Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Turkey Day, gorgeous surroundings and surprise visits

Another gorgeous trip

The view that greeted us at our hotel in Palm Desert

Fluke and Fluke; W.S. "Fluke" Holland visited us yet again, and Patrick got to meet him for the first time

The golf resort where we spend Thanksgiving

The Barry's festive door

A trip with the Franklin-Barry clan to Joshua Tree

Sam and James doin' what father and son do

The McCallum Theatre

Another great shot of the Barry boys

Joshua Tree family portrait

Hello, everyone!  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  It was wonderful to finally be back in one place for a full week, and there was certainly a lot going on.  So, let's get started!

We arrived in Palm Desert after a very lengthy drive from Prescott, AZ on Monday.  It was quite cold when we left, but we were not only greeted with some beautiful views along the way, but 70 degree weather when arrived back in California.  Though we were quite a few miles from our theatre, we got our rental cars, and that night I took a trip with the Franklin-Barry's to get some groceries at the not to far away Trader Joe's.  We stocked up on snacks and meals for the week and headed back home. 

Tuesday arrived, and the boys and I headed to the theatre in the afternoon for some press for a local television affiliate.  It didn't take all that long, and we headed home to chill a bit before opening night.  The show that evening was great, and we were joined yet again by W.S. Fluke Holland in the audience.  It was his first trip out on this leg of the tour, so quite a few of the cast hadn't gotten to meet him.  He came backstage, and was gracious enough to introduce himself to the newer cast members and take a few pictures; what a class act.  Following the show, we all decided to meet at the 24 hour pool at our hotel.  We passed the guitar around, listened to some music, and generally just had a blast.  Earlier that day I had received a package I had ordered: the much coveted Beats Executive over ear headphones.  I had been blown away by the in-ear headphones I had purchased, as well as my portable Pill speaker, and I had been really interested in getting these for a while.  It's amazing how differently you hear the music you love so much when it is presented so clearly and with astonishing sound.  Unreal.

I got up pretty early on Wednesday to go on a little excursion.  Years ago, I started listening to the Johnny Cash Radio podcast.  I've been writing in for years, and have become pen pals of sorts with the founder, Bill Miller, and his wife Shannon.  In the past few years they have done some incredible things in the name of Johnny Cash.  Their podcast sprouted into a 24/7 Johnny Cash radio station, their sells numerous, hard to find memorabilia, and most importantly, their Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nashville, and perhaps the country.  Through our correspondence, I learned that they were going to spending the week in Palm Springs, a stone's throw from Palm Desert.  So, we made plans to meet for lunch at Tommy Bahama's.  Bill told me had quite a few Cash stories that had taken place there, so he wanted to share them with me in the place they happened.  What started as a casual lunch ended up being a nearly 3 hour conversation about all things Cash.  We talked about the estate, all of their projects, my history with the show, and just...well....Johnny Cash.  They had some amazing stories of their nearly 30 year friendship with him, and I was humbled to share a meal with them, and to be considered a friend.  Before I left, Bill gave me a present; a check that Johnny had written to a friend in March of 1960 for a small personal loan....signed by the man himself.  I will not only cherish it for years to come, but I will be framing it as soon as I get home.  I raced back to the hotel to pick up the boys for another press appearance at the theatre; probably the BEST interview we've ever done.  Insightful, well-informed questions, and just a lot of fun.  After the press we headed home for a bit, before heading back to work for another great show.  We also resumed collecting for BC/EFA this week.  Due to our busy schedule of one nighters and split weeks, we were only able to collect in Thousand Oaks and this week in Palm Desert.  Over the two weeks, we were able to collect nearly $30,000; not bad for just two weeks work. 

Thursday was Thanksgiving!  After laying low and getting some laundry done at the hotel, the cast and crew headed to the breathtaking Indian Wells Golf Resort for our meal.  We were seated outdoors overlooking the entire golf course.  Even our awesome truck drivers were able to join us.  I sat close to the Barry's, and it really did feel like a big family meal.  Which is always important, when we are all spending so much time away from home.   There were tons of delicious options, and even a bunch of Vegan friendly choices for the no-food-with-a-face cast members.  After a lovely meal, I headed home and napped for a bit before hanging out a bit that night.  

On Friday, The Franklin-Barry's and I took the short drive to the southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.  It was never a place that was on my radar as far as places I NEEDED to visit, but I've heard of it's majestic beauty, so when James mentioned they wanted to go, I jumped on the bandwagon.  It's truly a place of beauty, and a definite escape; we didn't have cell phone service for probably 10 miles out.  The views were just spectacular, and after stopping our car at every available scenic overlook, as well as playing with Sam at the welcome center, we headed back on our way home.  Following our adventure, I chilled in my room a bit before heading to another great show that night.  Frace's girlfriend Haley came in to town that day, so the three of us and Robby hung out that night.  

Saturday was pretty busy, with our two shows and a BBQ at the theatre, on a patio attached to the green room.  It certainly was a week filled with great food, and good times with the cast and crew.  Although I didn't have any turkey at the BBQ, I was certainly feeling sleepy.  So, I decided to stay at the theatre and nap on the couch in my spacious dressing room.  It's times like that that I am very thankful for some of the gorgeous theatres we play, and of course when I get the "big boy" dressing room.  David played drums for the matinee show, which had been quite a while for him.  It's been awesome to have so many of the Thunderstudies go on; I know they relish the time onstage, just as I did when I had the privilege of going on, and it also helps to keep us on our toes and keep the show fresh.  

Sunday was a bit more of a whirlwind, as we had two shows with a much shorter break in between.  Both shows went extremely well, and though it had been nice to be in the same place for a week, I think we were all ready to move on to the next.  After the show, I hung out with the boys and Haley in my room, and then prepared for the short travel day the next day.  

This blog is a bit overdue, as I've been having some problems uploading pictures and whatnot to this blog and to Facebook.  So, my San Diego blog will be following this one shortly after.  It was a great week in Palm Desert, but San Diego was certainly one of the cities I was looking forward to the most.  And as I write this blog on our last night here, I can tell you I was not disappointed.  So, thanks for tuning in this week, and I hope you will tell your friends about my blog!  Stay tuned for more news from California, and Happy Holidays!

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