Monday, March 25, 2013

Living the Blues

I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving
Blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
And the day keeps on remindin' me, there's a hellhound on my trail
~ "Hellhound On My Trail" - Robert Johnson

No matter how much preparation you put into an outing, you're NEVER completely prepared.


Saturday, March 23rd, we were scheduled to play at 308 Blues Club and Café in Indianola, MS. We always have a great time at the venue, but we always seem to have some kind of trouble getting to and from the show. Lately, we've taken to getting rooms in Indianola to help with the stress of travel, so I called to reserve rooms at the Economy Inn Express. The person on the other end of the phone didn't speak very good Engrish, but from what I could gather, the hotel didn't make reservations. Not good.

Saturday morning, I stopped by Tupelo Consignment Music to give a guitar lesson before I left town, then on to meet Rick Moreland (Moreland Amps) at his house to load equipment. Foosh and Deb met us there, we loaded the rest of the equipment, and hooked the trailer to Rick's truck for the trip. We were running late, and Rick had a camper shell on his truck (important plot information!), so he loaded the PA in the back while waiting for us to get there. We hit the road around 2:30 pm and feel confident that we've got plenty of time for the drive and to find rooms before the show.

Well, we leave Wren, MS headed to Okolona to get on the Natchez Trace. As soon as we get on the Trace, the wheel bearing in the left wheel of the trailer go out and the wheel comes off! Foosh informs us that he's got a spare hub with bearings in the back of his truck at Moreland's house in Wren, so we leave Rick and Mary with the truck and trailer and head back to Wren (30 mins. away) in the Mustang to get the parts. We also have to make a stop at Scott's Auto Center (local NAPA store in Okolona) to get a punch, Cotter Keys, and wheel bearing grease to make the repairs. We get back to find out the wheel hub had ground away some of the spindle, but not so bad we couldn't get the nut back on (with LOT'S of elbow grease), and we're back on the road at 5:11 pm.

We take the Hwy 82 exit off the Trace and fairly smooth sailing into Winona, where the rain and bad weather met us. We check the trailer wheels just to make sure (everything was fine) and haul @$$ trying to get to town with enough time to find rooms.

About 5 miles east of Greenwood, MS on Hwy 82, the weather got REALLY bad. The wind was whipping us around pretty bad and we were watching the trailer in front of us, when a gust of wind hit both vehicles with enough force to rip the camper shell off Rick's truck, take it 50 feet in the air and toss it like a rag doll across 4 lanes of traffic into a field on the other side of the highway, narrowly missing an eastbound 18-Wheeler! The rain is pounding (remember, PA equipment is in the back of Rick's truck, uncovered now!)  and we're looking for a place to move equipment to the trailer! About 10 miles down the road we find a Convenience Store with a covering large enough for us to move equipment, and we're back on the road again at 7:00 pm. We finally get into Indianola at 7:45, find the hotel, get rooms, and Rick uses a hair dryer to dry the mixer out enough to use for the evening. Tom meets us at the rooms, we get the board loaded back up, and we get to the venue at 8:30.

Setting up the PA, we find out the crossover isn't working correctly, and by this time we're a half hour late starting the show, so we use my small PA for the first set. Rick get's the PA fixed by the second set, and we're back in business. We finish out the night, load the equipment back into the trailer, and retire to the rooms for the evening. The only troubles we had on the way home was finding a place to eat (why is Lost Pizza in Indianola closed on Sundays?) and a blown fuse for the brake lights on Rick's truck (which we get fixed in Carrollton).

All in all, we had a "fun" trip. I used quotes on the word fun simply because we chose to laugh at everything that was thrown at us instead of letting it bring us down (we had other factors to bring us down, but that's the subject of a future blog). It's always an adventure when we go out of town, and we've come to accept (and even embrace) that fact. Thank you to everyone that came out to the show. We also want to thank Mario and Dave at the 308 for having us, and Scott's Auto Center in Okolona for being open late on a Saturday.

One of these days, we're going to figure out how to outrun (or outsmart) those Hellhounds.