The same could not be said for everyone else. The crew arrived from Mexico during the weekend, and starting on Monday the two winter quarters shops were bustling with activity from the morning until late at night.
Ryan and I snuck in to the paint shop a couple of times at night to rehearse the gags while Pete, Ryan's brother, practiced running our sound effects.
The majority of my time was spent getting my rig ready to hit the road. Two of the tires on my trailer (both on the rear axle), had slow leaks, so Castro switched them out with new tires while I took the old ones to be patched.
For the last half of the previous season, I would borrow John Moss's air compressor about once a week to fill the two tires back up. I'm sure we'll both enjoy me not having to do that this year.
I took my truck to Paris, TX to get the alignment that Castro suggested I get last summer. Hey, better late than never, right?
While I was there, I got two new tires put on the front of the vehicle.
(While writing this, I just realized that I spent about the same amount of money [over $400] on both my trip to the mechanic, and my trip to optometrist in Walterboro for contacts and new glasses. Damn my vanity! Wanting to ride in style AND look good while doing so!)
Aside from that I kept busy with little tasks like getting clothes and sheets washed, filling my propane tanks, and watching movies (that last one wasn't REALLY necessary, but I enjoyed it).
Finally the big day arrived, Friday the 1st of February. I was up bright and early, and I was the first to leave Winter Quarters around 7:20 a.m.
I drove straight through to our "halfway" point in Sheperd, TX, about 290 miles; I only stopped once to fill up my gas tank.
I was lucky enough to score a primo parking space right by the lot's entrance. I was also lucky enough to plug my trailer into city power. Yahoo!
We usually stop in Cleveland, TX on the way to Brownsville, but this year a rodeo was going on in the fairgrounds where we would normally park. (Last year that same rodeo came in and kicked us out around 4 a.m.)
While relaxing in my trailer, I thought I should go ahead and fill up a bucket of water for Emmie so he'd have something to drink and swim and poop in when we got to Brownsville.
I flipped on the switch for the pump, turned on my shower, and nothing but a trickle of water and some air came out.
I turned the pump off and then on again and tried once more. Nothing.
I then decided to step outside and investigate the pump. As I rounded the back of my trailer, I heard water splashing down on the ground. I looked and saw that it was pouring from under my trailer!
I quickly ran back inside and shut off the pump. The first thing I did was call Fridman, but he was still 100 miles away from Shepherd.
Fridman wondered if my pipes had frozen and burst (it was a balmy 27 degrees Fahrenheit when I left Hugo), but I told him that I had showered, done dishes, and filled up my tank before I left.
Regardless, I had to resign myself to no running water until Sunday morning at the earliest.
On Saturday morning I got up and left the lot in Shepherd by 6:00 a.m. Once again I made great time, only stopping for fuel, and I finished my 412 mile drive to Brownsville shortly after 1:00 p.m.
Apparently the weather has been beautiful in the Valley, so the lot was nice and dry.
Now there is a small chance for showers this weekend, but we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
Oh, cross! We'll cross that bridge when we get to it!
I was feeling pretty nasty after going over a day without a shower, so as soon as water was hooked up at the lot, I took a good ol' bucket bath.
It took me right back to my first year on the show when Ryan and I were living in the generator truck.
Now, where's my barf bag?
Luckily, everyone that departed from Hugo made it to Brownsville safely.
On Sunday Ryan, Pete, and I unloaded the props and put them in the tent once it was raised. The rest of the day and into the evening, the inside of the tent was used for setting up the new LED lights. Fancy!
Fridman came over in the afternoon to look at my water situation. Good thing too; I was tired of washing dishes with a bucket of water!
He quickly diagnosed the problem as a loose connection to the water heater. After a couple of trips to Lowe's and Home Depot, he was able to take the water heater out, make sure there was no damage to it, fix the connection, re-install it, and voila! I was living like a first world citizen again!
Muchas gracias, Fridman!
Tomorrow we begin rehearsals for the 2013 show (and I begin blogging regularly again). See you tomorrow night!