Wednesday, June 21 and Thursday, June 22, 2006: Today I fly to Paris, then on to Switzerland, Italy, Athens, and Norway arriving back home on July 9th.   The flight today is with Buddy Jewell, Elizabeth Cook and David Ball – 23 of us total.  Penny left a couple of hours prior to us on a Continental flight through Houston.  We are flying Northwest via Detroit at 5 pm.  We met at customs and got everything registered with no problem.  Then got to the checkin counter at Northwest and learned we had to use the computerized scanners.   More than half the time, the scanner would not accept the passport for one reason or another.  So check in took a very long time.   Finally got checked in and went to the gate to wait for the flight to be called.   I was going to use the WiFi and work on email during the wait but the signal kept fading and I got nothing accomplished.   When it was time to board, they came on the loud speaker and said that our flight departure was delayed due to weather in Detroit.   We were supposed to have about a 2 hour layover in Detroit, so I wasn’t too worried.  Then 30 minutes turned into an hour and an hour turned into 2 hours.  I was at the counter asking about flights for 23 people the next day and being told there was NOTHING available when they announced that our plane was boarding. We got on the plane and taxied out only to stop.  Pilot came on and said that we did not have enough fuel because they were routing us to the West instead of our original flight plan.   So, we would have to refigure the amount of fuel we needed and see if we needed to go back and re-fuel.  That took another 30 minutes….only to be told that we DID need more fuel.  Taxied back to the gate but were not allowed to get off the plane.  Then it took another 30 minutes for the fuel truck to come to the plane.  We had an off-duty pilot with us and he was supposed to be flying our plane to Paris from Detroit.   We were being told that NW would old the flight for us because they had found another pilot to fly the plane but had sent him home when they heard we were in the air.  Made me feel a lot better knowing that there was still a chance we would fly to Paris today.  I was sitting by a really nice young man who was from France and he definitely had his “sense of humor” in tact.  Helped with the stressful situation we were in. After they started re-fueling, the pilot came on and said that because of the route they wanted us to take, we had too many people, too much luggage and too much fuel on board and we couldn’t fly!  So, again NW was “re-calculating” our flight plan.  At one point, they announced that anyone who wanted to get off the plane could do so, but that we would not be allowed to get back on the flight!  One of my guys didn’t hear the message about not being allowed back on and he got off.  We did manage to get him back on board.    The pilot who was jump-seating and my “ace in the hole”, suddenly got a phone call on his cell phone and got up, retrieved his luggage and left the plane.   He muttered something about “getting another aircraft” as he departed.  I was on the phone this entire time with my travel agent and with my daughter trying to find out if the plane was still in Detroit that would take us to Paris and if not, could we get on a flight tomorrow.  They were unable to find ANY flights tomorrow with 23 seats on them.  Our plane to Paris had a scheduled departure time of 10:15 pm, so we were not going to make it.   After another hour, the pilot came back on and said that there was weather again in Detroit and the airport had been shut down and we were not going anywhere.   We were still not allowed to get off the plane and everyone was starving.   I asked the flight attendant if I could get off and bring them something to eat but she said that everything in the terminal had closed at 8 pm!  Checked the status of our Paris flight again and the message was that it was “delayed indefinitely”.  My travel agent had found a flight through Houston (same one Penny took today) tomorrow that would get us into Paris exactly 24 hours late.   It meant that Buddy and Elizabeth would have to get off the plane, go straight to the show site, sound check and then perform! Finally, we got the message that the plane was going to depart.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to me since I had word that there were tornados in Detroit and lightning on the ground.    But, we departed at 10 pm – 5 hours late.   Then we got about 40 minutes from Nashville and the pilot announced that we were over Indianapolis and were “circling” because the weather was so bad in Detroit that we couldn’t get in!   I GUESS WE HAVE PLENTY OF FUEL!!!!  The other great news is that while a lot of our group ate while we were stranded in the Nashville airport, I did not.  The only food available in that gate area was bar-be-que which would have been fine EXCEPT during my 5 days home, I spent 2 of them with a stomach virus and the last thing I ate before getting sick was bar-be-que.  So, just the thought of it still makes me queasy.  So, one little bag of pretzels on the flight was it for me. And, guess what, we circled so long that we were running out of fuel.  It was, of course, dark outside and Detroit was on our right.  I have never in my life seen a “light show” like the one going on out the window of the plane.   The lightning was flashing all around and was nonstop.  Sure glad we didn’t try to fly into it.  The finally announced that we were going to Flint, Michigan, which I knew was only a few miles from Detroit.  We landed and were told we could not get off the plane UNLESS Flint was our final destination.  Several people got of and they started the refueling.  THEN, they said that we were taking on “stranded passengers”.   And, boy did we.  They packed the flight completely full.   Then we took off for a 17 MINUTE flight to Detroit.  Landed in Detroit and I went to the gate they directed me too so that we could be rebooked because, of course, our flight to Paris had taken off at 10 pm that night and we didn’t land until 1 am.   I stood in line with about 30 other people waiting to be rebooked.   You can imagine how happy the lady at the ticket counter was to see me at 2 am with 23 useless boarding passes in my hand.  But, she was great.  She got everyone re-booked on the same flight to Paris, except me.  I have to go on a different flight.  My group leaves on Thursday afternoon at 2 pm to Toronto, then Toronto to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Paris arriving at 9:35 am – day of the show for Buddy Jewell and Elizabeth Cook.  I go from Detroit to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Paris landing 1 hour before the group.  The airlines gave everyone a blanket and pillow and had some free sodas.  None of the restaurants or fast food shops were open at that time of the morning.  I thought that everyone could just get on the floor and go to sleep for several hours, but oh no, the ticket agent said that we had to go claim our luggage and re-check it.  So, it’s now 3:30 am and we are sent to Luggage Services where I stand in line for another 30 minutes only to be told that they can’t help me and we have to go to the ticket counter and check in.  Ticket counter doesn’t open until 4:30 am, but we went up anyway so we could be the first in line.  They finally opened at 4:30 am and the lady told me that she couldn’t help me and we would have to go to Luggage Services.   At that point, I made it very clear that we were NOT going anywhere else and someone was going to assist us!  She called each person up one by one, wrote down their name, their claim check number, a description of their bag and whether it had blue tape or red tape on it. When I travel, I make everyone put several pieces of red duct tape on bags that go to the hotel and several pieces of blue duct tape on bags that go to the venue.   It has “saved my life” many times.   She was delighted to hear this news.  Then she told us to go away and come back in 2 hours.  Now keep in mind that I have not sat down ONCE since we got off the plane in Detroit at 1 am, have had nothing to eat, and been up for more than 24 hours with not even as much as a nap.  I sent everyone off to sleep “somewhere” and told them I would deal with it and meet them at their gate at 1 pm.   One guy was freaking out because we were going through Canada and I immediately knew why.   If you have EVER had a DUI –even if it was 40 years ago – you are considered a felon in Canada.   When country artists perform there, anyone with a DUI has to spend months having an attorney fill out all kinds of paperwork and pay around $600 to be able to enter Canada.  And that is every time they go in, not just a one-time deal.  Because NW could only issue a boarding pass from Detroit to Toronto and KLM has to issue the boarding passes from Toronto to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Paris, it means my guys/girls will have to deplane in Toronto and go to the KLM checkin counter to get their boarding passes.  At least they do not have to pick up their luggage.   But, they will have to scan their passports and it may be a problem with the “felons”.  I went to the World Club and went in the restroom to check the damage.  I was a pretty frightening sight.  Left all my carry on bags in a locker and headed downstairs for the biggest cup of coffee I could find and a somewhat healthy breakfast….egg mcmuffin from McD’s.   Then I went to several shops and purchased underwear, a new shirt, and some makeup.  Went back in the World Club and took a shower.   I didn’t look much better but KNOW that I smell much better. J Then, I had to go back out of the secured gate area and down to the checkin counter to see if they found our bags.   The lady was so excited because they were able to locate everything easily because of the red and blue tape.  They found all our bags except for the drummer with Buddy Jewell who checked in before we got there (he didn’t get my memo about NOT checking in until I arrived).  She then sent me down to U.S. Customs to find out if my “felons” were going to have a problem in Toronto.  They said that because we were just “transiting through” and not staying in Canada, it shouldn’t be a problem.  But, they couldn’t guarantee it.  From previous experience with Canada, I know it will be a problem.  I now have a call in to my friend at NW to see if he can find someone who will escort the group from the gate to the checkin counter in Toronto, stay with them until they get their boarding passes and escort them to their gate for the flight to Amsterdam. I hate that I cannot go on the flight with them but I paid over $8,000 for a business class ticket because I am going to so many countries.   I love them but not enough to fly in coach after the “days” I’ve had on this trip. So, I am going to send this Road Report out as it is now 10:45 am in Detroit on Thursday.   I am going to answer some emails and hopefully find a chair somewhere that I can sleep until 12:30 and then go meet the group for their flight to Toronto.  Yeah, sure, I will…..I KNOW a problem will come up that I have to deal with. This is enough to discourage any country artist from every traveling overseas but everyone in the group has been so great.  We are all determined to make it to Paris in time for the Buddy Jewell and Elizabeth Cook to perform on Friday!  It’s really not much worse than what I deal with pretty consistently.   What gets me through this is knowing that it’s just an “inconvenience”.   When I visit our wounded at Walter Reed, Bethesda, Landstuhl and the hospitals throughout the AOR, it puts everything into perspective.  We don’t have problems….we have situations to deal with.  It certainly keeps my whining down to a minimum.  Jude

STILL THURSDAY, JUNE 22ND: Still in Detroit!  When I was having to check on the boarding passes, I would have to go outside of the secured area, downstairs and then back up through security again.  There is a special line now for Elite, Platinum, Gold members, etc.   Only in Detroit that line is shared with flight crews – which is fine.  It is also shared with wheelchair passengers!  There was always a line of wheelchairs and none of the people in them were American and none of them spoke English.  Our “elite” line was moving about 1/3 as fast as the regular line.   I started talking to a pilot behind me who flew for Jordanian Air and he was as puzzled as I was! Still no sleep because the problems just kept coming.  My friend at NWA in DC did get someone from NWA in Toronto to agree to meet the plane and escort our group to the ticket counter.   I met everyone at their gate and it was a few minutes boarding but nothing frightening.   I left them all in line to get on the plane and didn’t get 5 gates away before my cell phone started ringing!  NWA had booked 6 of them in seats that did not exist.  Went back down to the gate and got that straightened out.  Then I went to eat a bowl of soup before going to my gate.   It was probably the best corn chowder I’ve ever had in my life and probably because it was the first real food I’ve had in a couple of days.  Went back to the World Club to get my carry on bags and go to the gate.  Cell phone rang and the group’s plane was still sitting at the gate —  an hour since I had left them – with NO air conditioning.  I couldn’t believe it.  They said that no one would tell them why they weren’t pushing back and it was unbearably hot in the plane.  I called my travel agent and she said the computer showed that they were waiting on a flight crew!   I called them again and got voice mail on all the phones, so hopefully they have left. I am now on a flight bound for Amsterdam and then to Paris.   Let’s hope we all see each other again on the “other” side. Jude

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2006: My brilliant idea to eat before I got on the plane and SLEEP the entire flight didn’t work out.  Two men were sitting behind me and evidently they had just met.  One man wanted to impress the other man with all the places he has traveled in the world.  He talked nonstop and very loud…so loud that I could not sleep.  I put in my earplugs and my sleep mask and still couldn’t tune him out.   He talked all the way through dinner and finally the other man told him he had to get some sleep.   So, I slept for 3 hours total.  Landed on time in Amsterdam and only had enough time to clear security and go straight to my gate.  Of course, they picked this time to need to search my backpack that had everything in it.  And, of course, found nothing interesting.  I was booked in business class on KLM to Paris and I made sure that I was not in the first row and in an aisle seat.  When I got on the plane “business class” was 3 seats across and I was in a middle seat between two large men .  The seats were much smaller than coach class in America.  There was a little half partition about ½ way down the airplane and that indicated the coach section.  It was certainly the only way you would know because the seats were the same.  When I questioned why it was called business class, I was told that it was because the meals are better.  Of course, I didn’t eat. Upon landing in Paris, I found that one of my bags was missing which I anticipated.   I found the nicest man to help me fill out the paperwork and before we finished, he spoke with someone and found out that the bag was there at the airport.  I had a message from Buddy Jewell saying that they missed their connection in Amsterdam and would be arriving on a later flight.  When they finally came in, I learned that the person from Northwest had not met them in Toronto and a couple of the guys had been subject to the Canadian “jail”.  Also, they had to pick up all their luggage and equipment and re-check it which was NOT what we were told by NWA in Detroit.   Two of Buddy’s bags were missing and David Ball’s bass player was missing his bass guitar.   Buddy’s bags came in on the next flight and they found the bass in Toronto and said they would deliver it to the hotel later today.  The bus that picked us up at the airport was really nice…but the driver did not speak ANY English and he didn’t know the route to the hotel.  We finally made it and I got everyone checked in with no problems.  Then I met the gang in the hotel restaurant for lunch.  It was horrible food and very expensive.  Most of the group ordered the sirloin and asked for it “well done”. When it came out, not only was it still bleeding, but it was so tough that it could not be cut or chewed.   Everyone finally gave up and just ate the French fries.  Penny went over to the venue with some of Buddy Jewell’s technicians and I took a shower and went over a little later with Buddy Jewell.  The crowd was very small and when I asked about this, I learned that tonight is the big match for France in the World Soccer Cup.   The promoter did not offer a special price for advance ticket sales (as he should have), so there was not going to be a very big attendance.   The venue is the Grand Dome which is really not “Paris” even though the event is called the “Paris Country Music Festival”.   It is located 1 hour south of Paris.  Outside the dome, there are booth set up by the sponsors – Harley Davidson, several hotels, various automobile dealerships – and then there are western wear booths and one food booth from Planet Hollywood.  I expected this festival to be “disorganized” because it is a first-year event but using the term “disorganized” is being kind.   My contact – Gerard – is doing the best he can, but everyone working seems to be “volunteers” and no one seems to have a sense of “time”.   We spent most of the evening just trying to get the drivers to go back and forth to the hotel to pick up our entertainers.  Elizabeth Cook performed first and did a great show for about 1,000 spectators.   They had large video screens in side the dome and outside the dome.  She then went to sign autographs and was mobbed.  I kept trying to get the fans to line up but it was a hopeless cause.  Afterwards, she went to the press room for an interview but we learned that the press had been given the wrong information as to when she would be there.   Buddy performed for about the same number of people and we moved his autograph table to a part of the building where we could block off a walkway and keep some semblance of a line going.  But, again, there was confusion as to when he was signing and when he was doing his interviews.  The evening was finally over but of course, one of the 2 vans that were supposed to take everyone back to the hotel had disappeared.  We had to enlist the help of some of the people who were still there and my friend from DisneyParis to drive us back to the hotel.  Since Buddy Jewell and his group are not departing until Monday and Cowboy Crush and me are not departing until Thursday, I am worried that our “volunteers” will forget to pick us up to take us to the airport.  So, I’m checking prices on hiring vans to take us and paying for it myself.  Better than getting STUCK here!!! I got in bed at around 4 am and that is after only have 3 hours sleep in the past 3 days.  But, I got to sleep until 9 am! Jude

SATURDAY, JUNE 24TH: Had breakfast with my friend Gilbert from DisneyParis.   Buddy and his wife are going to check out of the hotel today and go to Paris to stay tonight and tomorrow night.  Great idea!  We are in the “middle of nowhere” out here.  Cowboy Crush and BR549 arrived at the airport on time but then got stuck in traffic trying to get to the hotel.  Everyone finally arrived and most went straight to bed! Penny and I and a couple of the members of David Ball’s group decided to try to walk to McDonalds for lunch.  We, of course, made a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way.  Then we saw the McDonald’s sign and hiked back about 2 miles the other way.  I just wanted a salad but it was an ordeal to order even with the photos right in front of us.  Came back to the hotel and worked on emails until show time. Tonight BR549 and David Ball perform and both had fantastic shows.   The “dome” was packed and there were nearly as many people outside watching the video screen.  The sound was excellent inside and out.  Just glad that there was such a huge crowd tonight and hope that Cowboy Crush will have that many tomorrow night.    Transportation is “getting better” but still not quite 100% perfect.   I am supposed to find out tomorrow morning is the promoter is going to leave Buddy Jewell’s band stranded on Monday afternoon and Cowboy Crush and myself stranded on Thursday.  I have already made inquiries into the cost of renting a vehicle to take us to the airport…just in case. We finished around 1 am and came back to the hotel.  Today is my daughter’s birthday and in addition to the normal gifts I give her, I decided to do something “special” because I am never there to celebrate with her.  She was having a big cook out at her home with lots of her friends, so I hired a male stripper disguised as a policeman to come “dance” for her.  I had let Penny in on this but then had to bring her to Paris with me.  So I told my son that someone who was going to be making a delivery might call him for directions.  Evidently, the stripper got lost and called Chris (my son).  My daughter’s husband called me and said, “Thanks, Mom.   Chris came up to me and said someone is coming by with something and then he bolted.   Your flowers arrived for Lindsey so I thought that was the “delivery”.   I went into the bedroom to write out her birthday card and heard the doorbell ring while I was in there.  When I came out, my wife was up on the table wearing a policeman’s cap and a half-naked man was dancing over her while all the girls were gathered around giggling.   Me and all the guys are hiding in the garage.  So, how long is he going to be here anyway?”    It was priceless! Now I can go to bed knowing that I AM a good Mom.  J Jude

SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2006: Penny was responsible for getting the groups of David Ball, Elizabeth Cook and BR549 off to the airport at 6:15 am this morning as she was flying back to Nashville as well.  Since I didn’t receive any “panic” calls, I assume everyone got off on time.  That leaves me with Buddy Jewell’s group to get out tomorrow and Cowboy Crush to perform tonight.  Got up to eat breakfast and go jogging with Cowboy Crush.  Only it is raining.  No sign of it stopping today, either.  I NEEDED to run so badly, so I decided to run in place for 60 minutes.  The only two English-speaking channels on the tv are CNN (which I will NOT watch) and BBC.  Talk about a BORING 60 minutes.  Don’t try it at home! J At least I’m getting caught up on answering the 157 emails that I have “stored” that came in during our nightmarish trip over here.  Maybe it was a sign that I needed to stay inside and work today!  Got my second migraine in two days – still think it must be stress related because the MRI came back fine.  Next step is to see a Neurosurgeon but to do that, I have to be in Nashville for more than 2 days at a time.  The show with Cowboy Crush was amazing and the audience loved them.  The crowd was definitely “light” because of the rain, though.  By the time we finished the show, signed autographs, and did an interview, it was midnight and no one had eaten all day.  I had turned in our “dinner” requests and they were supposed to have the food ready for us.  Turns out they brought the food out TWO hours prior and everything was COLD.  I was no mad but nothing I could do.  Everything was closed.   I did finally FORCE my contact to introduce me to the “money guy” for the festival and even made him take a photo with me!  I don’t think we’ll ever be back here for this festival because he lost too much money and because it was so disorganized.  But, I never say “never”!  I have to get up and take Buddy Jewell’s band to the airport tomorrow morning.  Then come back and take Cowboy Crush sightseeing in Paris.  We have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off to go sightseeing and I’m the “tour guide”!    Penny called me from Newark today and her flight to Nashville had been cancelled due to “weather”.  Not sure if the others made it home or not.  She was renting a car and driving!  Smart woman!!! Jude

MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2006 Got up early to go to the airport with Buddy Jewell’s musicians.  One of them was 30 minutes late and I was getting concerned about them missing their flight.  Plus, it took an hour and a half to drive to the airport from this hotel.  When we arrived, I’ve never seen so many people waiting to check in.  I left them in the check in line because I wasn’t allowed to go up to the counter with them.  Since I didn’t get a phone call, I assume that everyone made it home. Drove back another hour and a half to meet the girls and take the train into Paris.  One of the girl’s husbands works for BR549.  They played in London last night and he flew back in today.  He was taking the train from the airport and then a taxi to the hotel.  His plane landed at 9:40 am but he never made it to the hotel.   We left and his wife stayed behind to wait on him.  Evidently he had a hard time getting the train and then the taxi.  He ended up walking half the way with his suitcase to get here.  Told you we are in the “middle of nowhere”! We got off the train at Notre Dame and stopped for a great “crepe” lunch.  Then we toured Notre Dame.  I’ve been there many times but this was the girls’ first visit.  I lit three candles, one for John Vigiano, one for Joe Vigiano, and one for our troops.  John and Joe were killed in the twin towers and are the sons of my dear friend Joe Vigiano.  We tried to take the 300+ steps to the top of the tower but it had already closed for the day. We walked up to the Louvre and looked down the Concord but didn’t have time to walk any farther as we were meeting friends from the festival for dinner.  They took us to the Latin Quarter and we had a great meal!  By the time we finished, it was time to find our train and go back to Villebon.  We arrived at our train station at 12:30 am and of course, there were no taxis.  Last night it took 2 hours for Buddy’s guys to get a taxi to come and pick them up.  We “hiked” down to another Mercur and had them call a taxi for us.  Got back to he hotel by about 1:30 am and I’m been on email ever since!  The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, so we’ll do some other things tomorrow and save the Louvre for Wednesday. Jude

TUESDAY, JUNE 27TH, 2006 Finally getting in some exercise on this trip!  We departed for Paris today at 12:30 pm.  Took the train to Notre Dame and started looking for somewhere to eat.  We went into a little sandwich shop but it took forever for them just to bring us a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  When mine and Trenna’s arrived, we realized they had only cooked one side of it!  We just got up and left and went looking for somewhere else to eat.  We walked back down to the Louvre (which is closed on Tuesdays) and then walked the entire way from the Louvre, down the Concord and up the Champs-Elysees all the way to the Arch of Triumph…a long walk that I have made many, many times.  We stopped along the way for a crepe and to shop, but not very much.  Took the metro from the Arch over to the Eiffel Tower.  As many times as I have been there, it always overwhelms me with it’s size and beauty.  I have been up it many times and decided not to stand in the long lines today and go to the top. Darla doesn’t like heights, so she stayed down with me while the others went to the very top.  The weather has been incredibly beautiful, so they had a fantastic view of Paris.  The gypsys that “work” the Eiffel Tower area as so annoying.  They constantly come up and ask you if you speak English and then hand you a piece of paper begging for money.  When you blow them off, they call you names in their language! Darla wanted to fight of them today.  I saw one that had been begging for food just minutes before, reach into her skirt pocket and pull out an earpiece that was connected to an IPOD hidden under her skirt!  They are also experts at picking pockets.  We had to keep all our valuables “close” at all times! After everyone came down from the tower, it was already 8 pm, so we found a great restaurant and had dinner.  Then the stress of trying to find the right train back to the hotel began.  We finally got on the right train and arrived back in Villebon around midnight.  Had to walk to another Mercur Hotel and have them call taxis for us.  It was 1 am by the time I got in my room.  Such a PAIN staying out here in the middle of nowhere with NO ONE to take care of us.  Typical of how poorly organized this event was!!! Tomorrow we are going to the Louvre and finish up our Paris sightseeing.  Off to Switzerland on Thursday. Jude

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28TH: I am always so tired when I type the road reports (usually 3 am in the morning!) that I forget to mention some things.  Last night, France played Spain in the World Soccer Cup and France won.   You cannot imagine the “celebrating” that was taking place in Paris.  There were some very happy, rowdy fans taking the trains with us.  J Today we went straight to the Louvre and it was as amazing as ever.   It was just impossible to see everything that we wanted to see.  One thing that has changed since I visited the Louvre about 5 years ago is the fact that all the Monets, Van Goghs, Picassos, etc., are no longer there.  I assume they have been moved to the D’Orssy which we did not have time to visit.  It was disappointing that these paintings were not in the Louvre (at least we couldn’t find them and there doesn’t seem to be a very good “guide” book around!).   However, we found PLENTY of other things to look at.   We stayed until almost closing time then went to find something to eat.  We have to eat before we take the train back to our hotel because there is NOTHING to eat near where we are staying.   We have to take the train to the nearest train station, then walk about a half mile to another Mercur, ask them to call a couple of taxis for us and then wait about 20 mintues for the taxis to arrive.  The taxi ride at night is triple what we pay during the day! Have dealt with the “transportation” issue all day today but still not sure that I won’t have to pay for the 5 taxis that take us to the airport.  Guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning.  Jude

THURSDAY, JUNE 29TH: As I anticipated, there was a “problem” with who was paying for the taxis this morning.  The drivers would not allow us to put our luggage in the cars until it could be sorted out.   Once they knew they were getting paid, we loaded up and departed for the Paris Airport….where we had the USUAL fight about excess luggage.   The agent at the counter tried to argue with me that our flight was not part of an international trip because we had stayed in Paris more than a few hours (connecting flight).   I insisted that she call her supervisor and she was not happy about that.  Of course the supervisor told her that it WAS part of an international trip and she had to allow us the maximum pieces/weight that we received on the trip over.  Saved us hundreds of dollars!  Flight was late leaving Paris but at least all our luggage arrived Zurich with us.  It was a small little airplane and was packed full….an Air France “City Hopper”.   I thought I was going to have a row all to myself but that didn’t happen.  And, the seat next to me was filled with a man with the worst body odor I have smelled in a LONG time.  That made for a pleasant flight from Paris to Zurich.  Our bus was waiting for us (SO NICE TO BE AT A FESTIVAL THAT IS ORGANIZED!) and we departed on the 1 ½ to 2 hour drive to Interlaken.  Only there were accidents on the highway we took and it turned out to be more than a 3 hour drive.  Got checked in and immediately changed for dinner at a “Sponsors’ Party”.   Nice to be back in Interlaken with all my friends.  It’s an excellent festival because the people who organize it are first class.  The Redneck are here again this year only it’s called “A Tribute to the Rednecks” this year.  They are a band from Sweden that had one hit many years ago with “Cotton-eyed Joe”.  They don’t play any instruments on stage and lipsynch everything….Yet they fill the place with their fans. The dinner was superb and my group was happy to get some good food that didn’t cost a fortune.   We have sound check and interviews tomorrow during the day and a radio station visit and a VERY LATE show tomorrow night. Jude