It Has Really Been A Month!
Somewhere along the tour line, I picked up an unwanted passenger; a cockroach the size of St. Louis. Okay, maybe I exaggerate. Maybe the size of Branson. First saw it skittering around behind my driver's seat and thought, "great - he'd better not scamper up my leg while I'm on the highway or there is going to be some drama." The little bugger only poked his antennae out one other time in the past five weeks and I was starting to wonder from which corner of Rita's interior he was going to leap out of. Finally, yesterday, the creepy behemoth surfaced inside of my laptop case, which I tend to leave open since I'm always digging into it. "Bastard!" I shouted and slammed the case shut, hoping that I'd trapped him between the iPad and one of the case dividers. Upon taking it outside and re-opening it, he skittered out and onto the picnic table next to Rita and disappeared through one of the openings in the top, leaving a juicy wet stain behind on my iPad cover. Good, I thought. He may've gotten away, but he's mortally wounded. I'm generally a live and let live kind of guy until those that would be allowed to live end up in my personal space. That includes fire ants, mosquitos and other critters of indeterminate origin. At least the other shoe had finally dropped. Want a ride with me? Carry your fair weight, even if you are an insect.
Other than that, the only other motorhome drama of late was the increasingly worrisome plumbing leak that had begun to spill out from Rita's interior and out through the floor of the coach. A quick trip to Marshall RV in Marshall, MI took care of that. Her galley table did come completely detached from the wall and required a trip to True Value for a quick reshoring. That and her power converter is starting to make some strange noises. Initial data indicates that maybe a fan is going out. I've got a guy in Nashville that fixes things on her; I'll be giving Neal a holler when I pass through there next week.
July has been mercifully cool, temperature-wise, and the mountains that normally create moments of red-lined gauge fear have done nothing but provide beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. All the gigs have been fun and fruitful; the food has been tasty and have added a few pounds since I began tour, but that's typical. I'd like to think that, without the copious amounts of mountain biking that I've done, I'd be totally el gordo by now.
Sketchy phone service and fleeting wi-fi connections have made it a little more difficult to keep up with my administrative tasks this summer, probably due to the fact that I've never been busier and next year is already shaping up to be another wildly bustling ride. Still, I cram it all in when I can, setting up my office space and burning through my e-mail box, filling product orders through my website, re-ordering stock, working on music, pimping the social media channels and answering queries that always seem to require immediate response. It's a happy kind of busy. I'm a more-than-lucky guy.
Currently, I'm at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, teaching at the Mountain Dulcimer Workshop with Lee Cagle, Jack & Mary Giger and national mountain dulcimer champion Duane Porterfield. The weather has been sporadically wet; the fellowship has been wonderfully welcoming. Next week marks the first time in a while that I will have some free time and I plan to disappear off grid for awhile to charge up my mental batteries before heading to North Carolina to ride Fury 325 at Carowinds; the holy grail of this summer's thrill seeking quest. Nothing empties the pipes like a lot of screaming in the face of apparent death and, since I'm fortunately not getting that kind of stimuli from Rita, it's long overdue.
Now, If I can just keep the cockroaches and other unwanted pests at bay, I'll be doing all kinds of alright.