We left the comfortable environs of scenic Saratoga Springs, NY for the uncertainty of green, mountainous Vermont. Would anyone show up to our show? Would our van survive the hilly terrain? Would we wake up in a strange, unknown location, covered head to toe in premium Grade B Vermont maple syrup?
Luckily, Vermont proved to be a veritable, sparsely populated, heaven on earth. Gorgeous scenery. Verdant hills. Free air and vac at gas stations. No prepaying at the pump. Charlie-O's World Famous (exactly what it's world famous for is not specified), the Montpelier bar where we played, was full of kind, free-spirited, jitterbugging souls. For instance, the guy who bought a CD before we'd even played because he liked our percussionist's equipment. And the turkey hunters who told us, "You boys got it!" And my old friend Andrew J. Westley who drove down from Burlington to see us the night before he had to move back to Wisconsin. And the motelier who claimed to have online chatted with Clint Eastwood earlier that day (Andrew: "Are you sure you were actually talking to Clint Eastwood?" Motelier: "Well, he wouldn't have been able to get away with it if he wasn't actually Clint Eastwood. The companies that run those chat rooms would find out and shut him down." Andrew: "Yeah . . . but . . . how could you really know?" Motelier: "Who knows? Who knows? But it was 3:30 my time, 12:30 his time - he was probably on lunch break. He was telling me about his latest film, Gran Torino." Andrew: "Well, just be careful if Clint Eastwood tells you to meet him in a dark alley." Motelier: "Oh, believe me, I know. I know. I know.")
But the Blue Ribbon, Gold Star champions of Montpelier were Robb and Sybren (see pic below, far left), the charming, awesome couple who let us stay with them at their place a few minutes away from Charlie-O's. The following morning Sybren cooked us up delicious scrambled eggs and pancakes (topped with premium Grade B Vermont maple syrup [normally used for cooking, but Robb said his dad used to make it and swears by its darker and more delicious properties (ed. - we agree)]) and Robb made us a mix CD for the road which included such gems as "Cherish" by Madonna and "Summer Nights" from Grease, as well as tracks by his band Entendre.
We love you, Vermont! Next stop: NYC!