Tuesday Jan 12, 2016
Awoke to a cold clear morning. The ice on the hotel pool was even thicker. I think Drew tried to throw a rock into it and it didn't break.
AJ went and bought a pipe wrench to retrieve his wedding ring. Then we hit the road for the long haul back.
Made it back to Texas finally!!!
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
But then outside of El Paso we had to pull over.
Stopped at a gas station, and sure enough the wheel we JUST HAD FIXED was smoking a little. FUCK. By now we had burned out the bearings on both sides. And were starting to worry if Van Hellsing would even make it home.
AJ went into the convenience store and asked about a body shop. Lady said follow her pastor husband around the bend and he'll take us to one.
He took us to a place surrounded by crumbling buildings and with piles of weird shit in the vacant lot nearby.
The guys running the place were awesome. We pleaded our case, we're broke and trying to just get home, and had been delayed and bankrupted by numerous repairs.
They told us not to worry, fixed it in decent time and were super fucking cool to us.
They had us back on the road in no time. We gave them CDs and T-shirts, and traded contact info as one of the guy's cousins is in a local band that does well. We vowed to return to play with them.
Turns out we'd be seeing them sooner than we thought.
Got back onto the highway, only for the bearings on the other side to immediately have problems.
So we limped back. "Hey, you guys said come back to visit! Here we are!!!"
At this point we had admitted defeat. We would be staying the night in Sierra Blanca TX, and probably selling or trading the van in the morning just to get the fuck home.
But sure enough, they fixed the other side in less than an hour!!!
Success! We hope!
And this time the front end carried us all the way home, 8 hours through West and Central Texas.
The drive through the Hill Country at night was quite harrowing. We must have passed at least 100 deer. Thank God none of them were in the road. We were babying the front end, cringing at every pothole and bump, waiting to hear that goddamned telltale CLUNK.
But we never heard it. We finally pulled into Austin around midnight.
Holy cow. We made it. We actually fucking made it. And I gotta say, that despite us spending all of our tour money on repairs to get home and the resulting headaches and delays from said repairs... This run was a blast. Mind you, I don't want to do another run like this anytime soon, or ever, but we had fun.
What a long crazy trip. But it wasn't over yet.
I still had to take I-35 to get home, and after midnight.
This was the most white-knuckle part of the whole fucking trip for me. Why? Because for more than a year someone has been dropping rocks on cars from bridges and overpasses on I-35. They still haven't caught the guy(s). More than 50 cars have been hit, many with serious injuries. A friend of the music community Kenneth Johnson is one of them. More than a year later he is still struggling to recover.
But I did make it home without incident. Good to see Heather finally, and Nacho as well.
But sleep eluded me all night, partially from the coffee and two 5-Hour Energies that propelled me on the return trip, partially my frayed nerves from the run, and partially coming home to find out that a friend on Facebook had died unexpectedly.
RIP W. Stuart Rose.
I never even got to meet you tho we knew all the same people. Fuck.