Starting off with a bang

Los Reyes Mexican Restaurant
This mural represents the pre-hispanic history of the beginning of Colonization. Before the Spanish came to Mexico there was the Aztec Kingdom . From this comes the take of the Volcanoes next to Mexico City . The great Popocatepelt (Great Smokey) and Ixtlaxiwal (sleeping lady).

Okay, maybe starting with a "bang" is sort of dramatic, but 'tweren't far from the truth, just sayin'.

But first - provided I have connectivity on each of the days I'm gone away from home, I'm going to post something wonderful about my lovely wife every day, because she is absolutely the reason for me to be anything.

1 - She can hang like a pro. Doesn't matter where we are, or who we're with, or how she feels, or why we're even there in the veryfirst place, she can adapt, adjust and be as pleasant and as engaging as an angel. She's gracious, caring, genuine and full of joy - just one of the many reasons that I love her. She's a pleasure to be around. Miss you already, honey!

Okay, so - we kissed goodbye this morning as she left for work and I prepared to head out for four festivals in as many weeks; the longest time we've been away from each other since we met in 2002. It's going to be tough, though we've both got more than enough to keep us busy in the meantime. Our doggie Bella is undergoing some treatments at the vet right now and will be convalescing all month, so Jae's got her hands full there, not to mention her already full hands with work and the house.

Then I'll be in Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio for four festivals, in West Virginia for a school program, lots of driving, plus a visit with my dear friends The Brouses for a week. I love travel - but coming home is nice. And this is serious travel, not only performing and teaching but also shooting video and producing programming all along the way. And the driving. I love Buster, my little Geo Metro LSi convertible, to death - but he's a tin can bred with a roller skate. Great gas mileage, lousy on sticking to the road when 18-wheelers blow past at mach 7. In any case - we had a blown tire last big trip, just south of Nashville. Bubble in the tire caused a shimmy that was present for most of the trip and it finally shredded towards the end. Well, I've been driving Buster since 1991 and we're almost the Borg - one unit. So, when something's not right, it's obvious, even though his engine mounts and front end alignment leave much to be desired.

So, when I started hearing a rhythmic slapping sound as I cruised up Interstate 75 earlier today, I began checking things to see what it could possibly be. My left-side rearview mirror, never-fixed and jerry-rigged by my first wife with steel wire, might've been the source of the noise, but shifting it around didn't make the clatter cease. Not long after that check, the shimmy grew more pronounced in the front end and I knew what that meant. Pulling over to the right shoulder, I hit the hazard lights and took the first exit, inquiring about the location of a Wal-Mart.

Now, I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart for many reasons - but when it comes to tires, they are cheapest on earth (will I go to hell for buying affordable rubber?) and that's who I went with on the first blowout this year. After an inspection revealed there to be a bubble in the left front tire, I took it over to Wal-Mart and they fixed me up in about 15 minutes, back on the road again.

Do we have the automotive hijinks out of the way for this trip? I sure hope so!

That was in Perry, Georgia - and after sailing through Atlanta at rush hour with no problem, finally got hung up in Kennesaw with nasty traffic, so I've settled in to a place called Los Reyes, with free wi-fi and really killer grilled shrimp. There's also a huge, amazing mural on the wall that commands your attention when you walk into the place and reminds me of something out of Disney. (El Rio del Tiempo, anybody?)

I've still got five hours if I want to make it into Owensboro - or I can stop short and have a brief trip into town for tomorrow's festivities. We'll see how it goes.

A big "I love you" to everybody who reads this - and until next time....