Three more days and one near-disaster

Can we believe we’re hitting the road for Passerine’s first flight of fancy on Friday? No … no, we can’t. Not quite.

But it’s sinking in more and more by the day. To quote Tanya’s mantra, which we repeat often both on and off-stage, “This is real, people!” We’ve been having some adventures to gear up for the big tour. For instance, our visit to Bob and Teresa Stone (they own Sarasota’s Minuteman Press and helped Passerine produce beautiful postcards, flyers and posters) on Sunday, who, in an act of indescribable generosity worthy of much feet-kissing, are lending us the use of their Ford Forester RV for the duration of the trip.

Oh honey, she’s plush … nearly 27 feet of traveling comfort. Having once toured with a five-piece band in a Dodge Caravan — gear, luggage, the occasional groupie and all — I, personally, am tickled pink by our “world on wheels.” After lunch on Sunday, Tanya, her husband Al, David, Carmela, the ever-indispensable Rob and Michele Demperio, Maya the dog and yours truly piled into the Forester for a thorough briefing of the RV’s ins-and-outs, courtesy of Bob Stone.

Bob drove us all down to the parking lot of the Van Wezel, where we tested the generator, explored every cubbyhole, converted the dining area into a pillow fort, warily addressed the workings of the “poop tube” and got admonished by the cops for our choice of parking spot. Gettin’ on the wrong side of the law already, we are.

Bob shows us how the “poop tube” works. Good to know …

Then it was time for David and Rob to see for themselves how she handles. I kind of thought Bob was joking when he mentioned tooling around St. Armand’s circle in that mammoth, but David was more than ready for the challenge. I have to say, our resident professor appears to be truly in his element behind the wheel of that beast. He delivered us to the Sailing Squadron and, with the help of Rob and Bob, parallel parked right against the sea wall. We opened the door to gaze out on turquoise waters and twenty-somethings on Sea-Doos cruising by, probably wondering what the heck was going on as a party of eight and a fluffy black dog piled outside.

Before Rob took his turn in the cockpit, the whole gang advanced upon the cantina for Gatorades and draft beers, the latter of which Tanya, Al and I used to practice our drinking and riding on the way back to the Van Wezel. Yep, it’s perfectly legal in an RV. Highland Brewing Company, we’re gunning for you!

Al and Maya, enjoying the view from (what will be) Tanya’s and my bed.

I suppose you may have read this far thinking that the aforementioned near-disaster occurred somewhere in our test run of the RV. That part went off without a hitch; however, little did we know that while we were checking out our new digs, our bassist Dave was in the process of being knocked off his bicycle by a red BMW just south of downtown Sarasota. Thank everything out there to be thanked that he’s okay, but his left foot took the full brunt of the collision and three of his metatarsals were broken. He finally got in to see an orthopedist today (we can save the rant on the American healthcare system for another time) and is currently sporting a big green cast. We plan to put many, many a bird on it. Pictures to follow. In the meantime, the show will go on; please send Dave your bone-mending thoughts, and perhaps a nice, tall, thickly-padded stool.

That’s it for now from Passerine’s own gonzita journalist. Stay tuned for our first report from the road!      — Sara Moone

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