After finishing our final performance of 'Twas The Gift Show Before Christmas on December 20th, Ryan and I drove back to the RV park in Hatfield, PA to pick up my trailer and begin the 1,400 mile jump to the Kelly Miller Circus Winter Quarters in Hugo, OK.
There was one, slight complication though......my electrical plug had melted to my trailer!
I'm very lucky the plug only melted; I can't imagine coming back to find a smoldering pile of rubble where my trailer used to be.
Before we could leave Hatfield, Ryan had to completely unwire the plug from the cable, but that meant that until I got it fixed, I had no way of hooking my trailer up to power.
Our 1,400 mile jump just got a lot more interesting.....
We made it as far as Virginia the first night before stopping to sleep in a truck stop parking lot.
Ryan and I were freezing during the night in my powerless trailer, and when we woke up I had developed a full blown cold in the span of several hours.
On December 21st we drove almost all the way to Memphis, TN.
The one thing I enjoyed about the trip was how cheap gas was; it sure helped our wallets on such a long drive.
We stopped in the late afternoon to take a nap in the hopes that we could then drive even farther in the early morning hours when traffic was at a minimum, but I was just too tired, even after taking a nap. We finally stopped around 2:00 a.m.
I told Ryan that as crummy as I felt, I couldn't spend another night freezing in the trailer, so I found a motel with semi parking where we crashed for the night.
I took some Nyquil before going to bed, and the combination of the medicine, a warm bed, and a full night's sleep really helped me feel better.
We made it to Hugo on the evening of December 22nd. The last 100 miles of the trip were the worst, because that is when we had to leave the Interstate and take the dark, winding back roads through Arkansas into Oklahoma.
I dropped Ryan and my trailer off at the Kelly Miller Winter Quarters, and then I drove to the motel in town to get a room for the evening.
On December 23rd I was feeling considerably better, though still not 100%. I started off the day having breakfast with Radar, Christian, and Danny at the Circus City Diner, and later in the day I went to Danny and Tavana's house to visit with them and Arwen.
Late that evening Ryan drove me to the airport in Dallas, TX, where I arrived around 4:00 a.m. I flew to South Carolina a couple of hours later, and my Mom and Nana picked me up and took me home to Walterboro just in time for the Christmas Eve service at my church.
I had a very low key Christmas. I had lunch and opened presents with my family, and then I spent the rest of the day watching Christmas TV specials and resting to recuperate from my cold, which was still hanging around, unwanted.
Jim Royal was nice enough to let me and Ryan park our trailers at the Kelly Miller Circus Winter Quarters during our down time this winter.
In exchange, Ryan made some beautiful props and set pieces for their new production.
Also, when Kelly Miller left for the Rio Grande Valley to begin their 2015 season, Ryan went with them to help put the program together and get all of the show's music in order.
After visiting my family in South Carolina, I headed back to Hugo so Ryan and I could get everything in order for our season with Circo Hermanos Vazquez West.
Even though we are doing the same gags on this year's tour, there were a few props that either needed to be remade, or that we wanted to improve upon.
One example of the latter category was the crate for our water gag. The one we were using was built in 2010, and the wood was beginning to rot.
Ryan got ideas for new prop making compounds (instead of latex) to use from my friend, Buist, who builds props for Broadway shows, and Ryan was itching to try them out to get a different style of prop.
I think it is safe to say that the build was a good investment!
A few props also got a new paint job, including our little car:
The flames make it go faster.
Ryan had done a lot of preliminary work on our new props, so when he took off to the Valley with Kelly Miller I was able to finish several of them by myself.
Once we were back together again we got everything knocked out in no time, making for a much less stressful winter than we had last year.
Let's see.....what else.....
Big news from the winter:
Of course the biggest news is the birth of Ryan and Tatiana's daughter, Abrianna. I think it is safe to say she likes me, as she favored me with a baptism of regurgitated milk one of the first times I held her.
Coincidentally, very soon after this picture was taken.
Here are Nico and Abrianna on Valentine's Day:
In less cute news, I am honored to announce that I was added to the Board of Directors for the International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center in Baraboo, WI.
I look forward to helping the ICHOF any way that I can, and to keeping the history of clowning alive for future generations to learn about and appreciate.
To learn more about the International Clown Hall Of Fame & Research Center, please visit here:
Coming up next, our jump down to the Rio Grande Valley to meet up with Circo Hermanos Vazquez!