I never once asked that question, but I could've sworn the gods had the impression I was taunting them with it or some similar query, as a plague of obstacles descended upon us at the tail end of our journey home from Saturday's gig in Cincinnati, Ohio.


I never once asked that question, but I could've sworn the gods had the impression I was taunting them with it or some similar query, as a plague of obstacles descended upon us at the tail end of our journey home from Saturday's gig in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Our week's engagements started off innocently enough, in spite of some predictably inclement weather being in the forecast. I mean, it IS winter after all, so a little freezing rain and snow coming between us and any given destination shouldn't be much of a shock, particularly with my track record at the helm.

Still, no matter how prepared you may be, every once in a while Mother Nature catches you looking, and you get smacked upside the head with some freakish display of the elements that might inspire even Al Gore to do a double take.

On Thursday night it was the ceaseless gust of wind that the band seemed to be driving headlong into for more or less the duration of our trek back to Nashville from Birmingham, AL. One draft came just shy of pushing us into the barriers of a bridge, and may or may not have loosened my bowels momentarily. I plead the fifth, but I was admittedly caught off-guard, and accidents happen.

We survived, to drive another day, and that day was the 2nd of February. We turned in a good set that evening at The Southgate House, and a bunch of our Cincinnati friends were in attendance, so we hung out, enjoying their company and our complimentary beverages until the headliner wrapped up, at which point we foolishly lingered a bit longer.

The effects of our dawdling were not immediately apparent, as we made one fuel/restroom stop, and then another just this side of Louisville, where we took 30 minutes or so to partake of some delicious-only-at-2AM eats fromTaco Bell, and catch up on world events via the TV in the dining room of the attached travel center.

It wasn't until we were about 20 miles outside of Bowling Green, KY that we began to experience the first of the snow flurries that would eventually turn into blinding, whiteout blizzard conditions. Almost instantly, tiny flakes that had at first merely dissolved upon impact turned into what looked like strands of snow, and  visibility dropped to around nil. No taillights could be seen ahead, only the occasional flicker of headlights behind us in my side mirrors. Lane markers had vanished within minutes, and on this relatively unlit stretch of rural interstate, I had no way of knowing if I was on or off the road until I hit a median, barricade, or; worst case scenario, the ditch.

Needless to say, we were all wide awake at this point, in contrast to the groggy, half-sleep state that even I, the driver, had been on the verge of drifting into. Luckily, we made it to the next exit, where we once again fueled up, checked the weather, and decided we would wait it out in a liquor store parking lot.

30 uncomfortable minutes later, we made attempt #1 to rejoin the small contingent of brave souls who refused to be deterred by the storm. 5 even less comfortable minutes later we were off at the NEXT exit, licking our emotional wounds, having slid several times, and given my anti-lock brake system a run for its money at every nearly incomplete stop.

Eventually, the snowfall petered out for the most part, and we sputtered back onto I-65 South, finally leaving the worst of it behind in about 45 minutes. We dropped our drummer Kenny off at his place just as the sun was coming up, only 3.5 hours later than we had originally projected, and the rest of us rolled east, to drop the gear and get some sleep ourselves.

Alas, this was not to be…not just yet, at least. You see, 15 blocks later, we blew a tire on our trailer….and when I say "blew", I mean we BLEW it…nothing left but shreds of rubber on a rim, and a full load of cargo resting on that and our single good(for now) wheel.

I should probably mention at this juncture that we had not seen fit to pack a spare.

Yeah.
 
So, we pulled over to assess the damage at a Burger King, tried to call Kenny to see if he might be able to lend a hand, and ended up transferring as much of our equipment into the truck as we possibly could, since his ringer was off and it was entirely too early, AND a Sunday by this point, to contact any service that might be able to provide assistance.

We limped our hobbled trailer back up the road, and roused our already-slumbering drummer so we could back the crippled thing into his drive until such time as I might be able to replace the defective radial.

Around 8AM, I finally rested my head on a pillow, some 22 hours since I had last done so, and drifted into a long sleep filled with dreams of frosted red velvet cake cookies, football, and a Destiny's Child reunion. I know the last part was a dream because they were lip-synching, and Beyonce would never agree to fake a performance, right?

D.

www.dennysmithmusic.com

www.thegreataffairs.com