Chapter 22 - THE BIG DRIVE 2
our marathon drive through what seemed to be an endless desert,
we were pretty happy to see the Tucson city limits since it
meant we were just minutes away from our hotel and a stationary
bed. We finally arrived around midday and after checking in,
we immediately crashed in our rooms like three hibernating
'Jeff the Invincible' needed sleep more than Zoot and I, considering
he had piloted the land yacht all night and half the day to
get us there. Zoot and I also knew we probably wouldn't see
Jeff again until breakfast the next morning, just before our
departure. So we both decided to crash until 5:00 and then
go out for the evening. I know it seems like strange hours
but it was a night off and sometimes you have to grab some
fun when and where you can. So we agreed to meet for cocktails
at 5:30 and then make a plan for that evening's entertainment.
the evening was filled with a visit to one of Tucson's best
Mexican restaurants where we had a huge amount of wonderful
Mexico City style specialties and washed it all down with
far too many Margaritas. Of course, we were in the heart of
the Southwest, so what else would we order, Corned Beef and
Cabbage? I don't think so! Not when you're in the Mecca of
Tex/Mex food. So we happily stuffed ourselves and headed back
to the hotel for some real sleep. We would be back on the
land yacht for the second part of our drive through the "Endless
after a quick breakfast the three of us were on the land yacht
again and back out in the desert, the wonderful "Endless
Desert." In addition to the previous days' desert excursion,
we still had to cover the remaining desert from Tucson to
California. That's a helluva lot of desert! After a while,
everything starts to look the same and it becomes an endless
parade of rocks, sand and cactus going by, like being in some
kind of Twilight Zone. I almost expected to see the ghost
of Rod Serling at our next fuel stop trying to hitch a ride.
time we made it to the outskirts of L.A. it was early evening
and we were headed towards interstate 5 where we would eventually
make a right turn and head north to Redwood City. But what
was really driving me crazy was that I hadn't seen my wife,
Michele, since the beginning of the tour and we would pass
within a couple of miles of my home. The problem for me was
that we couldn't stop if we were going to make it to our hotel
and have enough time to sleep before the gig the next day.
So I had to be satisfied with a mobile conversation on a cell
phone as we passed by. Needless to say, this did not make
Mikey a happy camper.
other alternative available, Zoot and I decided it was time
for the cocktail hour and we proceeded to open the bar on
the land yacht. It was still a long, long ride to Redwood
City and we figured we might as well get as comfortable as
possible and enjoy some liquid fortification. So after expertly
mixing our drinks, we broke open a bag of pretzels, threw
some music in the CD player and strapped ourselves in for
the remaining six or more grueling hours of the "Big
Drive," Zoot on the sofa and me in The Chair.
o'clock, Jeff was in need of a short rest if he was going
to continue the drive and Zoot and I were in need of something
more substantial than pretzels and chips for dinner so we
pulled in to a truck stop just outside of Bakersfield. Bakersfield!!
That meant we probably wouldn't get to our hotel until two
or three in the morning. At this point the bus was starting
to feel like a minimum-security prison on wheels.
'Jeff the Invincible' caught some Z's for the final run to
Redwood City, Zoot and I killed an hour or so over a couple
of truck stop dinners that were about one step above the pretzels
and chips we had eaten on the bus. You know, it's really hard
to kill time over bad food but that's another story. Anyway,
once Jeff was awake and had his standard quart container of
coffee, we were on our way again.
imagine how relieved we all were to finally roll up in front
of our hotel, even though it was around three in the morning.
Just knowing the "Big Drive" was over and that we
could crash in a stationary bed in a nice hotel was an enormous
comfort to us. We had completed a two-day, 1,700-mile marathon
drive like true road dogs but we all agreed we'd had enough
of Roadzilla and life on the highway to last us for quite