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Orlando and Overland to Nashville, TN

As mentioned in the last post, we finished our second week in Miami with a Monday evening show. My dear friend and fantastic trumpet player Ellis came out to see the show with his cousin, and they had a great time. Our sub Mike also got two of his trombonist buddies tickets; they sat behind me in the pit. Always nice to meet more trombones!!

Afterward Jameson and I drove our respective cars to his apartment in Orlando. For some reason he was concerned that I'd be horrified at all the Queen memorabilia hanging from the walls. Of course not...I thought it was fan-tastic ;D

On Tuesday we went for breakfast at one of Jameson's local favorites, keke's breakfast cafe. I got a banana choco chip pancake, two eggs and a 'breakfast salad' (yogurt with fruit, granola and honey).
Along with two cups of coffee it was absolutely delicious but more than I normally eat. I spent the next hour uncomfortably full :P

We ran errands and played Device 6 until it was time to go see Blue Man Group at Universal Studios.
What a great show! Jameson had seen them before, but this was my first time. They're very interactive and thought-provoking on several levels.

(photo courtesy flickr)

Two volunteers are selected to participate in skits each show and of course, Jameson was picked! But it was a real bummer that taping/photos were not allowed. In the photo above, you can get an idea of what they had him do. It involved putting him in a jumpsuit and blacked-out bike helmet, tying him up by his ankles and slamming him against a wall (supposedly ;) ). Crazy stuff!

After a few minutes Jameson emerged from a giant jello (don't ask) and returned to me none the worse for wear. Just a little spattered.

The next day we drove halfway to Nashville, stopping in Macon for the night. We had a fancy dinner at Bonefish Grill to celebrate six months of dating. Romantic? Yes. Nauseatingly lovey-dovey? Maybe. A great idea? No doubt. Jameson sampled wolffish and I savored an awesome chocolate creme brulee.

On Thursday we made it to the train in Nashville. The yard is massive...look at all those tracks!


Luckily the train was parked on the outside of that giant cluster, clearly visible and accessible from the road. We found it in no time.

We only had seven shows here in Nashville. I think many people, self included, might have had high hopes for this week. Unfortunately a little black cloud of misfortune seemed to hang over us during our stay. In the very first show, one of the trampoline acrobats fell and broke his leg(?). He went to surgery and is recovering.

That was a split show day, so many of us went back to the train to relax only to find that someone had thrown a trash bag against the 480 volt power cable on car 38 (that's the car I live on), shorting it out and causing a meltdown + trainwide power outage. The rest of the train had power restored fairly quickly, but our car didn't get it back until several hours later. And the ONLY reason we got it back that quickly is because train crew worked non-stop on the problem, replacing the burnt parts in the frigid 15 degree weather.

Throughout the weekend many other circus folks, including the clowns and some of the pie car staff, also had to deal with power outages and lack of running water on their cars. Living on a circus train may sound exciting and romantic--and it is much of the time--but when things go wrong, there's nothing quaint about it :P No power means no heat in the winter...no light, no cooking, no laundry, no hot water. And when the power goes out, the pipes can freeze too. I got to experience this firsthand at the end of the day. I tried to do dishes, and the water wouldn't go down the drain because the pipes were blocked by ice.

Fortunately our trainmaster Brett took the time to give me patient instruction on how to unblock the pipes. Salt. Lots of salt. I had a huge canister of kitchen salt and dumped half of it down the drain. Several hours later, there was a loud POP and the water rushed out all at once. Exciting stuff! Unfortunately, the freezing caused the pipe under my sink to begin leaking. Train life strikes again!

Showside, there were incidents throughout the week including a fight between two of the tigers. Animal crew had to use fire extinguishers to break it up. No one was injured thankfully. Alex was bowled over by one of the trained poodles during the dog act, and although he wasn't injured he had the wind knocked out of him. One of the dancers also twisted her ankle badly during the opening act of a Sunday show.

I really, really hope that next week in Charlotte is easier on everyone!!!
Great job everyone for getting through a rough week.

I was disappointed that I didn't get to see any of what Nashville has to offer :(
This city will just have to go on my do-over list :P

Other stuff:

One of the best vets with the GSOE, Jessi, is leaving us :( to get married :)
We people and animals will miss her terribly!!!

Jessi's dog saying goodbye to "luxury car" the donkey <3

(both photos courtesy Jessi)

Boss clown Taylor the Tailor shares some tips on how to paint your face for Super Bowl! CLICK HERE

Railfans and "foamers" often follow our train from city to city. To see some really excellent pictures of the circus train as it's passing through our beautiful country, CLICK HERE.