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We had a looooong drive from Phoenix to San Antonio!

There were several mishaps along the way. Poor Applesauce (head of lighting) ended up with a cracked windshield :(

(photo courtesy Applesauce)

Mr. Štipka (camel trainer) had some trailer trouble, and although he was able to get assistance quickly, he was delayed. Kudos to him and all of animal crew for putting the animals' needs first and getting them safely to Texas!!

Even the train had problems: a collision with an 18-wheeler who thought he'd crossed the tracks but his back end was hanging over the rails. He was very, very lucky. This could have been much, much worse. Since the train had to make an emergency stop for several hours while the authorities arrived, Lindsey (clown) had time to get this photo of the back of the truck. Safety first y'all. Stop, Look, and Listen. Trains cannot stop for you.

(photo courtesy Lindsey)

Jameson and I were fortunate to have a problem-free overland. We actually arrived in San Antonio around the same time as the train. We knew this thanks to a neat app on the iPhone called Find My Friends. We've been using it to follow Rebecca (wardrobe) who often rides the train.

Of course it takes much longer for the train to be parked than our car ;) So we got a hotel for the evening and went to the train the next day.

The yard here is not very hospitable...there's a gas station near one entrance, but you have to cross a lot of live track to get to it. The arena is similarly solitary. When I first joined the circus, they were playing at the Alamodome which is right downtown, but since then we've switched to the AT&T arena a bit on the outskirts.

Opening day went well. After the rehearsal Brett, Jameson and I went to Lulu's Bakery & Cafe. We came here about four years ago with Brett's family...that was my first encounter with the 3lb cinnamon roll :) I once again got the chicken fried steak, and Jameson and I got a massive roll to go, to split later! By the way, Lulu's is open 24/7 and you can call them to have a giant cinnamon roll shipped right to you!!

The next day we had only one show. I must have a little "jet lag" because I woke much later than usual. Spent the day cooking, cleaning, etc., and then we had a nice evening show. Afterward some members of the band stuck around to rehearse for the 4th of July party. I stuck around too, to listen and also to watch everyone rehearse. Perhaps because of the light schedule this week, many people stayed late to practice their acts.

Meanwhile backstage, some circus kids were taking jiu-jitsu class!

The next day was a rare two-show Saturday! We enjoyed waking up a little later than usual, but an inconvenient power outage kind of put a damper on the rest of the morning :P I packed a towel and hairdryer and got ready at the arena, then went out to meet a friend of my grandparents, Ron and his wife and daughter. We got to chat briefly before the show, and afterward I was able to take them backstage for a brief tour. We all had fun! I've been talking to Ron for quite a while on facebook and it was great to finally meet in person. Thanks you guys! Hope to see you again soon!

(photo courtesy Ron B.)

Both shows went well, and it was nice to end the day a little early.

Sunday was another two show day. After the shows we had a company 4th of July party (yes a little early, but it couldn't be helped). Festivities included delicious food from Pie Car, a live band, a water slide, mechanical bull, basketball, and a dunk tank. The dunk tank was especially popular. My boss Brett was one of the first people in and got dunked by Gunther (tiger trainer's son). I hope to have some pictures or video of the dunk tank soon :)

The band consisted of Jameson, Jerome (bass), Tim (sound/guitar) and Chaz (drums). We were lucky this year...there was a stage already set up! The lighting and sound guys were able to give the band a pretty sweet setup. They sounded and looked amazing!

Partway through the evening the clowns hosted the annual hot dog eating contest!

(photo courtesy Taylor A.)

It's always a fun event, made even more fun by the creativity of the teams in coming up with costumes!

(photos courtesy Koji K.)

But the best costumes of the night were from the Mongolian troupe, two of whom came in drag! And they were totally in-character for the entire hot dog eating contest. Wooooo!! XD

(photo courtesy Dashka D.)

We all had an awesome time :) Again, I'm hoping more people will post photos and videos in the days to come!

(photo courtesy Josh R.)

Monday was Independence Day, and we had two shows. Afterward Jameson and I drove to Houston. We plan to finish driving to New Orleans tomorrow, where we'll get to do some touristy stuff before the train arrives!

Other stuff:

Gaaaaah...I can't WAIT to see the new Blue Unit show! It just looks SO COOL.

During preshow on Saturday many circus folks were caught up in the Italy v. Germany soccer/football game. Jade caught this photo of people milling around the tv in between their acts.

Happy Independence Day from Ringling's elephants!!!

(photo courtesy the CEC)