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Day 3

...I wake up 3 hours later and find the keys to the van. I dazily mope down the stairs of Nick's flat and out in to the cold and foggy morning air of San Francisco. I find the van down the street with no tickets and breath a sigh of relief. I move the van to a restricted parking zone in front of Nick's flat and put change in the meter for the maximum amount of time the vehicle is allowed to be parked there (30 minutes). The security gate locked behind me when I exited and I can't get back in without ringing the doorbell and waking up the entire house.  I send a group text message to everyone telling them that they need to load their gear before we get ticketed or towed and hope that at least one of them didn't switch their cell phone to silent mode.

While waiting and feeding the meter I witness a homeless man punch a crackhead woman in the face. Their loud and violent altercation provides me with entertainment as I wait.  45 minutes later DRIVER X, Brian and Patrick appear from the door of Nick's flat. Eventually everyone has their shit loaded in to the van and I remember that I am supposed to give Nick the CD for an album I mastered for him. I do and we re-park the van and go to a place with a clever name (which escapes me) for breakfast. Nick, Patrick, Brian and I eat an amazing breakfast. DRIVER X eats a power bar, drinks two cups of coffee and smokes 2 clove cigarettes for breakfast outside the café on the sidewalk.

DRIVER X seems to have an endless supply of clove cigarettes and had been smoking them liberally throughout the trip so far. This leads to Brian and Patrick to concoct a game during breakfast for day 3. The game consists of Brian, Patrick and myself guessing how many clove cigarettes DRIVER X smokes before he enters the Good Hurt in Los Angeles. The person closest to the actual amount gets to get blasted at the show. The person farthest away that night must remain sober for the night. Brian guesses 10, I guess 12, Patrick guesses 15.

We say our goodbyes to Nick and pile into the claustrophobically packed van.
We begin the "6" hour drive to LA which mysteriously turns in to a 7 hour drive. I don't think too much about it because we have plenty of time.

It is a mostly uneventful drive but at some point I believe Brian gets to take the wheel and drive a little bit. We discuss the ever growing size of the city of Los Angeles while eagerly watching DRIVER X's clove cigarette intake rise above the count of 10. Eventually I hear from Nick notifying me I fucked up on the mastering of his album and I have to do it again.

We eventually pull up to the Good Hurt in Venice Beach. I get out and check the front door. Not open. I check the back door. Not open. I go back to the front and look at the posters for shows. There is no Uglyhead tour poster there.
We wait for someone to show up. The clove count on DRIVER X at this point is 12. I have a shot at winning.

Eventually a disheveled looking man carrying an upright bass on his back shows up
and introduces himself as the manager for the night. He informs us that we can't
enter the venue yet because he has to wait for his staff to show up. We ask if 
he can suggest a good place to eat within walking distance. He rambles off a few
places and a South American food restaurant catches my fancy.

We split up in different directions towards the food of our choice. I am unsuccessful
in finding the South American food restaurant so I start looking for other options.
I take note of a strange Mexican food restaurant called "Taqueria De Chihuahua"
that shares the same building with a really sketchy looking pet store. I keep walking and
find some sort of Mexican grill place and get a burrito.

We meet back up at the club and realize we have let DRIVER X out of our sight and there is no telling how many clove cigarettes he could have smoked and we abandon the game.

We enter the Good Hurt and it is a really nice venue. It is clean (except for the flooded men's bathroom), it has a nice stage and lighting, it is dark and moody. The club has a strange hospital theme to it and the bartender is an attractive blonde wearing a nurse outfit. We find out that the manager is playing that night as part of two piece blues outfit called the "Reverend and the Doctor" (the manager is the doctor).

The first band plays and is completely not who we should have been playing with.
It was a female fronted R&B/Pop group featuring a singer with huge hair and huge
hoop earrings. Confused I step outside and end up meeting the "Reverend."
He is a nice guy who regularly performs blues around the country and has lots of contacts.
After talking he finds out that we have a day off in Texas that weekend and offers
to get us a show in Galveston on Saturday. He makes some calls and we find
out that there is a hurricane coming and they are evacuating Galveston.

Being that I don't even know where Galveston is I don't get too intimidated but
kinda get some bad vibes. Patrick is from Texas so I question the location
of Galveston and find out it is near Houston where we do have a show.

The second act plays and it is a fat nerdy looking kid with a really nice guitar who does
Beatles covers and fucks them up. After each fuck up he starts the song over until he gives up.

At this point we have no real way of figuring out the condition of the hurricane and
it sounds so far away it doesn't seem like much of a threat.

A 3rd act plays which is some sort of male/female acoustic duo and I am trying to
figure out how this bill got put together. I am standing alone outside when I am
approached by DRIVER X who informs me that he doesn't think Patrick knows how to drive his
van up hills. I tell DRIVER X that none of us would have anything to gain by hurting his
van and that we would all love to learn how to drive it and make him feel comfortable
with us driving it. I inform him that all he needs to do is open up a line of 
communication with Patrick and let him know what he is doing wrong.

DRIVER X does not talk to Patrick.  I sense things starting to go sour. The littlest of problems become big problems while touring and I see this coming from a mile away.
We play our set to like 6 people and it seems to go over well with most of them but
especially well with the nurse/bartender. We take note because we need a floor to crash on. After our set I chat up the bartender and realize she is stoned out of her mind. We make decent conversation but I don't really get anywhere. Brian makes a really valiant effort at talking to her and getting us a place to stay but no dice...

The Reverand and the Doctor start to play and I step outside. I have really bad vibes because I realize DRIVER X is not going to talk to Patrick about how to drive his van and that I am somehow expected to tell Patrick that DRIVER X has a problem with him driving.
At some point during the night Patrick sees DRIVER X drinking again and tells DRIVER X that he (Patrick) is going to drive in a gesture to let DRIVER X know that he can continue drinking if he wants to. Somehow DRIVER X takes this gesture as a demand on Patrick's part and thinks that Patrick just gave him directions in matters concerning his van. DRIVER X gets offended but keeps it to himself and tells me he is going to quit drinking so he can drive later that night because he doesn't want Patrick driving.

At the end of the night we have no place to stay and a long drive to Phoenix, AZ. 
My memory is blurry here but DRIVER X gets oddly defensive about driving and after some sort of small argument he winds up behind the driver's wheel with me in the passenger seat staying awake to make sure nothing terrible happens. Against everyone's better judgement I think DRIVER X was behind the wheel again intoxicated.

We navigate out of LA and in to the vast deserts of Arizona as I struggle to stay awake keeping watch over DRIVER X. We stop several times so DRIVER X can get some coffee. We stop at one particularly strange rest area at about 4 AM. I get out of the van while Brian and Patrick sleep in the back seat. I look up and let the warm desert wind run across my face. I notice the immense amount of visible stars and see the constellation of Scorpius brightly standing out from the rest.
I go for a short walk and feel calm and happy. I am finally realizing that I am far 
away from Seattle and an adventure is starting.
I get back in the van and we drive on into the warm windy blackness in silence until I notice
hints of blue along the horizon as the sun begins to rise on a new day...

Day 4

...to be continued...

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