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…