board games, card games, Des Moines, Duffy's, flate tire, Iowa, La Crosse, Lincoln, live art, Nebraska, Omaha, origami cranes painting, Pretzcon, Ritual Cafe, Settlers of Catan, sleeping in the car, table top games, the Root Note, tour, Wisconsin
So on Wednesday April 2nd we played a show in La Crosse, Wisconsin at the Root Note. They are amazing. They fed us delicious crepes, delicious drinks, and even put our name up on the back of the stage! Also, it’s always fun going back there and seeing the bathtub that I painted. They seriously know how to treat bands so well.
Dane, who co-owns the place, offered to let us crash at the place he was currently crashing at… So it was awesome to not have to sleep in the car. The next morning (Thursday the 3rd) we were up early to say goodbye to Wisconsin and head toward Des Moines, Iowa. Along the way we saw signs for the Spam Museum, and since we had time to kill (and admission was free) we stopped. It was ridiculous. They know they’re a joke, so they really run with it. Plus, I have fond Spam memories from growing up eating Naskapi lunches at JSMS in Kawawachikamach. (Spam and mashed potatoes, fried Spam, Spam in bannock.) However, outside the museum is the worse most putrid smell you can imagine.
That evening we arrived at Ritual Cafe in Des Moines. Before we set up the cafe was quietly bustling. While we set up the place quickly emptied. Once we started playing the last two people booked it for the door… Scott drove down from Madison and walked in right before we finished the last song. It was great to see him… depressing that the cafe was empty. We decided that I’d sit out until more people came in for the show. Eric played a handful of songs, but an hour later the place was still empty. Maybe it was because it was so late in the tour, but this no-show hit both Eric & I really hard. We packed up in the rain, hung out with Scott for a bit, then all decided to continue on toward Omaha, Nebraska. We planed on meeting at a Walmart parking lot to spend the night, but still an hour out, Eric couldn’t keep awake and we pulled off at a truck stop.
For a night in the car, Eric & I actually both slept pretty well. We woke up to snow though. Not awesome. Then, just as we turned to the on ramp for the highway, we realized we had another flat tire! It was the spare we’d recently put on, so it might’ve just been because it’d been sitting in our trunk for so long. With the flashers on we back up back off the highway and pulled into the parking lot for an adorable little diner. Then, we discovered that we’d lost our tire iron. Left it on the side of the road in New Jersey? Who knows. After asking around a bunch an older gentleman eating breakfast with his wife let us borrow his. While Eric changed the tire in the windy wet snow, I talked with Ed, an old Polish man in a polka band. The similarities between him and my late grandfather (also an Ed who loved polka) were neat.
After Eric fixed the flat (luckily we’d recently picked up a new full-size spare) we continued on to Omaha and met up with Scott at a Holiday Inn. We’d all come to town to meet up with our friends Luke, Andy, & Kelly and to enjoy Pretzcon, a tabletop gaming convention for the weekend. We’d booked a room shared with Scott & Luke, and planned on not only playing some games, but also play testing Eric’s games that he’s been working on this past year. We met up with people, checked in, showered, played a few games and hung out until the evening. Then Eric & I headed off to Lincoln, Nebraska where we had a show at Duffy’s. After the Des Moines show, I wasn’t feeling super confident, but the show turned out to be awesome. There was a First Friday Art Walk going on, and we had a very attentive and good-sized crowd. It was definitely very encouraging.
And we were back to Omaha early enough to hang out and check out a few more games. We all signed up for games the next day, Saturday (today). And felt so grateful for a warm and comfy bed to sleep in instead of the car… (This hotel is so nice compared to the crappy places we stay in when we do spring for a hotel room.)
Today and tomorrow, we’re taking a break from Pocket Vinyl shows and just enjoying the convention. Eric, Luke, & Scott spent most of today there, learning role playing games and trying out other things. I took my time getting over there, though I did sign up for a Settlers of Catan championship qualifier. Didn’t win, but I got a neat pin! Actually, although I do enjoy playing games sometimes, I think I prefer playing them with close friends. It was still neat, but I also enjoyed having the entire hotel pool to myself.
The play testing for Eric’s Creatures vs Monsters game has been going really well. People seem to be interested and have been responding enthusiastically. I’m super proud of him. Plus, it’s a game I do actually love playing! After more Pretzcon tomorrow, we will just begin to start the trip home. Just about a week of shows left, so check out our tour schedule for those!