Sunday, April 30, 2006

Day Off in Denver

Wake up around 7:30am, but I lay in my bunk for the better part of an hour. It's 916 miles from Minneapolis to Denver and I don't think we'll be there before 3pm, so there's no real reason to get up.

Except that I can't go back to sleep.

So I'm up around 8. Sit up front with the driver. We're somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, hauling ass. He's pedal to the metal, about 80 mph.

I'm the only one awake for several hours. We're cruising with the other crew bus, and there's a third bus tagging along with us. I ask who it is. My driver's been chatting with the guy driving the third bus. He says it's a private coach, with some writer from North Carolina. ???? Wonder who that is?

A couple of hours later, all 3 buses pull into a truckstop to refuel. I get off my bus and strike up a conversation with Allen, the driver of the third bus. He's hauling none other than Maya Angelou, former Poet Laureate of the U.S. She delivered a poem at Bill Clinton's January 1993 inaugural celebration. Since 1981 Angelou is a lifetime Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Awesome. Maya's 78 years old, and rockin' the USA in her own tour bus. She's on the way to Greeley, Colorado, which is about 60 miles outside of Denver. Going to the ranch of her best friend, Oprah Winfrey, who is also on the bus. Pretty cool. Allen says they're en route from NYC, and that Ms. Angelou doesn't like to fly. Hell, if I had a bus as nice as hers, I wouldn't want to, either. I wish Oprah had gotten off the bus…

Anyway, make it to the hotel around 2. Throw my stuff into my room, and flip on the TV. No race – it looks like they got rained out in Alabama. That's actually good news, because now they'll run the race tomorrow and I've got the day off. Yee-Haw!

No race, so I go take a walk in the light drizzle. From my last stay here at the lovely Loew's Hotel in Denver, I remember there being a couple of high end audio stores a block or two away.

I'm doing some research on subwoofers. I gotta downsize some stuff for the house, as I’m trying to get rid of clutter. The big TV's gotta go – I'm thinking I'll hang a plasma flatscreen over the mantel. The two BIG subwoofers have got to go. There's just not gonna be enough room for them in the new living room. One of them will wind up in the pinball room, with the stereo there. May keep one in the LR, or may replace it with something smaller and more powerful.

I audition what I think is gonna be my new baby – a Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Signature. It's a fire-breathing, 2700-watt demon that can rattle the picture frames off of your next-door neighbor's walls. I've been wanting one of these for a couple of years now, just never got around to it. Can't wait…

I stop at Wahoo's on the way back to the room and grab a couple of fish tacos that'll be dinner later. Stop at the 7-Eleven for a six-pack of Bud, too.

Back at the hotel, I get online and I'm disappointed to find out there's not a damn thing to do here, insofar as going to see a rock band. I thought Buckcherry was playing tonight, but they're not. Grab the local rag and check all the concert and club listings. Man, for a city as big as Denver, there ain't shit going on tonight. I call my buddy Mike LaTronico, who's a promoter rep here, but I get his voice mail.

Do some blogging, Here's the view outside my fifth-floor window…

After chowing in my room, I wander across the street and discover an old man bar I never noticed before in my previous stays here. It's called Doctor Proctor's Lounge. It's so much like Northside Billiards back home it's scary. Except that it has twice as many pool tables (6 vs. 3) and about twice the normal crowd. They even do karaoke on Saturday night's here, just like NB. Terry Beal, where are you when I need you?

They've got one of those internet-connected jukeboxes like the Ruckmoor in Columbus has, but there's something wrong with the connection, so the only tunes I can play are the ones already on it. Kinda limits my selections, but I dump 10 bucks in it anyway. The good news is, since I can only play what's already here, I get twice as many songs for the money.

400 beers later, I'm back in my room, where I fall asleep sitting at the desk, websurfing.

Glad no one had a camera…

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