Monday, November 10, 2008

Parting of Friends, Good-Bye

It’s an early start this morning. This Tour has been made of early starts. We’re set to make Victoria International Airport for about 11:30 AM. I’ve got Michael booked on a 1:PM flight to Toronto. So his mind is set on home. He’s up and about early, packing bags, moving stuff to the door. Don’t want to be late. Want to make that plane. I feel that way, too. It’s a non-refundable ticket, and you don’t want to mess with these messed up Canadian airlines. Well, Air Canada, anyway. WestJet has been very good to us, but there’s no WestJet out of Victoria today, and that means we have to fly BagBasher express. Neither of us discuss this. We’ve got Calton flight cases for the guitars. That’s about as good as it gets. And so far so good. But now it’s a quick breakfast, more hugs and good-byes to our hosts, and down the road to the ferry. We’ve been told that we’ll get on without any problems, but it’s Monday, so we’re not taking any chances. Thanks, Ron. Visiting you and Oni is magic.

We get to the Terminal about twenty minutes early, and there is already a line. We’ll be OK— we’re close enough to the front. Still, I am glad we got here with time to spare!

It's a short wait and a quick ride to the big island. We've done the Swartz Bay terminal a couple of times now, and know the route to the airport. I think we do anyway. Yes, we do. We are pulling up to departures almost before we know it.

Yes, this is Victoria International Airport. Could be Oz, with those big lolipop things standing there. Unpacking Michael's bags, loading an airport carry cart... This is it. A handshake and a hug. It's been a good adventure. We're still friends. Good friends, I think. But now we're lone dogs again on this big blues highway. Good-bye, Michael. Travel safe. I hope our paths cross often. It's a blink, and he's swallowed up by the terminal.

I put the van in gear and head back to the highway. It feels empty now— but it is kinda nice to have this little space to myself. I like company, but I also enjoy my own company... Alone with my thoughts on the road, stop and go when I please. It's been a long tour— a good tour— but I am relieved that it's over. I'm pretty good at planning and running these things, but there is a certain amount of stress involved. Still, it's a bit of a shock to be alone after all this time. I'm going to miss Michael Pickett. Maybe we'll do it again sometime...

Michael's going to get into Toronto sometime after 10:PM this evening. I'm going to spend a day or two here, decompressing, before taking the truck back to Winnipeg and flying home from there. This was my major screw-up of the Tour. I build the land legs around big loops where I can get good rates on the trucks. This time I thought I'd just end on the west coast— zigging and zagging instead of looping, and fly home to Toronto from Victoria. Of course, there would be a one way drop fee on the truck, but that would only amount to three or four hundred dollars... I should of checked that first! The route schedule was already in place when I found out that the drop fee would be (are you ready?) SIX THOUSAND dollars. They really, really, don't want trucks being dropped on the west coast. And, yes, I shopped around to every lease and rental company to no avail. So, OK. I'll make something good out of this. Tour over, Michael flies home, and I take a few days to myself. I'm going to visit some relatives, do some running in some cool places, drop in on some friends. I'll be in Winnipeg in nine days time. It's going to cost me a few hundred bucks in gas, food, motels, and an extra week's rental, but this is the closest thing to a holiday I've had in twenty years. Right now I'm headed into Victoria to visit Long & McQuade. I'm going to drop this PA system we've been travelling with. Thank goodness we didn't need it! Actually, we ended up using the boom stands on several occasions, and a couple of XLR cables, but that was it.

I'm going to finish this coffee, drop this PA and head north. The sun has finally come out. I'm hoping to connect with some distant cousins of mine later this afternoon at Nanaimo. Then, I'm going to run the Wild Pacific Trail near Tofino! Hey, sometimes the blues is good, eh? I'll keep you posted, because it's not over until it's over. Actually, once I check into the next cheap motel I'll be getting to work on the books, the paperwork, and the follow-ups on the Tour. It ain't all wrapped up yet, and won't be for a while.

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