This is one of those posts that should probably have been divided into two different articles, but when you are busy you don't have time to write, and when you're on a very long 1300 mile drive from the tip of Texas to central Florida, you write a lot!
Yesterday we said farewell to Texas. We had a great time and the crowds were wonderful. I think they enjoyed our new show, though perhaps not as much as I did. Sometimes, after working for hours on a new creation, it's fun to sit back and stare in awe over how you really pulled it off.
This year we chose a Storyteller theme to go with our recent CD. It was perhaps quite different from the usual old country, bluegrass, and oldies you find in the Valley, but it spoke to us and to who we are, which made it far more satisfying as musicians, and gives the audience an opportunity to experience a new direction, for those looking for a little adventure.
Complete with our big story time book, which Sean called "Bookzilla", we told some stories of some lovely old folk and Celtic songs, intermingling lively instrumentals from the Irish and bluegrass traditions. The ladies donned their new "steampunk" outfits, which gave it a fantasy feel.
I tried to get a nice picture of the family in our outfits, next to Bookzilla, but we have Sean in the band, so it didn't quite work out as expected. Or perhaps it did.
I will say, he does clean up mighty handsome when he isn't goofing off.
Of course, preparing for the show took a lot of effort. We had rigorous warm-ups, as you can see the twins involved in here.
Our time in the Rio Grande Valley was mostly work, but a moment of play popped up now and then, such as a trip to the largest single story library in the country!
And when the season was over and the last note sung, we turned the bus towards Florida and headed out.
That's about when the fun began. The day before yesterday we hit Houston and while en route to see some good friends (for what was supposed to be a quick dinner and goodbyes), our inside rear tire blew, in the dark, near rush hour, on a major Houston highway.
Michael slowly navigated us off the highway, and at a snail crawl, to go easy on our three remaining rear tires, we made it all the way to our friends' company, which happens to be an RV rental and service business.
We are pretty sure our guardian angels were working overtime again, but I do wonder if the kids' prayers may be the reason we we landed in that predicament in the first place. Some of their best buddies in the world were set to meet us only very briefly on our way through and that simply wasn't good enough for them, and with a blown tire, they got their wish.
It was going to take and extra day to get the tired replaced, which meant 24 hours of pure fun and games.
This also left us with a very unique opportunity. You see, our friend, Troy, is the regional director for the International Cultural Exchange Services and they just happened to be planning a big party for all of the local exchange students the next evening. We had an instant audience of international students! Kids were there from Denmark, Brazil, China, Germany, and more.
While we enjoyed an extra day of fine friendship, Troy put his magic to work and by the next day, both tires (because I guess you have to match tires on a single side exactly), had been replaced, the bus washed, and a basic break and service check up given.
Which brings us to today. We've now traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, crossing over into Florida this afternoon. Tonight is a Wallydock night (stay-over at a Walmart), and tomorrow we get to our first main Florida destination. We'll spend the next several weeks playing and "playing" around Orlando and Tampa.
Though our first couple of weeks are very busy, we have some extreme fun planned in the area as soon as we get some well earned time off, including a wonderful adventure in April I cannot wait to write about... after the adventure. Until then, we'll sing some stories to some great folks in Florida!