Posted by Matt Sunday, February 07, 2010

Well this tour is over, except for this increasingly harrowing ride home across Iowa through sleet and snow. Dave has been our preferred pilot since things got perilous earlier this afternoon. He truly does have a way with machines, and, as I mentioned a few posts back, he really is cool under fire.

We’ve been traveling caravan style for this little tour, and throughout it’s been Steve and John, “the rhythm section”, driving in a white minivan, and Dave, Jacques and I, “the talent”, in a little black sedan. We haven’t bothered to stay close together because it’s so easy to coordinate with the phones. We in the sedan have adopted the strategy of driving like grannies in the left lane where there’s less ice, and we’ve been passed at high speed by countless cars. We’ve also seen a few of those Steve McQueens spun out in the ditch with an Iowa squad car parked nearby, colored lights going crazy.

Earlier in the day our little car exited to gas up at a “Kum & Go” (Yes, that’s really the name of this convenience store chain.), and, just by chance, who should we encounter amid the flurries at the gas pumps but our friendly band mates in the white minivan. That really struck us as a marvelous coincidence. Filthy comments were exchanged with a smile and we went our separate ways in the snow.

Now, a few hours later in the dimming light of dusk, conditions on the road have worsened. Traffic has squeezed down to one lane and police lights are visible on the white horizon. Probably another spin out. When we get to within a quarter of a mile from the situation, we begin to make out the shape of a white van in the mess. Two guys are moving around near the wreck. Now all of our will to smirk and joke has drained away as we squint our eyes to interpret the silhouettes we see wandering by the ditch just beyond an icy overpass. When we get close enough we see something written in red paint on the van’s door. It’s not our guys.

Dave says he recognizes this van as one of the vehicles we’d seen earlier blowing by us like we were standing still. As we passed, among our emotions there was at least a thread of, “You know, fuck these fools. Really.” I called John and he said that he and Steve had just passed that van too and that he was pretty sure that they were a band. It’s been a dicey afternoon.

It will be so nice to sleep at home tonight next to my sweet, beautiful wife.

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