Friday, July 31, 2009

Day Off in Montreal

Watched a drug transaction go down this afternoon from my hotel window. One dude walking up the sidewalk, one dude walking down the sidewalk. The movie-cliched subtle handoff of a tiny plastic baggie in one direction, folded up currency in the other. Just for shits and giggles, I rapped on my window (from the third floor) to get their attention. Big Brother is always watching, ya know?

We went over to tomorrow's festival site mid-afternoon to load in and set up offices. Around 8:00 or so, my friend Wendy came to pick me up to go to dinner - Wendy's the Production Assistant on the Josh Groban tour. Went to a cool little place called Maestro SVP in a neighborhood a few blocks from the hotel that was called The Plateau. This neighbor is ground-zero for nightlife in Montreal. The entire area was crawling with people and got more and more crowded as the evening wore on.

We had a killer table, right out front, perfect for watching the parade of humanity streaming by. It was a long, leisurely dinner that stretched until well after midnight. I was enjoyed the people-watching as much as the food and the company. Had a killer dish called Louisiana Seafood. It consisted of mussels, clams, black tiger shrimp, scallops, salmon and calamari all served in a cream white wine and cajun spice reduction. Yummy…

Oh, yeah, here are a few more photos of everyone's buddy, Robert Kearns, playing with Lynyrd Skynyrd last Friday night in Raleigh. Boy looks like he's been in the band forever.
Photo credit on all: Jimmy Bennett

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Show Day in Toronto

Tonight's show was at the Rogers Center, the Toronto Blue Jay's baseball stadium. It's a big, big place. More that 45,000 in attendance tonight. That's a LOT of people. But they're Canadian, so the crowd was roughly equivalent to 41,418 Americans, based on today's conversion rate.

What it looks like when 45,000 people have trashed a baseball stadium during a concert:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Show Day in Saratoga Springs, NY

Today's show is at the SPAC – the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. It's one of the very few amphitheatres you'll ever see that has a balcony up underneath the roof that covers the seats. How cool is that?

Not a great photo (bad lighting, taken with my iPhone), but you get the idea.

Got the call of the wild today – looks like R. Kelly's going out again in Oct./Nov./Dec. Perfect timing since the band I'm currently with just postponed their November dates until February.

Border crossing first thing in the morning, going into Canada for a few days…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Travel Day to Saratoga Springs, NY

We pulled out of Alpine Valley last night at 2:15am. Took until 7:30 tonight to get to our hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY. That, my friends, is what we refer to as a submarine ride. A bit over 17 hours on a bus is about 9 hours longer than I ever want to be on it.

Grabbed dinner right across the street from the hotel with the riggers, then a nightcap at the hotel bar before heading upstairs to my private pillow party.

Kinda wished I'd hung out in the bar a little longer. Crosby, Stills, & Nash are playing here in a couple of days, at the same venue we're doing tomorrow night. Some of their crew were in the bar, along with the man himself, Stephen Stills.

Ed Jarman, a lovely, charming Englishman (who is our Video Crew Chief) was there, and when Bash (our drum tech) introduced Ed to Stephen Stills, Ed said to him, "Ahright then, whattayou do, you a truck driva?"

I would have fallen down laughing if I had been standing there. God help him, Ed had no idea who Stephen Stills was. I heard that Stills actually slapped his forehead and said, "You really don't know who I am, do you?"

Seriously folks, you can't make this shit up…

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Show Day at Alpine Valley

Marguerite being adorable on the bus last night:That's rigger Chuck's t-shirt she's foolin' with.

Today's show is at Alpine Valley Amphitheatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. On August 27, 1990, mere seconds after taking off, the helicopter carrying Stevie Ray Vaughan crashed about ¼ mile from the backstage area. The crash site was just on the other side of the hill you see in the photos below.

A closer view:

I get bummed out every time I come to this place. Rest in peace, Stevie...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Day in St. Louis

Sure wish I'd been at home tonight. My buddy Robert came through Raleigh with Lynyrd Skynyrd, who he plays bass for. I haven't seen him with them yet, but I'm sure he's just killin' it. My buddy Van took this photo and emailed it to me. The shirt Robert's wearing is from the bar Van owns, Slims.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Birthday Ever!!!

Or maybe not…

I rarely ever sit up with my bus mates after the show, but since today is my birthday, I decided to have a few beers last night as we left Houston, bound for St. Louis.

Finally went to bed around 4:15am this morning, but I woke up 7:00 because the bus wasn't moving. Got up to see what was wrong, and found out from Charlie that we were broken down on the side of I-35 near Denton, TX. One of the engine sensors was malfunctioning and causing the motor to shut down. Charlie was on the phone with a service tech for some time, and made multiple attempts to "re-boot" the bus, all to no avail.

After sitting there for about 90 minutes, Charlie found out that the field tech wouldn't be able to get there for another two-and-a-half hours, so the decision was made to toss the 10 people who live on my bus onto the other buses and send them on their way.

I jumped onto bus 3 with Julie, Marguerite, and Russell. That made 16 passengers on a bus that I would consider uncomfortably crowded with 10. My mind went into overdrive. Buy a flight? Rent a car? There had to be something, anything better than sitting on a supercrowded bus. Surely we would be traveling through or near some cities and/or airports where cars could be rented or flights could be taken.

I checked the map and found that Oklahoma City was about 140 miles ahead of us. Perfect! Before everyone on this bus started waking up and crowding the front and rear lounges, I'd be off the bus and either driving or flying.

Marguerite called the travel agent, who put 2 SUV's on hold, and snagged the last four seats on a late-afternoon flight from OKC to St. Louis.

Before we got to the OKC airport, she, Julie and Russell changed their minds about flying. I told Fin (production manager) and Kurt (stage manager) about my scheme and they both decided to join me.

Twenty minutes later, the buses pulled off the highway in OKC long enough for the three of us to jump off at a Ramada Inn. Fin fast-talked the front desk folks into having the shuttle driver to drive us to the airport even though we weren't guests of the hotel, hahaha.

The three of us spent the afternoon in the terminal getting caught up on work. Nice, plush chairs with power outlets, fast wireless internet service, and plenty of restaurants nearby. Awesome.

Our 5:20 flight eventually got off the ground around 6:30. We made it to the St. Louis hotel about 8:45. After dropping bags, I walked around a bit, eventually running into Chuck and Gabe, our riggers. Had dinner and a few drinks with them and made it back to my room before 11:00.

A birthday I won't soon forget, I can assure you…

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Show Day in Houston

The birthday wishes started pouring in today via email and Facebook. Thanks to all who remembered!

At the moment of my birth, which was 1:05am EST on the 23rd (just after midnight, local time tonight), I slipped away from my office, grabbed a beer off the bus, and went and sat on a bench by the waterway behind the venue.

Sitting there, I spent a few minutes reflecting on what an amazing life I have. I’m surrounded by many wonderful friends at home in Raleigh. I have various amazing "road" families I get to spend time with, touring all over the world. I have friends in faraway places, both all over the USA and foreign lands such as the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Australia and even Japan.

I have the job of my dreams. It allows me to travel and affords me pretty much anything I want - within reason that is, but I have simple tastes.

I don't currently have "that special someone" to share my life with, but I've had many great loves in my life and hope to have at least one more.

Yes, my life is a good life. I want for nothing. I am truly blessed…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Show Day in Dallas

Show in Dallas today at the former Smirnoff Amphitheatre. Before that, it was the Starplex, which is what I still call it. Damn sponsor names seem to change every year. And yes, I know I've bitched about that before on this blog.

Todd & Maria and their friends came out tonight. Also, Brad Whitford (from Aerosmith) and his lovely wife Kim came to the show. I've met Brad before, and I've even had dinner with him a few times, but to date I've never met Kim. She was very sweet.

My buddy Robert Kearns called me today. I worked for his band Cry of Love for 7 years back in the 90's. Robert plays bass in Lynyrd Skynyrd these days and the band was looking for a place to rehearse in Raleigh tomorrow, which is a day off for them before their upcoming Friday night show there.

I got them hooked up with a local spot, and got a friend back home hooked up for tickets to the Skynyrd/Kid Rock show in the process. Quid pro quo, ya know?

I am so lucky. Some days, my life is anything but boring…

Monday, July 20, 2009

Travel Day to Dallas

We split from the gig last night as soon as we could. I got in bed at the hotel about 2:45 or so. Up this morning at 6:30 to start the day. I'm a tired puppy…

Flying from the John Wayne Airport in Santa Cruz, where I found the Gibson Guitar Lounge. Stuck my head in to have a look, and found a bunch of our crew in there drinking. At 9am, hahaha…

View from my seat:

On the ground and at the Dallas hotel by 4:30. Worked a bit, then grabbed a shower and headed downstairs. My friends Todd & Maria picked me up and took me to dinner at The Angry Dog. Check it HERE.

Always good to see some ex-Raleigh folks during my travels. Love you guys, thanks for always having smiling faces and good times waiting for me in Dallas…

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Show Day in Irvine, CA

Whoa! Those 3 hours of sleep flew by way too fast. Really could have done with a couple more, but that's rock & roll. If you're a person who requires more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, being a roadie is probably the worst career decision you could ever make. Overnight on back-to-back shows, I typically get in my bunk on the bus around 2:30 or 2:45 and up again by 6:45 or 7:000. It'll wear you down, for sure. Lucky for me, I don't sleep very much on the bus.

Not much to report - had a few visitors today, business management folks, travel agents, etc. People who make a lot of things happen on rock tours from behind the scenes. It's always nice to meet them and put a face with voice on the phone or the name on the email.

Far as I could tell, tonight's show was light on celebrities, too. Guess they don't go out much on Sunday nights. Only actress I saw was Kate Bosworth, who is really cute…

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Show Day in Carson, CA

Big show in Carson, CA tonight, an L.A. suburb near Compton. The Home Depot is a multi-use facility, with a couple of different venues. Our show is in the soccer stadium, where tonight's sold-out crowd was over 27,000 strong.

The gig, early in the day:

And after the show:

Los Angeles shows are always a pain in the butt, as are New York shows and shows in whatever town your artist calls home – in this case, London, where we have 2 shows in September.

Quite a few celebs on the guest list tonight, among them:

Tom Cruise (with a security detail, lol…)
Jake Gyllenhaal
Scarlett Johansson
Olivia Newton-John
Molly Sims
Kate Bosworth

There were a few more, but those are the ones whose names I recognized.

After load-out, we finally rolled away from the gig a bit after 2am, bound for the Hilton Hotel in Irvine. We would normally drive to the next gig and wake up onsite, but after the buses dump us out at the hotel, they're hauling ass to Dallas in order to be there Tuesday morning to take us to that day's gig. Because of the long haul (1450 miles) and only one day off to make it, we're all flying to the Big D on Monday morning. Much better that than 22-24 hours trapped on the bus.

Made it to the hotel a few minutes after 3, finally got in bed at 3:30. Looks like 3 hours of sleep is as good as tonight's gonna get.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Day Off in Long Beach

Pulled up to the hotel around 5am this morning. I was the only person still awake when we got there. Grabbed all my crap and headed up to my room, which was…

HOT! (imagine that)

I cranked up the AC and putzed around for a bit. Spent 10 minutes de-constructing, then re-constructing the "Heavenly Bed." I fucking HATE those beds. If you jump straight into it, you're under not one, but two sheets, plus a heavy comforter, plus a REALLY HEAVY comforter that must be Artic-rated. I swear to you, the room temperature would have to be 30 degrees for me to be under all that crap.

So I strip everything off the bed, which isn't as tidy of a process as it sounds, because everything is tucked high and tight. Then I put one sheet back on and I was done.

Sorry, those beds are not heavenly; to me, they're the very definition of hell.

As the clock neared 6:30am, I finally laid down and passed right out. Woke up at 9:15 and stared at the computer for the next umpteen hours. Actually got a lot of work done, so that was cool.

Called a couple of guys about dinner, but no one seemed interested in going. Pfft! I used the uber-cool iPhone app called UrbanSpoon to find a killer restaurant about 5 blocks away called King's Fish House.

Walked over there, got a seat at the bar and had no sooner ordered a Bud, when my phone rang and a few folks said they were on their way to join me. Twenty minutes later, our two riggers, Gabe and Chuck, showed up with dressing room coordinator Tiffany in tow. We all sat at the bar and had a great meal. The menu there is insane:Click the photo to enlarge it, or read the online menu HERE.

Tiffany munching down on my Mac & Cheese:

Our Production Manager Fin showed up and had a few beers with us before we all waddled back to the hotel for the night.

Oh, yeah, I got new business cards the other day. Here's what they look like:I am officially a nerd now - I have a business card...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Show Day in San Diego

Our show today was at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, previously known (for many years) as the Coors Amphitheatre. Like every other shed in America, these places seem to change names every year or so.

Nice venue, good catering, too. The best part was that, instead of ordering aftershow food from a restaurant, Marguerite ordered a taco truck, which came and set up in the parking lot by the buses after the show. I had a veggie soft taco that was amazing, right off the grill.

Only had a 115-mile drive tonight to our hotel in Long Beach, so I stayed up. That'll probably turn out to be a mistake…

Strange and thought-provoking photo of the day:I mean, has it really come to this???

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day Off in San Diego

We're staying at the W Hotel in downtown San Diego today. W's are nice, upscale, kinda foofy hotels. Sorta like Monaco's and other Kimpton properties. I've got a pretty cool room. Nice seating area in the windowsill, complete with a lap desk:

A wall-mounted wine rack:

And even a blackboard, which of course the first thing I drew upon was a big ol' peepee. (Why is it that men always act like they're 12 years old?) Post-peepee, it was a bit more acceptable looking:

Took an awesome run down by the waterfront. Ran a couple of miles, then walked several more. Lots of great sites to see along the way.

On the way back to the hotel, I wandered a little bit around the downtown area. Accidentally stumbled across the House of Blues, where the billboard informed me that the Arc Angels were playing tonight. A couple of minutes later, after speaking with the club's stage manager Dave, I was hooked up for the show.

Back to the hotel where I worked another couple of hours, then I headed out to the Gaslight District, where I had dinner at the Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina. I had an appetizer, the Tequila Lime Shrimp starter, along with an order of guacamole and chips. The best part of the meal was the sauce that came with the shrimp – it was made with butter, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, red pepper, lime juice and tequila. It was served with garlic bread for sopping up the juices. Yummy!

Won't soon forget this place:

Something funny about the crew on this tour - seems like none of them really likes music, they're just out here working for a living. Me, I got into this business because of my deep-seated, lifelong obsession with music. Nearly everything in my life revolves around music in one way or another and it's the one thing I could never give up. For the life of me, I can't understand or relate to people who aren't equally obsessed.

I asked a bunch of folks if they'd like to go see the Arc Angels and – surprise, surprise – no one had ever heard of them. Uh, let's see, Doyle Bramhall has played in Eric Clapton's touring band for how many years now? And he plays in Roger Water's touring band, too? Yep!

And how 'bout Charlie Sexton? The guy's been a guitar legend since he was a 16-year-old kid out of Austin who had a record deal with MCA Records. He plays in Bob Dylan's band, for chrissakes!

But wait, there's more – the Arc Angels rhythm section is Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, the same guys who played with Stevie Ray Vaughn! How people can be unaware of this (or worse, uninterested) is completely beyond me.

The other day, during some conversation, a fellow crew person said to me, "You're really into music, aren't you, Bob?" Well, duh…

So anyway, I went alone to the Arc Angels.

The folks who hooked me up were kind enough to have the club stuff a bunch of free drink tickets in the ticket envelope I picked up at the box office. Nice, that guarantees me a good time and a sore head tomorrow, hahaha.

I will state for the record right here and right now, that with the possible, possible exception of Jeff Beck, I have never seen a finer guitar player than Doyle Bramhall II. And trust me, I've seen a LOT of guitar players.

Sorry about the quality of the following shots – they were all taken on my iPhone because I didn't feel like carrying my digital camera with me tonight.

Now get off your ass and order that first Arc Angels record from 1992. You can buy it for $7.97 from via this link right HERE.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Show Day in Marysville, CA

Thought For The Day:

I was looking at a one-dollar bill just now. Have you ever wondered if the one-dollar bills in your pocket were ever in a stripper's butt crack?

Moving on now…

Show today in Marysville, CA. We're talking middle-of-nowheresville, about 40 miles from Sacramento. I've been here 5 or 6 times and for the life of me, I can't figure out how they couldn't find some land for sale a little closer to town. Forty miles? Really?

I woke up at 6am, waaay early for our 9am load-in. No venue people around at that time, although Jill, the local caterer, and her staff were going to town in the kitchen area. Jill owns the catering company and she's a total sweetie. Easy on the eyes, too. She did three of my "So You Think You Can Dance" shows here in California last year, which is where I met her.

I really wanted to grab a shower, but all the dressing rooms were locked. Lucked out when I found a men's room near catering that was open AND had a shower. Score!

The temperature eventually reached 103 degrees around 3pm. Pretty brutal, but my butt was sitting in a 70 degree office all day, listening to music and getting it done!

My nephew and his wife came to the show tonight. They arrived 15 minutes into the band's set though, by which time I was too busy to go see them and say hello. Hope they had a good time…

On the bus and in my bunk around 2:30am. Day off in San Diego tomorrow!

Oh, yeah, got this today and I think it's funny...You may need to click on the image to enlarge it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Show Day in Mountain View, CA

Today was our San Francisco show. The shed here is actually 38 miles south of the city, down in Mountain View. Turns out that there are two towns in California called Mountain View, too. Never knew that, but came across it while MapQuesting the gig info.

Anyway, the show was at Shoreline Amphitheatre. I've been here a LOT, going back to the early/mid 90's. I like this gig.

When we first arrived, I had time to kill. So I played the electronic basketball game out in the catering area. I sucked. Only scored a 55 the first go-round, and a 52 on the second. Set Carpenter Russell came by and smoked my ass, scoring 239 points. I walked away with my tail tucked between my legs.

Went back over 20 minutes later. You know, competitive nature and all. Sure, Russell's maybe 24 years old, but it's only putting a ball through a hoop, ya know? 330 points later, I was the KING!

Never could top that score, although I tried. Even got the blister to show for it. Never heard that anyone else beat it today, either.

This is pretty cool. It was hanging on the wall in the office that Julie and I shared today. OK, on the bathroom wall in our office. It's all tickets and sticky passes. Still, I like it:Click photo to enlarge.

Had some interesting folks on the guest list tonight. Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) and Jonathan Ive (designer of the iPod) came to the show. Jobs, of course, has recently had a liver transplant. Although immediately recognizable as Captain Universe of the Geek World, the dude was a bit weak and sickly-looking. Very gaunt, and he weighed 120 pounds at best.

During the show, he was seated in the VIP balcony over stage left, as was Sherry Willey (my ex), along with her husband Ed (great guy!) and a friend of Ed's (Travis) with his girlfriend Christina.

Sherry and her crowd wanted to split just as the second encore was starting, so I walked them up the backstage hill and out to the VIP parking area. G'nights all around and I went back in to finish my work for the night.

On the bus and in my bunk around 2:15 or so…

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Off in Palo Alto

Got in my bunk last night about 3:30am. Woke up at 7, but couldn't go back to sleep. Got up about 20 minutes later and went down front to sit with Charlie, my driver.

Saw a deer jump across the road a couple of hours later. Charlie said he saw 6 – 8 of 'em overnight. Pretty much had the bus to ourselves until a couple of people woke up around 11:30.

We eventually stopped for a Code Brown - some folks on the other buses needed to poo. All 4 buses pulled over at a little store out in the middle of nowhere. Once you stop the buses like this, everyone sorta wakes up, and then EVERYBODY wants to go poo. The store wasn't very big, and the men's room only had one toilet – that's what someone told me, I didn't go in it – so we wound up being there for 40 minutes. Too bad the poo people couldn't wait for a multi-toilet truckstop out on the 101.

As all roadies do when the bus has pulled in somewhere, I wandered the aisles of the store, doing my best Retail Zombie routine. I stumbled across some Mexican Coca-Cola in the cooler and bought one. I normally don't drink soda pop, but the Mexican Cokes don't have high-fructose corn syrup in them. I won't drink anything with that crap in it. So now that I had a bottle of Coke, I had to buy some salted peanuts to dump in it. That kinda freaked out some of the folks on my bus, which I got a kick out of.

Sitting on the bus drinking my Coke with peanuts in it, I grabbed the camera again. Had to get a shot of this view. Note the mileage sign – it's 40 miles to Weed, CA…Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The view heading to Weed, CA:

Saw a few billboards for a store in Weed that sold t-shirts that said "I (heart) Weed." Ha-ha!!!

Saw this badass truck a little later. In the second photo, check out the 3-D naked girls mounted on the mudflaps.

I should have gotten a shot of the cab of the truck, but I didn't. It was chopped and lowered and looked really cool.

We finally got to the hotel at 6:15. Dang, that ride took forever. I dashed to my room, showered and ran back downstairs just in time to be picked up by Sherry (my ex) and Ed (her husband). They took me to dinner at a place called Nola in downtown Palo Alto, which was only a few blocks away. The food was good, the company was better.

They dropped me off back at the hotel just after 10pm and I putzed around the room for another 90 minutes before going to bed…

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Show Day at The Gorge

Today's show is at The Gorge Amphitheatre in (yep, really) George, Washington. Beautiful location, but the facility itself could use a little updating. The offices are kinda shabby, dressing rooms, too. There were several dead mice found in the catering area this morning. Later in the day, one of our crew guys showed me a dead baby rattlesnake someone had put in an extra-large drink cup. I heard that someone had also killed a grown rattler near my office trailer. One thing it wasn't today, though, was boring.

The view outside my office door. That's my bus on the left:

Another view:

It got pretty hot here today, about 95 degrees. The heat finally broke around 7pm, not a minute too soon. The sundown was pretty awesome, but these photos don't really do it justice:

My Live Nation tour rep, Julie Matway:

Me at sundown:

The crowd before the band went on:

Tiffany Henry, the band's Wardrobe and Dressing Room Coodinator:

Settlement was quick and easy tonight – we were wrapped up and done by 10:30 – as it should be. But load-out here is a pain in the ass, so the buses didn't roll until 3am. That kinda bites, because we have an 825-mile drive to do to get to Palo Alto, where we have a day (OK, a half-day) off tomorrow.

I crawled off to my bunk about 3:30am…

Friday, July 10, 2009

Show Day in Portland

Whoa! Didn't sleep too well last night, spent most of it tossing and turning. Got up at 4:45 to start my day. Today's show, although it's in the "Portland" market area, is about 30 minutes away in Ridgefield, WA.

I haven't had a show in nearly three weeks, and it felt like I'd completely lost my road groove. You ever get that feeling that everything's going by in slow-motion and it just doesn't feel 100% right? That's how today was. To complicate matters, the show settlement tonight took forever. I think we finished around 12:45am, about two-and-a-half hours later than it should have been.

When I finally got into my bunk about 2am, I was completely wiped out…

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hey, you! Get back to work!

OK, OK, I'm finally going back on the road. I've been home since June 22nd and I swear, I've been busier at home than I was on the road for last six weeks. I finally wrapped the last of the hotel details on Monday, finished off the remaining cash reports and FedEx'ed the lot of it to London and LA on Tuesday. At 5:35pm Tuesday, I walked out of the FedEx office and went straight to get a cold beer!

One thing I've meaning to write about was my recent addiction to Facebook. Being honest, it's part of the reason I haven't been blogging much lately. Pretty much went cold turkey on it Monday morning. I was pretty good for a few days, but it's hard not to spend 5 or 10 minutes on it every day. It's like crack or Starbucks, you just crave it and crave it…

So anyway, I flew to Portland, OR, today. Having attended a going away dinner last night on the Ale House Deck that I stayed at waaaay too late, I didn't really feel my best when I got up at 7am this morning. I still had a million things to get done before I could leave and wasn't moving too quickly.

Had a 1:00pm cab scheduled to take me to the airport and flew first to Dallas, then on to Portland on American Airlines. First Class seat on both legs, schweet! The flight out of Dallas was delayed by a little over an hour, and we finally got on the ground in Portland at about 9:15. Made the hotel by 10 and went pretty much straight to bed. Gonna be an early and long day tomorrow…