Travelogue

Eric and I just drove the length and breadth of the US, playing gigs in the middle, out west, in Texas then Memphis, Chicago and ending in Rochester and Ithaca. I wish I could’ve written about it as it went on, but I was busy – so busy I almost forgot how to do anything but drive, set up and play, book gigs and hotels and find places to eat on Chowhound.

We’re doing a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at our house in Catskill NY next Sat Nov 17, there are a few places left so join us to raise money for Occupy Sandy (we’re working out how to webcast the show, if you’re far away)

In the course of the tour, my dear friend Jim Wunderle passed away. We were lucky to have seen him in Springfield MO on this tour – since I’d met him when he’d engineered the Last Roundup record back in 1987 he always said “come play Springfield!” when I was touring and I’m so thankful we took him up on that this time, because he came out to see us along with a lot of the talents and oddballs of the place. We spent the night after the show at Wunderle’s house, and there was a massive picture in our room of Jim in the 70’s, onstage casting a spell on a raving crowd. I’d known him as someone who played occasionally and mostly worked behind the scenes. A self-professed curmudgeon, he often downplayed his charisma. Looking at this picture, it finally dawned on me I’d been hanging out with an absolute legend. I’ll always remember this tour as the one we drove 8,000 miles, saw America, looked for espresso, gave it our all and said goodbye to Wunderle.

diner in st. louis

St. Louis diner, Chuck Berry on the radio

showbiz nirvana

You know you’ve arrived when…Springfield, MO

prairie

Where’s that Clutter place? Kansas prairie

union pacific

Those wheels don’t roll.

laramie western wear

I’ll take a Stetson, a vest…and one of them rifles. Laramie Wyoming

minivan vs freight train

Minivan vs freight train. Wyoming/Utah border

alchemy slc

Salt Lake City, Sunday morning. Looking for the Osmonds.

leaving slc

Somewhere near the Great Salt Lake.

nevada road

Entering Nevada

dancing & diddling

Diddling is legal in Nevada.

stumble inn

Elko NV is full of cool signs and is a thoroughly depressing place.

picnic spot

Now this looks like a nice spot for a picnic.

thunderbird reno

Reno!

golden west motor lodge

flamingo motel reno

coach inn reno

motel lobby

horse shoe motel

wonder lodge reno

hwy 40 bar reno

morris hotel reno

Sorry, I just can’t get enough of the signs in Reno.

the nugget

virginian

A few more…

cal-neva reno

olympia

No kayaks allowed in the cinema.

coffee stop

One more cup of coffee for the road.

seattle dressing room

Goodbye Funhouse, Seattle – I hardly knew you.

portlandia

Portlandia is real.

tolly's

Soda fountain, somewhere in Oregon

mary's

It still looks like the 70’s in Northern California…

mary's pizza shack

Okay I lied. This place is in an outlet mall now, but really good.

I-5

When in doubt…

san diego

San Diego…wish we’d asked her advice before eating at the lousiest taco place ever.

merch

2 speeding tickets in California break the tour budget.

paso robles

Paso Robles. The view from our Christian B&B.

dunes wilshire

Dunes Wilshire motel in L.A. A decent old dump.

farmer's market tile

Tile at SO in L.A. Farmer’s Market. They had the best coffee (Verve) of the trip.

Cartel Phoenix

Phoenix – this place was pretty amazing too and hidden in an office block.

Tucson

La Parilla Suiza was a good Mexican find just off I-10 near Tucson.

texas border

El Paso

el paso laundromat

By the border, looking for food. Fell in love with Pepe’s Tamales off the interstate.

man in the window

By the last week we were passing guitars out the hotel window to save time & energy.

san antonio barbq

Crazy San Antonio Barbq…she asked if we were w/the symphony.

austin garden center

Austin garden center, hipster-free oasis

rochester window

Rick & Monica’s, Rochester

19 thoughts on “Travelogue

  1. David Jones

    Speaking as one who has had a similar dose of geo-shock: at what point did Eric’s face take on that look that the British might call “gobsmacked” ? It’s the one you get when you find yourself in a landscape that’s utterly alien to anything you’ve ever experienced, even if you have see it on TV. I got it when driven from the airport in El Paso TX after 20 hours of flying from cold dreary London. I might as well have been on the Moon.

    1. amyrigby

      It might’ve been in Kansas, David. But I think a stretch of Wyoming just after Laramie really did it – nothing but rocks, land, highway and a freight train off in the distance.

  2. Graham Beck

    Wow!! Some really colourful photos there – & I bet each one holds a memory for you (good or bad). I found it hard to comprehend some of the vistas shown, not having been to the States, but it all looks very variable/exotic/shabby/weird etc. Love the diners, though………………………..& was there really a picnic table next to a septic tank??!
    Hope the LONG tour was a success.

    1. amyrigby

      I know Graham – completely out of context and in no particular order (except sort of geographic) it all seems pretty disparate.
      Our tour was definitely a success – people came to the shows, sold lots of records, we never got sick or arrested (though a few chats w/state troopers and hefty speeding fines), the van ran like a top and except for a Sonic in Fort Stockton TX and the San Diego tacos, we ate a lot of great food. Back home I shake my head wondering whether it really happened.

    1. amyrigby

      Ha ha, I will tell Eric – he was particularly proud of that sign…thought he was going to drag it onstage a few times. There’s no stopping the British when you let them loose in the USA!

  3. Norma

    The Reno signs look like old downtown Vegas, before it was (comparatively) cleaned up. I used to go to Vegas for trade shows in my previous career. Always preferred downtown to the Strip. Do they have cheap blackjack tables at that Horseshoe, too?

  4. Karen Schultz

    Great travelogue of photos. Almost expected one of the leather shop but thankful you survived it and your Dallas visit!

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