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Birmingham, AL

We had a nice train run getting to Birmingham (at least I thought so).
Good driver. I was able to get some sleep :)
During the run I stood on the vestibule and enjoyed the scenery, watched the movie Gandhi, cooked some food for later in the week, and cleaned up my band book/made it legible for anyone who ever needs to sub for me.

'Pig Pen', the guy who built my bookshelf, is transferring to the Blue Unit today.
I got to spend some time with him at the Pie Car on this, his final Red Unit train run.
He's getting a promotion and a bigger room...I hope he enjoys his new job!
He gave me a bottle of maple syrup from his hometown.


Here in Alabama, the Blue and Red units were together in the same yard for two whole hours!
This is an extremely rare occurrence...Blue and Red units tour in different parts of the country, so the closest we ever usually get is several cities apart. Even then we'd both have shows.
In this case, both units were in transit (we had just been spotted), so the Blue train was able to stop for a few hours to visit with us on their way to Nashville.

People waving from the vestibules as the train passed.
There was lots of cheering and shouting as the Blue Unit pulled in.

Red and Blue trains, side by side. (panorama)

Another photo of the trains side by side.

After the Blue came to a stop, we mingled between the trains.
Even though many of us didn't know each other, it felt like a family gathering.

It was super cool :)

I got to meet most of the Blue band, and some clowns and crew too.
Unfortunately our unit was loading in so most people were at the building :/
Still, many of us got to reconnect or meet new friends, and that was really nice.

On opening day we had our first 'split' (an early show and a late show with a long break in between),
and our first 'educational' show of the year.
'Educational' or 'kiddie' shows are early morning shows for school groups.
We had a nice crowd and it went well.

After the show, Brett and Tom and I set off to find a nearby antique store.
The place was actually called Reed Books - The Museum Of Fond Memories.
It was indeed mostly a bookstore, selling used, rare, and 1st editions.


Over the past year, I've been hunting for a particular publication of Grimm's Fairy Tales that my Mom used to own. I remember many of the stories in it, and wearing the bookmark out from reading it so much. I'm pretty sure that book was in my possession after she died, but I've not been able to find it...it may have been lost :/ So I've been trying to find a replacement. No one has had it, but I still ask in every bookstore.
I asked here too, and the owner directed me to the Fairy Tales section of his store.
And there it was.

I recognized the cover right away. It's not in the best condition, and it was very cheap, and it's mine.

After that, we took the DART Trolley (only $0.25!) to the Five Points district and got sushi. Well, the boys got sushi, I got curry beef kebabs with peanut sauce, delicious! Then we went to a nearby record store. It was cool, but I don't collect records so scooted next door to a music shop to get another trombone stand since there are two trombones in the show now.

The next day we had another split. Some people went to see the Vulcan statue.
Others visited the art museum right across the street from the arena.
I'm embarrassed to say I didn't go, even though it was free :(
A bunch of the band guys went to a nearby pawn shop to look for instruments.
I went to the bank, hunted for a grocery (no luck), and found two things of interest, one,
a store called What's on 2nd with an offering plate full of teeth sitting on the counter...

(apart from this the rest of the store was pretty normal)
...and two, a local bakery!
It was called Mix, and I got there just a few minutes before closing.
It seems like they're less of a bakery and more of a cafe that sells its own bread.


Bakeries always have the best stuff in the morning. I had to pick through the leftovers, but it was good pickings! They had veggie scones and various cookies and biscotti, and three kinds of bread: sourdough, wheat and cranberry almond sourdough. Day-old bread was 1/2 off, so I went for a 24-hour-old loaf of cranberry almond.

The cranberries taste sweeter when combined with the sourdough.
Honestly I can hardly taste the almonds at all, maybe because they are not roasted.
They add a nice texture though.
Anyway, it's good :)

On Saturday we had three shows, at least two of which were sold out!


During the last show on Saturday the cannon malfunctioned. I'm not sure what the problem was, but during the setup before the shoot we got word to continue to the Spec Finale. I'm sure the audience was disappointed, but it was necessary to stop that act, for Elliana's safety. On Sunday the cannon performed normally :)

It's been a nice week. The show is popular here.

Local CBS Pie Car PR
(for whatever reason this one wouldn't embed. Click to follow the link :/ )


And now, on to Greenville SC!