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Chapter 15 - A REAL DAY OFF

We'd been on the road for a little over two weeks. Sixteen days to be exact, but who's counting. Of course, it sometimes felt more like we'd been out for two months! I guess that's why I sometimes refer to a tour as a "Whale Expedition." But by now, we were all pretty well adjusted to life on the road. We were also getting more comfortable with the new set list and the band was getting tighter with every performance.

The show in Buffalo went well, in spite of the revolving stage, and now it was on to Columbus. It would be a long, long day. We would be traveling 329 miles and then doing a show that evening. The day after the concert in Columbus, we would repeat the process and drive another 385 miles to Dan's home town, Peoria, and then do another show that evening as well. After our Peoria concert, we would be heading to Madison but not until we had real a day off. Not a day off disguised as a 'travel day' but a real day off!

After several days of overcast weather, waking up to a perfect sunny day in Peoria was a great way to start my one day off and I wasn't about to waste it sitting in a hotel room watching CNN Headline news. So, after a light breakfast, I was ready to put my feet to the street and go out to find some adventure.

I had an opportunity to check out a couple of really interesting museums. Probably the best known is the 'Caterpillar' museum. No, it's not what you think. It's not display cases filled with a bunch of hairy little insects. I'm talking about the company that makes the worlds largest and most widely known earth moving equipment. You know, Caterpillar tractors, bulldozers, etc. Giant Tonka toys for grown-ups!

After visiting the museums I ended up at the river walk for a pleasant stroll in the sun and then ended up at one of my favorite places to visit in Peoria. There's an old department store down by the river walk that has been turned into an antique emporium. With several floors of antiques, it was quite easy for me to spend most of the afternoon browsing through an amazing collection of artifacts from yesteryear. I always go in to these places with the intention of staying only a few minutes and then end up staying for hours. Anyway, it was now late afternoon and it was time to head back to the hotel bar where I stopped in for a Guinness. What can I say? All that walking made me thirsty.

When I got to my room there was a message from Bernie saying that Dan was having us as his guests at a special dinner with his mother. He had arranged for a private room at one of the finest restaurants in Peoria and had thrown a similar celebration at the same place the last time we were in town so I knew it would be a culinary treat.

It was an evening I won't forget. After our truly amazing feast, we went downstairs to the piano bar to have some after dinner refreshments and we pretty much took it over. The piano player has been there for years and he and Dan go way back. We were all feeling pretty good at this point; even Zoot took a turn at playing a few songs for us. Anyway, we all had a fantastic evening and actually ended up closing the place.

Thanks to Dan, we had a perfect end to a perfect day but we all knew what was ahead. More Roadzilla! Tomorrow would find us rolling down the highway again, in our land yacht, headed to Madison, Wisconsin for a concert and the day after that we would be on our way to Chicago for another show.



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