I new city, hurray! At this point in my touring career, actually doing a show in a new city is few and far between. Actually having a day off in one is rare indeed. Though Saskatoon is not renown as an epicenter of excitement, no city is without it's share of surprises. Finding them, now that is the challenge. Furthermore, the fact that people in Edmonton were making fun of the Saskatoonians was not a good sign. One local actually told roadie Scott a joke that went something like "Saskatoon is flat, in fact it is so flat the if your dog runs away in Saskatoon you can still see running for ten miles." Not sure why or if that is funny other than the smiling at how being less flat seems somehow to be an advantage Edmontonians are proud to posses.
After a quick glance around at the available things to do, nothing really pops out. Let's see, movie theater across the street, a few restaurants, plenty of bars, a pawn shop, a 200 foot long three story high water slide inside the hotel and a walking park at the river nearby. Hmmmm, nothing out of the ordinary here. Nothing to see folks, keep moving on. Wait, did you say water slide? Well of course, why wouldn't there be a water slide inside the hotel?
Like dogs running away from Saskatoon, Nick the Fly and I make a beeline for the merriment.
And check this out:
Here you can see NTF bored to death as he is propelled by gravity and warm water at breathtaking speeds:
And I, of course was helpless to resist the fun:
After about fifteen trips up the three flights of stairs like a couple of ten year olds, Nick the fly and I were worn out and had a wonderful day off in Saskatoon!
Roadies are quite adept in the art of camouflage. Born with the instinctual ability and desire to seamlessly blend in with their surroundings, roadies are practically invisible when residing in their natural habitat, the rock show. In the photo below, roadie roadie Leif demonstrates his incredible chameleon like skills.
**** End Roadie Research ****
**** Old Punker Lap Story Continues ... ****
Laying there rolled up like a taquito, any movement just created mini drafts that chilled my frozen body further so I just spent the time clinging to the involuntary shivers running through me. At some point we must be getting closer and I bet the punker house we crash at next will have a big heater, they must. The illusion that things were still ok, though insanely miserable, was still holding strong, at least it was until I heard the sound of the van engine stopping as it meant that what little heat it pretended to make was now gone. The silence was eerie and without the glow of the dashboard lights, it was now pitch black as well and all that could be heard was the coughs and moans of our sick crew member.
This was my first tour, everyone else here has done this before, so it must be ok. It is my vehicle I am laying inside of and it is relatively reliable for the most part, usually. Painted flat black with a roller and with its primer gray bumpers, the windowless cargo van had been trustworthy enough to haul the Rat PA around town but but like me, this tour was the biggest adventure it had ever experienced. The day before this tour started I was laying drenched in tranny fluid underneath this same van trying to get the transmission attached back to the motor. Who would have knew that changing a leaky freeze plug would be such a pain in the ass? Not to mention the phenomenal greasy mess it left in my girlfriends parents driveway.
A sleeping bag was one of the recommended tour items, not owning one, I opted for carrying a queen sized comforter blanket. By spreading every piece of clothing I am not wearing below my van spot, I was able to add an extra inch of thermal insulation between my body and the carpeted sheet of plywood laying on the metal van floor. By rolling into the blanket I was able to become a mummy. Ka-chunk, the van door slams and I cannot believe that Kira just left the van. I can imagine no quantity of piss that would inspire me to leave this van right now.
And moments later the sound of the door slams again, followed by a struggled 'gajuuu gajuuu gajuuu' of the starter motor attempting to spin the engine. Slower, slower and even though I pushed every ounce of mental energy in to helping it out, the dreaded sound of rapid clicks sends prickles through my bones. Dismay. Click click click click click, over and over as if somehow it will change it's mind and actually start. Laying there in frozen denial dredging around for hopeful thoughts of someway to make the engine spin again. Earlier when we were actually moving the van engine was getting so cold that is was stalling at highway speeds, Kira had to keep slowing down to stop the stalls.
That is when I succumbed to the reality that I am going to have to leave the van. Bundled and gloved and as cold as if I was wearing clothes made of snow, I popped the hood and tried to illuminated the battery terminals with a frozen flashlight and it's barely visible dim yellow beam. And my mind grabs onto the realization that in my hand are batteries so frozen they are unable perform their task. Frozen batteries. Or perhaps just a bad connection, loose terminal? Thirty seconds out of the glove with a wrench in my hand and I can no longer usefully move my fingers out of the claw position. And "try it now" was just as useless as before.
Time for a pow-wow with all the humans that would acknowledge being awake. The one human that had been coughing has now decided to announce "we are all going to die" and has taken to repeating it in a heart felt panicked tone. This does not help the situation.