North American Tour - Wednesday 11th July 2007 Day One
Well what a day it’s been! I’m sure I’ll be repeating that phrase frequently on this tour! As I write this, we’re travelling on the Four West Freeway in New Jersey and our van is limping through rain I thought was only ever seen in Greenock! There is really dramatic lightening and horrendous thunder. It would be true to say that we are terrified! This downpour only started 20minutes ago and the flooding on the road is unbelievable. Thank goodness I brought my T in the Park waterproof with me!
The tour actually started on Tuesday afternoon when we had to drive from Glasgow down to Luton airport. We stayed in an oh-so-familiar Travel Lodge (we were starting to miss them!) and got up at 7am this morning to travel to the airport. At this point I’ll just have to jump back to when we were part of Dressed to Kilt in New York back in March. Well, when we were all lined up back stage waiting to don “the runway” we got talking to quite a few people; and namely Laurence, the owner of Silver Jet Airlines. We all got on like a house on fire and partied with him and some of his friends later on that night. When Laurence found out that we were going to America this week, he very kindly sponsored out flights! First class no less! This was amazing but not for the obvious reasons. It meant that we could extend our tour a little also!
So back to today and our arrival at Luton airport. We certainly travelled in style!!!!! We were all absolutely overwhelmed by the service! The seats had massagers on them, you could even make them lie flat and get a proper sleep! The meals were beautiful and we even got proper knives and forks....none of that plastic rubbish! Even the check in and lounge were something special. There was no hassle at all. We turned up at the SilverJet Terminal building and were met with several staff who took our luggage from us right away and sent us into the lounge for a complimentary champagne breakfast! I could get used to that! We were each given individual handheld TV screens that had games, films and TV channels on them. It was absolute luxury and we felt so spoiled!
We arrived at Newark airport after a bumpy landing (that always happens flying into Newark) and the heat in the air was suffocating. We were greeted by our chauffeur holding up a sign displaying “The Hedrons” and were packed into a huge truck that resembled that of the A-Team! We drove from Newark airport to the hire van company where we picked up our tour bus. Another A Team style beast of a truck! We’re so glad it has aircon, the heat is really intense.
We left the hire company and fought out way through the mental traffic in New York. Hats off to Frank our tour manager for keeping his cool in the traffic.....American drivers are psychotic. We had to go across to New Jersey to collect a drum kit and amps. The Google Maps got us there in one piece but it was a bit stressful. We were overjoyed when we were given a sat-nav to use by Jurgen from our American Record Company, 4West. That should save us some time on the road anyway!
Once we loaded up the bus with the gear, we hit the highway for Rochester. The thunderstorm started just as we got in the bus so we were quite lucky not to get drenched.
We’re currently only an hour into the 6 hour journey and we haven’t really made much progress in this torrential rain. Oh well, we’ll just have to get on with it!
There are going to be a lot of long drives on this tour, probably the equivalent of Glasgow to London everyday! It’ll be good fun though and we’ll get to see a lot of America this time since we are doing it by road and not stuck in airport terminals every other day! We are now starting to realise where the term “on the road” comes from. The phrase definitely originated in America, these roads stretch on forever!!
Anyway, I’m now feeling a bit bus sick looking down to type, so I’m away to watch the road for a bit. Over and out for now.
8:12pm (1:12am at home)
Ok, well I had to add a wee update to tonight’s journey as there was much excitement! We were just driving through Pennsylvania and noticed that the outside lane had been completely blocked off for about a 2.5mile stretch and the whole area was filled with cop cars! There must’ve been about 100 police cars, some undercover and some patrol cars. There were police marksmen standing at the barrier for this entire stretch pointing their guns into the huge forest area next to the freeway, obviously looking for someone! There was a helicopter patrolling the area too. It was actually a bit scary. We were going to pull over to a gas station (getting into the lingo) for something to eat but decided not to in case we got hi-jacked by some crazed looney! So we’re plodding on, hungry and tired!
Well Betty is telling us we’ll be at Rochester in about 2 hours so not long to go now. We’ve got the wireless on now which is great cos in America they always play songs that were forgotten about form the 80s. In some cases they were maybe best forgotten mind you but it’s entertaining anyway.
I should mention that Betty is the sat nav. We’ve decided she should have a name and since Betty is a word used frequently by us, it seemed fitting. Betty is the name we give to birds who are dedicated followers of fashion and throw their cash on unnecessary commodities such as nail bars, stiletto shoes, betty hand bags and lip gloss. All of the above have no room in a punk rock band. Nicely polished nails would get chipped lifting the gear into venues and you can’t possibly hold down a chord with daggers hanging off the end of your digits. High heels have no place behind a drum kit and hand bags are not sufficient enough to stash the rider. Furthermore, when swinging one’s mop top around playing the drums, the hair becomes entangled in the lip gloss making posing for photos a difficult task.
We’re now passing through Dickson City and I have no idea where that is. Back to the wireless it is.
00:23 (05:23 at home!)
We’ve just arrived at the hotel in Rochester and we’re bloomin’ shattered. That’s us been travelling for nearly 24hours. We’re up at 7:30am for radio promo. No rest for the wicked! Night night!