Tour Diary: The Desert (US / Days 6-7)

Ranking Cheese Doodle: Hill Country Fare Cheese Puffs: Middling

Bought at the same H-E-B store as the Store Brand Intense Cheese Flavored ones, but seemed like the doodle created for their poor cheese flavored snack customers. You know the bag: more clear plastic, duller colors, primitive graphics. I didn’t much like them but everyone else thought they were fine. Obviously this exercise has refined my palette far beyond their plebian tastes.

Texture: Excellent – Well it was.

Flavor: Tasted chemically to me. Much like an over-oaked chardonnay there were strong notes of butter. Rancid oily movie theater butter.

Idiocy from the Van: “Oooh, I adagio’d in my pants a little.”

This is going to be a short, perhaps even cursory posting because we will have spent these two days driving. The entire journey we’re taking is from Austin to Los Angeles. We will still have approximately six hours to drive on day eight just to get into town. In the past we have taken Highway 10 straight across the desert. It’s the quickest route but brutal in its unvarying scenery and desert heat. This time we decided to head northwest out of Austin, eventually hooking up with I-40. I don’t know the difference duration between the two routes, but this way was far more pleasant on the eyes and in availability of services. There was no permanent, border-style roadblock with machine gun armed guards and dogs. We just drove. There weren’t any real highlights, except perhaps for craft hour when we created lifelike sculptures out of red Baby Bell cheese wax. Our goal was Albequerque and it took us 13 hours to get there. The terrain was far more green than the 10 and mostly what we decided to call rolling prairie


The next day we had a choice. Either another 13 hour day and make it to the outskirts of L.A., or break it up by stopping around Phoenix. We chose the latter, and out of the corner of our eyes, the way one sees a nebula through a telescope, we checked to see if we could afford the amazing, awesomely refurbished 1950’s era hotel, the Valley Ho. We stayed there last tour when John treated the band to a little luxury. It was only $50 more than others around the area, probably because it was a Monday night, and even though frugality is our new watchword (our previous watchword was regret) (Our safety word* by the way is, as it always has been, “Oh for the love of God just stop it. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?”) we went for it. The second days drive was gorgeous. Lots of high desert rock formations, a stop by the petrified forest, a lovely lush area in northern Arizona where the cactuses (cacti is also correct but rather pretentious don’t you think?) were in bloom.**


I’m not going to go into rhapsodic detail about the Valley Ho because I did all that in the last tour blog,*** but we had a blast. We had fancy drinks, swam in the round saltwater pool under the moonlight, John beat Olie in a foot race across the pool, we joined hands and practiced our synchronized water dancing, the couple attempting to have a romantic interlude, tenderly drifting up to each other and kissing, finally gave up and went to the hot tub.**** After actually hearing people talking earnestly about their golf game at the bar, I went and laid on a lounge, presumably of the chaise variety, by a blue lit fountain and stared at the stars. What a lovely evening.

Tomorrow is L.A.


  • Phrase really

** Indulge me please. At this point I was originally just going to write “I’ll see you when the cactus blooms again.” because “When the Roses Bloom Again” kept going through my head. I wanted to listen to the Johnny Cash version, which is devastating, and I came across a song called “When the Bloom Is On the Sage” by the Sons of the Pioneers. I love the Pioneers. I think “Cool Water” is one of the great American songs of all time. Anyway, in the details part on YouTube it says that the song was recorded right up the street from where I’m writing this on Vine Street and Hollywood. That tickled me to no end.

*** It’s all archived on the web site I think.

**** Where they contracted Chlamydia. Or at least that’s what he told her. I never really trusted him.