I slept poorly. That’s not entirely true. (Is this entire blog based on a lie?) I slept great. Until 3am. Then I tossed and turned and worried worthlessly about how to get Our Lady up and running in time to make it to St. Louis by Monday night. Can one do anything to repair a Vanagon at 3am on a Sunday morning at a Marriot in Arkansas? Exactly. But that logic was wasted on me.

Up at 6, in room coffee, down to the front by 7, where Jonathan and I were picked up by Clint.

We had a great morning at Good Shepherd. I can’t emphasize enough what a great host congregation these folks were! Thank you.

Jonathan and I did parts of the music at 2 services and then the entire 3rd service. I ran off and did some preschool music in the middle of one of those too. The musical highlight was probably singing Jonathan’s ‘If You Have a Question,’ which took on new meaning when he sang, ‘when you lie awake at 3am, trouble going through your mind…’ All too familiar.

Clint included a plea for a VW mechanic in the announcements. It turns out one member, Josh, used to have an ’85. Mine’s an ’86. I called him after lunch and he met me at the hotel.

Before I hit the road, my friend Rachel Kurtz, who used to have a VW bus, told me, “Remember: the best part about driving around the country in an old VW is meeting all the great people that you’ll be asking for help.” Josh is proof that Rachel was right. We monkeyed for hours. He ran me to the parts store for a new air filter. Pretty much he gave up his entire afternoon with his family to help me out. In the end, though better, it was still doing the same thing. And Josh bought me supper. That’s right, the guy that gave up his entire afternoon bought ME supper. I’ve heard tales of Arkansawyers being a bit backwards. If this is what folks mean by that, it’s the best backwards ever. I’ll say it again: Rachel was right.

Despite multiple offers to stay with kind families at church I was in need of a little introversion/pity party. I coughed up the dough and spent the night at the hotel. Got some laundry done. Watched the Home and Garden network. Sat in the hot tub. Called home. It was a good choice. (Even when Jodi pointed out, “You took the antique road show on the road. What do you expect?” Dang you voice of reason!)

Monday started with coffee and instant oatmeal made from the incredibly hot tap water. Seriously, it was that hot. Freaky. But handy too.

I called my mechanic back in Minneapolis and they gave me a list of things to check. The staff at the Marriot was stand out awesome. The maintenance man lent me tools. And took his stab at what might be wrong. (Did I mention Rachel was right?) Eventually though it was time to get a tow. So I called my friends at AAA. A short 1 1/2 hrs. later Our Lady was on the tow truck headed for “Friend’s Foreign Auto.” It turns out Kenny Friend was a kind man that took pity on my plight and dropped everything including the Porsche he was working on. (In his words, “That guy’s picking up his Porsche in his dad’s Cadillac. You’re stuck here and you’re screwed. He can wait, I’ll get you on the road.”) Kenny did indeed get me on the road. Rachel Kurtz was right again. (Me ego can’t take much more of this!) Once everything was yippee skippy Kenny and I took it for a test drive. Mid drive he looked at me and said, “So you’re a musician?”


“You get to do what you love for a living?”


“So do I. Isn’t it great?”

How cool is that? The mechanic and I are celebrating the joy of vocation!

Well, I didn’t get out of Fayetteville till 4pm when all was said and done. (It was a temp sensor.) Earlier in the day I had to call my St. Louis contacts and cancel the house show I was booked for. This is the first time that I’ve ever had to cancel a show. It sucked.

I didn’t have anything booked on Tuesday and Wednesday’s show was just an hour from home so I decided to head straight north and get back to my family.

By 10pm I was in Missouri stopping for gas. I filled up the tank and went inside to pay and get some coffee. I walked back out and there was a big puddle of gas growing from a drip that traced back to my fuel tank. For real. I walked back into the shop and told them, “I’m leaking gas all over.” This was exciting for them. Probably more excitement than they’re used to on a Monday night at 10pm. A big old guy in overalls and a teenage female relative came out to look. (Not sure what the relationship was, not sure I wanted to know. A different kind of backwards.) She jumped under the van and started feeling around. “I think yer tank’s cracked.” The old dude looked at me and said, “Do you smoke?” Then he proceeded to recount a conversation he once had with a CA highway patrol man who made it clear that 99% of cars that catch on fire just burn up. They don’t blow up. Worse case scenario I’d be part of the 99%. Hmmm…

Super comforting information. Thanks Uncle Jessy. (Not sure if Rachel was right about this one…)

I was tired. I wanted to go home. I started Our Lady and she neither caught on fire nor blew up. I pulled her away from the pumps and parked. I called Jodi, not to tell her that I was leaking flammable liquids, but simply to say I love you and kiss the girls. Than I unlocked all the doors. I put all the guitars by the sliding door so that I could chuck ’em out quick if I needed too. I pulled out the fire extinguisher from the back (safety first) pulled the pin and set it on the passenger seat. Said a prayer, crossed my fingers, and took off down the road. I made it just north of Des Moines, incident free. I only filled up half a tank at a time. I camped out in a parking lot, woke up with the sun and on Day 7 I was home just after lunch.

All in one piece.

Graced by a family that makes room for my vocation and Our Lady of Disrepair.

Isn’t it great?

Posted: October 20th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment.

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