Month 1

October 28, 2011

It’s been just over a month since we took to the road.  Still on the fence about the whole thing, but that’s really just because of all the unexpected repairs.  We’re coming up on the last leg of the first leg of our tour (meaning the point at which I got really bored with booking and stopped doing it).  Next week we’re heading back in the eastern direction with a radio show outside of Pittsburgh and a nice little run in upstate New York culminating in our showcase at The Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and a gig at Bar 4 in Brooklyn on 11/18…which brings me to our latest trailer drama:

Looks like we’ve got to replace the furnace.  We haven’t used it since the alarm went off, but luckily our brand new air conditioner has a “heat strip” in it which can keep you somewhat warm down to 38 degrees.  This wouldn’t be an issue if we weren ‘t going to be gigging in upstate New York and NYC through Thanksgiving – but if the temperatures drop too low our pipes might burst…and if that happens I might just turn on our furnace and fall asleep forever.

So the only option is to winterize the trailer until we can afford a new furnace and/or head back down south.  This entails flushing all the water systems out and filling them up with anti-freeze (or something like that)- which means that we won’t have any running water 🙁  BUT it would probably be too cold to shower anyway 🙂

Still, I’d rather be living in a broke down trailer than stuck in an apartment in NYC – not sure if that’s a reflection of how awesome trailer life is, or how terrible it is to live in the city… probably the latter.  There really is no better way to lower your expectations than spending a few years in New York City 😉

So, Northeastern friends and family, we’ll be boondocking in your neighborhood soon!  See ya then!







NC to TN to OH

October 17, 2011

To the three people who read this blog: I’m sorry to leave you hanging!

North Carolina was great.  I have another crazy story but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share this publicly.  It involves a young man joining the armed forces straight out of high school after being assured that he was non-deployable, then realizing that there is no such thing as “non-deployable,” and the resulting ordeal involved in trying to get out of the army before being sent off to war.  Suffice it to say, it wasn’t easy but did make a very entertaining story.

After North Carolina we headed to Knoxville, TN…side note, did you know you could rent a two bedroom house in Knoxville for $500 a month? With a garden and a porch?  And Knoxville is a pretty awesome place – really small, but a TON of musicians there and music happening all over the place…and yes, vegan treats.

We played two great shows on WDVX, East-Tennessee’s public radio station based out of the visitor’s center in downtown Knoxville.  First, how cool is that?  Free, live music every day broadcast live from the visitor’s center!  I don’t know why more cities don’t adopt something like this; it’s great for tourism, great for local artists and great for attracting touring acts.  WDVX is so supportive of independent music AND they started out years ago in a travel trailer! You can check ’em out here.

After four days in Knoxville we headed up to Ohio to visit our best friend, Ryan…and play a few shows.  Friday we were in Cincinnati and next Friday we’ll be heading to Athens for a show at one of our all time favorite venues, Donkey Coffee.

In trailer news, we got some new tires and our trailer started smelling like urine…probably unrelated.  I could really get used to this – not the urine part – but the living in a trailer.  Being on the road has a timeless quality to it, and I’ve lost all concept of time, which I actually really enjoy.

The other night our carbon monoxide alarm went off – we didn’t buy it, the previous owner just left it in there (pretty handy it turns out).  I wasn’t sure if it worked at all..usually there’s just a little green light that flashes sometimes – but the other night an alarm went off and the friendly green light switched to a red light.  This morning I realized that below the red light it says “move to fresh air.”  We didn’t move to fresh air, but we did open the roof vent and turn on the extractor fan and the air conditioner – to be honest, I was too tired to really care much about dying.  My only concern was that I would wake up next to Elie’s lifeless corpse, which I’m not sure I could deal with – but the thought didn’t keep me awake for too long…maybe it was the carbon monoxide.  So just in case we both die of carbon monoxide poisoning (because Elie will NOT be dying without me) take comfort in the fact that we died free and happy, and we do really enjoy our rest!


Week 2

October 7, 2011

Well, week 2 has seen some drastic improvements.

We found a great airstream service place in Greensboro, NC and dropped our trailer there for a few days.  Good thing we found the leak, because it turns out the shocks were thirty years old and basically useless.  So they replaced the rotten flooring, the shocks, plugged up the leaks and holes in the frame, changed the leaky pipes AND we splurged and had an air conditioner installed.  So now we’re super fancy and can go to Florida and Texas without the risk of heat stroke associated with living in a large aluminum oven.  We burnt through most of our money way ahead of schedule, but it was money well spent.

Right now we’re parked at an RV/trailer park near the Carborro/Chapel Hill area in North Carolina.  We had a chance to chat with the trailer park owner, and it was really fascinating.  First, I had never heard an Asian immigrant with a mix of an Asian and Southern US accent – and it’s really awesome.  He’s from Vietnam, used to tour around the US with a band.  He fought in the Vietnam war against the US, his entire family was killed, they wanted to cut off his head but he managed to escape and spent three weeks on a boat without food or water.  In order to survive he ate dogs, cats, insects and eventually humans.  He says this all very casually and without a trace of self pity.  Sometimes I really wish I had a video camera strapped to my forehead, I’m sorry you missed it.

Right now we’re in a coffee shop in Carrboro waiting for our show tonight at Open Eye Cafe.  Really good coffee and vegan goodies.

In other news, we’ve got some new full-band live videos up.  One of our newer songs, “Better off” and our minor, gypsy-jazz take on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Check ’em out!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Better Off





October 2, 2011

Apologies for the dead silence this past week…its been crazy.  Living in a 30 year old trailer has its challenges, as we’ve been discovering.  I was envisioning a relaxed, care-free lifestyle – lazily meandering down the highways and byways (what are those anyway?) of this crazy, beautiful country.  Needless to say, it’s been a kind of rude awakening.  It’s neither relaxing nor care-free…and we have a closer relationship with our sewage than I ever cared to imagine.

There’s a patch of rotten wood, a few pipe leaks and no power inverter (which means boondocking would be tough).  Oh yes, and Elie’s allergic to the trailer.  I’ve suddenly become aware of just how many things can go terribly wrong when you’re carrying your house on your back at 65 miles an hour.  Who knew this would all be so complicated?

So after our show today in Norfolk, VA we’re driving to Winston-Salem, NC to bring our trailer to an Airstream repair place.  We’ve got four shows in North Carolina and then on October 10th we head to Knoxville…so hopefully the trailer will be fixed by that time (at minimal cost!)  Until then, we’ll be homeless in North Carolina.

All in all, I can’t say yet whether I like this new lifestyle or not.  I don’t regret it, which is a good sign.  But I’m trying to withhold judgement for another few weeks.  We’re still adjusting.

On the upside, we got to spend some time in Richmond, VA, which is a place I would actually consider moving to.  It’s a really nice city; small enough and green enough to not feel overwhelming, but with tons of culture and arts.  Of course my main criteria for loving a place mostly depends on how vegan-friendly they are and how good the coffee is…and Richmond went above and beyond.  We played a show at a coffee shop called Globehopper-  BEST COFFEE EVER! I mean subtle, perfectly roasted, perfectly brewed, PERFECTION!  The only down side is that I had managed to lower my coffee expectations to the point that any old Starbucks could be, not good, but at least semi-palatable…well Globehopper has ruined all that.  The owner, Kimmy, is super nice and gave us these massive vegan chocolate cookie-concoctions stuffed full of peanut butter.  Oh Richmond, how I love you.  If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and get a cappuccino at Globehopper and thank me later.

After shows in Charlottesville and Williamsburg, we’re now chilling at a Starbucks (damn you, Globehopper!) in Norfolk, awaiting our show tonight.

Then we’ve got to high tail it back to our campsite, dump (really not fun), and start driving to North Carolina.  We’ll probably spend our first night in a Walmart parking lot tonight – is it weird that I’m kind of excited about that?


Next stop: Norfolk, VA

Gigs so far: 5

Miles so far: 1319