Ben Jarvis of The Wild Feathers: Notes from the Road Entry 6

Day 18: Brekkies
Tupelo MS to Fayetteville AR

I think I'm to the point where I could pick out Holiday Inn's coffee in a blind taste test.

It's a very rare day if I do not rise in time for the free hotel breakfast. Or even a not free breakfast - I wake up to ensure myself something decent to eat before we hit the road again. I hit brekkies everyday (abbreviation for breakfast).

I try and find some excitement in the mystery of brekkies every morning. What will they have? Real eggs or the weird watery ones that seem fake? Decent fruit selection?? Brekkies mystery? Yeah, it's the small things. At Holiday Inns, they have this little machine that makes pancakes. You just press a button and this little robot pops out hot pancakes for you. I've never tried the robot pancakes. Perhaps if it bleeped and booped like a real robot I would try it. Better yet, if it talked in that creepy old robot voice that the Speak & Spell had.

Yes, every morning I look forward to what brekkies will hold and how it could separate itself from the previous brekkies. Much like breakfast at home, only in an opposite way. At home, you look forward to having a morning with your lover, or pets, or alone but surrounded by the artifacts that define a home. Your home. If you don't have a home, you perhaps try and make one for yourself at your own brekkies - that is different every morning. And maybe I've put too much thought into brekkies. But it is the most important meal of the day. So there.

Day 19: More Morning Thoughts
Fayetteville AR to St. Louis MO

When I was new to this, I would snap awake in the mornings and ask myself where the hell am I. I know I'm in a hotel, but where on the map. Now I wake everyday with the thought of I don't know where I am, but it will come to me. Not in St. Louis, that's where I'm going. Not in Mississippi, that's where I came from. Not in LA, not even going there this tour. Ah, Fayetteville, Arkansas. At first, it was scary not knowing every single morning, but I've learned to live with it and just let the answer come whenever it does.

However, what is scary is when you partially wake up way too early in the morning, and in your halfsleep start freaking out because you don't know what time you leave and you've overslept and fucked up the entire schedule for the day! Shit! Should I call the tour manager? No, it's 4:30am and we leave at 10, go back to sleep, asshole.

Then, whenever you're home, the first morning thought is what time are we leaving? I don't know where we're going! No one told me what time we are leaving! Of course they didn't, because there is no show today. You're home and don't have to leave. And that's when you start to wonder if your home is your home or just another place you pass through, just like everywhere else.


Day 20: It Takes a Long Drive to Think About Drive
St. Louis MO to Denver CO

Not exactly sure how long the drive from St. Louis to Denver is. But we'll just go ahead and call it “all day” and we'll get there when we get there. It's actually about a 14 or 15 hour drive. At the moment of writing this, we're about 12 hours in, and oddly enough I do not feel overly stupid or about to crack.

I did just have a moment listening to some music, though. Something on Facebook today reminded me of my old band, Oblio. Tonight I went back and listened to the last record we made made. That was about 4 and a half years ago when we recorded it. It was not merely nostalgic value that got me feeling sentimental. Nor was it thinking about how much I and my life have changed since then. Simply, I was moved listening to it because of how much I enjoyed listening to it.

We slaved making that record. Labored and mulled over every single piece of it. I tortured myself over every single drum note. Months, years trying to get the perfect drum parts. When the record was finished, I was happy with it. Kind of. I was always thinking it was never good enough. We weren't good enough or trying hard enough or doing anything enough. Maybe that's my personality. Never satisfied, never arriving. Maybe at the time I was too wrapped up in wanting to be so fucking good that I never realized how good we were. Listening to it tonight, I was blown away. Every single piece of it resonated with me like I always wanted it to. Holy shit, that's ME playing drums?! It was as if I'd never even heard or thought about the lyrics before - as they are all so thoughtful and relatable, touching and brilliant.

I'm still trying to garner a lesson here. I'm sure there is one, but I don't see it yet. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself. But wouldn't that result in complacency? So how do you balance the drive to succeed and to get better while still enjoying the fruits of your labor? Ambition is a heavy, heavy burden. Yet you're nowhere without it. At the same time, why try and create something if you cannot step back from it after giving it your all and say “fuck yeah!” Maybe it's wiser to allow yourself to be pleased before worrying about fulfilling some sort of counterfeit expectation thrust upon you from makeshift social norms and/or business models - and therein lies the self-preservation you need to grow.

And maybe I should have listened to my dear friend Terry Price (the voice of Oblio) when he sang “Absence makes it hard for understanding to shine through. Come on, show some heart. I still love you. We've got the limbs and trees, the ways and means.”

Day 21
Denver CO to Boulder CO

Little treats are nice. Unexpected treats. After hitting a morning radio appearance in Denver, we had a good chunk of the day to kill in Boulder. The tiny pockets of Boulder I saw we're wonderful. I ventured out on a run to get some exercise in. I usually hit up whatever hotel fitness facilities there are for exercise, unless it is very good weather coupled with at least somewhat decent scenery. I'll be damned if I didn't have both today.

The treat was a trail I randomly happened upon. As I was running, I took a turn off the main road to check out what one of these Boulder neighborhoods was like. And in doing so I came to a trailhead that led up the mountain. I did not have the time or energy to go to the top of the mountain, but I no doubt enjoyed the green fields and the myriad wildflowers. The sleepy creek cutting through rocks. The green mountain next to me reaching for the wispy clouds.

A little treat, to find that. A mini vacation.


Day 22: Mishawaka
Boulder CO to Bellvue CO to Salt Lake City UT

Stapled to the banks of the Poudre River in the Poudre Canyon is the Mishawaka Amphitheater. It's in Bellvue, Colorado, but everyone there claims Bellvue is so tiny and therefore say it is in Fort Collins. I have to say, the Mishawaka Amphitheater is my favorite outdoor venue I've ever been to, much less played. Maybe that will change when we hit the Gorge, but for now it's Mishawaka.

The term amphitheater seems somewhat of an overstatement, however. It's more like a wooden shed with a stage in it next to a bar patio/deck. Fortunately enough, the stage sits literally right onthe river bank and the deck stretches out over the river. There is no bank on the other side of the river. Rather, an enormous green mountain springs right out of the Poudre River. Another mountain of equal size towers on our side of the river, obviously, completing the mighty Poudre Canyon. The standing area at the amphitheater to watch the show is meager, yet they still managed to sardine 700 and something folks in there.

The show was a blast. I feel like we hooked the crowd instantly. Lots of dancing. Lots of screaming. Too bad we had to hit the road immediately after playing. It was definitely a crowd you wanted to cut loose with and an environment that you wish you could live in.

So we gotta hit the road, aiming for Salt Lake City to spend the night, so we'll have enough time to make it to the Sasquatch Festival in Washington.


Make sure to see The Wild Feathers before their tour is over! Make sure you check out all of Ben Jarvis's awesome entries. You can see his last one here! and be sure to read all the rest too.

Posted Jun 10, 2013 12:04:17 pm

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