OK, so when you’re back in California it doesn’t seem like Vermont is that far away from Ithaca, New York. But guess what, it’s way damn far. But what do we care? We’ve already driven to Vermont from Los Angeles for the second time in two years. So we make up the morning after our first leg two day off and start driving. 7 hours later we’re in Ithaca. Damn. We pull up to the club. Castaways is a old seaman’s bar along canal that extends from the southern end of one of the finger lakes, we’re not sure which one. The bar population is split into two. There’s a crew of regular drinkers who sit at the bar and on one side of the room, and a hip, musical set on the other side of the room by the stage. Mostly, though, this is a neighborhood bar for drinking, birthday parties, and smoking cigarettes on the dockside patio out back. In short, we’re worried. Was this worth the drive? We bravely and stoically unload our gear and split for the hotel.
The hotel doesn’t lift our spirits. RW and SN’s room smells more like cigarettes and spilt beer than the car. There’s folks hanging around in plastic chairs on the balcony looking like they live there. The heavy air of destitution hangs overhead. Ithaca is not looking good. We try to salvage the trip by arranging a good dinner. The famous Moosewood Restaurant is here. Many a vegetarian restaurant has borrowed recipes from their well-traveled cook books. We call, get directions, and head their way. The Hawks can justify almost any drive with a fantastic meal.
And so our wishes are fulfilled. We order organic cocktails made with fresh herbs and berries: a basil mint martini, a blackberry margarita. Then come soups, salads, tofu dishes and African groundnut stews. It’s all we hoped for. The Moosewood wraps us in a translucent protective bubble that only we can see. Perhaps the trip to Ithaca was worth it after all. We get back to the club and our recognize that our luck is clearly changing (or else the bubble is working). There are people there, plenty of them, and besides the folks there for the Buzzie’s 40th birthday party, they seem to be there to see us. We get up and power through a suddenly inspired set fueled by pure vegetarian organic energy.
Afterwards we meet the enlightened DJ Tracey Craig, the host of the Grapevine Music Hour. She’s been featuring our record on her show and it’s brought out some folks. God bless her. There’s also Jim Catalano, the Ithaca Journal writer who had a article about us in the daily paper. There’s even a couple dudes from the Red Stick Ramblers who we played with in Houston. They’re out in Ithaca to play the Grey Fox festival. We love it when folks come out to support the scene. It all makes sense. If only we didn’t have to drive 7 hours back to Vermont tomorrow.