Tony Penultimate

Day 5 - When we didn't play Chicago

So on the day we should have been spent travelling to Chicago to play our gig at the Chicago Symphony Centre (cancelled, I wrote about it here) we moved on to Bloomington, Indiana - where we will play our next gig on 21st March (tomorrow).

This is LaFaye, our driver, who is very charming and when she discovered that we were musicians, asked if we'd be playing on the bus? - I quickly disabused her of that notion. The whole journey was going to take around 5 hours (more accurately 6 with stops etc). I'm still not quite over my jet lag and am still getting up ridiculously early, but am slowly adapting. I'm also getting back into the American way and have started saying 'awesome' all the time, rather than 'thanks' or 'OK' - having breakfast before leaving, I even saw a tv ad with the strapline - "the future of awesome". Here's the bus with plenty of room for us all to spread out.

I said a couple of days ago that I preferred buses to planes - I take that right back, roads are way more bumpy here than in Europe, where you can glide along at 90 mph (in Germany at least). They don’t seem to have the autobahn/motorway type of roads you have in Europe - just highways where you are limited to 60mph - which is just as well as you can feel your brain rattling around in its skull 

A quick stop off for petrol and a browse round the store

So we drove through the unremarkable flat landscape (mostly farmsteads etc) through Michigan and passing into Indiana. I listened to an interview with actor Jon Bernthal, star of The Punisher.

After a few hours we pulled over for lunch in what looked like a fairly nondescript service area (its actually called 'Gas City'). While the others went off somewhere else to eat, I took a chance on the British restaurant 'Paynes' - not expecting much more than fish and chips.

Instead, I found a packed restaurant, who kindly agreed to serve me quickly and true to their word, I was soon taking this photograph of an authentic British beef stew with Yorkshire pudding, while listening to Elgar playing over the PA. The only inauthentic thing about the place was the complete lack of British surliness - replaced with Indiana hospitality at its finest.

So after bolting down my meal, I walked back to the bus and finding it locked, walked into the nearby cafe/store and found the Ukes leisurely finishing their meal.

And here ar the Ukes waiting for LaFaye to finish her food and open up the bus - it's not as cold as I thought it would be (there's still some snow on the ground) but the wind makes it chilly if you don't have a hat on.

Driving past more farms

Until we reached signs for Bloomington

Arriving in Bloomington in the rain, we passed the theatre we're going to play tomorrow - we last played here in 2015.

Hotel room - I haven't been in a room this chintzy in a while.Despite feeling very tired, and having had only a short nap, I went down to reception where we met our old pal Ellen Campbell, who has been a long time friend to the band - she also plays in a Bloomington’s only ukulele band: The Uke Tones. After a while I wandered out to a bar for something to eat and hooked up with some of the other Ukes before heading back to the hotel and sleep.



Thanks for the shoutout to the UkeTones! Loved reading your impressions of the countryside & the traveling life of the band. Don’t know how you keep your energy up to perform each night. We loved having you here in Bloomington! We hope you will return on your next trip to the States.

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