WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST AND THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2ND:
Where in the world did “September” go?? Today I left for Grindelwald, Switzerland. This is a festival that has taken place for many years but the first time I have worked with them on providing the talent. I have the Tex Mex Experience performing on Friday night and Rick Trevino on Saturday night. The festival promoters are delighted because the Saturday night is COMPLETELY sold out! The weather changed this week. Last week it was beautiful and in the 50’s/60’s. This week the highs are in the teens and snow is predicted for Friday. Thankfully, the event is inside. I have been to Grindelwald SOOO many times. It’s a beautiful little village nestled at the base of the Jungfrau. The Igor towers right in front of you. I have friends there who own a hotel and usually stop through to say hello to them on my trips from Interlaken up the Igor. What I remember most about Grindelwald is the year 2000. I had the Bellamys performing for the “turn of the Century” and everyone was in a panic about the whole Y2K thing (which didn’t happen, of course) and we had several days off there so as not to fly on “D” day. David’s wife – Susan – wanted to take dog sleds down the Igor. Supposedly the dogs had already been put up for the winter so the promoter arranged for us to take sleds down instead. In my mind, I’m thinking we would stand at the top of a small hill, take a quick run down a very short trail, then come back up and do it again. NOT so. They gave us these 4 slats of wood with runners on the bottom. No rope to steer. No brakes to stop. Then took us waaaaaay up the Igor and set us free. I prayed for death just to get off the mountain. Howard almost went over a cliff and but rolled off his sled at the last minute. The sled went over and hung in a tree. It took us about 2 ½ hours to get down and Grindelwald – which was our stopping point – never looked so wonderful. Every time I go up in a train now, I point out the path we took down and am met with the same comment from everyone… “No way. Are you crazy?”. Thank you, Susan! J So, no sled trips for me this time. I am flying by myself to Zurich via Washington Dulles. Had to get up at 4 am to go to the airport at 6:30 am. NOW I have a 6 hour layover at Dulles. It was the tiny jet from Nashville to Dulles but weather was pretty. Have been working on email as if I were in the office for 5 hours now. Will meet up with Tex Mex when I land. Then Rick comes in on Friday. I am determined to stay on my diet and not gain any weight in Switzerland. Actually going to try and lose a little more. The Dulles Airport does NOT have a good selection of restaurants. After hiking the entire length of the terminal, I found one that would make me an omelet. Went back to the Lounge and worked until time to get on the flight. Looks like it is a full flight. Good news is, I got my aisle seat and they did not reconfigure the plane yet so none of the seats faced backwards. The seat beside me was empty and I was praying it would stay that way. But a guy got on and started talking to a woman a few rows ahead of me. She was in his seat. She apologized and started gathering all her stuff. Then he looked back and saw he would be sitting with me and told her to stay where she was. Guess he liked me better for a seatmate than the person sitting by her. Across the aisle was a guy who sounded like he was from Switzerland and a blonde who sounded like she was from the deep south. I couldn’t believe some of the comments she made. She actually asked the flight attendant the difference between champagne and chardonnay. God Bless the Flight Attendant…she handled it really well and explained the difference. The guy seemed very intelligent so I sneaked a few glances their way to see what the “attraction” was….let me tell you…huge hooters! J We had a lot of turbulence in flight but landed on time. Tex Mex Experience got there before me and were already waiting on the bus. Really nice bus driver who took the scenic route and explained the things they were seeing. I did not sleep any on the flight over even after getting up at 4 am that morning. The bus ride was 2 ½ hours and I couldn’t go to sleep on it either. We stopped for some food but there was very little I could eat. Ended up with some yogurt and a “sausage” with mustard. Yum. J All the guys are so sweet. Lindsey had been dealing with “Carol” so I was looking for a female. Was so embarrassed when I learned it is one of the guys. We arrived at the hotel and Thomas – the person I have worked with on the entertainment – was waiting for us. The hotel is lovely. I made SURE that the rooms had wireless internet connection. Not just the lobby. I usually do not unpack because I’m rarely in one hotel more than a night at a time (or one of Saddam’s palaces!). Today I unpacked everything and took a shower. I SHOULD have checked my internet connection first. No signal. I had to go sit out in the hall to work. I called the front desk and their “tech” was out for lunch until 2 pm. He finally came back and couldn’t understand why there was no signal. I had a room with a beautiful view overlooking the Jungfrau so I really didn’t want to move. Not to mention not wanting to pack everything back up!!!! But, he said there was a room available with a great signal, so I packed up. Turns out, the “room” is a 2 bedroom suite that takes up the entire top floor. There is a wraparound balcony with a spectacular view from every angle. But, what a waste it is on me. All I care about is an internet connection and a bathroom in my room. I can sleep on a chair if I can just have those two luxuries. My friend and promoter from the Interlaken Festival – Iris – took the train over. Becky Hobbs also stopped by the “suite”. Iris and I went to the restaurant to have girl talk for hours and I had a salad. It was wonderful to be able to spend time with her. Oh, we also discussed next year’s event, too. J Thomas invited us all over to his house for a light dinner. He had turned one of his rooms into a little bar and had lots of cheese, cold meat, bread, etc. It was a really fun evening for everyone. Thomas said that he didn’t understand one of the English words in my email. He said he thought the word was “Hubble”. He had emailed me that he would not be picking me up at the airport. I told him about the weather turning so cold by the time we arrived. I told him, no, that I had teased him that I wouldn’t have anyone to “snuggle” with on the cold ride from the airport to the hotel. Had to demonstrate to him what snuggle was with one of the musicians. The guys got a big kick out of that…as did his very pregnant wife. Speaking of pregnant, my very pregnant with twins daughter started having pains yesterday. She is only 27 weeks and is measuring 33 weeks. She went to the doctor today and was told that her body thinks she is 33 weeks along. The babies heads are down and she is having contractions. They gave her some medicine to try and stop the contractions because they want her to wait at least 2 more weeks. The babies only weigh 2 ½ pounds right now, so I am very worried. And, of course, I won’t be home until Tuesday night. Left Thomas’s house after a perfect evening and am still working on email. It’s 1 am now. I’ve have been away for almost 30 hours now and I am fried. Going to get some sleep. It wasn’t as cold as predicted but started raining tonight. It might snow tomorrow!!!
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3RD:
It was FREEZING in my room. I called the front desk at 1:30 am. He brought up a portable heater that I am supposed to use to heat this entire floor. He said all the rooms are full, so there is no heat left for mine. Whatever!!!! Got 5 hours sleep and went down for coffee and yogurt. The boys were already having breakfast and sounds like they had a great time last night. One of them was trying to pick up a girl in a bar when another girl comes up and busts him for hitting on HER girlfriend. LOL. Found out the hotel across the street where Rick Trevino will be staying has a great gym. Got in a good workout before showering. It was raining when I woke up but changed to snow during breakfast. Huge snowdrops. It only snowed for about an hour and didn’t stick in the town. But the Alps got a great dusting and I took some awesome photos. I realize that I take the same photos over and over again and am always just as amazed by the beauty of this area. Got in a little shopping for some long overdue birthday presents and chocolates. There isn’t a great candy store here so I may have to buy a lot of my chocolate at the airport. Nope, I haven’t eaten any….yet! J Rick Trevino and his guys arrived around noon and I had them all checked in. Walked over with TexMex Experience for sound check at 3:30. Shortest sound check I have ever attended. They ran a couple of songs and said, “Great. We’re through”. Talk about amazing musicians and great vocals. This group really impressed me. I think I mentioned that Shawn Sahm is Doug Sahm’s son and he put the group together. He reminds me so much of his dad – only a lot more “mellow”. Although Shawn is “animated”, he isn’t anything close to being as hyper as Doug was. He’s been sharing some great stories with me. And, he LOOKS so much like him. Back to the hotel to handle a conference call and work on the internet. Then a “group” dinner at a hotel owned by some very dear friends of mine. It was great, but NOT on my diet – Wiener schnitzel and it was breaded AND fried AND delicious. Came back to the hotel to work a little because Tex Mex doesn’t perform until 11:45 pm. Going to be a long night again. The weather has turned MUCH colder. I also noticed that the heat was on in my room this morning. I think the hotel turns it off to save energy every night! I got the coolest photo today from actor D. B. Sweeney. We had an RPG fired at us on one of our chopper rides in Iraq. He actually took a photo out the window of the chopper of the RPG. Amazing. Glad those guys are such lousy shots! J We all walked over at about 11:15 pm. The venue is in the bottom level of a Sports Hall and you have to walk through an “active” Ice Hockey Rink to get to it. FREEZING!!! There was so much smoke in the venue, that I didn’t get any good photos. Bill and Susann Loop are here. He is the man who purchased the Bellamy Brothers to perform for his wife’s birthday this past August. Such great people. They watched the show from backstage with me. And, I have to say that is was an amazing performance. Those guys just ROCKED. They are way better than the Texas Tornados ever thought about being. Had one moment during the show where I had a Texas Tornado flashback. They started discussing the set list on stage and it went on for what seemed like 5 minutes. I’m sure it wasn’t but it sure brought back memories. They did a lot of Tornados songs in the set, too. The audience was on their feet dancing from the first note and never stopped. They brought them back for two encores and would have kept them there all night if feasible. What a great evening. I’m so glad I came to this festival and found out how truly wonderful they are. I’m definitely going to be pitching them HARD for dates in 2009. It’s 3 am. Must be my bedtime! Have soundcheck and show with Rick Trevino tomorrow. Supposed to snow – again. Jude
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4TH:
I swear today was like the movie “Ground Hog Day”. Got up to eat breakfast and it was raining. Turned to huge snowflakes while we were eating. Snowed for about an hour and didn’t stick. Then the same weather as yesterday! Went over to the great gym again and got a really good workout. Quick shower and off to sound check. Everyone was still talking about how great Tex Mex Experience was last night. Rick’s sound check was more like a band rehearsal than sound check because he is using a couple of Tex Mex’s musicians and a guy from Germany. They sounded great though. The promoter is refusing to answer his cell phone because the show is sold out and everyone is calling him begging for him to get them in. He said he has a very long waiting list already. What a terrific problem to have. Dinner was very early – 5:15 pm because the show starts earlier tonight. That was fine with me because I hadn’t eaten since 9:30 am this morning. Great meal at my friend’s hotel again. Came back to the room and worked until 10 pm when it was time to go to the show. We won’t finish until at least 1 am and I have to come back, take a shower and leave for the airport by 5 am. The “leave” time was wrong in our itinerary and I thought everyone knew. Had a last minute panic to get everyone there on time but all was good. The place was packed and then some. Rick Trevino was awesome. What an amazing voice he has. The audience loved it as much as they did last night and his musicians sounded like they had been playing with him forever…a really good indication of what great musicians they truly are. Saw lots of my “Swiss” friends there tonight. This entire festival is arranged by volunteers. Everyone works so hard because they love Country Music. This is the first year they have held the event on Friday and Saturday night. It’s usually only on Saturday night. I can’t say enough good things about Thomas and Sonya and Rene and everyone who worked so hard to make it a first class event. So, it’s almost 1:30 am. I left Rick signing autographs and his road manager will take care of him. I have to get up at 4 am to depart to the airport so I need to take a shower and get the “smoke smell” off of me. They haven’t banned smoking in this part of Switzerland, darn it. Will be in Washington, DC for a couple of days of meetings. No way I’ll be able to see all my friends up there in such a short period of time. I haven’t been there since May which is a very long absence for me! Jude
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5TH:
Guess I was pretty tired when I typed last night’s road report. I titled it THURSDAY instead of SATURDAY. Got one hour of sleep. Bus arrived at 5 am and everyone was ready to go. Becky Hobbs rode with us to the airport. I tried to sleep on the bus but couldn’t. Sure hope I can sleep on the flight home. Okay, not home. To DC! Since everyone else was leaving at 10 am and my flight didn’t leave until 12 noon, I had to wait an hour for the check-in counter to open. Then I walked around looking for a book and finally decided to wait until I got to the gate area. Was also going to eat something so I wouldn’t have to eat airplane food. When I got to the gate area, there were hardly any shops there. NOWHERE to even buy a magazine, much less a book and no restaurants. Tex Mex and Becky ended up in the same gate area, so I got to say goodbye to them once more. Looks like business class is completely full and the only aisle seats available were either bulkhead (which I HATE) or the last row by the galley. Guess I’ll listen to flight attendants the entire trip! So, I get on the plane and it is one that has the seats “reconfigured”. My seat is facing BACKWARDS…something I did not want to experience. And, it is the last row, so my “view” is the galley. At least the new seats are the kind that lay totally FLAT. Very nice. Since I only had one hour of sleep, I was looking forward to sleeping the entire flight. I didn’t eat the meal offered and was going to the restroom before hopefully passing out. Only the galley was between me and the toilet and the flight attendants had parked their cart there. I waited and waited and waited and they never moved it. I finally went around to the other side of the plane. Slept for about 2 hours and then the flight attendants decided it was time to start “cooking” in the galley. I don’t know why since it was an 11 hour flight back to DC. Gave up and watched “Get Smart”. Horrible movie but my friend Karri Turner had a part in it so I wanted to see her. Never saw her but her name was on the credits so I guess I just missed it. We actually landed early in DC and for the first time, I went to the DC arrivals area rather than making a connection. Decided to exchange some of my Swiss Francs back to U.S. Dollars as I was exiting. There was a nice man working the booth and he appeared to be Indian. As he handed me my change, he said, “You are so beautiful”. Now, I’ve had 3 hours of sleep in 24 hours and been in the same clothes for almost as long. That poor man needs to come up with another line or get some glasses because I looked ROUGH! My taxi driver was waiting for me and took me to the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City – my favorite hotel in all of DC. Haven’t been here since May and I’ve really missed it. The weather in DC is beautiful, so I went for a 5 mile run on one of their fantastic jogging trails. Have been catching up on emails and going to be early because I have lots of meetings tomorrow. Good to be home for a couple of days. Leaving for Japan next week. Jude