The Day Ben Died

The Day Ben Died

Tour Diary: Day Three (9/12/15)

Saturday morning was extra special because moments after waking up, propping myself up in our disgusting hotel room on our very old, thin, stained sheets, Ben walked over and offered me a spoon full of something. I looked at it. It resembled some kind of oatmeal mixed with other goopy substances. I accepted the spoonful. Almost immediately, I knew something was wrong. Something in my mouth wasn’t goopy. There was a hair. And that’s how Ben died. Thankfully, Tommy agreed to drum for both bands the rest of the tour, and we found a pretty easy spot to bury Ben’s soft shitty body in the sandy soil behind the HOJO. I like to think it was his passive aggressive way of punishing me for all the times I’ve been late to band practice, one last time.

leaving tucson arizona

We had a very long drive that day. After a hair-free yogurt and free-raisin-bran breakfast we took off and slowly watched the high desert landscape transform into actual sand dunes. The temperatures reached 105, and the van struggled to keep us cool as we drove through Yuma. Once we got into California and started north things gradually began to cool off (down to 90 at least) and we got to see some really cool sights.

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salton sea

First it was palm date farms. Acres upon acres of fruit trees, vineyards, and farms. In 1905 engineers from the California Development Company were diverting the Colorado River into the Coachella Valley to increase irrigation for farmland. The amount of water that came in was overwhelming and flooded the valley for two years before they were able to complete all the repairs to stop the massive flow. A giant lake was created that they named the Salton Sea due to the high salinity levels (more salt concentration than the Pacific!). This was one of the coolest things we drove past. The layers of mountains above the massive light blue lake with a combination of desert and farmland surrounding it is stunning.

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Then came the windmill farms. Miles of natural beauty covered in modern sculptures in perfect rows was like something out of a Ray Bradbury book. We saw oil pipelines, a magnificent sunset, and Chico deejay-ed so we had a fantastic soundtrack to the entire drive. Danny, Tommy and I had all never been to California before so we were extra excited, and I annoyed everyone by constantly standing up, leaning against windows, and taking roughly 1000 photos.

california mountain3 sunset california

When we pulled up to our destination – The Britisher in Lancaster, California, we were a little hesitant. The bar was in the corner of a strip mall next to a massage parlor, an Auto Zone, and a liquor store. Inside, there was no real stage – just an area set aside with a small PA and no monitors. Little did I know this would be the best night of the tour so far. This dude Carlos does the booking there and goes by Burger Wolf. He is AWESOME. We played with three other local acts – one covered popular songs while the drunk bar sang along at the end of the night, the other opened the show singing hilarious folk songs through a megaphone with a fiddle player. We played in the middle with a local prog rock band, Litaoa, who kicked ass and brought in a crowd. We sold merch, drank free beer, made new friends, and the bartender loved me so much she gave me some of her tips (which, being in service industry myself really meant a lot to me). It was a fantastic night. We love you Lancaster!

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