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We're Home!

Jun. 26th, 2005 | 10:12 pm

We made it -- Michaelpalooza 2005 is over. We're back in Madison and we're tired, we're road-weary, and we've had a great experience. Everyone was happy to return home to loved ones, but we were all sad to say good-bye to our new friend Marc. Marc was more than our bus driver, he became our new crew member and beloved friend. Stephen made a list of the many new (and some inventive) expressions he learned from Marc. It's surprising how well a native Spanish speaker picked up a Georgia drawl..........or not.

Before we got home today we made one last stop, in Middleburg Heights, Ohio and visited the Kortyka Home. We enjoyed a wonderful block-party style potluck with Cathy, her family, neighbors and friends. The Mayor stopped in to congatulate Michael on the trip. It's very unfortunate that we had to hit the road so soon, we still had a long day ahead of us.

It would be boring to relate everything that happens on the bus. It wouldn't be amusing or entertaining out of context of the group, our camaraderie and our shared experience over the Tour. We spent the day remembering the great time we had, compiling the photos we took, and making the occassional rest/petrol stops. Of course that doesn't mean we weren't still back-seat driving. FYI it wasn't a good idea to get onto I-94 in Indiana. Maybe the next tour we'll learn to shut up and let Marc drive. We passed the time like we did every "bus" day -- we talked and laughed, we listened to music, we napped, we watched TV (when the satellite worked), we saw some INTERESTING activites in cars we passed, we enjoyed Michael's occassional spontaneous videotaping, and we kept Marc iced down since the driver A/C failed in the 90+ degree heat.

We had a lot of fun.

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It's Time for Toddy

Jun. 24th, 2005 | 10:23 pm
mood: draineddrained
music:

It's FRIDAY!!
That means tomorrow morning's Whad'Ya Know? show in Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey is the grand finale of MICHAELPALOOZA.
So what are we doing to celebrate?
Well, we had a great time in the barn of Tom and Avril Moore in Princeton. We consumed much wine and cheese... and brats and pretzels and a tasty Racine Kringle! Wow! Just like home.
Don't forget the bite-sized cream puffs! Mmmmmm....
Then some of the crew headed back to the hotel here in Trenton. But the rest of us took in a good ol' baseball game.
The Trenton Thunder vs. the Reading Phillies. The Thunder is a farm team for the NY Yankees... and thanks to a truly team effort (and a loss by the Portland Red Sox)... the Thunder rumbled into first place with their win over the Phillies, 7-3.
Check 'em out at http://www.trentonthunder.com/.

Oh... a few asides:
Michael's room was nice enough... but the neighbors were a bit overzealous in their activities... so he grabbed himself some fresh digs away from the entertainment.
Ahhh... much better.
Also, thanks go to Molly McDonough of the War Memorial. Not only is she a sweet gal (and we love her mom even though she locked herself out of the house... again...), she also was a sport and picked us up from the Thunder game to give us a lift back to the hotel. YAY!
Enjoy the show from Trenton!
Before ya know it... we'll be back at it in Madison to start up another 20 year run...
Right Michael?

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Finally, it's Stephen's turn to post!

Jun. 23rd, 2005 | 10:47 pm

June 23, 2005
8:00am – The Whad’Ya Know? Crew parted from the Hilton Hotel at Harrisburg, PA to Cape May, NJ. We could not wait to get on the bus and continue our journey through the east coast. Nine days together has made us communicate like brothers and sisters do. We are getting a bit too comfortable with each other. We are shouting and cursing as well as hugging each other. Marc, our bus driver, was cursing from the moment we got on the bus and we were responding likewise. You would think that at eight in the morning the crew would be silent and passive. On the contrary, we all talk at the same time and are a bit on the edge. As long as we do not take it personally, we will be able to complete this journey.

The older crew moved into the back of the touring bus as usual and the younger crew sat in the front of the bus. The bus driver needed some help getting out of downtown Harrisburg because many bridges intersect the streets; the underpass height on the first bridge we encountered was 12’. Our bus is 13’4”! We decided to get out of town the same way we arrived, “by mistake,” through the Latino neighborhood.

The drive was smooth for us even though Marc, our driver, did not get much sleep the night before. While entering the town of Cape May, we ALL started giving directions, and the driver missed his turn. We drove to the end of the road stopping at a shoreline on the bay. The size of the bus did not allow us to turn around, so Marc decided to make a right turn until he reached the correct road. While passing a few police cars, we realized that they were not asking us to pull over; they were trying to get our attention to follow them to the right house. As we discover on arrival, most of the locals were aware we were coming to town!

Diana and Jim Cutshall, as well as family and close friends had been waiting for this moment since the day the Cutshalls received their letter several months ago. We were each greeted with lots of smiles, a glass of beer, and a “Shoobie”. Shoobie was the name given to tourists in Cape May because they used to visit for the day bringing their lunch in a shoebox, which made it visible in the sand. We were swept to the beach, a block away, for lunch and great conversation. The Cutshalls were very curious why they were selected and Michael blamed it on his technical director Stephen Colon. “Stephen wanted to visited the shoreline on this trip so I looked for the closest house on the New Jersey shoreline.” This information was given just in case the party was not a good visit.

The Cutshalls did not stop the party yet, they had a surprise waiting for the Whad’Ya Know? crew in their backyard. New and old Friends from Philadelphia and near neighborhoods made the hour and a half trip to participate in the festivities. The police department tried to unsuccessfully crash the party, an anonymous neighbor called the cops many times. “I guess they were jealous because they were not invited.” Beer was served in large pitchers, wine bottles were showing up from nowhere and large buckets of fresh boiled crabs and clams were served until we could not eat any more. Tables were filled with lots of salads, pasta dishes and great desserts.

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Au Revoir Harrisburg, Hola New Jersey

Jun. 22nd, 2005 | 11:01 pm

Today was supposed to be Stephen's day to contribute to the Live Journal. Alas, the demands of a Technical Director are too great and time too short for an entry from our esteemed colleague who hails from Puerto Rico. Perhaps we can get him tomorrow.

This was our show day in Harrisburg, PA. All involved worked throughout the day preparing for the broadcast. Michael reviewed The Lancaster New Era and other guest- and show-related info. Crew set up the venue. The Trio rehearsed and Clyde made off with a bunch of the cookies from the lunch catering. Business as usual.

It was a great show, filling The Forum in Harrisburg. Official Shutterbug Lyle has some nice shots of the venue, we'll work on getting them uploaded and posted tomorrow. We have a few hours to kill between Harrisburg and the beach at Cape May, New Jersey.

After the show Michael, Jim, Lyle and Clyde stopped at Molly Branigans (?) on Walnut Street to raise a Guiness with some adoring fans from Lancaster.

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Bye Bye Virginia, Hello Pennsylvania

Jun. 21st, 2005 | 09:48 pm

We had fun at the Moorhead's House. We enjoyed their warm hospitality and sparkling personalities. The BBQ was great and so were their friends and neighbors at the party.

For all of you out there wondering -- NO Michael DIDN'T camp. Nope. The band and *some* of the crew camped. Not Michael. Not Jim. Clyde lasted until about 2 a.m. when he moved onto the bus. Jeff lasted until 6:00 a.m. (or so) when the rest of the campers were up and George Moorhead was out doing morning chores (goats, horses, donkey) and making cofee. The other Whad'Ya Know-ers were nestled all snug in their beds without visions of tents, and Thermarest mattresses in their heads.

Now we're in Harrisburg, PA, getting ready for soft beds and lots of good rest. Tomorrow is a long day with unloading, set up, show, strike and load out. Yep, going to be a long day, but that is life on the road.

Stephen was supposed to Blog for us today, but he's off somewhere seeking food and drink. After playing HOURS and HOURS and HOURS of Halo 2 on Xbox on the bus, he took a nap. He was rip-roaring and ready to go when we hit PA. In fact, our bus driver Mark was ready to let Stephen off a little early.

Oh, for future reference for those of you planning a bus tour to Harrisburg, PA. You can't take a 13 foot 4 inch bus to the downtown Hilton Hotel. It won't fit under any of the low bridges. Best to take a cab from the city limits. Seriously.

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Today it is Lyle's turn to Blog

Jun. 20th, 2005 | 05:35 pm

This blogging thing is foreign to me, so I make no apologies for not observing the undoubtedly many sacred conventions that are expected here. The brunch yesterday at Ann & Alfredo Alonso's was hearty and SouthWestern Roanoke gentility at its finest. I had no idea it was billed as a Father's Day Brunch though. There were several other events available to us after that, but most of the crew decided it was time to do separate things. There is such a thing as too much togetherness after all. Todd & Judith rented a car from the airport to explore the region beyond our immediate hotel. Most of us gathered in the lobby and walked to a colorful eclectic eatery called Macado's, which specializes in subs with cutsey names. On the way back Curt & I detoured for a brief visit to Roanoke's Fire Station #1, not much changed from its opening in 1906 (and beautifully maintained), except now there are modern fire engines and the grooved floor (for the traction of the horses) is not so necessary. For our final night at the hotel they arranged to have the water turned off for several hours in the middle of the night (while they fixed a boiler, or something), a little disconcerting to us night owls but fortunately there was bottled water at the front desk. Most of the crew slept obliviously through this anyhow.

Today, Monday, we got to skip any useful activity in the morning, merely needing to check out of the hotel and head south (even though our next show is NORTH) to the secluded Blue Ridge home of George & MaryAnn Moorhead, where the featured activity is camping out overnight, not met with equal enthusiasm by all. And I had thought their house was the Civil War home of Jeb Stuart, but such is not the case. But it's nearly the solstice and later the same day (in Central Time zone anyhow) the full moon, so what could possibly go wrong?

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What a great show!

Jun. 18th, 2005 | 10:11 pm

I'm sure y'all tuned in to the live broadcast from Roanoke. It was a great show featuring Michael and his guests Roddy Moore, A. Roger Ekirch, Dry Hill Draggers and Ralph Berrier. For those of you that heard the show, Miko from Blacksburg, VA who won the Quiz during the second hour, rushed over to the Roanoke Civic Center! He made it just before we left, picked up his prizes and took a couple of photos.

After the show it was time to take a break, grab some lunch, see the town and relax. Tomorrow we're headed over to visit our next tour stop, the home of Ann Alonso who is hosting Michael and entourage for a Father's Day bruch.

Once the show was over Michael, Jim, Lyle, John, Jeff, and Clyde headed back to the hotel and off for some lunch. Crew finished up packing/load-out at the venue the grabbed lunch at the downtown food court. Rather tasty barbecue....savory vinegar-based sauce. More wandering downtown and a browse of the pawn shop was in order.

Karen, a staff member from our host station, WVTF, invited us to her house for a boat ride on Smith Mountain Lake. The weather was lovely and the ride scenic.

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Business as usual.

Jun. 17th, 2005 | 10:12 pm

Today we were off the bus and enjoying business as usual. Michael toured downtown Roanoke, taking in the sites and adding to his video collection. Michael and Jim even found a spot to have lunch and a beer. Crew kept busy with set up at the Roanoke Civic Center; John, Jeff, and Clyde joined crew at the RCC for lunch and sound check. John and Jeff also took in the sites of downtown Roanoke, along with about 12 shots of espresso (Jeff). He's probably going to need another 12 to get up and out to the show tomorrow morning! Michael spent much of the day working on the show, All The News That Isn't and the guest interviews, but took a break to join local weather presenter/feature reporter Brent Watts for an interview for the 6:00 pm news on WDBJ. What does Michael think about feral cats? They're making headines you know. Jim joined the motley crew for a little Happy Hour and watching of the 6:00 pm news in the Pine Room Pub. Clyde has a great appreciation for hotel beds, so he relaxed while the others (plus Marc our bus driver) dined at Awful Arthur's. It was kind of an early night all around so we're rested and ready for the show tomorrow -- broadcast in Roanoke by host station WVTF.

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It's Roanoke, Virginia

Jun. 16th, 2005 | 10:19 pm

First let's hear it for our new friends in Vermilion, Ohio. They really rolled out the red carpet and showed us a good time. It was those fond memories that kept us going for about 8 (or so) hours on the bus Thursday. A couple of games of Halo didn't hurt, either. Let's see -- we road the bus then we rode the bus then we had lunch and then road the bus. The big hit today was Reno 911 Season 1 on DVD (the Comedy Central television show). Lunch was enjoyed at "Texas" in Charleston, WV, and a real dent was put into the cheesecake. Once we reached Roanoke we got off, got our luggage and got into the hotel. Some folks hid in rooms, some went for walks, others searched out food and libation. It's just nice to be off the bus for a little while!

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Day #2

Jun. 16th, 2005 | 05:58 am

Michael and the gang took off around 8:00 a.m. to head for Vermilion. It was a challenge to get all the equipment, luggage, and people packed onto the bus. Everyone got acquainted with our driver, Marc, who keeps the bus on the road and entertains with his repertoire of accents. A few tearful goodbyes to family members and well-wishers and we were off. It’s a nice bus. We have couches, table and seats, bunks, and a rear lounge. There’s a potty on board but it’s for peeing only. We haven’t had the best luck with the satellite TV -- once the front seats were pulled out and cords plugged and unplugged we could once again enjoy a TV fix. We haven’t quite figured out the air conditioning either. There are two settings, meat-locker cold or pressure cooker hot and only brief stops in between the two. Today is Jeff Hamann’s birthday, his lovely wife, Julie sent a birthday cake along for us. We also received a case of peaches, a strawberry cheesecake, and baklava from well-wishers. We put a dent into the peaches and chowed most of the cheesecake. We lunched at Steak and Ale in South Bend, a welcome stop after many hours on the bus. After lunch we climbed back aboard. To pass the time we played Xbox, watched movies and television, and did quite a bit of napping. Clyde is still waiting for his pizza delivery.

We arrived in Vermilion around 7 pm, happy that we got across the train tracks before that approaching train arrived. As we approached the Rence home people were lining the street waving to the bus. We pulled into our spot in the parade and followed the route to the Rence home. There Michael and the gang was warmly welcomed by Rudy and Linda, their daughters, and many local dignitaries. The mayor presented Michael with a proclamation for Michaeld Feldman Day in Vermilion.

After some of the best fried walleye we’ve ever had, we embarked on yet another adventure -- a ride on the Vermilion ice breaking boat. This boat goes out in the spring to break the ice in the canals and lagoons (prevents spring flooding). We had our view of Lake Erie from the boat. Lake Erie was rather rough last evening.

We returned to the Rence home for one last round and some goodbyes. We thank everyone in Vermilion and look forward to seeing you all again when we come to Cleveland in September.

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