Updated: Jul 17, 2019
Day 1: Austin to Denton, Texas There’s a first time for everything. Driving in an RV, sleeping in an RV, cooking in an RV, rolling and tying the band t-shirts with color-coded strings by size (in an RV), blogging in an RV, you get the idea. Yesterday was all of those! This is a log of the maiden voyage of the Magic Tour Loaf.
The reader should note that I am not the Captain. The Captain steers the Tour Loaf, while I sit at the kitchen table and document the happenings.
Our first day of the tour was a success. We embarked at 1330 hours from Austin, and made the quarter-mile trip to the gas station with no trouble. The crew let out a collective cheer as we arrived! The day’s real driving was a suitable introduction to the road: a 3.5 hour stretch of flat, straight highway to Denton, Texas. The weather was fair, except for a light rain entering Dallas. This gave the Captain an opportunity to acclimate to the pushing and pulling aerodynamic forces of other large vehicles passing us on the road, without having to worry about other adverse conditions or tricky turns.
We arrived in Denton around 1700 hours and made a grocery stop to stock up on staples with the first week of Grocery stipends from our band account. There I learned that if you are traveling in an RV, you do not need to worry about remembering where you parked at the grocery store - the Tour Loaf towers over the other vehicles. We pulled into the parking lot at Backyard on Bell, our first tour venue, around dinner time. We were home for the night, and mere steps from the stage! This made all of us feel happy and at ease. We cooked simply for dinner, learned how to operate the propane stove. During dinner, we had an unexpected visitor, which made the Tour Loaf feel like home (when a friend knows where to find you, and comes to knock on your front door, that’s home). My good friend Rachel Woolf came by to pick up her alto flute, which I had borrowed for a gig last week. She had been working at a coffee shop across the street, saw the RV outside the venue, and assumed we were in it. I had a very nice time chatting and showing her around.
As for the show, Backyard on Bell had a great ambience, a healthy summer Saturday night crowd, and a fantastic sound engineer, Ryan, who helped us have an excellent first performance on the road! Ryan made my flute beatboxing sound much more epic than usual, not to mention creating the cleanest finger snapping sounds I’ve ever heard out of a mic at the beginning of one of our new tunes, Aren’t You. Made me feel like an expert snapper. I noticed in that performance that we’d reached a milestone as a band: we are now well-attuned enough to each other that we can recover smoothly from any mistakes, while maintaining the performance quality for the audience. The crowd was attentive and appreciative, we connected with the other two bands, and I stayed out on the patio with Rachel and the friends she had brought to the show until the live music ended for the night.
For our first late night adventure of the trip, we walked to a speakeasy-style late-night donut shop operated out of the back door of a steakhouse exclusively in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, they were sold out when we arrived. Other open establishments were mostly bars, which required ID's to enter. The Captain had not brought his ID on our walk, since he had only planned to get donuts, so he sent Molhy into a bar to buy a blueberry muffin to satisfy his dessert craving. The bartender was vexed, but we got the muffin.
At the end of Day 1, we are “as prepared as we know how to be” - not to be confused with “as prepared as we can be,” but it’s something, and we know we’ll learn a lot on the journey. So far, I’ve learned:
It’s helpful to have a checklist to go through before driving away in the RV, to make sure everything is secured, latched, etc.
We’re going to need to think carefully about space for food staples. The fridge was almost full before we got on the road, so we got mostly pantry staples and frozen vegetables at the grocery store.
Since the RV kitchen is a small space, it makes more sense for me to just ask people to hand me things and stay sitting and the kitchen table, rather than getting the things myself. Since this comes across more practical than lazy, it’s very fun to take advantage of. People will just hand me all the things I need! I feel like (Tour Loaf) royalty.
You can ask venues if you can stay in their parking lot for the night, and they might say yes! I called Backyard on Bell just the day before the show (although I don’t recommend doing it that last minute) and they were happy to accommodate us in the parking lot. They even left their yard full of picnic tables open for us to hang out in the next morning.