I have been in Europe since July 20th this time – first at a festival in Norway with Dwight Yoakam and then a festival yesterday with Chely Wright in Emmen, Holland.   Now I will travel to another city in Holland where Chely will perform at Schinnen for the NATO troops.
Our bus driver and bus arrived last night.  Same company I have used for years and LOVE.  We left the hotel at 9 am and it took us about 3 ½ hours to drive from Emmen to Schinnen.  Never knew Holland was so BIG.  There were bunks and two lounges on the bus….definitely the way to travel.  I spent most of the trip talking to Michael – the bus driver – and catching up on the “gossip”!
Arrive Schinnen and were greeted by our hosts.  They took us to secure our ID cards (even though we had id photos made in the U.S. and sent to AFE for this very purpose.  Ball got dropped somewhere) made and then we departed to the Hotel in Maastricht.  Beautiful little town and is supposedly the best shopping in all of the Netherlands.  Good thing I don’t have any free time again.  Encountered our first set of challenges.  The street was too narrow for our bus.  Does that sound familiar from my Italy trip with Lee Ann Womack last month?  So, we had to unload our luggage and walk down the street to the hotel.  I confirmed that the hotel had wireless internet before we accepted the booking.  Upon checking in, we were told that it only worked on the first floor rooms on the street side.  So, I asked for those rooms.  Of course, it did not work when we got into our rooms.  So I am on a dial up connection paying a high price to answer my emails.
No air conditioning and it is MUCH hotter here.  We do have fans in our rooms and have moved them on top of tables in front of the windows but it still doesn’t seem to be helping.
Everyone went walking around and I went to the lobby with Chely to do an interview for a local radio station.  Then I treated everyone to dinner at an outdoor café near the hotel.  It is much cooler outside than in our hotel rooms.  Came back to the hotel and am still working at 1:00 am.   Hotel doesn’t have a gym but there is one nearby but it doesn’t open until 9:30 am.  Will decide tomorrow if I am going to the gym or going to run but I will definitely do one or the other!
Performance will take place tomorrow night at Schinnen.


Wednesday, July 26:
Today I depart to meet Chely Wright in Ramstein, Germany to do a show for the military.  Judy is currently with her, but once I arrive, Judy will leave for another festival in Europe.
Had a very easy check-in, left for Atlanta on time, no problems.  We ended up being late departing Atlanta because of an equipment change.  Once on board, there were lots of empty seats so everyone was able to move around.  It was so nice to have an entire row to myself.  Didn’t sleep much on the flight, boy, will I pay for that later!

Thursday, July 27:
I was supposed to meet Judy once I arrived in Frankfurt and hand off some medication for her migraines.  Unfortunately, with my plane being delayed, I missed her.
Andy, our driver, picked me up and just as we were about to arrive at the hotel in Landstuhl, he received a phone call from Tietze saying Chely was not feeling well.  Got in my room and called her.  She had a major crick in her neck from 2 nights ago and had developed into a huge knot and she could not move her neck.  This is not good since she has a show tonight.  As I had just arrived, Clay went with Chely to the Landstuhl Medical Center to get checked out and I went with the band for load in and sound check.  Chely got a shot, couple of meds, some food and went back to the hotel to rest.
On our way to the base for load in, we had a bit of trouble getting me on base.  The others had their ID’s made in Schinnen and since I was not there, the driver was going to “sign me on”.  One of the guards working the gate was German and had no clue what we were talking about.  He took my passport to the security guard shack for about 10 minutes, and then another guard came over and asked me to go to another office with him.  I got in there and they said they were not aware of any musicians coming on base, so they made a couple of phone calls and were sending someone over to get me in.  Again, Andy asks, “Can I not sign her in?” and shows his ID.  Then the guy behind the desk says “oh, yes, you can sign her in”!  Guess we just needed to ask one of the US soldiers.  After about 30 minutes, finally, I am able to access the base!  Had a bite to eat, load in, sound check and back to the hotel to rest for a while to rest.
Departed the hotel at 8:30pm, dropped the band at the venue and Chely and I went for her to tape a PSA.  It was about safety and paying attention when you are driving, and not drinking, talking on the phone, messing with the radio, etc.  Can’t wait to see it, she is such a natural!
Got to the venue, did a short m/g with some radio winners, and met a few friends of Kyle’s!  :)  Chely began thanking everyone during her show for making this date possible and she mentioned SFS.  (How nice!)  Well, then she mentions me and makes me get on stage with her!  I could have died!  How embarrassing!!!  Chely did a great show, the audience loved her.  Chely really interacts with the audience, even had one guy who was on the phone give her his phone so she could talk to his wife!  She sang “Bumper” and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, and she received a standing ovation!  What an amazing song in itself, but when you are there with the people that song is about, it takes on a whole new meaning and gives you a whole new understanding and appreciation for what they do everyday so that we can enjoy our liberties.  Chely signed autographs for about 1 ½ hours and we all went back to the hotel for a couple of hours of sleep.