Day 1 New Orleans, LA>Collierville, TN
I find it odd that after a year that has felt like the longest year of our lives, it still feels like yesterday that we were touring across the country last summer trying to cautiously escape the confines of Covid. Well, here we are again ready to roll out in search of adventure and connection, and I must say that things didn’t start out as smoothly as we had hoped. Rain and other projects during the weeks leading up to our tour prevented me from popping up our camper until the day before our departure. I had a few things to do in preparation for a cross country trip. First on the list was greasing the hubs, followed by lubricating the lift cables, wench, and associated mechanisms, replacing the battery, and removing the interior sink- basic maintenance tasks that I should’ve started researching months ago. Everything was going as planned until I noticed a soft spot in the floor near the door. Upon further inspection, it was obvious that rain had been getting in around the door while the camper was stored in our backyard, ultimately rotting out the subfloor from one side of the threshold to the other. My initial thought was to do a quick plywood reinforcement, but I decided against it thinking about all the stubbed toes and splinters in our near future. Here’s to hoping the soft spots hold til the end of July.
In true Doussan fashion, we waited until the absolute last minute to pack. With surprisingly little stress, we were packed and on the road by 10:30 am on Saturday. The drive was easy, most likely due to the excitement of our impending adventure. We pulled into our campground outside of Collierville just before 6pm.
August-, our 9 year old son, and I returned to our “outside duties” getting Peggy-O (our pup up camper) leveled, plugged in and popped up as Maggie waited to perform her “inside duties.” It wasn’t long before I heard cries of disappointment coming from inside. Maggie had discovered that the water that had come in and rotted the floor had made its way back where we had our pillows and blankets stored and left everything wet and mildewed. I proceeded to run clothes lines made from parachute cord to hang everything to dry while Maggie deep cleaned the interior.
Once we got all that situated, we fired up the griddle to grill up some sliced beets and ground turkey with sweet peppers. We served everything over a bed of hummus and enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal to kick off our trip. We ended the night with a campfire and a sweet guitar serenade from August.
I must say that I’m impressed with both Maggie and myself for handling these unexpected curveballs in a manner that didn’t bring our spirits down. While we have a lot of work ahead of us with sealing the camper and the eventual floor repair/ renovation, our focus seems to be positive and aligned on the here and now.
Day 2 Collierville, TN (Show day)
We awoke before our 6 am alarm, as I figured we would, and stepped out to greet the new day. Maggie and I laid out our yoga mats for a few sun salutations while August slept in. August arose just before I had eaten all the bacon that I had cooked for breakfast, and he managed to score himself a few pieces before our morning hike.
Our first hike of the trip was a moderate 3 mile hike through the woods of Meeman Shelby State Park just east of the Mississippi River. The goal is to get ourselves in hiking shape quickly as we have some 10 milers planned for later on in our journey. Averaging 30 minute miles, we returned to camp by 9:30 to shower and head to Memphis to explore the Stax Museum.
The Stax Museum was nothing short of amazing. With great videos, memorabilia, and educational plaques, we left inspired by not only the music that Stax created, but also the culture of equity that seemed to be ingrained within it’s walls. If you are a music lover and ever find yourself in Memphis, I highly recommend this stop. Bring some extra dough to buy some CDs or vinyl. I left with two rare Stax records that I can’t wait to find a turntable for!
With time running out before the show tonight, we tried to stop at 3 different BBQ joints for lunch before settling on Tops. Central had a line wrapped around the corner, and Cozy Corner and Smoke City were closed. Tops didn’t disappoint and provided us with some quick bbq nourishment before heading into Collierville for the first gig of the tour.
The first show is a house concert hosted by a wonderful family I know from my childhood. Guests gathered and excitedly caught up with each other as it was the first gathering for many of them in the aftermath of the pandemic. Everyone took their seats in the lawn chairs they arrived with and settled in for the show to start.
This crowd is exactly what I love about house concerts. They were quiet when we played and clapped after songs as if they were listening and actually enjoyed them. One of the things I love most about these house shows is the intimacy that can be created between the musician and the listener. We were able to make some great connections with some great new friends through the music this evening, and reconnecting with the Demato Family was heartwarming.
We made it back to camp as the sun was disappearing behind the trees. It didn’t take long for us to all climb into our bunks. I lay here grateful for the opportunity to do what we do. I feel so fulfilled already and we have 48 more days to go. Positivity in the face of adversity seems to be our driving force so far, so i think we’ll stick with it as we journey on to Little Rock for the second show of the tour along with a hang with some of our dearest friends.
I’ve got Killer Whale’s “Ocean Blood” record on in the background as I wrap up this first blog post of #doussansbetripping2021. Follow that hashtag on FaceBook or Instagram to keep up with us on our 50 day tour! And don’t forget to check out www.mikedoussanmusic.com to follow along and check out the new tour merch that will be posted soon!
In words of Spencer Bohren, “Be good to yourselves, and each other.”