Monday, December 23, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

The view from our plane, flying over Washington state

Looks like someone had a rough time....

James getting ready for our radio interview

Cast and crew "dirty santa" or White Elephant party at our hotel in Spokane

The spoils of our party....

My "dressing room" with James in Kennewick

Backstage right in Kennewick

Easily the first time I can say there were hockey goals backstage...James agrees...

The Windemere Theatre at the Toyota Center, Kennewick, WA

The INB Performing Arts Center, Spokane, WA

Me and the boys and m'am in life-size!

Doesn't look like me at all....

Random Riverfront Park, Spokane

The world's largest Radio Flyer wagon

As we like to say in Maine..."Cold 'nuff fo-uh yuh?"  Hey, everyone!  It was a bit of a shock heading from San Diego to Kennewick, WA, but we were all looking forward to the last week before our Christmas break.  Because of the cold and our remote location in both towns, there isn't much to report, but as always, there were a few happenings!  Here are the highlights!

Our travel day on Tuesday was a bit long, but then again we hadn't taken a flight since we flew into Thousand Oaks, CA over a month before.  After a bus to the airport, two layovers and another bus to Kennewick, we arrived in the mid afternoon to find Kennewick a bit less balmy then southern California.  There wasn't a whole lot around, so I bundled up and headed to a nearby Target to get some food for our short couple of days in Kennewick.  It was certainly a frigid walk, but it felt nice to be in the confines of my warm hotel room when I returned.  After a warm bowl of soup, courtesy of the hotel, I hibernated in my room for a while before meeting up with some of the boys in James' room for some music and conversation.
Wednesday greeted us with bitter cold, so most of us spent the day indoors.  I hadn't done that for quite a while, so it actually felt nice to just sit in my room for a bit.  I enjoyed some hot soup by the TV, and got ready for the frigid walk to our venue.  James met me in the lobby, and the two of us looked like we were preparing for a trip to the Arctic Circle; but I'll tell you, 10 degrees is quite different from 40.  What we didn't take into account was the venue.  Now we have played some interesting places before; we have even played arenas before.  However, THIS arena houses the Tri City Americans, cousin to the Canadians in the NHL.  So, the entire arena is ice...covered by a plastic layer.  But, to keep the ice from melting, the temperature in the venue was quite cold.  Besides that the fact that our show was altered quite a bit to fit the space, it was quite cold for the majority of the show....even though the lights were so close to us, you'd think it would melt the ice under our feet.  I have to say, as unpleasant as it may have been to be in that environment for a show, the audience was quite good, and it made it all worthwhile.  We braved the cold after the show and we all hold up in our hotel rooms, awaiting bus travel the next day.

Thursday greeted us with another cold day, but thankfully a relatively short drive to Spokane.  We got there in the early afternoon, and had enough time to get settled and grab a bit near our hotel before walking across the Spokane River for our first of 5 shows in town.  A beautiful THEATRE. as opposed to our digs in Kennewick, and the audience greeted us with an amazingly warm reception.  I would've loved to hang out a bit afterward, but I made the snow-filled walk back to our hotel knowing full well that I had press at 5 am the next day; I tried my best to make it an early night.

Friday morning came very early, and I have to say, the whole "shortest days of the year" thing is getting pretty old, pretty quick.  Waking up at 4 am and not seeing sun until 7 or 8, and seeing the sun set before 5 pm is not, though I know it will be a long winter, I am looking forward to at least the length of days changing.  James and I did a couple of great TV/radio interviews, and were safely back in our rooms at about 8 am.  After attempting to sleep for a few hours, I was not going to let fatigue keep me from exploring downtown Spokane.  I made my way across the river, after a bite at Chipotle, to take in some of downtown.  I took some great pictures of, one of my favorite things, advertisements on brick buildings.  I made my way to the mall and walked around a bit (Starbucks coffee in hand), and on my way home to rest I stopped at Riverfront Park to take a few pictures and see the world's largest Radio Flyer wagon.  It was pretty awesome.  After a walk home, I prepared myself for the show that night, and made the cold walk back across the bridge.  Following the show, the majority of the cast and crew met in the hotel's restaurant for our little impromptu Christmas party.  We did a White Elephant or "dirty santa" exchange, when it was all said and done, we had quite a bit of fun opening presents and enjoying each other's company.  I hung out with a couple of the boys after for a bit, and got some shut eye to prepare for the two show day to follow.

I got to work relatively early, and rocked out the matinee.  Following that, I had a little Jimmy John's delivered to my hotel room, and hibernated for a bit before heading out for the evening show.  After that, I headed with Vince, James, Corey and Patrick to the Saranac Brewing Co. for a bite to eat, and to give James a little farewell, as he would not be joining us for our last two shows.  I was walking home with the boys and spotted a few of our people in another place and stopped in for a bit before heading home.

Sunday morning came early, as mornings often do, and I headed to work dragging a little bit.  Brad was on as Carl for the matinee as was Katie as Dyanne, so it was a different but excellent show!  I was pretty tired in between, so I opted to take the quick walk to Jimmy John's, and then take a nap in my dressing room after a call to my parents.  Only one more show to make it through before heading home to Maine the next day.  The evening show went extremely well with Brad on again, and after the show I met a new friend in the lobby to get a drink at a local place, Zola.  They had amazing sweet potato fries, and an amazing ambience; the booth we sat in was a converted Tilt-a-Whirl....pretty cool.

I opted to stay up all night, as I had to be up and on the shuttle to the airport at 4 AM.  Maybe not the smartest choice, but it certainly helped me sleep on the three planes I had to take to get across the country!!

I landed in Maine at about 6:45 and was greeted by my parents, and shortly thereafter, my brother Rick.  I hadn't really eaten all day, so we had a family meal at Panera in South Portland before heading home.  I haven't been back in Maine for the winter in so long, it's almost as though I didn't recognize where I was.  But, it was only a matter of time before I got used to it and just thanked the stars that I was home for Christmas for the first time in 13 years.

Though I am not on tour for the next few weeks, I'll still be blogging a bit.  Other than some much needed time at home, I will be taking a trip to NYC to see a couple of shows, and heading out to Arizona to do my one man Cash show before tour starts back up again.  Please take care, everyone, and have a Merry Christmas!!!!!

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