Sand Section Road Notes: Mission Complete (July 2011 Part 4 of 4)

8,868 miles, 100 degree heat, 24 Days, 23 States, 14 Shows, 9 Hotels, 5 Couches, 2 Hardwood Floors, and 1 tour we will never forget.

The last leg of our cross-country tour has finally come to an end and we are proud to announce that we have made it home safely. I last left you in the middle of Georgia maintaining a steady northern bearing destined for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where we arrived in the early evening. We played our set that night at a bar called Bourbon Street to an intimate yet responsive crowd. We played extremely well and we could tell the entire audience was pleased with our performance. Unfortunately we were followed by a local reggae band that was less than satisfactory and who played much longer than many people had patience to pay attention. As a result Fortunate Youth had to start later than they would have hoped, but they were still able to get the crowd moving and close out the night successfully.

Myrtle Beach is one of the only cities that we ever went to where the vast majority of the hotels require that you are 25 years of age or older in order to book a hotel. As a result, with puppy dog looks on our faces, we had to make a desperate announcement on stage during our set asking anyone if they could spare some floor space for three lost Californians in search of shelter. Luckily an extremely kind bartender by the name of Blakely allowed us to crash on her huge couch at her apartment only a few minutes down the road. We are extremely thankful for her kindness!

The next day we were off to Norfolk, Virginia which we quickly discovered was one of the more depressing places we have encountered in the country. We played at a place called The Jewish Mother in the heart of downtown. When we arrived at the venue we were greeted by an extremely belligerent African American male who was lying on the ground clawing at the air in a desperately futile attempt to get himself back in the standing position. He ultimately laid himself to rest on the damp Virginian cobblestone and managed to remove his pants and his left shoe before he was handcuffed by three of Norfolk's finest and placed in their custody.

I must admit, however, that The Jewish Mother was a stellar venue with probably the best sound equipment we have had the pleasure utilizing. Admittedly the crowd was sparse, but we were thrilled with how well we played and how great we sounded. We have some live video of that performance that we will be posting some time this week. After our gig we walked down the street to find some food and noticed about three puddles of vomit on the sidewalk which made us wonder why people would be so drunk on Wednesday night. The answer came when we got to a local pub and one of the locals answered our question by saying, "Because there is nothing better to do in Norfolk ever." After a brief chuckle and a head shake it was off to a Super 8 Motel somewhere just outside the city.

The next day we stopped off in Washington D.C. for our inaugural visit to our nation's beautiful capital. After some aggressive sightseeing (aggressive because we were in a hurry), we met up with our childhood friend James Grant who has now become a successful entrepreneur in the city. He accompanied us to our gig in Annapolis, Maryland that night where we played a large Irish Pub known as O'Brien's.

O'Brien's was probably the worst gig of the entire tour. While we did get to do a bit more sightseeing in Annapolis, we also had to play to a crowd that consisted of the band Fortunate Youth, and James Grant, our childhood friend whom I just mentioned. Perhaps the highlight of the show was that when we were unloading our gear, Tony found a corn dog and a half underneath the backseat of our Jeep Liberty Sport which had been there since Brownsville, Texas about two weeks prior. How they got there is a mystery, but we have a couple of guesses.

Finally, after spending the night at Mr. Grant's nice new house in D.C., we were headed to Seaside Heights, New Jersey for the last stop of our tour. We played at Jack & Bill's Bar that night to a huge crowd of people. It was nice to be able to close out the tour on a good note, and after the show we began our roughly 2,700 mile drive home…

I am not going to go into much detail about the driving part of it, just picture three dudes driving for 12 hours a day through cornfields for three days straight. I will definitely elaborate on some highlights, the first of which being Chicago. When we arrived after our long drive from New Jersey we went and visited Stefan's grandparents and Uncle who greeted us with an exquisite steak dinner! After eating Subway every day for weeks, there is nothing like a delicious home cooked meal prepared the way that only loving grandparents can. We are extremely appreciative of their warm hospitality!

After dinner we met up with our second Ofersure of the trip by the name of Brian Gregoire who is currently residing near downtown Chicago. We went out and partied on the town until the wee hours of the morning, and woke up in extreme pain caused by our excessive inebriation. We did still some how manage to record a fun new song with Brian, which we should be releasing some time in the near future. Big thanks to Brian for showing us a great time!

After Chicago it was off to Denver where Stefan delivered again by providing a place to stay at the Shanahans, who are close family friends and former neighbors of the Partelows. After a few beers and some great conversation we went to sleep to prepare for yet another long drive to the always exciting Las Vegas, Nevada. Again, big thank you to the Shanahans for letting us take over three rooms in their wonderful house, it really means a lot.

I must say that when you stare at nothing but cornfields for 2,000 miles, it is a huge breath of fresh air when you get to drive through the constantly changing landscape in Utah. The canyons are often breathtaking, and it is nice to drive along side the pure serenity of a glistening running river. Then you get to Vegas…

That night we managed to book a $28 room online at the Imperial Palace and Casino on the 10th floor overlooking the strip. I don't know how these insane deals exist, but some how we get "lucky" enough to find them. Honestly, there was nothing out of the ordinary about our trip in Vegas. I lost $50 in just under an hour playing black jack and I payed way too much for drinks all night (must be why the room was so cheap).

The next day we finally made it home, and I must tell you that after my experience in most of the states worth going to in this country, there is nothing like Southern California. Regardless of any other aspect, the climate is absolutely perfect. Walking outside without fear of combustion is a subtlety that I hope I no longer take for granted.

I finally would like to announce that this past Sunday we got to play an enormous concert on the beach in Hermosa Beach to over 2,000 people, which is the biggest show we have ever played. It was the best homecoming we could have asked for and we are more than thrilled to have had such a wonderful opportunity. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported both Sand Section and Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, it was certainly a day to remember!

It's not often that you can get an opportunity to do what we have done for the purpose that we have done it. We got a crash course in just under 50% of the entire country while promoting our product to a plethora of unsuspecting civilians. Sure we had to spend 50% of our days cramped up in a car designed for moderate sport utility, but we got to spend our entire nights celebrating the release of our music to a fresh audience. We made new friends from all reaches of our awesome country, we had interesting conversations, we went sightseeing, and we worked as a team. I know it is an experience that I will not soon forget. Thank you to everyone who has followed along with us, we appreciate your love and support. Hopefully at least one or two of you are still reading this, it was a longer post than usual : ) Thanks!