Tour Diary: Day One (9/10/15)
The day had finally arrived. We packed up Heidi (SkyAcre’s van) and headed west. The next series of blog posts will be a documentation of our experiences on the road.
(Danny, Marcos, Ben, and Tommy)
Day One: As you might think, a day like this started with some anxiety. What did we forget? Probably everything important. Probably my keyboard. Probably underwear (Shut up, Jen). Miraculously, we left within an hour of when we wanted to, and after a frantic night of little sleep, went to sleep almost immediately. My instructions were to wake me up when there were cacti. After a very long car nap, a break for lunch, and another long car nap, I woke up to West Texas. I’ve lived in Central Texas the majority of my life but have only traveled west once when I was younger, and guess I don’t remember the drive. It was incredible. Absolutely beautiful topography. I think the most surprising thing was that it reminded me so much of Waimea (Hawaiian cowboy country) on the Big Island of Hawaii, which felt like such a special place to me…something taken out of history, that needs to be savored. The sky stretches on for what seems like forever, filled with massive moving clouds, and always mountains in the distance. MOUNTAINS, GANDALF!
Our first tour stop was Marfa, so on the way we stopped to swim at Balmorhea State Park. They have this incredible 1.75 acre fresh spring fed pool, called San Solomon, which – dare I say it – is even better than Barton Springs. The temperature was much more comfortable, multiple diving boards, fish and turtles swimming everywhere, turquoise waters, with gorgeous mountains and native plants surrounding it. The park ranger even brought us some baby bunnies that he rescued and was going to start taking care of!
I abandoned my beautiful pre-show hair and jumped off the high dive. We used the GoPro to be big dorks and jump in the water with the camera and film each other underwater. It was only 45 minutes of bliss, but it made the first day even better. I dried myself off with a hand dryer and paper towels in the bathroom (Yes Chico, you were right, we should have brought beach towels) and jumped back in the van. We started down highway 17 and were suddenly in the Davis Mountains, which were completely surreal. I realize this is my second Lord of the Rings reference in a very short time, but it was like driving through a winding road on the way to Mordor. This crazy combination of sage desert and huge gorgeous mountains looming up around you. We pulled over and strapped one of the GoPros to the hood of the van to try and capture the drive. Hopefully it got a shot of the apple-sized tarantula we passed in the middle of the road. As you can see below, Chico hates taking pictures.
I don’t know if it was the jumping from the high dive into cold water, extra sleep, excitement for something new or getting to spend 17 straight days with Chico playing music but WHAT A RUSH! My spirits could not have been higher. We drove through Fort Davis – a tiny little town established in 1854 that looks like a movie set- and then finally rolled in to Marfa. Marfa is one of those places that has been mysticized (a word I just made up!) so much by the Austin community that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
It ended up being a great start to the tour – a chill show at Padre’s with our friend Gory running sound, giving us a place to stay, and hanging out. The crowd consisted of locals who had been watching a football game that spilled into our set, which made me nervous at first, but the response we got seemed to be genuine and appreciative (like, they didn’t leave). We made enough money to pay for a day of gas, had a sort of green room, and drank for free all night. I slightly electrocuted myself right before we played with our shitty old merch cliplight, so I felt a little weird and sluggish on stage, but I think it was a decent set. Someone apparently emptied a trashcan into a toilet in between our sets, and the manager threatened them over the PA which was a little weird, but all in all it was a fun night.
After the show we wandered over to The Lost Horse for a chips-and-queso-and-whiskey dinner, and we got to see how fucking cool Marfa is. Like, you walk into a bar, and the bartender is sitting at the bar hanging out with her friends, so people are just going behind the bar, pouring their own drinks, and paying for it themselves. Dogs wander in and out, everyone knows everyone, and sometimes businesses are closed just because they feel like being closed. I grew up in a small town, but this is something completely unique. It has so much character and beauty. It’s pretty much the perfect place to be if you’re tired of the city life.
Marfa, we’ll be back. Tucson, you’re next.