A Rookie's Story (continued)
Two days before the first shows were scheduled, I flew down to San Antonio. Didn't want to rent a car, thought I'd do it seat-of-the pants hippie style, like the old days. Right. So I shuttled over to the Greyhound station from the airport. My Spanish is pretty good, so I informed the nice latina at the counter that I wanted to go to Kerrville. She told me that I'd missed the 1:00 bus by a half hour. "No hay problema, cuando sale la proxima?" ("No problem," I said, "when's the next one?") "8:45," she replied." "Oh shit," I blurted in English.
She said that sometimes guys came by in vans and gave people rides to places for a fee, that maybe I wanted to hang around across the street in the restaurant parking lot, seeing as I had some time on my hands. I had this huge duffel bag with a week's camping gear and my '85 Taylor guitar. I'm not a large person, and this duffel bag matched my height and weight pretty close, and had no wheels. Classic rookie move. Every time I hoisted it up on my shoulder, some guy near me would say "dude!"...or some such thing, and I hoped they were walking fast enough not to see me have to put it down after 10 steps. But that's all I needed to get across the street, and I found about six inches of shade under a new tree and parked myself.
Couple of enterprising guys in white vans did come by, but they had other more touristy destinations in mind: Eagle Pass, Two Rocks. No man, they weren't going out to Kerrville, not for thirty bucks, not for fifty. Oh well, about 6 pm I wandered back into the station, and bought a ticket to Kerrville. I've spent lots of time in Mexican bus stations all over that country, and so I just slipped into Mexican mode and talked with several older cats on my bench. They'd come up from Veracruz, headed for jobs their relatives had landed them in Dallas. They were both musicians, and seemed amused to talk a while with a gypsy gringo with his guitar and some chops in their mother tongue, and it helped pass the time for all of us waiting to get where we were going.
By the time I got to Kerrville, it was almost eleven. Too late for a taxi and no way to get out to the ranch, I was lucky to bum a ride from the bus station to the Motel 6. Inauspicious beginnings, I mused, but tomorrow's a fresh start. Nowhere to eat, I walked to the convenience store and bought some Fritos, a breakfast bar, and a diet Coke. I nearly fell into a drainage ditch on the dark walk back, but reached the room and fell asleep before I could even turn the TV on.
As my last rookie maneuver, I took a $20 taxi 10 miles to the ranch in the morning, and got dropped off at the front gate. There were two young hippie girls and a buddy of mine from Asheville, NC playing guitar right at the entrance gate that said Welcome Home. Somehow I knew that everything was gonna be just fine from there on out. continue