Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 10-18-12

I never pack correctly…

Ever.  I looked at the calendar for the last run, and it said Gulf Shores, Alabama, then Madison, WI, then San Diego.  2 hots and a cold.  And travel days.  And flights.  So one bag, and it IS October, so anything goes with weather.  And I’ll have a couple days off in California.  I know, huge, crushing decisions here.  I carefully selected a wardrobe for the trip, grabbed a jacket (which I DID remember), and tried to figure out what was happening in the next few days.  The way I read it was that we would play the Titans game, leave from there for bus call, head to Alabama, bus to Atlanta for a sunrise flight to Milwaukee, drive 90 minutes to the venue, spend the night, (4AM lobby call the next morning), drive back to Milwaukee for a sunrise flight to San Diego with a 3 hour layover in KC.  Southwest and I were about to get chummy.  Again.

But all this travel doesn’t really bother me.  We do miss out on sleep, and have to be everywhere a lot earlier than necessary, but it’s OK. It’s all part of it.  And we have to be flexible because things do change on a dime.  But I was fully prepared to embrace this last little blast of sunshine for the year.  I know it’s October, but I don’t know when I’ll be in warmer climates, so I was hoping I wouldn’t need the thermals and long sleeves I packed.

But let’s back up to the Steelers game.  I had been waiting all season for this game, and sure enough, the Steelers did not deliver the death blow to the Titans that was expected by everyone in Nashville and in the betting houses in Vegas.  I left the stadium extremely happy to see my boys in person, and even though the score was not in ‘our’ (I have to remember I work for the Titans for an hour every Sunday) favor, I had great seats.  Besides, 12 hours later, I would be feeling the cool waters of the Gulf ease between my pasty-white musician toes.

The Gulf Shores area holds a lot of history for me.  I spent many sweaty hours playing covers down there with King Konga, then later would sail in the Bayou and drink a little over at Flori-Bama just down the road.  It’s nice to get back to an area after being away for so long and knowing your way around.  I found myself underwater in the Gulf a couple times during the day, and Tommy made sure we had lunch at Lambert’s Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls.  And sure enough, some jokesters were throwing them amongst themselves.

After a sweaty, wonderfully loud and great show, we ambled up the interstate (jacked up on mini Butterfingers – thanks to our driver), and rolled off the bus in the ATL at 6 AM for a flight north.  As I briskly walked through the airport, my eye spied the ever-elusive, yet ever-present 4-faced clock – this one was about 100 years old, and just sort of hanging out.

The gig in Madison was interesting – it was at a dry casino that sold beer for the event (funny how money makes policies move), and although I could see my breath and wore my jacket – it ended up being a sweat box, and the jacket I so diligently remembered was used for a total of 20 minutes. Glad I packed it and carried it from one end of the country to the other.  Like I stated before, lobby call hit early, so the few hours of sleep and the 90 minute ride to the airport didn’t do much for me.  No worries, though – warmer climates awaited. And on a side note – the Pork & Pickle in the KC airport is amazing.  Really, really good food and a welcome change to fast food at an airport.

Next stop – San Diego.  Phil headed up to LA for a video shoot, and the band and crew were left behind for a couple days off.  After settling in to the hotel, I found out that a friend of mine was showing instruments at a ukulele show right across the street, so I moseyed past the site of our next gig (more on that shortly), and said hello.  After a few glasses of wine at the hotel, three of us hit the Gaslamp district for a late dinner, and I was in bed relatively early.  The next day I was going on an adventure!

After an early morning workout, Gordo and I hailed a cab to visit the best zoo in the land – the San Diego Zoo.  We spent over 4 hours there, and it was insane.  I’m not only a student of history, I appreciate animals and conservation efforts, and I learned a lot on this trip.  It was worth every penny, and if you have the chance, you should go. Here are some pictures of my new friends.


After a long day in the sun, we hit the hotel for fish tacos and a gallon of iced tea.  I met up with a buddy for dinner at a dog-friendly restaurant  in Old Town, where that night it was a meeting for a Great Dane club.  Some 16(!) of the beasts were in the eatery, and I loved seeing that.  I’d rather see dogs than smokers any day…

So then it was gig day.  I thought I had a few hours to kill, so I walked to the historic train Santa Fe train station and purchased a ticket for the Coaster so I could get some great shots of the coastline and chill for a couple of hours.  After I sat down and started reading the schedule more intently, I realized I wouldn’t be back in time for load in.  Eh. I did manage a picture, though.

The reason for all the time on the West Coast was to play a private party on the deck of the USS Midway. Of course, I was about to be a kid in a candy shop.  We were allowed to roam, and as the sun set, our view from the flight deck was incredible.  It was a pretty surreal gig.

I thought it was cool that a helo was flying over (which happened a lot since the base is right there).  This yellow SNJ is just like the one I may or may not have stick time in, and the last picture was during the fireworks display, not a still from Hanoi. All in all a fun gig, and chill hang at the now-familiar hotel sports bar capped a relaxing night.

I woke early (my wife had been my 630AM wake-up call the last two mornings at my request), and had breakfast, then was off to walk around a take a few more pictures before we hit the airport.  Instead of just walking around the ships, I ended up visiting the Maritime museum, which was a great find.  I was sad that I was limited on time, but happy that I was able to walk through 2 subs and several historically important ships that morning.  Plus I had the place to myself. Bonus!


The first ship is the Star of India.  (The sails are tattered as part of a Halloween event).  Built in 1863, It’s the oldest iron-hulled ship in service today.  The second was a ship used in Master and Commander movie with Russell Crowe.  He didn’t punch this one.  The third picture is from the inside of a turn-of-the-century ferry.  The stained glass and woodwork was insanely beautiful.  Like I said – worth the trip.

So if you checked in on Monday for this update, I apologize for not having my laptop on the road and making this possible.  I was trying to keep my load light on this trip.  I tried, once again, to see and do all I could in the short time out here, and for a little 2-day break, I think I did enough.  Lesson learned – read the train schedule before you leave the station, and even if you don’t use it – pack a jacket.

See you on the road!!!



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