JULY 3RD – DAY 15: So, forgot to mention that the wireless wouldn’t work in my room when I checked in. I took the computer down to the desk and they spent 30 minutes on the phone with someone trying to find out what was wrong. It wouldn’t recognize the wireless network (Swisscom). I finally gave up and went back up to my room and as I was walking down the hall, the wireless popped up. Go figure!!! Just another little problem to an already stressful day. So first thing I did when I woke up was check the status of the flight that my bag was coming in on this morning. Of course, it had been canceled. No reason why…just canceled. I had planned to work out but realized I don’t have the things I need to work out. Got dressed and went to the airport early to see what could be done. I thought about changing my flight to Oslo to later in the day but there were no seats left on any of the other direct flights. I figured if I stayed in Zurich until my bag arrived, then flew to Oslo making a connection, the airlines had a good chance at losing both my bags. L So, my flight to Oslo was delayed and I was hoping the flight from Amsterdam with my bag would arrive before we departed. No such luck. It landed about 15 minutes before we took off but of course, the Lost and Found crew didn’t make an effort to get it on the plane. Flight to Oslo was on a really OLD SAS plane. Lots of turbulence even though there didn’t appear to be an bad weather around us. Landed on time and I went to baggage services to talk about my bag some more. Supposedly, the bag is in Zurich and will be on a flight to Oslo that arrives at 11 pm tonight. You can bet I’ll be there waiting. I told them I had to buy some essentials and they told me I would not be reimbursed unless the bag was missing for at least 24 hours. Not a problem on that one! It seems like a week instead of just one day without it. I stay at the Radisson that is connected to the airport when I’m in Oslo. Easy to take a train downtown when time permits. Today I took a taxi to a shopping center to buy some of the things I really needed. It was easy to get too but the taxi driver had no idea where he was supposed to be taking me. I knew when I got in and asked him if he knew the shopping center, he was lying. I finally “directed” him to where I thought it was. Nice shopping mall and I found everything I needed to get me through one more night without my bag EXCEPT no Tylenol and no Zicam swabs. I had Penny in my office call the road manager for Cowboy Crush and ask him to go buy me a supply of these and bring with him tomorrow. I ended up purchasing something that looks like it might be Ibuprofen and a nasal spray. If you never hear from me again, you’ll know I died from an allergic reaction to whatever the heck this stuff is. I’ve just felt so bad for two days, I had to try something. Went over to the airport to see if my bag came in. After going to three different “counters” and being told 3 different things, I was escorted into the baggage pick-up area…only I was on the “domestic flight” side instead of international. I went to 3 different counters in there and was finally directed to pick up a phone and call the Wideroe Airlines counter. Someone said they would come and get me in a “few minutes” – translates as over 30 minutes. She took me around to every belt and finally on the very last one – there was my bag. I’ve never been so happy to see something! Especially my “drugs”. Cowboy Crush is flying out of Kansas City and their flight was delayed due to high winds. Looks like they are going to miss their connection in Newark so I’ll need to stay up until I know how they are going to be re-routed. Probably be 3 am my time before I know anything. But, I have my bag! J Jude
4TH OF JULY – DAY 16: HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!! I honestly forgot that today was the 4th of July until my office “reminded” me that they are closed today. Obviously, there is nothing over here that would offer any “suggestions” that it is a holiday. The hotel is supposed to have CNN and I was so desperate, I turned it on. Of course, that is the one channel that doesn’t work. I feel so much better today. Amazing how quickly those Zicam swabs kick in. Had planned to work out in the hotel gym since it is a nice one. But one look outside had me heading for the streets. The great thing about Europe is that all the cities seem to be connected by a bike path –translates as great jogging path for me. The weather is absolutely perfect and I ran for an hour. Felt like I sweated the rest of the cold out, which is good. My hamstring pull didn’t hurt as bad as usual. Either it’s healing or I had taken so many Tylenol for my cold that I didn’t feel the pain as much.
Called the promoter first thing to advise him that Cowboy Crush will not be arriving today. Continental Airlines actually gave them hotel and meal vouchers (amazing since the delay was due to weather) and they stayed in Newark last night. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and they will arrive at the same time tomorrow. Probably won’t get a sound check but better than missing the entire event. I’ll be watching the weather at the airport all day today. Other than that, I spent the day working – exactly what I would have done in Nashville. I actually managed to book a new festival in the U.K. since those buyers don’t take a holiday today either. I thought about taking the train into Oslo but didn’t want to go in by myself. No fun when you don’t have someone to share it with. What I would really have enjoyed would have been to be able to spend the 4th of July in Iraq or Afghanistan with the troops. But, I’m over in Europe every year at this time. I can’t remember the last time I spent the 4th of July in the USA. I think it was in 2000! As you know, Norway has very little “darkness” in the Summer. It’s 10 pm at night and the sun is still high on the horizon. It may go down at around midnight for about 30 minutes. If the girls feel up to it, we may go into downtown Oslo on Sunday when we come back to the airport hotel to spend the night. Jude
JULY 5TH – DAY 17:
I was so tired of “airport” food last night that I went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. There was an interesting menu on the board outside so I decided to give it a try. The menu they handed me inside was nothing like what they had advertised outside. But, it was “decent”. The host who led me to my table was a friendly Norwegian. We got into a lengthy conversation and he is a huge country music fan – not surprising in Norway. His all time favorite is the Bellamy Brothers. Wish I had one of their cds with me. L He said he really misses “CMT” which used to air here many, many years ago. Of course we also got into a discussion about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and I told him we always thank the Norwegian troops and invite them to our shows. Told him we had a Norwegian flight crew and airplane on one of our trips. I didn’t tell him that the “earplugs” they provided us looked like tiny little tampax. Seriously, they were white cotton with a little string attached! Anyway, he says that most Norwegians know that they have troops deployed there but really don’t think much about it!
There was a big rack of bikes in front of the hotel that the guests could use. You have no idea how much I wanted to go for a long ride. That’s what I do in foreign countries. At least I did until the fatal bike crash last year. I swore I’d never ride a bike again. BUT, if you have a car wreck, you don’t quit riding in a car. Maybe the best thing for me would be to get back on a bike again. I really, really miss it. It’s such a great stress reliever and a fantastic way for me to get my “bearings” in the city where we’re touring. So, I got up and worked out in the gym today. Then went to the airport to meet Cowboy Crush. Their flight was on time and all their luggage and gear made it. Unbelievable! They had a pretty fun day yesterday while stranded in NYC. We had a 3 ½ hour van ride and they slept most of the ride. We went straight to the venue for sound check. The promoter that I work with handles this festival and Seljord at the end of July. He lived in Austin until last year when he moved to London but still spends a lot of his time in Norway. He is an incredibly sweet, gentle-spirited man. He was sick last year and kept seeing doctors in London. They diagnosed him with a sinus problem and operated on him several months ago. He wasn’t getting any better and continued to lose weight. He went to his doctor in Norway a few weeks ago and they did surgery. Turns out he has small cell lung cancer, the fastest spreading kind and it has already spread. If London had not mis-diagnosed 9 months ago, he would have had a much better chance of fighting it. He’s trying to get into the Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and I’m praying this happens for him. In the meantime, he’s taking chemo and working non-stop. I hate asking him questions and bugging him but he’s like me – the “job” is his life and he’s going to keep working. Such a wonderful man so please keep him in your prayers. Sound check was painless as everything was ready for us. We drove 30 minutes to our hotel which is a really old building in the middle of nowhere. They have wireless but it doesn’t work very well. Keeps kicking us off because the signal is so low. And, it is SO hot in the rooms because there is no air conditioning. Had a “buffet” dinner of unrecognizable delicacies – except for the raw, steamed, grilled, fried, and poached Salmon!!! Show time is 10:15 pm and it will still be light outside even then. Internet crisis as usual in my room. Signal is very low and keeps kicking me off. We’ll see if I can get this road report out tonight. The festival grounds were packed with people who had been drinking for 3 days. The girls did a great, high energy show. They have two new members since they performed here two years ago and they are excellent additions to the group. The promoter and the audience were very happy with the performance. You should have seen this crowd though. Check out the photos next week on my website. It’s always like this. There was this man dressed up like the fat lady in the circus; a guy in a one-piece white long underwear that hung down really long in the crotch; a guy dressed up like Superman – he got up on a ledge above the dance floor and jumped off….only he landed face down on the concrete – fortunately he was so drunk, he wasn’t hurt; and here’s the topper: this elderly man was dancing his heart out and started giving me the “eye”. He was extremely skinny and he jumped up on the ledge where I was watching and started doing this “bump and grind” towards me. I was trying to back away but before I could make my escape, he pulled his shirt up and starts rubbing his nipples! Gross. That’s me. Like a magnet. J The girls had lots of fun watching the crowd. They spotted one guy wearing a bra and one guy wearing a pink crop top with a huge beer belly. I encouraged them NOT to sign autographs afterwards and they took my advice. We came back to the hotel where they had bowls of homemade soup waiting for us. It was perfect because the temperature had dropped outside and it was pretty chilly. Of course, the sun went down as we left the venue and came back up by the time we arrived at the hotel. The girls are going on a horseback trail ride early tomorrow morning before we depart. After my disastrous “cattle drive” in 1991, I swore to never get on a horse again….and I won’t! Good night all.
JULY 6TH – DAY 18: Got up and went for a run and realized how many HILLS there are around the hotel. Saw the girls getting ready to go on their horseback ride. There were horses along the side of the road that were not in fences and sheep everywhere. The sheep always run away when you get near them. Unless they have a “baby” with them. I was running towards a group of them and they all split and ran to the side of the road. Except for one big one with a little one beside her. She put her head down and pawed the ground like a bull. I didn’t know if she planned to “charge” me or not but decided that was a really good point in my run to turn around and go the other way. Guess a sheep with a loud bell on it started running after the girls on horseback, too, and cause Bree’s horse to run away with her. It took over 4 hours to drive back to Oslo because it was raining so hard. We had planned to take the train into Oslo this afternoon, do a 2 hour walking tour and a 2 hour Fjord cruise. The weather killed that idea. Plus it is COLD again. Evidently they had heavy rains and lightning that did a lot of damage to homes in Oslo yesterday. We were about 30 minutes from our hotel when the promoter called my cell phone to say that someone had left “items” in the hotel. It was the bass guitar and pedal board that we stored in the office last night. We had to arrange for the hotel to put them on a bus to us in Oslo and the road manager will pick them up tonight. The weather was so bad, we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant. I warned everyone that the food was not so good. They thought the items on the menu looked fine (and they do) but once the food came out, they understood what I was trying to tell them! But, it was nice to have a final meal together. And, the sweet maitre ‘d (waiter) that loves country music was there to take care of us. Trenna leaves at 7 am for Spain, I leave at 7:30 am for Athens, and the rest of the group leaves at 11:30 am for Nashville. As usual, it has been a pleasure working with these girls and their new tour manager. Sad to see them go home so soon. Jude