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Chapter 20 - ROADZILLA RETURNS

Our next gig was in Houston, Texas and according to the road bible it was a 416 mile drive from Biloxi. Not only were we in for another long butt numbing ride, we also had a show that night with a 7:30 start time and no opening act. Oh, and the concert was going to be simulcast over the Internet as well. This all meant that we absolutely had to leave very early that morning if we were going to make it to Houston with enough time for an extensive sound check. It also meant that we were going to be vulnerable to another attack by Roadzilla!

My first clue to what was going to be another Roadzilla day came quite early, before the bus even started to roll. After about a half hour of waiting for the bell hops to bring the luggage out to the bus, Bernie figured he'd better go back inside the hotel to investigate. When he returned, Bernie informed us that our luggage was lost somewhere in the hotel and no one knew exactly where. We finally figured out that there was a second entrance that is usually used by buses in the back of the Beau Rivage. Of course, that's where our luggage was, along with the bell hops that were on the wrong side of the building and wondering where we were.

At the time, it seemed smarter to drive the bus around back to where the luggage was located than to have the bell hops schlep the bags all the way back to the front of the hotel. Ah, but things are not always what they seem. We cranked up the diesel and cruised around to the bus entrance in back only to find out that our land yacht was just a few inches too tall to fit under the roof that covered the entrance. So after all that, confusion we still ended up having these poor guys schlep all the bags back to the front of the hotel and out to the bus but the whole comedy of errors had now caused us to leave an hour late. I don't recall any specific road rule, although there must be one, that covers this kind of situation. No, this was a new one, at least for me. Maybe it's covered under general road rule #10 , which states; "The less time you have, the more time it will take."

Well, we finally got out on the highway, albeit an hour behind schedule, and headed west. We would be rolling from our last gig in Biloxi, Mississippi, through Louisiana and then through Texas to our show in Houston with no time to spare. And of course, that's when the skies opened up and a massive thunderstorm began to pour rain on us fools below. However, 'Jeff the Invincible' remained steadfast, cranked the windshield wiper speed to high and continued to roll on down the highway in spite of the foul weather.

Provided there were no more delays, we figured we'd have just enough time to go to the hotel for a late check in and then go immediately to the venue. We figured wrong! This was a Roadzilla day, cosmic forces were at work and the proof came sooner than any of us expected.

It was not long after we finally drove through the thunderstorm and back into the sunshine when traffic began to slow down and eventually ground to a complete halt, turning the freeway into one of the world's biggest two lane parking lots.

Jeff immediately got on the CB radio and found out that an eighteen wheeler had flipped over about a mile ahead and was now blocking both lanes. No one was hurt but by the time the lanes were opened again, we had lost another hour of precious time. Now, it was straight to the gig and hope we could make it by show time.

Well, we made it with only twenty minutes to spare. That's right, the show started at 7:30 and we arrived at 7:10, which was just enough time to change clothes and hit the stage. And in spite of all the strange events of the day, the show went off incredibly well but there was still one more surprise to come. We found out after our performance that the Internet satellite simulcast failed sometime after the first song because of a computer glitch. Although, I personally think it was the work of Roadzilla! I'm sure there must be a road rule that covers that.



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