One day Jack asked me if there were any concerts I’d be willing to go see. Being someone who loathes both crowds and noise, I could only come up with Walk The Moon, mainly because I’ve seen them several times before (they generally play at smaller venues, so the crowd factor is, well, less of a factor) and I love their modern-day 80’s-ness, high-energy performances, and about 98% of their songs. He was less than enthused about this option, but it started a rather ongoing conversation about concerts (he happens to feel similarly about them).
This got me thinking, and I was inspired by our daily YouTube playlist (In Your Eyes gets played pretty much daily in our house), so I got tickets to the upcoming Peter Gabriel concert in Milwaukee (yes, I am voluntarily going to Milwaukee) for his birthday back in June.
Another staple of our playlist (it really should be titled ‘Bathroom Listening,’ because we’re still new enough in our romance (and hope to always be) that we like turn on some jams for the other to enjoy when it’s time for a…… ‘Grumpy’ (thank you, Johnny Depp for that little delight)) is Adult Education, which is our favored Hall & Oates song.
At some point during birthday celebrations, with concerts on the brain, we ended up online and saw that a Queen tribute band was playing at the casino in Escanaba for $10. That was a no-brainer, and with seating for maybe 1500 in the theatre there, there wasn’t even such a thing as a bad seat, paired with a very manageable crowd, comparatively. Let me now tie these things together……we had so much fun at the Queen tribute band, that we got to looking for Hall & Oates tickets, agreeing that they probably play at casinos, and that clearly is the concert venue for us. Naturally, these great ideas happen after a nightcap or three. Indeed there was a concert at a casino near Minneapolis (which we would swear to this day that when we looked it up on the Google Maps was only 5 or so hours from us), so we promptly bought tickets and booked ourselves a room at a nearby hotel (the casino was outrageously expensive), figuring that most casinos have shuttles to/from other area hotels. At least that’s what happens in the Yoop. That is not what happens at the Mystic Lake Casino, which btw, is 8 hours away from us, not 5. Or so.
There, you will take an overpriced Uber from your hotel that smells strongly of curry and baghar, to said casino. You will also there learn that there was no reason for you to have switched the radio station every time a Hall & Oates song came on during the 8-hour drive (which was 4 times, to be exact) just in case you worried you were going to get Hall & Oates-ed out that day, because you will not indeed be seeing Hall & Oates. You will be seeing Daryl Hall, with his guest, Todd Rundgren, and will hear precisely one actual Hall & Oates song (it was not Adult Education, which is both fortunate and unfortunate – obviously that’s our favorite, but had that been the song, we may have needed to make a mad dash to the bathroom in a Pavlovian response). To clarify here, we are idiots and just didn’t realize we never actually had tickets for Hall & Oates; we just labored under that misapprehension for 6 weeks, since we apparently stopped reading after we saw ‘Hall.’
Once we got over the confusion of who we were actually seeing in concert, it was awesome.
That cannot be said about the drive the following day, which was one of the longest 3 hour drives I’ve ever had in my life. Suffering from the wrath of grapes, I wasn’t in my best driving shape to start. That was coupled with about 4 miles of motorcyclists, presumably on their way back from Sturgis. I abhor driving near bikers. Next to them. Beside them. Doesn’t matter. Anywhere near them. They freak me out, and for some reason that doesn’t make sense to me, always seem to be super close to the dividing line. Naturally this encounter happened in a construction area, so I didn’t even have a shoulder as a bolster.
We had just made it past these hundreds and hundreds of bikes, when Jack says words no driver ever wants to hear: “Get past that Amazon truck as fast as you can.” Ummm, what’sthatnow?
I had been so focused on not taking out a bunch of bikes, I missed the fancy maneuvers of the Amazon truck ahead of us. At that point though, I watched said Amazon truck, who was in front of us in the left lane, drift on over into the right lane and run another box truck of some nondescript variety off the damn road. Like seriously, had there not been an exit ramp at that exact moment, the box truck would have been in a ditch. As sphincter-clenching as it was for me to watch, I daresay Mr. Amazon Man owes Mr. Box Truck a new pair of underpants.
Eventually we made it to our overnight in Wausau, which did NOT smell of curry and baghar, and had the biggest whirlpool I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously, if we’d had floats, it would have made a great (hot) lazy river. On an aside, I’m not sure if all strip clubs are like this, but the one we went to in Wausau required three patrons to be there before anyone would actually get up and dance, so we ended up being there for 3 hours instead of the anticipated ‘quick drink.’
The following day was the best of the drive days…it was another 3-hour drive up toward a casino in Baraga, where we were staying so that we could meet up with Jack’s son, Izaak, the following morning. It was a nice sunny day, good country roads with not an interstate in sight, and blessedly lacking in idiot drivers. BTWs, if you ever find yourself in the fair hamlet of Rhinelander, I highly, highly recommend treating yourself to a meal at Casa Mexicana. Best Mexican food I’ve had in the last decade or so, hands-down. YUM.
It was on this day that we jointly decided my next car should be one with a lot of horses under the hood. I’m not a bad driver, but would be better if instead of wondering if the Subaru can get its ass around the car in front of me in time, I just knew it could.
Anyway, the rest of the trip was rather nondescript (Jack and Izaak golfed in the morning while I caught up on some reading, and we stopped for a little hike at Canyon Falls after) until we were in the vicinity of Rapid River, about 50 miles from home. We were blazing down Route 2 when I noticed something weird was happening with the hood of the car. It was…..wobbly. I quickly pulled over, to discover that the hood latch had UN-latched itself mid-drive and was hanging on by the safety latch! Not only had it unlatched itself, it could not be re-latched!
A million years ago when I was stationed in Hawaii, my boyfriend’s car hood did this during a drive, and the motherfucker came flying up and smashed into the windshield going 70 on the highway. It was horrifying, and I naturally had that image in my head.
As we were resigning ourselves to the fact that we were looking at about 3 hours to home instead of the anticipated 45 minutes (because if I had to drive with the hood not adequately secured, rest assured I’d be driving half on the shoulder going about 20MPH with flashers on until (in my imagination, anyway) a state trooper would pull me over and then escort me home, a truck pulled up behind us and a very nice couple got out to ask if they could help. If only. They were also unsuccessful in their attempts to get the damn hood down, but they had something we didn’t have (but will now be adding to the car safety kit) – duct tape.
Thanks to those Good Samaritans, we made it safely, and relatively quickly home, to be greeted by the (now No-Flap-Ear-Wrap-less) boy.
What an adventure!
I haven’t forgotten about the tale of Gatsby & the Baby Skunk, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Hopefully sometime before 2024.