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a look back from the high speed internet comfort of the Best Value Inn, just off I 85. Rob’s just got back from a shopping spree: air freshener, almonds, Wild Turkey101 (try it folks, you won’t regret it). The Yukon’s got a mysterious odor, and we’re going to kill it.

July 23, what day of the week was it, we do not know still. It did indeed get a little tweaked as we raced the clock to our Carolina goal. We pushed through Arkansas and Tennessee, our Yukon feeling a bit like a cave with a wide screen TV in front, showing us I-40 and its nearby off road temptations. As we passed through Nashville, Rob freaked out: the cruel modern buildings, the sleek Opryland compound, this place is big and perhaps unbreachable. A deep quiet spread through the Yukon, passing as we left the last suburban spread of Music City. It sunk in what a major effort and commitment our drive is, and we felt detached from our music and our mission—how would our regionally referencing music go down in these strange lands. A late night moment of existential angst.

Somehow got to a Motel 6 east of Knoxville at 5 a.m., got up 3.6 hours later, most like Friday, July 23, stumbled into the vehicle and drove to Charlotte through mellow Carolina woods and dales, pulled up at Gastonia College. The radio interview, with the kind and enlightened Randy Walker of WSGE, went just great, we played three songs on acoustic, dobro, bass, felt like we had a place in the southeast. Back in the Yukon, searching for lodging, everything is shimmering and we’re sweating, humidity and lack of sleep. Rob and Paul M. dug deep for some serious intuition, found a nesting spot just off highway 85, near a Waffle House and a Cracker Barrel: Best Value Inn, getting a strong Hawks recommendation. That night, drove to Winston Salem, played the funky funky Garage, an army of window fans humming like a plague of locusts, dim soothing light, kind soundman and audience, blue grass duo 2/5 of Kicking Grass opened, Paul L. sat in on dobro, they can sing, the mandolin player’s family has made moonshine for generations, but no one had samples.

We had a very good show, felt like the Cowboy Junkies, electric guitar but no Shawn on drums yet (playing this night with James Intveltd in Nashville, flying in tomorrow), felt good vibes from the audience, floated out into the night and drove back to Charlotte, south on our new friend highway 85. Next day, Saturday, July 24, highway by the airport, Charlotte, NC. Rob and the two Pauls recovered in the frigid darkness of Best Value Inn, waking late and emerging disoriented from their cave. Got some stony directions to food and coffee district from DJ Randy, involving a meander through downtown Charlotte, left on Central, cross the tracks and drive “till it feels right.” Damn if it didn’t work, and we got high quality caffienated beverages worthy of Peet’s in Pasadena (well, not quite) at , corner of Pecan and Central. Which segues into a Hawks NON CORPORATE ROAD RECOMMENDATION:

Get to Pecan and Central in Charlotte and you’ll find very cool antique stores with shockingly low prices, a cool cappucino place, John’s Country Kitchen, and the site of our amazing late afternoon meal, Mama’s Caribbean Grill (704) 375 8414. Paul Marshall had a strong instinct and led us in, and plates loaded with jerk chicken, greens, yams, peas and rice, and macaroni and cheese arrived in leisurely fashion. Food doesn’t get better than this. Stepped out of the AC into the always steaming Charlotte air, drove to the airport and after many wrong turns got in and picked up Shawn, straight off the plane from Nashville, where he played the night before with James Intveld at an Opryland outdoor event. It was cool to see our talented and kind drummer, as we knew we would now rock. Back to the Best Value to crash some more.