It’s late afternoon and the sun is soft under a kind and image laden cloud cover that’s protected us all the way from Gallup, we roll west on I-40. We pulled off at a hail laden pine woods, and Rob created an egg bomb and an apple bomb with some M-90’s we’d bought in Tennessee. He drew hapless victim faces on the egg and the apple with a blue Sharpie, and executed them on a hail covered rock outcropping. The apple exploded in cinematic fashion, leaving its plaintive face split in two looking up from the snow. The egg was more stubborn, surviving an initial explosion. Paul suggested clemency, but a second M-90 blew Mr. Egg into oblivion.
Now we’re 35 miles from California. The desert scrub and craggy purple mountains are surprisingly familiar and homey, homie. Can’t believe we’re almost back. Welcome back to California, as the old ghosts say. Three niights with the wives and cats and dogs and kids. Then it’s up the coast for the final, hemp-charged leg of our tour.
Paul L. foolishly volunteered to take the wheel
somewhere north of the Mason Dixon line, and the sky
proceeded to darken up, and the rain fell hard on the
Jersey Turnpike, the hardest rain people can
remember, we found out later. Got off I-95 in
Teaneck, and drove through flooded streets to WFDU,
where the gracious and sophisticated Lynn Crystal fed
us some great questions and we played some songs.
Lynn steered us to Veggie Heaven, an all vegan pan-
Asian restaurant in a funky Teaneck neighborhood. It
was delicious, an antidote to a few too many trips to
Waffle House. A BIG 4 THUMBS UP from the HAWKS NON
CORPORATE FOOD RATING SYSTEM. The Hawks wolfed down
the tofu as if their lives depended on it.
Then we walked across the street to Borschardt’s
(sp?) ice cream parlor, stepped across the threshold
into an air conditioned 50’s palace, not retro
because it hasn’t changed since the 50’s. Great home
made ice cream at an old formica counter, young soda
jerks in bow ties and white shirts, Jersey girls and
their dates a few seats away.
We drove through the steamy night to Fort Lee,
checked into the very Holiday Inn where four of the
9/11 hijackers stayed the night before their
cataclysmic deed. Not only that, but they had high
speed internet. The pool was closed. The Hawks
jammed on some Burrito Bros. tunes, which we’ve never
done before, Paul M. knows all the words and chords.
Next day we dined at Red’s Diner in outer Ft. Lee,
another NON CORPORATE RECOMMENDATION, good solid
breakfast in a Sopranos on location setting.
Then Rob allowed his New York taxi driver spirit to
take over his body, and we raced over the George
Washington Bridge and along the East River into
Manhattan. It’s Paul Marshall’s first visit to New
York. We passed stately Yankee Stadium across the
river in the Bronx, pointed it out to Paul, who
said, “Great! I hate the Yankees.” We pulled up at
the Rodeo Bar, at 28th and 3rd Avenue, found a
miraculous parking spot which we were to assuage with
quarters until 10 p.m. The Rodeo Bar has powerful
air conditioning and a very activist interior
designer, retro road signs and cowboy gear plucked
from Texas junk stores and a stuffed Bison that
appears to come crashing through a brick wall. We
hung out and rehearsed with Christina Ortega and Tom
Corbett, raised the spirit of east side L.A. and
Cole’s P.E. Buffet, 118 E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles,
The Rodeo Bar serves what might be called a tribute
to Mexican food. Christina ordered a mole dish, and
the waiter asked her if she’d ever tried mole before,
it might be a little spicy. We leave to your
imagination Christina’s reaction. Good margaritas,
The combined Christina Ortega/Hawks orchestra sounded
damn good. . Several
good friends from Coles P.E. Buffet, 6th & Main, Los Angeles,
showed up, called out requests, and one even passed out on a prominent table near the stage.
The Hawks banged out a well received set,
did a long and self-incriminating video interview
with Ritt Henn. Seven people piled into the Yukon,
Rob once again summoned the NY taxi spirit and raced
through Washington Heights and the Bronx, delivering
passengers to various apartment building destinations
on moody late night wet streets. Paul M. and Shawn
drove off into the Bronx night toward Ft. Lee, and
Rob and Paul L. stayed in the always kind Charles and
Gina’s elegant 4th floor pad.