SUNDAY, JULY 27TH – SELJORD, NORWAY TO RATTVIK, SWEDEN:
Left the venue in Seljord at around 2:30 am for the 8 hour drive to Rattvik. It was a truly miserable ride. The backseat wasn’t long enough to lie down in and there was also a “hump” between the 2 seats. Add to that the roads were windy and at one point I thought we were on a dirt road. The driver was great and the Mercedes was much smoother than I’m sure the bus was, but it was a long ride with only a few minutes sleep here and there. Thankfully, we made it in 7 hours instead of 8 and that was stopping once for coffee. We also took a wrong turn once because the road sign said go one way and the GPS advised another. We followed the road sign and it was wrong. First time I’ve ever had a GPS be the correct information!
I wasn’t sure if the buses were in front of us or not but when we arrived at the hotel, no one had checked in. The promoter had paid for the suite and one additional room for the night before, so those were ready for check in. I told her to give me the others keys as quickly as they because available. I went upstairs to check out the rooms for Dwight and Emily and the “suite” was something else. Keep in mind this is the ONLY 5 star hotel in the area. L The suite was decorated in red patterned wall paper and lots of other female touches. It wasn’t really a suite – just one big room with a sitting area at one end. No view at all. The only “cool” part of the suite was the bathroom – two huge claw foot tubs next to each other plus a shower stall. Emily’s room was really TINY!
Inge and I had a quick breakfast because it closed at 10 am and we had to rush to grab some of the food before they threw it away. Wasn’t much of a selection anyway – certainly not what you would expect from a 5 Star Hotel. Slowly all the rooms became available as they were cleaned. We had a heck of a time getting the key to open a shed that had the power in it for the tour bus. Took almost 2 hours to succeed! Dwight’s tour manager send me a text advising that they were almost there and at about the same time, Dwight’s production manager sent me a text saying they were at the venue. Surprised that the crew bus arrived at the same time since they left an hour later than Dwight’s bus!
I gave Rich all the keys and we actually learned that there was one more suite on the same floor. We checked it out and it was much more “modern” and had a view so Dwight had “choices”. Bad thing is…..there is NO elevator and both suites are on the second floor.
I rushed over to the other building where my room was located and took a very quick shower. I have a claw foot tub too (which I HATE) and just a handheld shower want. Was back in the main building to meet the band and give them their room keys. Then I rode over to the venue to meet with Karro and get all the passes sorted out. Found out there is NO cell service at the venue. I’ve been here many times but had forgotten that! They do have wireless so I had some means of communication.
Was able to work for a couple of hours – until the internet went out and then all the power went out, too! When the power didn’t come back on after about a half hour, we learned that it was out in 3 cities! Of course, the land lines at the venue didn’t work either. I have friends coming in for the show that I was going to try and see before the performance began. I told them to email me because I can’t get text messages or phone calls with no cell service. But now I am totally incommunicado.
The band arrived for a sound check they couldn’t do. And we were supposed to have dinner but that was on hold, too. One of the musicians “thought” he left his wallet in his room. I had someone drive me miles away from the venue to try and get service on my phone but it didn’t work. She finally called the hotel on her phone but no one answered because their phones were out due to no electricity as well. She tried calling the U.S. on her cell but it wouldn’t go through. She called the hotel again to see if anyone would answer and their power had JUST come back on. She had them ring Rich’s room. He didn’t answer so she called back and asked the receptionist if she could try to find him. He happened to be walking past her at that moment. I got so busy talking to him about the electricity and anything he needed, I forgot to ask him to go look for the wallet. When I got back to the venue, Sean asked me if he found the wallet! So, I had to get the girl to drive me back up the hill and we called again. Again Rich didn’t answer his room and I still had no service. So, she called the hotel again and asked the receptionist to go to the musician’s room and look. She said that Rich had just come by and got the key and had the wallet. Whew!
Went back to the venue in hopes that our power was back on. No such luck. We had a “cold” dinner – cold slices of roast beef, cold broccoli, cold cauliflower, cheese, and salad. It was good but after not eating but a couple of bites at breakfast, I could have used a “hot meal”.
The power finally came back on at about 7:45 pm. But, the internet is not going to come back on tonight. At least we will be able to do our show. Dwight left the hotel 30 minutes late and I’m sure not having any power for the last 2 hours caused that situation.
Dwight arrived late for the Meet and Greet but it moved quickly and the show only started about 10 minutes late. And, once again it was an amazing performance. It was not sold out and I’ll wondering if what I was told several years ago is true. As I said Dwight’s previous show here years ago was totally sold out even though it rained all day and poured throughout the show. Then the next time I brought in an entertainer, it was not a sell out. It has not been a sell out since Dwight’s performance the first time. Hankar was the man booking the talent during the early years. He told me the year after Dwight’s show when we didn’t have another sell out that the Classic Car Convention was “Angry” about something and had told all their attendees NOT to go to the concert at Dalhalla. They have entertainment at their event but it’s “no names”. There was nothing happening at the Convention tonight that would have prohibited the attendees from coming to the concert. I think Jill the present talent buyer should meet with the Convention Officers and try to work out an amicable solution.
I was able to walk out for a few minutes when he first started singing and find my longtime friends Thomas, Kent and Kjell. Kjell worked with me on the Furuvik Festival for years and years until it was canceled when the owner passes away. I really miss seeing him every year. I had told everyone that I didn’t have cell service at the venue and to email me. But, when the power went out, then the internet service was history, too. I hate to think of how many missed calls and emails I will have when I get back to the hotel.
The audience went crazy for Dwight. They screamed and cheered after his last song and kept it up until he came back out. So, he gave them a 2 hour show!
I stayed until the guys were almost ready to leave and then said good-bye to everyone. Great group of guys and very nice to work with.
Hannah drove me back to the hotel and I gave her my Dwight Yoakam All Access Pass. Wish I had thought of it earlier and could have had it autographed. She’s a sweet young girl who starts University this year studying to be a nurse.
As we were driving home, the car in front of us (one of the old classic cars) kept driving on the wrong side of the road. We stayed as far back as possible but several times it met oncoming traffic and I was afraid there would be an accident. The driver finally just stopped right in the middle of the road. We cautiously made our way around it and the guy driving looked to be about 18 (the legal driving age here) and the passenger had the door open throwing up. Hopefully they made it to where they were going without an accident. Of course, there were no police anywhere around.
My hotel was totally locked up when we got back. The reception area was closed but since I was in a different building, I went around to try and find the front door. It was very dark because there were no outside lights. Just as I was about to leave the area where there were lights, my driver from last night walked up. Evidently he fell asleep and didn’t even make it out to the performance! Something I would have liked to have done – sleep, not miss the show. He carried my bag for me and helped me get in the hotel.
When I finally made it into my room, I had no internet and no cell phone service! It was already after midnight and I was not going to go in search of the problem. I took a shower and by the time I got out, my cell phone was picking up a signal but I never did get on the internet.
Got in bed at 2:30 am and have to get up at 5:30 am to leave for the airport at 7:30 am. Won’t be home until almost midnight Monday night with stops in JFK and Atlanta.
MONDAY, JULY 28TH, 2014 – SWEDEN TO NASHVILLE:
NOT off to a good start. I got up early to go to the lobby area and catch up on email. Breakfast does not start until 8 am which is ridiculous. Ends at 10 am and has about as much of a selection as a Hampton Inn. This is NOT a 5 star hotel. Blacklisted.
The receptionist had no idea the internet was out in the entire hotel. She said someone MIGHT be in at 8:30 who could “look” at it. Great. I leave at 7:30.
My driver Kenneth was right on time. He said he was going to go in and grab a cup of coffee. Told him good luck with that since there wasn’t any. We decided to stop at the very first gas station and did.
Almost as soon as we started the drive, I received a message saying my flight out of Stockholm was delayed until 2 pm instead of departing at 1:15 pm. I still have plenty of time to make my connection IF it actually departs at 2. Rarely does that happen. They tell everyone 2 pm knowing it will be more like 3 pm. They do that so that no one here has to change a lot of flights for people making connections. They can wait until we get on the flight and it’s too late to do anything when we depart even later. Then the receiving end has to deal with re-bookings!
We arrived at the airport at 11 — right on time. I got checked in with no problem and since I had more time to kill than expected, asked where the Lounge was located. They told me it was at Gate 52 and I was flying out of 59.. Went through the security scanner and followed all the signs but had to go through Passport Control and that was the only way to access gates 56-63. So I couldn’t go to a Lounge at 52. The only lounge where my gate was located was for Qatar airlines. And it wasn’t open yet.
I found a little food bar with outlets and free internet so I set up “shop”. There is this crazy thing going on with my AOL though. On flights and at some airports and hotels overseas I can access AOL and all other websites through my browser but cannot access AOL through my desktop Icon. So I can’t send any email I had saved from last night. It is a priority to have this fixed when I get home.
I headed to the gate and stopped to buy the kids something and a bottle of water. Then got in line for passport control (second time today). She told me I had been “randomly” selected for a security scan. I thought that was the deal when I couldn’t check in on line. as they were going through everything I had including making me turn on all my electronics AND wanding me, I politely asked a question. I said, “I have a question that you may not be able to answer. I fly overseas once or twice every month. I have over 2 million miles on Delta and I am TSA pre-check approved in the U.S. every flight I have taken back to the U.S. On Delta this year no matter where it is from, I am randomly selected for additional security search. It never happens when I Fly other airlines. No matter what city I depart from, Delta insists on another security check. Is there something in my passport that is triggering that?”. They were nice and as surprised as I was that it is happening so often. One of them told me I should buy a lottery ticket. I will do that!
We FINALLY boarded the plane and again — surprise. I haven’t seen a plane this old is many years! The seats barely recline and they are 2 and 2. The tv has to be pulled out of the armrest and is 4×6 inches big. There were no bottles of water and no little bowl of hot nuts after takeoff. First Delta stopped serving the nuts hot and then they went to a bag of nuts and now nothing. I did watch a good movie about a chef but it kept cutting out every 10 minutes and the head set would shriek about as often! There is one small toilet in the front. I don’t want to look at the back. Gone are the days when the flight attendants actually engaged in conversation with passengers as well. The seat for crew rest is in the first row with a curtain around it and another passenger sitting beside it.
After the movie, I was going to go to the toilet and then sleep. Of course, there was a pilot in the one toilet so I had to wait. When he came out, he stood in the front and chatted for another 15 minutes and no one was allowed to use the toilet during that time.
I was able to sleep for about 2 hours and could have slept another 10 but it was almost time to land.
We landed an hour late but knowing I had 3 hours to make the connection, I wasn’t “too” worried. But JFK is always a nightmare and every time I go through there, I say “never again”. It proved to be true again today. I’ve never seen such long lines at Immigration and Security. I have Global Entry, so was able to go to a Kiosk instead of standing in line. Of course, the first 3 I went too were out of order!! Finally got through that and there were 2 other flights coming in on the belt where our luggage would come out before we would get ours. Luckily, mine was one of the first out once they got around to sending our bags.
JFK has a strange “re-check” procedure. I told the person at the connecting gate area that I was already checked through to my final destination and just needed to drop my bags. She STILL sent me to the counter. There were lots of other people in the line as well and everyone was complaining. The lady at the counter asked “why” I was in line there! I also asked her to reprint my boarding pass so that the TSA Pre-Check Approval would be on there. When my first flights are in a foreign country, this never prints on the boarding passes but I was told in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago to just asked to have the boarding passes reprinted one I was in the USA. She told me I was not TSA Pre-Approved. I had to get out my Global Entry card and show her. Then she said, “Oh yes. I see it now”. But she couldn’t print the boarding pass with it on there. When I questioned her, she said, “Oh TSA Pre-Approved does not mean that everyone who has that gets that on their boarding pass. It is ‘random” and only a few people are selected”. What a crock! If you are TSA Pre-Approved, it is supposed to be for every flight on every participating airline.
I went to the Lounge for a minute to see if they could reprint it but no luck. The lady there told me to contact Delta when I got home to see what was up.
The flight to Atlanta was on time and for ONCE I could access AOL on their internet service. The plane from JFK to Atlanta was much nicer and bigger than the plane from Stockholm to Atlanta. I can’t remember any issues on that flight but I’m so tired, I probably blocked them from my memory.
Flight from Atlanta to Nashville was also on time and I landed a little after 11 pm. My bag was the first one out. Delta was ready to get rid of me!
Lindsey and I are taking the Z’s to Seaside, Florida this Thursday night for a long weekend. Really looking forward to that! Then I’m home until the 22nd of August when I’m gone “forever”….Europe, SWA, Asia, etc….