Is It Safe To Gnaw Through The Straps Now? (ericcoleman) wrote,
Is It Safe To Gnaw Through The Straps Now?

Where do I start?

Indianapolis, Part One
We pulled out of Ames right on time. The first day was 8 hours on the road, about 9 hours total. We crashed out at Lizzie's Mom's house and went on the next day. 

So, 10 hour drive, about 11 hours total. And this is where it got beautiful.

SE Ohio, into the tip of West Virginia, through a bit of Pennsylvania and then back into West Virginia and into Maryland was the second loveliest part of the drive. Lots of mountains, fun roads to drive, big birds of prey all over. That's one of our favorite games, 'Spot the falcon.' It was gorgeous. 

Balticon was marvelous. Great music, including a lot that I had not heard before. First of all, the folks I knew. Dave Clement was amazing as always, even with a bit of a cold (we get that, we do). There was a very rare show from Erica Neely. I love her songs, love her voice, it was wonderful. Then the stuff I didn't know started. Maugorn the Stray was charming and fun. Sassafrass (who I had seen in a smaller version) were a blast. And the addition of Melvin to the group was amazing. Deja and Thorus were marvelous, and it had been entirely too long since I had seen them. The highlight of the weekend for me were Glyn Collinson and Andrew Marcus. They write new songs that sound old, they bring old songs into the modern age. They were one of the best live acts I have seen this year, very close to on par with Cats Laughing. I need their CD when it comes out.

Our show was tricky. Both of us had been ill for awhile. Lizzie fought vocal problems the entire weekend … and it was marvelous. The audience was incredible fun, interactive like we like our audiences to be. And even with Lizzie doing a great impression of Billy Holiday meets Tom Waits, they were right there with us. And at the end of it all, there was a line for CDs afterwards. That has never happened to us before. Talk about an ego boost.

Monday was the beginning of our encounters with my family. We had a wonderfully silly lunch with my cousin Francine, who I had not seen in many, many years. Stories were told, laughter happened, a bit of sadness on family who had passed was shared. It was so good to see her.

Chapel Hill, NC
Then part three of the trip, 5 hours on the road, about 6 hours total, and we were in Chapel Hill at my brother's. The drive there was pretty, but trees surround the road, so you can't see anything but the trees around the road. 

It was nice seeing Chapel Hill again. My Mom lived there for many years, and I spent a lot of time wandering around, going to record stores, book stores, seeing music. 

It was even nicer seeing Wim & Pat & Monze. I don't get a lot of time with my brother, so it's always special.

The next day we had lunch with Lizzie's Godfather, Bobby. He's a musician who has played with an awful lot of folks. He's also extremely funny. Lunch with him turned rapidly into story swapping and music geeking.

The show that evening was fun. Johnny's Gone Fishing is a very cool place. Saw some folks I haven't seen in some years. Played a good show too! Another interesting game of 'Where's Lizzie's voice going to go next?' And the lovely folks at Johnny's took very good care of us.

Charleston, WV
The next day we went up to Charleston WV. 4.5 hours on the road, close to 6 on the road due to stops and such. One of the highlights, we started our day at Sunrise Biscuits. One of the best biscuit places in the US IMNSHO.

We had a running argument the week before about who was going to drive. The trip up nature's roller coaster, aka I-77 is a bit daunting and sometimes a bit terrifying, so we played the John Butler Trio Live @ Red Rocks most of the way.

That morning I informed Lizzie that I was driving. Once we hit the mountains, she pretty much squeed the entire way. It is a gorgeous area, and an amazing drive. The mountains are unbelievable. There is a drop off that looks out over Virginia that is breath taking. I have driven this road many times, but Lizzie had not been through there since she was 11 or so. 

We stopped at Tamarack, where you can get all kinds of wonderful West Virginia crafts for 3-5 times what you would pay anywhere else. My Mom loved the place. She would never buy anything there, but she loved the place.

At the end of this drive was where the bad thing happened. I was mugged. A music store hit me over the head with a guitar and took my money. The worst thing, my wife aided and abetted. Her exact words were "that's coming home with us". I feel so betrayed. Of course now I own a Giannini Craviola 12 string, so I suppose I can learn to live with the pain.

Dinner at my cousin Norma's was wonderful. Once again, stories were told, laughter happened along with the usual bit of sadness. I am a firm believer that you have to keep telling stories about your family, especially those who have moved on. 

I wrote the song Ghosts about Clendenin. The last couple of times I had been there, the downtown was dead. It looks like it is coming back now. Not as many places closed, more businesses. It was so good to see.

Going down the road to my Grandparent's house was not as good. Whoever is living there now have trashed it. Piles of garbage, the lawn is not mowed. The shacks out back are collapsing. It was always such a lovely, tidy place. Even if I get back to Clendenin again, I won't stop there again. It makes me too angry.

We went up to my Aunt Muriel's house, and the folks there continue to do amazing thing with it. It is one of those classic, old, big southern houses. When I was a kid I felt that it needed a big front porch. The folks who live there now have done that. It looks amazing. One of the highlights of the last several times passing through has been sitting out on their front porch talking to them. Lizzie also got to help with a family heirloom. A violin made by an uncle decades back. She told them what they needed to do to restore it (not that much), and they asked if she'd play it if they got it fixed up. Made a Lizzie smile. 

We went up the my Grandparents graves. The drive up is more terrifying than I-77. Really, it's up on the side of a mountain. Really, on the side. About a 35% incline. I miss them so much. 

Indianapolis, The Sequel.
Then the drive to Indianapolis. There are a couple of ways to get there, we decided to go into Kentucky and then up from Lexington, through Cincinnati and to Indy. 5:45 drive time, about 7 hours on the road. It was more relaxed.

I slept 13 hours that night. I think I may have been a touch tired. 

The show that night was for a few friends and family, oh and one friend of Star's who came on her recommendation. We played at Joan Of Dark's coffee house Strange Brew in Greenwood. It's lovely and we want to go there again. Great art, yarn for sale and wonderful folks. We then headed back to Lizzie's mom's house for the usual surreal improv musical. No really, spontaneous three part harmony. It's kinda fun. Also, Lexie, Lizzie's older sister, assaulted her with glitter before the show. I still have some on me even now. *sigh*

The next day was the longest drive, just over 2 hours, but it's only an hour if you figure in time zones!

We hung out through the afternoon with David and Erin and Alyse and Evan. All folks who we don't get to see anywhere near often enough.

The show approached, and folks started showing up, and showing up, and showing up. I think this was the largest crowd who have ever shown up specifically to see us. 

This was also the most fun show we have ever played. A lot of the crowd was new, and they got right away that we are interactive. The audience is part of the show, and they were up to it. Thank you everyone for making the end of this amazing trip even more amazing.

We got going early. We switched drivers several times, we were both tired. We came home to our house, our bed and our beasties, who were very glad to see us. Calibri spent an hour attached to Lizzie. 

There are so many people to thank, let's see if I can remember them all.

Gary Ehrlich for putting the idea in our heads. He said we should come out to Balticon, which got me looking around and realizing there were other places within reach that we could go to.
My son Jared for taking care of the house. You did so much better than I did when I was handed the same responsibility at the same age.
Lizzie's Mom Stephanie for putting us up not once, but twice. 
My cousin Norma for giving us wonderful conversation and a real bed!
Wim & Pat & Monze fun talk and wonderfulness!
Susan from Johnny's Gone Fishing and Dan from Strange Brew for giving us places to play.
David & Erin for opening their house to us again.
Everyone we chatted with as we passed through their towns.
Everyone who came to our shows. Everyone who supported us with their smiles, their laughter and their applause. Thank you for encouraging us. You are the reason why we do this. See you again soon.

Lizzie & Eric
Cheshire Moon

(written mostly by Eric, with bits of corrections and additions from the Fabulous Lizzie Crowe!)

This was originally posted on Dreamwidth, after which it wandered out to various other sites. Feel free to reply where ever you want. I should still see it.
Tags: balticon, chapel hill, charleston, indianapolis, tour

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