I hopped on the tour bus in Cincinnati after a hometown show and....individual days have felt long but the week has flown by. I've been waking up wondering where I am. You'd think, looking out the window in the morning, that there would be a courtesy "Welcome to Charlotte!" sign or something, but I'm here to tell you that most amphitheaters look the same, and most cities so far have felt the same in terms of heat and humidity. Just trust that my hair looks really, really good.
Staying up / waking up really late is a fun throwback luxury for me, and I've been taking advantage. Right now we're toward the end of a 12-hour drive from Atlanta to The Woodlands, TX and I'm bouncing along, blogging in the front lounge with Parks & Rec, Rihanna, and conversations about synthesizers in the background. We spent some time in the great state of Florida over the past few days and we'll spend the next few days in the great BIG state of Texas. In an effort to organize my thoughts, I thought I'd group my tour posts by state. So, Texas to follow, hopefully.
We landed in Jacksonville last Thursday on a day off. We got some lunch and took a very short walk to the Treaty Oak, which E knew about because the band did an acoustic performance underneath it some time ago. (Crazy aside: I just googled "Treaty Oak" to link you all and discovered there's another Treaty Oak in Austin, where we'll be in a few days.) Anyway, this tree is over 200 years old, and it's beautiful. I think it's my second favorite tree-- my favorite tree is on a dirt road to Lime Lake in Michigan where my grandmother owns a cottage. I've loved it since I was a kid.
After our visit with the mighty tree, we decided to see Guardians of the Galaxy which was, in my opinion, less interesting than the theatre that we saw it in. Sun-Ray Cinema in the historic 5 Points district is special for its retro vibes, food, and beer offerings. We enjoyed a pitcher of local cream ale while watching Chris Pratt be Peter Quill be Andy Dwyer. Then we had some dinner, I took a much-needed hotel shower (better than venue showers by far), and that was pretty much it. It was relaxing and it felt good.
We hadn't attempted a beach visit in Jacksonville because we thought we'd have easier access in Boca Raton. The next day, we took an Uber to the ocean, had a nice leisurely lunch, and then hit the beach just in time for the heavens to open up. We didn't even get to put our toes in the water before the lifeguard went apeshit on his whistle. I thought we could wait it out-- you know, a short Florida afternoon rain-- but instead we spent about two hours under a bridge watching the sky change from blue to gray to green. The storm was actually really beautiful, and now I have tons of questions about what happens when lightening strikes the surface of the sea. At first, there were several other beach-goers with us underneath the bridge, but by the end, only five of us remained. We became friends with two drifters, and eventually our fun window closed and we had to catch an Uber back to the venue in the rain. I later learned said rain was the heaviest Boca's experienced in 30 years.
Two things happened between our Boca Raton beach disaster and our drive to St. Augustine overnight. Important backstory: my dad was born in Jacksonville and hasn't been back since he was two.
1. I learned my dad's address in Jacksonville, where he lived from birth to 2 years.
2. I learned that the band boys had to go back to Jacksonville from St. Augustine for a radio session the next day.
So, I decided to go on a pilgrimage, with my Turkish Uber driver, to my dad's first home and take photographs for him. It was quite the adventure as my driver and I struggled to understand each other and also where we were going. Although I thought I had successfully explained my purpose, he was confused when I didn't go inside the house on Shirley Ave to visit my parents. He parked across the street in a neighbor's driveway and smoked a cigarette while he waited for me to trespass on a stranger's property and take photographs of the house and street signs. Then he drove me back to the radio station.
I liked Mehmet. He was really cool, and ours was a fun adventure, even if he thought I was nuts.
Most importantly, my dad appreciated the photographs.
After the show in St. Augustine on Saturday night, Eli and I went to the beach for some seafood and a nighttime beach stroll. I had my first oyster shooter (which was delicious!) and then we walked across the street to the beach and straight into the pitch black ocean. It was terrifying and shadowy and beautiful and awesome. I went calf-deep immediately, assuming I was wearing my indestructible Saltwater sandals. It took me twenty minutes of frolicking to realize that instead I was wearing red Italian leather. I have no regrets.
After Florida we were north of Atlanta for a period of time that barely counts, but I did have time to take this picture of Eli with a well-deserved calzone after a most terrifying Uber ride. I want someone to compile Uber adventures; I'd definitely buy that book.
We just stopped at a gas station in Louisiana (no welcome sign, had to Google map which state I was in). Two and a half more hours to go.
Now, I have to go because I'm experiencing some motion sickness, and Blake just said, "I'm a professional vomiter."
Cheers. Until Texas.