-The “holy shit I’m actually doing this” anxiety runs thick through my veins.
Tomorrow night Renee and I are getting in the car after work to drive to New York, NY. Pulling an all nighter getting there bright and early Thursday morning to look at apartments.
We haven’t left yet and I’m already having flashbacks of us driving out there to play with Otto Vector.
604 miles in a 15 year old rusted out van. It’s surreal to look back on. But we did it. We really did. With no money, no industry contacts, no contracts, we tried it. To see if we could go out there and show New York what Detroit was all about.
And then, our first time ever driving out there to play, the night we left, they closed the turnpike due to one of the biggest snowstorms in history. They had to call in the National Guard.
This is no joke, there’s a wikapedia link on it:
It was called “THE 2007 NORTH AMERICA BLIZZARD!!!”
It wasn’t bad through Ohio and most of Pennsylvania.
We got to the roadblocks about the edge of the Pocono’s and had to get off the highway.
We needed to get off and let the van rest anyway. I think we estimated it ran for almost 19 hours straight that first leg of the trip.
Oh and how do you get to New York without the turnpike? I asked a lady working at Mc Donald’s in the tiny town that same question.
A grown woman says to me, “I don’t know sweetie, my husband’s the only one that drives us. He takes us to work.” Huh. So there’s no other way? “Well I could ask my husband…”
The night before, I slept on the steel floor in between the first row and the front seats. I couldn’t get comfortable on the upright bench.
There was no heat in back.
The defrost was the only working heating source in the van and it was an inferno erupting a stream of volcanic hot air that hung just and only above your head. Making you sweat through your coat if your head was too high and chill to your bones if you where below seat level. Toe warmers were useless.
I laid my pillow against the remnants of what used to be the backseat heater. A pile of broken plastic, crumpled barely attached to the drivers seat by some sketchy wires. I slept on and off for about an hour.
If I remember correctly we all agreed it took us 26 hours to get from Detroit to New York City. The 2007 North America Blizzard dropped a total of 48 inches of snow, killed 37 people, and was responsible for $50 Million Dollars in damage.
We made it to the city just a few hours before soundcheck at Piano’s. We checked into our hotel in Midtown, took an hour to get cleaned up.
There was supposed to be parking for our van at the hotel. But it wouldn’t fit in their parking garage. Even though the concierge assured me on the phone that it would fit. “Full size van? Sure no problem. Have a good day my friend.”
Rust white, GMC Rally Wagon, 1992, full size. We lost a hubcap somewhere in the Pocono’s, the muffler had also came lose. Parked in front of a classy New York Hotel.
Because I bitched out the concierge for telling me on the phone it would fit, he agreed to allow me to bribe the valet $40 to “watch over it for the night.” It would be safe if I left it out front.
I also got free breakfast for 2 the next morning, for my inconvenience.
When we drove in the city I took over. I was always the “City Driver.” I don’t really know why. I drive like a dick and I have ran into a dumpster in New York City while going the wrong way on a one-way street.
Those of us living in Detroit know that those signs are merely suggestions. In New York, they take them very seriously. I was almost attacked by a gang of yuppies screaming, “wrong way!” It was a big deal to them.
Our trip tomorrow night is going to be quite the departure from the days of Otto Vector. Roughin it with the band.
I’ve honestly never drove to New York City having the luxury of Air Conditioning.
Or seatbelts for that matter!
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to spending time with my wife and seeing what new adventures lie ahead in New York.
May the hardest days of your future be better than the happiest days of your past.