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This post comes a little late, as I had no internet in either the yard or at the arena this city.

We arrived in Auburn Hills EARLY...can you believe it??
On Tuesday I walked to the nearest grocery (a Meijer about 2 miles away) and picked up a few things for the week, and a few things that will come in handy for winter quarters.
It was a little difficult to guess how much food I'd need for the week, since I'm trying not to leave anything in the fridge while I'm gone. Anyway I think I did ok.

On Wednesday we had our last Fully Charged rehearsal, and the people who are leaving the circus prepared to move into hotels for the week. There are so many people leaving...the Chinese acrobats, the Big Bike acrobats, at least four clowns, half of the Brazilian dancers, the four performers mentioned in my last post, and more. The porters will be super busy cleaning rooms on the train run down to Florida; I hear they're offering $50 per room to anyone willing to help clean.
I wonder if there will be any left for me to clean by December!

On Thursday we only had one nighttime show. There's little to do around the venue or the yard.
I ran some errands with Brett (bandmaster), then went for a walk on the 'closed' side of the train.

When the train crew only opens one set of vestibule doors, it usually means
a) there's a live track on one side of us, or
b) they are opening the doors only on the side where cars park and the bus comes through.
I hadn't heard any trains go by during the day or night, so I crossed to the other side and went exploring.

After a short walk, I found a path!
Couldn't resist! Had to follow it!

The path was made up of large white rocks that were really difficult to walk over. Eventually it merged with a smaller path that was very obviously a walking/bike trail as there were lots of footprints and tracks on it. This path took me to a major road, which I crossed, finding a community park on the other side. I walked through the park and was surprised to find a group of castle-like buildings in the classic German architectural style.

This was Canterbury Village. I'd been seeing signs for it on the highway near our yard.
Canterbury Village is a 'Christmas Town'. Since it's not Christmas yet, the place was pretty abandoned-looking. A stereo system blasted Christmas tunes that echoed down empty streets. Automaton elves and snowmen that would no doubt be moving later in the year stared, motionless and glassy, from storefront windows. Creepy much?

Despite the impression of emptiness, almost all the shops were open.
I hadn't brought much cash with me as I hadn't been expecting to shop,
but I did have a few dollars and one stand had hot cider.
I bought a cup and enjoyed it very much, along with an Ice Cube (have you ever had these? They're amazing!)
I wandered around a bit more, but the sun was going down so didn't linger for too long.
It was a nice walk.

Friday was a 'split' day...that's an early show and a late show...so during the break I did some laundry and packed some stuff to take home.

Saturday was nothing special...just your typical 3-show day.
Because we were all looking forward to Sunday, the day might have seemed longer than usual.
People are putting programs, t-shirts, flags, and other items in the hallway to be signed.
I signed a few things but not everything (I'm only in the band after all!).
Everywhere you look there are cameras. Once during High Wire I saw something move in my peripheral vision, and turned to see someone snapping from between the band curtains.
It's the end of the tour all right!

After returning to the train after the shows,
I took my fish to Cindy (teacher) who is fishsitting for me while I'm away.
We chatted for a bit, then I returned to my room, repacked for the umpteenth time, and slept.

I'm typing this now from a hotel near the Detroit airport.
We had our last two shows today. It was bittersweet and exciting. As you'd expect with any closing production, there were a few shenanigans, the most notable being one of the acrobats basically cosplaying as another acrobat, and even participating in the guy's act. That was pretty funny. Otherwise the last show was pretty straightforward. At intermission we had a little 'mimosa' toast in the band's dressing room with some of the people who are leaving the circus:

After the show, Brian Crawford Scott (ringmaster) announced that this was the last performance of Fully Charged, recognized the staff, crew, and supporting members (thanks for the band shout-out, Brian!), and gave our stats:

783 shows.
90 cities.
2 countries.

That's right, we performed in front of a total of four million people this year. That's incredible!!!!!
I feel so fortunate to be a part of this.
The circus is awesome!!!

I have more to post about, but have to get to sleep. Early flight tomorrow.
These last few days have flown by. I can't wait to get started on next year's production!!