WEDNESDAY, JULY 23RD – LEAVING GERMANY AGAIN:
Got up and had breakfast with Silvia. Didn’t work out because I stored all my exercise clothes at the Munich Airport! We took the train from downtown Munich back to the airport, retrieved my luggage, checked in and still had an hour to spare. It was really fun to have a day “off” to spend with a dear friend that I haven’t seen in two years. Goes to show that true friendship will always survive the test of time and separation. My flight was fine except for some turbulence about 30 minutes after take-off. Of course, I had just found another “splinter” in my pants and was about to go to the toilet to try and get rid of it. Had to wait about 20 minutes for the seat belt sign to go off before I could get up. When I landed, I thought that none of my luggage made it but it was all just “slow” coming out. Whew! Got both bags. I’m back at the Radisson Airport Hotel. Really tired of staying here. And I have to come back here on Sunday and Monday night. Nothing exciting for today’s report. I checked in and have been answering email and working since 2 pm. It’s 1:30 am now and hopefully I will get in bed soon. Meeting Dierks Bentley’s group at 1:30 pm tomorrow if their flights are on time. Then we have a 4 hour drive from the Oslo airport to Seljord. Should have time to work out or jog tomorrow before I meet them. The weather here was beautiful today and I hope it lasts. Thinking about leaving one of my bags here since I’ll be back in 4 days. Five weeks down – 3 to go! J Jude
THURSDAY, JULY 24TH – NORWAY AGAIN!!!:
Got up and had a really great workout in the hotel gym. Not only is it well-equipped, but I’m always the only person in there. Love it!
Had breakfast and then “sorted” my clothes so that I could store one bag at the hotel and only take one suitcase to Seljord. Checked out and went to the airport to meet Dierks Bentley’s group. Jan – who works with the festival – was there with a HUGE sleeper bus. We had requested a sleeper bus for the return trip to the airport since they have to leave immediately after the show for the airport to fly to France.
His flight was on time but the airlines lost one of his guitars. Supposedly they found it still in London and it will be on a 4:30 pm flight into Oslo.
Now about this sleeper bus — it is a double-decker with a downstairs lounge and an upstairs lounge plus 10 bunks. It looks brand new and is much nicer than most of the buses I have seen in America. Also, it had the biggest trailer I have ever seen attached to it. I couldn’t believe they thought we would have that much luggage and equipment with us. After a little investigation, we found out that the trailer was actually “showers” and they would be going to the festival.
We departed the airport and stopped about an hour and a half out for some “snacks”. Had to get past the Oslo rush hour traffic before stopping. It was supposed to be another 2 hour drive but there was a house fire on a little two lane road and they had the highway shut down. We sat for at least an hour before we could pass.
I could not believe how fast he drove the bus with the huge trailer attached on the tiny winding Norwegian roads. Most of the time, the road is a two lane that looks like a ONE LANE! And the sides of the road are usually sheer drops down very steep cliffs. I kept my eyes closed most of the trip. But, the driver is an excellent driver and we didn’t have any problems.
Arrived at the hotel at around 7:30 pm and all the rooms were ready. Only certain rooms have internet connection and the front desk said that they put me in the same room I had last year so that I would have internet connection. Once I got in the room and looked out my window, I remember why I didn’t like this room….It is right over the loading dock. I am sure I’ll be roused from a very sound sleep at around 5 am when the shipments start coming in. But, hey, the internet works in here! J
Funny thing in Iraq is how the troops talk about Ground Hog Day. Every day seems the same to them and they have no concept of time as far as what day of the week or date of the month it is. That’s the way I’ve been over here. Of course, no two days are the same but I sure am clueless as to what day/date it is. I have to look at a calendar every night before typing my road report.
I worked with Dierks on a Stars for Stripes tour several years ago in England and Germany. He and his guys are super. So easy to work with. Still has some of the same guys but also some new ones. One of the guys was on tour with me with Ricky Skaggs and Holly Dunn in Germany in the early 90’s! Dierks’ wife is very pregnant – due in late September. They make such a cute couple.
We all had dinner which was the typical buffet of salmon, salmon, and more salmon – raw, grilled, baked, fried, you name it! Been answering email for hours and going to bed now. It’s 1 am in Norway and has finally gotten a little bit “dark”.
FRIDAY, JULY 25TH:
Up early because like I said, I am by the loading dock and at 6 am, the delivery trucks started. First the roar of the truck, then the beep, beep, beep of him backing in, then the lowering of the tailgate and slamming down of the door as it reaches the dock, then the sound of cart wheels as items are rolled off. Then all this in reverse. So the weather is perfect — clear and about 50 degrees that early. I got in a really long run that was so wonderful. Had breakfast with some of the group and started stressing that Amazing Rhythm Aces had not arrived. My cell phone has a habit of turning the wireless off without warning in foreign countries. Didn’t know it had done that and had a voice mail from one of the ARA saying they had to make an unscheduled stop in Manchester because of a sick passenger. They were trying to get a flight to Oslo. He didn’t leave a cell phone number so I had no way to reach him. He never called back so we didn’t know what was happening. Finally the driver who was supposed to pick them up said they were calling him! I finally reached them. They have to fly from Manchester to Copenhagen to Oslo arriving at midnight and then a 4 hour drive to Seljord. And they left the U.S. Yesterday morning!!! At least they don’t perform until tomorrow night. Dierks guitar did not make it on the bus from the airport as promised. So we had to borrow one for sound check. The internet signal in my room kept fading and knocking me offline. I asked the hotel to move me. The new room is 10 times nicer and internet signal is much stronger. I was moving my things down the hall and somehow misplaced my purse. Talk about a panic attack (not a word, Bebe!). Managed to find it after a 10 minute search. I walked down to a little store at the bottom of the hill and bought the last large bottle of water with no gas that they had left. Guess all the guys had been there before me. Then I walked over to a little museum/store and got a gift for my daughter’s “twins”. Back to the hotel to answer more email. We all went over for sound check and it was great. Have I mentioned what a wonderful guy Dierks and his entire group are? My dear friend and promoter Jonny came in during sound check. It is all I can do not to cry in front of him. The cancer has really taken a toll on him. Back at the hotel to answer more emails. Tried to reach Danni Leigh at another hotel but her flight was delayed as well. Had dinner with everyone. Usually it is a great buffet but tonight we ordered from a menu. I had fresh, delicious salmon. Went to the show early so Dierks could see some of the European artists. I decided to walk out front and check to make sure his cds were being sold. There wasn’t a huge crowd out front and I was thinking what a surprise it was to be able to walk without being groped! Went out to the cd stand and said hello to my friend there. He asked me to take 3 cds for Dierks to autograph. I started walking back in the gate to the main stage and got caught in a huge crowd of drunks. It was frightening because I couldn’t get out and was getting crushed. I found out that the band that was going on stage is the most famous band in all of Norway. That’s why there was such a huge crowd. I got the cds autographed but gave them to Jonny because there was NO WAY I was venturing back out into that mob.
The entire crowd stayed for Dierks’ show and what a show he gave them. Unbelievable entertainer. Hit after hit after hit. The audience knew the words to all the songs, two. He had so much fun on stage and it translated to the audience. I have him going to Japan in October and they will love him there, too.
Dierks didn’t have time to go out front and sign autographs because they have to leave on the sleeper bus for the Oslo airport tonight. He did stop beside the stage and sign a lot of autographs though. I had a call from Amazing Rhythm Aces saying they have landed and wondering if their suitcases have been found. I told them that someone called about them today and hopefully they would be delivered to the hotel.
I saw so many people that I know at this event tonight. It’s wonderful to reconnect with people from all over Europe. Egel – the buyer – and his family were there and he is such a sweet guy. Introduced him and took photos with Dierks. Can you tell it was a wonderful evening and I am feeling so lucky to be able to live this life?
Got Dierks and his group off to the Oslo airport on the sleeper bus and I caught a ride back to the hotel with one of the vans. Only the van was full of drunk Norwegian musicians! They were all trying to talk to me and right before we reached the hotel, the lead singer came to the back of the van where I was sitting and was falling all over me. They were all “nice”, just very drunk.
It’s 2 am here and I am definitely headed to bed! What a great show tonight.
SATURDAY, JULY 26TH – DAY 38:
Just thought I’d figure up the “days away” to see where I am. Not bad. Definitely on the downside.
Slept late for me this morning but considering I didn’t go to bed until 3 am, I guess an 8:00 am wake up wasn’t being lazy. Went for another great run in beautiful weather. It’s going to be much hotter today though and the hotel is not air conditioned. I have a huge sliding glass door but the room fills with bugs pretty quickly and the sun beats down through the open door/window.
Worked on emails until time to leave for sound check. Only one of the Amazing Rhythm Aces was in the lobby when it was time to go. This hotel doesn’t have alarm clocks, so I called everyone and most of them were still sleeping. Not surprising since they had been traveling for over 40 hours. Three of their bags are still missing and of course, no one answers the phone at the airlines lost and found on weekends. What doesn’t make sense if the fact that Wideroe Airlines called the hotel last night during dinner and said they had the three bags and were delivering them to the hotel.
Sound check was painless except for Russell Smith. As we were walking in, he tripped over a huge concert block and went face down. Really scared me because I just knew he had injured himself. Seems to be okay but it had to have hurt. I noticed the block last night when I almost fell over it several times. Hopefully now they will put up some kind of tape or something around it since everyone going backstage has to pass by it.
Finally got to see Danni Leigh and her guys. She looks terrific and seems very happy. Didn’t get to talk to her for very long since I had things to take care of while the guys were sound checking. Hopefully we will have some “hang time” tonight at the festival.
Got back to the hotel around 4 pm and supposedly the lost bags were going to be on a bus from the Oslo airport arriving at 4:15 pm. Our driver met the bus and of course, they were not on there. So frustrating not to be able to even find out “where” the bags might be. First thing we will do tomorrow when we arrive at the airport hotel is go over to the airport and try to track these down.
Had dinner with everyone – buffet again tonight with lots of salmon. Then we left to go over for the show. Crowd was as large as last nights. The people come from all over Norway and the camp for 3 days. This was their biggest year ever with well over 40,000 people attending. Amazing Rhythm Aces put on a great show and also had a huge crowd. They signed autographs for everyone afterwards. I got to watch a little of Danni’s show and we just got back to the hotel. Good news is ONE of the missing suitcases came in. They delivered it to Russell’s room and we think it might be his. Now only two to track down tomorrow. It’s almost 2 am and I’m going to bed. We depart at noon tomorrow for the Radisson Oslo Airport Hotel (my second home!). Jude
SUNDAY, JUNE 27TH:
Woke up to another beautiful day in Norway. Had to give the hamstring a rest, so did Pilates in the room. Had a quick breakfast with some of the guys. Guess Russell stayed up all night with the Norwegian bands and had just gone to bed. He’s going to love that 4 hour van ride to Oslo. So we had been driving about 40 minutes when the van slowed to about 2 mph going up a hill. It sounded like the transmission was going to fall out. When I quizzed our driver he said we only had to go that slow up hills. I reminded him the about half our trip would be uphill! We had a line of traffic for about 2 miles behind us. He finally found a spot to pull over and let them pass. I was afraid he would burn the transmission up and that is not a good thing when you are on steep mountain roads with steep drop-offs on both sides and a trailer hooked to the back of the van! We made a stop at a gas station so he could turn off the van and reset the computer. Everyone went in for a snack and there we’re 3 very young girls working the register and counter. People were ordering sandwiches and pizza as well. My guys were paying with credit cards but none of the cards would work because the young girls had no idea how to work the machine. I got back in line to pay for them with my Kroners. Then all three girls stopped working the register and started cooking. I could not believe it. The line to pay was as long as the line behind us coming up the hill! The computer reset didn’t work and the driver says he has another vehicle waiting for us an hour away. The air conditioner is also not working in the back where I am. I will have to tell my promoter about this. They pay big money for quality vehicles to transport us and this one is not up to par!
The “computer reset” also did not fix the air conditioner and it is one of the hottest days of the year in Norway. We stopped 3 more times for him to “reset” the computer and I kept telling him that resetting a computer was not going to fix his transmission. The “other vehicle” that was one hour away was never mentioned again. It took us a lot longer to reach the hotel than it should have. Then, he couldn’t FIND the hotel. It’s connected to the airport with huge signs everywhere and he could not find it. He finally took us to the airport terminal and we just got carts and walked over. The driver was really sweet but should not have been driving if he didn’t know where his destination was.
I had checked to make sure the hotel had all our rooms reserved before I checked out of the hotel a few days ago. They found all our reservations and as they were checking us in, one of the musicians ran up with a panicked look on his face. He had left his jacket on the van and his passport was in it. I didn’t have this driver’s phone number so I called the promoter and he called the driver and got him to come back to the hotel. THIS time he found the actual hotel. J
I dropped my bags in my room and walked over to the terminal with one of the musicians whose bag has been missing the entire trip. As you know, 3 bags were missing. One came in last night and it was Darlene’s (road manager). Russell’s and the musician’s are both still missing which means they didn’t have clothes the entire time they were in Norway. When we got to the terminal, we were told that a fire alarm had gone off earlier and they had just let all the people back inside to try and find their luggage. Since we needed to go back inside the Customs Area, we had to call a phone number to the Airline Lost and Found Desk so they could come out and get us. Of course, there was a long line of people at their counter and they wouldn’t answer their phone. I left the musician there and went back to the hotel to pick up the bag I had put in storage. When I walked in, there were about 200 people in the lobby checking in. I managed to get the attention of one of the reservation agents and they let me in the storage room to pick up my bag.
It was really hot in my room, so I turned the air conditioning to the coldest setting. I called Russell and Darlene and told them we should probably go ahead and eat NOW since those 200 people would surely be going down to the restaurant to eat very soon. We decided to sit outside so Darlene could smoke but when they brought us the menu, it was more of “snack” menu than the regular dinner menu. Trust me, after staying here so many times, I know the menu by memory. When I asked, they said that only those items were available for outside seating plus they were grilling steaks outside. Didn’t make any sense at all to me since the only thing separating the inside seating from the outside seating was a glass wall….same chefs, same wait staff.
Anyway, we moved inside and the waiter that I befriended the last time I was here was serving us. He was really nice and again offered a free bottle of wine. He was still talking about Cowboy Crush and their visit. I guess he met some of Lynn Anderson’s group when they were here a few days ago. My ex-husband was escorting them and he probably met him, too.
Got back up to my room and it was too hot to stay in. I called the front desk and argued with them for a half hour and they finally agreed to move me to a room on a lower level. I assumed that since heat rises and I was on the top floor, maybe a room on a lower level would be better. Fortunately, the only thing I had unpacked was my computer. Got moved and now it’s almost 1:30 am, so I’m going to bed very soon. Will be here at the Oslo Airport Radisson for a couple of nights and then off to Sweden.
The musician got his bag. The airline broke the wheels off it, but at least he has clothes before he leaves to go home tomorrow. Russell’s bag is still lost. I really hope it comes in before he leaves for the U.S. tomorrow but it’s doubtful. Since I’m here another day, I’ll follow up with the airline for him if it doesn’t come in before he leaves. He has decided that he “jinxed” the trip and after today, I’m beginning to believe him!
MONDAY, JULY 28TH – OSLO AIRPORT HOTEL AGAIN:
Guess it’s true – careful what you ask for! It got so cold in my room last night that I had to turn the air conditioner off and put on socks so I could sleep.
Got up and had a quick breakfast and then walked the group over to the terminal. No problem checking in except the kiosk wouldn’t take their passports for e-ticketing. They got in line and the ticket agent made some of them go back and try again. Of course, it didn’t work the second time either! While they were checking in, I went to KLM to check on Russell’s lost bag. More great news….the luggage belt in Amsterdam is broken and he said the entire airport is in a state of chaos! He couldn’t help me at all. Just said for them to check on it when they land in Nashville. Of course, they are flying through Amsterdam today and the luggage belt is broken so they probably won’t have any luggage when they land!
I called the mobile number for Wideroe Airlines at the Oslo airport and asked if I could come into the baggage claim area to see if the bag was there. He said they were “much too busy” because the luggage belt in Amsterdam was broken. Not sure what that had to do with Oslo but…
As far as I know, they left on time. I came back to the hotel and got in a great workout at the hotel gym then showered and washed clothes in the bathtub. Have been working all day instead of going into Oslo and sightseeing. I heard someone outside my door and thought they were trying to come in. I looked through the little peephole and some man was down on his knees looking at my doorknob. I said, “Hellloooo” and he said, “Im just replacing the batteries in the doors”. Okay. ???
Walked over to the airport and got a sandwich for lunch then worked some more. Ordered room service for dinner and after an hour when it had not arrived, I called to check on it. They delivered it to the wrong room so they are supposedly bringing it to me now – free of charge. We shall see. It’s been 15 minutes since they made that promise…
Just saw on the news that more people are now striking at Lufthansa. Sure hope I get out of here to Stockholm tomorrow. Not good news.
Had a phone call from someone at the Oslo airport telling me “my” bag is here and they are delivering it to me. I told them it was not my bag and that the passenger it belonged to left for the U.S. this morning! They are “supposedly” going to send the bag to Nashville. I don’t have much confidence that he will ever see that bag again.
After midnight here and I’m going to bed soon.