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Day 115 - Overnight to Calgary/Day Off

Look! All I can say is wow! It is stunning out there!

The drive is amazing. Our driver, roadie Brian rules! Really moves the bus from city to city fast, safe and smooth.What also rules is the fine bus food cuisine that we were so fortunate to have bestowed upon us.

Clearly we are loved and appreciated and the desire to have a bus full of happy healthy well fed roadies is of very high importance. I opt for the potato and as my breakfast veggie of choice to go along with my coffee:

While roadie Daniel clearly prefers a crisp corn treat to start his day:

Home is stupid, I love the road! And that chilly snow covered Canadian tundra brings back yet another Black Flag story, booooriiing! Gather round for:

**** Begin Old Punker Lap Story ****

Lets slide back in time 22 years to the Orwellian year of 1984, December 23rd we are in Winnipeg, Canada. A band of grubby punkers are wrapped in every piece of clothing that is stench free enough to bundle in. As Southern Californians we are experiencing a new definition of the word cold and the wind chime sounds of my long and formally wet hair has turned to icicles. Per diems are $ 80 a week and that means I have just over 11.00 US dollars a day to buy food toothpaste and socks. Hmmmm, why are there power plugs hanging from the front of cars? Yesterday was what we called a day off and all we did was drive 750 miles through snow straight after the gig.

Last night was a good night. I actually slept in something other than a moving van with 7 people cocooned on the floor. Though I can't recall where exactly that was, typically on most non-driving nights found us piling onto the floor of some beer drenched party house where the local punk rockers and friends were all excited to have a Black Flag slumber party. Their local punker excitement was not quite matched by the drained, sweaty and exhausted touring party of 13 or so. They cranked up the tunes and drank exuberantly, we passed out immediately. Upon arrival at each new sleep house, some of us sprinted to share available beds, some relegated to open floor space. Me? well, I figured out a plan early on that having my own room was best so I would seek out bedroom closets and slept right on top of what ever was in there, shoes, boxes and all. Though always lumpy, it reduced the odds of a dog licking of my face all night, it was generally quieter, darker and I usually got fewer flea bites.

Christmas Eve day and we are on 900 mile mid-winter cross Canada trek to Edmonton. Tour planning at it's all time best. I had heard someone was saying 60 below wind chill factor, most likely an exaggeration and it was only 30 or 40 below plus I don't know whether there was a C or F after the temperature it but does it really matter at that point anyway? What did matter was that the large truck stop cup of coffee had frozen solid wile sitting on the engine cover inside the van with the heater cranked to full. What also mattered was that Kira, Black Flag's bass player and the current van driver, really needed to go to the bathroom and there had not been a sign of life on the frozen pitch black icy night road forever in either direction. It was when she pulled off the highway at farm road off ramp as we all lay in various states of frozen delirium and that things began to look less cheery.

To be continued...

**** End (for now) Old Punker Lap Story ****

And you know what? It aint so bad eating chips for breakfast with actually hot coffee on a cozy tour bus!

The past I would not trade away while appreciating the present,

Dave Rat