Day 22 and we're all bearing up okay, some of us 'lifers' who've been on the tour since the start are starting to feel a bit jaded, but we're in the home stretch of the run now - I am still 'looking forward' and 'excited' about our remaining gigs (5 more shows) but it'll be good to get home. Today we fly to San Jose to our last gig in California, before flying off to Wyoming, where we will play shows and then finish off in Iowa and Nebraska (cold places).
We were up early to leave the hotel at Cerritos at 8.15 am, the taxi that arrived wasn't big enough for us all, plus our luggage - but we all managed to squeeze in.
At airports, we are often asked by passers by, passengers, pilots and airport staff etc, "What's in those cases? Are you guys a band? Will you play something?
The correct answers to these questions are: "Ukuleles - Yes - Probably not. However we have had some fun and interesting conversations and people have been warm and friendly. So above, Leisa explains to a puzzled woman, who we are and what we are doing.
Ben writes postcards home, he has three kids - so he has to write three times as many postcards as I do, Rich stares down the line...
The flight to San Jose was about an hour, I had my customary Bloody Mary, as did Doug, but for some reason the stewardess couldn't get our (Uk) credit cards to register, so we had a free drink on Alaska Air - Cheers! (why are we travelling Alaska Air in California? - don't ask me!)
Arrival at San Jose Airport, our gig tomorrow is a matinee, in Modesto, which is about 80 miles away, so we all piled into another bus.
Here's our taxi driver, Mr Purple (maybe he's a Prince fan) I'll bet he's wearing purple underpants - he instantly inspired confidence by driving the wrong up a one way street, coming out of the airport.
The landscape is different in this part of California, with rolling hills etc.
This is the 12th hotel we've stayed in
Jonty informed me that Modesto is the birthplace of George Lucas, who started the Star Wars franchise. Lucas also made the film American Graffitti, and a lot of it was filmed in this town. One thing I notice in many of these towns is the plaintive honk of the train whistle - its very evocative and very american, I guess much of America was built on the back on the railroad, and so they often run right through the middle of town. I've several times seen the barriers come down at level crossings, and stay down for 10 minutes, while a frieght train (miles long) slowly passes through.
The town was buzzing when we arrived in the late afternoon, but since I had run out of clean clothes and the hotel didn't have a laundry room, I had to go to a laundrette (Sudz) a mile away, which meant walking around downtown and seeing a bit of it.
Splendid old deco-style headquarters of the Teamsters Union.
and here's how I spent Saturday night - gig tomorrow Campers......