Day 70: Drive Day
I was originally going to lump this day in with one of the other posts, but there was a few adventures that are encompassed in ‘Day 70’ that warrant it having it’s own post.
With the last show of the tour in our crosshairs, there was a lot of questions about the plans for the next six months floating in the air that were begging for answers, and it felt like the right time to get them hashed out. So we woke up, stopped for showers, and then we headed over to the Landshark Pub, the Jacksonville Beach sports bar that our friend Brett watches the football games at.
Before we went in though, we had a band meeting focused on 2014. Big things are on the map, so y’all better stay in your seats! When the meeting was adjourned, we headed in the pub.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are far from being a Super Bowl contending team, and their fans know it. Nonetheless, they are not fair weather fans. The bar was full of die hard jersey wearing fans, chanting like frat boys every time there was a good play, or actually, any positive play, even just getting a first down. Bret told us that if the Jags won we all got free corn dogs, giving us incentive to rabble rouse and cheer along too. The Jags pulled it off, increasing their record to a dismal 2-9, but the win was so important to the fans that they never even thought about the big picture. The jubilant crowd was living in the moment.
When the corn dogs were brought out Root went over to grab a couple. Immediately, a mob mentality sparked up, Jaguar fans barking at him like feral dogs protecting a spilled garbage can, accusing him of being an outsider and to leave the corn dogs alone as they were only for Jaguar fans. I was sitting at the bar, watching how this was playing out, mentally mapping out my first move into the indignant mass of people if things got ugly. The loud mouthed leader sitting with his back to me would be first…. I glanced up at Root, and I could see him assessing the situation as well. While he appeared calm and cool, I could tell he was ready if things deteriorated. If he had been The Wolverine, his claws would have been starting to show.
Then, as quickly as things had flared up, they were done. Brett was right there, telling everyone that we were his friends and that we were cool, that he had offered the corn dogs to us, and there was no reason for complaints. As fast as they got riled up is as fast as Root was accepted into the crowd, crisis completely averted. The moral of the story is that we got some free corn dogs.
We decided to put some miles on the road instead of watching the second game. We made it up to southern South Carolina by 8pm, and found a small town pub in which to watch the Patriots game. Keeping up with the weirdness of the day, as soon as we entered the bar we were descended on by the barkeep and a few customers, all telling us that we had entered a private bar. Not wanting to cause issue, we asked where the closest public bar was. The barkeep told us that county law prohibited bars being open on Sunday nights, unless they were private members only establishments. And members could sign in a guest, but since we were strangers, no one could vouch for us. Resigned to keep driving, we prepared to leave.
But the barkeep kept asking questions, and soon, she changed her mind asking us to stay. It turns out that the county sends undercovers to try to bust bar owners who let in nonmembers to their bars on Sunday nights, and the fine is up words of 500 bucks an incident. Once we were accepted as non spies, everyone came up to us, introducing themselves. As we were hanging out watching the game, from across the bar we heard ‘Bombs Around Me’. One of the patrons, James, and his girlfriend were watching the video on YouTube. When they were done they came up to us, complimenting the song and the video, saying that come payday they were going to visit our iTunes Store.
The Pats were loosing horribly at halftime, so Root and I decided to hit the road and read the highlights later. It turns out that we missed one of the best 2nd halves of the year, the Patriots coming back from a 24-0 deficit, to pull ahead then to take the win in overtime.
I was sitting on the bus, receiving the dramatic play by play through the NFL mobile app. The real-time aspect of the app was flawed, creating a several minute delay in the information that we were getting. I felt as if we were World War 1 soldiers getting updates over the telegraph wire.
We drove all the way to Columbia and spent the coldest night of the tour in another Walmart parking lot, one more show to go before we headed home.