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Chapter 13 - ONWARD

It was around ten or eleven in the morning when we boarded the bus and bid, a not so fond, farewell to stormy Hilton Head and started rolling on to our next show down in Raleigh, NC. It was just a mere 328 miles down the highway, a virtual breeze compared to some of the drives coming up later. But after our show in Raleigh, we were going to have to travel another 404 miles to Atlanta, Georgia! It would be another night of trying to sleep in the bouncing bunk beds. I don't want to say these bunks were small, actually they're an ingenious use of space, just don't try to sit up too quickly or you'll get a concussion. I think this is why I would prefer to be cremated rather than buried. Being buried would be too much like spending eternity in a bunk on a tour bus. Yeck!

We finally made it to our hotel in Atlanta and after the long drive in the bouncing bunk; I was more than ready to crash. I was so tired and the long elevator ride, followed by the long walk down the long hall towards my room, reminded me of Road Rule # 43 which states, "When exhausted, your room shall be the furthest from the elevator, unless you're a light sleeper and then your room shall be between the elevator and the ice machine." Anyway, we had a gig that night and I was trying to catch some zees when and where I could.

Our gig in Atlanta was at Chastain Park, a really beautiful outdoor amphitheater. I've played there numerous times over the years with various artists so I knew what to expect. This was going to be another sea of linen tablecloths, candelabras and champagne bottles. But unlike our concert at Hilton Head, these were people who were also there to listen. These were Dan fans! They were there to see Dan Fogelberg and they made us know it as soon as we hit the stage. Dan wasn't about to go through another struggle like the last gig, so he had changed the set list. Now we were opening with the full band! We kicked everything off with "Part of The Plan" and it just kept getting better! As I recall, it turned out to be one of our exceptional performances.

Our road bible said that Dan was to fly to New York the next day to take care of some promo stuff, and the band was supposed to leave immediately after the show in Chastain Park, drive 673 miles to Baltimore and then travel another 215 miles to Long Island the following day. Well, after discussing it with Jeff The Invincible, and since it was just the band on the bus, we decided to something really crazy. We were going to do it all in one long humongous drive! We would stay another night at the hotel, leave around noon the next day and drive all the way to New Jersey, where Jeff could get some repairs done to the land yacht while he got some sleep. That would take a couple of hours and then we'd hit the road again and continue on to our hotel in Long Island. Of course, that meant that we would have to contend with the bouncing bunks again.

The morning traffic from New Jersey to Long Island was a nightmare but we finally reached our hotel in Long Island around eleven o'clock that morning. We were all pretty exhausted and in need of some sleep before the show that night. But when we went to the front desk to check in, I was reminded of road rule #14 that states, "If you're exhausted and you arrive early, your room shall not be ready." Sure enough, I had to figure out how to kill an hour while they made up the room so I went to the restaurant. Unfortunately, they were now only serving lunch so I had a cheeseburger for breakfast, washed it down with ice tea and then went to bed. And by the way, there's a whole set of road rules regarding restaurants and food in the Great Book of Roadzilla but that's another story.



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