I wuz invited to play some showz with a friendz band in Daytona Beach, Florida. Az I am a follower of the sun, I have to accept any invitation that would take me to a place with the word ‘beach’ in it’s name. After all, it wuz Daytona Beach. I’d be stupid not to go.

Late January wuz when they asked me if I’d help them out, and it wuzn’t until early March that the showz were happening. I had a month to rehearse the songz az well az figure out how I’d get my drum kit across the border. So I did my homework; searched out all the music storez along the way we’d be going, and contacted them regarding renting drum kits. Just in case I couldn’t get my stuff into their country, I now had a solid back up plan. I did check into getting work Visa’s, but they were out of the question. After September 11th, it’s not az easy or time permitting to get one, so I had my own idea; I’d pack my entire drum set inside itself in the bass drum, cymbalz n' standz included, into one carrying case. Then I'd take the Greyhound Bus from Victoria to Portland. At Immigration I’d say that I wuz going to spend a few weeks at my Uncle’z place jammin’ and writing tunez. (Uncle Norm wuz in on it if I needed a reference call) If worse came to worse, I’d ditch my shit at Tim’z place in Vancouver, hop the bus to Port, rendezvous with the otherz there, then rent a kit in Daytona. That wuz the idea anyway, but I wuz dead set on getting my stuff across the border.

A couple of weeks prior to our departure, I asked how the otherz were gonna get their stuff down there? They told me they had a friend who'd just moved down to Daytona, so they were gonna ship their gear with her furniture, az if it wuz her equipment. Fair enough… (if they wound up doing it that way!) Two dayz before we left, their gear wuz still at their place, so I asked them what they were doin'? This iz what one of 'em told me, “Oh I believe in chance. So we’re gonna take the stuff with us in the van.”
I wuz so blown away by her preposterous idea I said, “This ain’t freakin’ Star Wars man! The country got attacked four months ago, and your believing in chance!? What if that doezn’t work? Then what are ya gonna do?”
Then she shook her head and said, “I believe in chance, and I have a good feeling about this.”

(That’s right up there with; “When you die, you get a thouzand virginz!” Dumbass!)

In the meantime, my bro’z Mitchy and Tom had decided to make the trip. So, if the ‘chance’ didn’t work out… I could hook up with them instead. Sure enough, I got across the border with all my equipment, and the rest of the band got kicked out of the States twice! They were finally let in, only after they left their stuff in Canada.

I got off the bus in Seattle, and met up with the cool bro’s who had since picked up a cameraman to film the trip for a local TV station. The station had heard through the grapevine that an independent rock band with two chicks wuz going to drive across the continent to play a festival in Daytona Beach headlined by Aerosmith. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that.

So here we are, a Dodge minivan with four dudez, their luggage, and a 150 lb case of drumz doin’ 100 mph down the west coast of the USA.

By the time we hit LA, the asthmatic cameraman had caught the flu, and realized that he still had 48 more hourz to go, in a van with three Marlboro smokin’ maniacs. (I think hiz feet were getting cold too!) We hit Hollywood ‘round 2 pm Friday afternoon, and the other van wuz still 14 hourz behind us! Even though technically, they had left 24 hourz earlier than we did!

We decided to grab a hotel about 35 milez east of LA in a little town called Ontario. Figured it’d give the boneheadz a ‘chance’ to catch up with us, the cameraman some time to rest, and an evening of drinks for Mitchy and I in a new town.

Az per usual, the two of us went on the prowl for a noody bar. Getting our fill of; wine, women and song iz a must. The toothless guy sweeping the gas station across from our hotel gacve us directionz; “Two lights this way. Then three lights that way.” Some 45 minutes of walking later, we faintly saw in the distance the ‘third light’.
“It better not say ‘Fully Nood’ on the marquee! If it doez, they don’t serve liquor!” I told Mitchy az we crossed our fingerz, and then crossed the road.

Sure enough, we weren’t rewarded for our effort. And No Booze ain’t what either of us is about! So nstead, we found a tavern down the road, and it happened to be a karaoke bar. Right up our alley! We ordered a few drinks each, then listened to some really old people, sing really old country muzic. I’m talking hookie-pookie tractor muzic.

At this point I’m thinkin’ that me doin’ some Cheap Trick probably wouldn’t go over to well here, when something very interesting happened. This one-toothed chick comez in from the parking lot yellin’, “Someone done-did slashed all ‘R tawrze!” (Interpreted – “Someone haz slashed all of our tirez!”) The whole bar emptied out, then a couple of minutes later they all came back inside, more pissed off, but ready to sing some rock n’ roll!

Twenty beerz later, we owned the place! “Hey let’s get the Canadianz to sing us ‘Sweet Home Alabamer!” Mitchy even got us free drinks for that one!

At 11 am the next morning while we were checking out of our hotel, we got a call from the otherz. They had just pulled into LA, and wanted to stay there for a couple of hourz. Since it had taken us three hourz to get only 35 milez out of LA to Ontario the previous day, we had no dezire to do it again. So we told 'em we’d carry on and wait for them in Phoenix.

Once we got to Phoenix, the camera-guy wuz az sick az a dog, and he told me that he’z a recovering heroin addict… a junkie az he kindly put it. And to top it off, he wants to go home! We decided to hang in Phoenix for the night, that way the otherz could catch up with us, the junkie could fly home in the mornin’, and Tom, Mitch n’ myself would be able to get drunk.

We found the perfect place for drinks. We did our time, and then az the bar wuz closing, this older lady (who wuz sitting by herself), came over to Tom and said, “You are going to be driving through Louisiana.” She continued, “You in particular have to be careful. The roadz are really fast and the mergez come very quickly. Something of great importance iz going to come from the right hand side of the road.”
For someone that you don’t know, in a town you’ve never been, to come and say that to you, when they don’t even know where you’re goin. That’s spooky shit. And we would be travelling through Louisiana too! Mitchy and I had a simple solution: Tom won’t drive in Louisiana. Exactly. We found another bar, and had more drinks.

At 5:30 in the morning, the phone woke us up. It wuz the otherz, and they were phoning from El Paso! Nine hourz ahead of us! It wuz now apparent… They had left their f**kin’ brainz with their gear in Canada too! They drove right by us!

Junkie’z plane wuzn’t leaving until 9:30 am, so we stayed until he wuz gone. I even paid for hiz four hundred and fifty buck ticket home! If you look up ‘nice guy’ in the dictionary, there'z a pop-up picture of my dumb ass.

Once we got back on the road, we were twelve hourz behind the otherz. We kept somewhat in touch with them az best we could. You see, they hadn’t made it so their phone could receive callz. They could only retrieve messagez from pay phonez. So anytime that we called them, it wuz like leaving a message on a pager that didn’t beep.

My only beef with the whole situation really wuz that they had a full size van that could better accommodate my case of drumz, rather than the overcrowded mini van we were in. And besidez, that wuz the original plan. But I guess I had forgotten that they didn’t have one. Anywayz, I’d rather be with my bro’z, than with the two not so bright chicks in the other van. Unfortunately Richy wuz guilty by association.

We hit El Paso around 7 pm Sunday, and were ready to bless Texas with some good vibrationz. We made excellent time, and hit last call in San Antonio. I only had one drink cuz the other two were burnin’ out, and I’d have to do some driving. We topped up the tank, and I bought some pillz called; ‘No Zzzzzzz!” Any fear of me falling asleep at the wheel or for the next two dayz, wuz completely thrown out the window.

I got us into Houston around 6:45 Monday morning, high az a kite and thinkin’ that the traffic wouldn’t be so bad. Man wuz I wrong. It wuz like slot car racing, but life size, and moving 100 mph! Mitchy woke up az we were takin’ a hard corner. With one rig in front, one beside, and one behind us, he asked me, “How ya doin’?” Clinchin’ my teeth drivin’ the Nascar Van, I told him, “It’s like f**kin’ slot carz man!” At the next gas station, I went to the backseat, not having blinked in the last two and a half hourz.

We made contact with the otherz, and they were just outside of Baton Rouge. We made planz to link up with them at the last rest area before Baton Rouge. Alas, planz were finally made.

While on route, we passed a guy who wuz driving at least 100 mph, and fully reading the newzpaper! It wuz amazing. Anywayz, we made it to the rendezvous point, and but of course, the otherz weren't there. Turnz out, they wanted to go to New Orleanz… two and a half hourz outta the way. Now along with their gear, and their brainz, they had left every last ounce of common sense in Canada az well! Oh well, a friend of ourz wuz living just outside of N’awlinz, so we figured we stop by and take him with us. Why not? claustrophobia wuz never a bitch for me, so we replaced what woulda bin the junkie, with a crazy man.

We snagged Clarko from hiz place, and were now only 45 minutes behind the otherz. They told us to meet them at the Walmart after the bridge you take out of New Orleanz. So we’re flyin’ into New Orleanz with the flow of traffic (at 110 mph), when from the right hand side of the freeway… from a merge lane… a motorcycle cop ridez out into the middle of the freeway, gets off hiz bike, puts hiz hand up and tellz us to stop! We were all shittin’ ourselves az we went flyin’ into the dirt of the middle of the road. Turned out he wuz stopping traffic for a funeral procession. The old lady from Phoenix wuz right. Oh yeah, and Tom wuz drivin’.

We pulled into N’awlinz, and the next thing ya know, we're on a bridge heading out of the city. Figuring that this wuz the bridge that they were talking about, we looked for the Walmart. There wazn’t a Walmart in site, and now we had driven quite a wayz out. We turned around, paid a toll, took the bridge back in, and went to find the Walmart again. Without any luck, we wound up on the same bridge, except this time we noticed that we had somehow magically ended up on another freeway. We hadn’t turned or anything, but we were now on totally different freeway. We turned around again, and went back in, paying the toll a second time. It wuz the third time that we went over the bridge when it wuz obvious delirium had taken over our mindz. That's when we left one last message on the otherz phone; “F**k Walmart!”

Checking out where we were on ourmap, I noticed that we could stick on this freeway for about 20 milez into Mississippi, and then we head up north about 10 milez to the original freeway that we were on. Sounded good, then again we had been driving for 27 hourz straight so far. We kept goin’ until we were getting into some real seedy looking neighbourhoodz. This wuz exactly what I figured Mississippi would look like. We hit every red light, than a construction zone. We were goin’ nowhere fast, but at a very slow pace. The temperature wuz getting’ hotter, az were our temperz. Finally we started moving again. We even made the next light, only to be stopped dead in our tracks. The slowest moving train, ever, wuz in our way.

Clarko, who had only been with us for maybe 2 hourz wuz still fresh. He told me, “Don’t worry man. There’ll be a caboose before ya know it.” That's when I lost it, “If there’z one thing I’ve noticed from being in the backseat for two dayz, it’s that there ain’t no f**kin’ caboosez on any trainz in America!” I think I had finally flipped my lid, but it wuz true - There weren’t caboosez on any of their trainz.



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