I left Sacramento at 7:00 a.m., in order to make Phoenix on time for a good night sleep before Saturday’s Mayday Pit Bull Rescue benefit.
I was making good time. L.A. of course slowed me down, but sportstalk radio about the Cardinals’ Game 6 kept me in a good mood.
East of Palm Springs, almost to Arizona, I was listening to Game Seven. Bottom of the 6th inning. Suddenly, the radio died. Dash lights dimmed. Headlights started to fade. And finally, my trusty 1990 Toyota Corolla Wagon died altogether — Alternator.
The streak is over. Not a single on-the-road breakdown since I went solo, until now. (My old Subaru Loyale broke down several times back when I had a band.)
Now I’m sitting here at Denny’s in Blythe. The Arizona-California border. Day 2 of tour. 8:00 pm. And the gig is tomorrow is at Noon! 160 miles away.
But the show must go on. And I’m trying to figure out a way to make the gig. If it were my own gig, in a bar or coffeehouse, I might feel free to cancel and get a hotel room. But this is a benefit performance for some good folks who are counting on me. I’m figuring out a Greyhound bus schedule. Or maybe I’ll just go out onto Interstate 10 with my guitar, a flashlight and a big sign that says “Gig in the morning in Phoenix!”
The car was towed — with all my gear in it, everything that’s important to the basic infrastructure of my life! Merle the tow truck driver, who also goes by Dale, has taken care of it. It’s in the Ace tow yard, secure, instead of the Ace Auto Repair parking lot. (Also, he isn’t fazed by my black nail polish. He used to be a DJ in Pennsylvania where my wife grew up, and in Daytona, FL where he rocked Spring Break.)
So, what happens next? A solution I didn’t even consider. The Pit Bull Rescuers in Phoenix are coming to pick me up. 2 1/2 hours each way! Richard & Kyleigh, my homestays.
Although it sucks to be broken down in the middle of the desert, this is the kind of treatment that really makes a guy feel worthwhile. A thick thread of gratitude runs through the frustration and anxiety of the situation.