Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Storm Rider to Kenora, ON

I do hate to roll out of Winnipeg when the weather is doing what it's now doing, but it's my time- and I got to go! Here's a very Canadian, Manitoba scene. It's -25 and blowing up a storm. Roads are shutting down, and I'm driving into the storm as it blows in from the southeast. Damn. I've been trying to put a house concert together for tonight, but it's a casualty of the weather. I feel I've got to head east as far as planned today, because if the weather worsens I may not get to the following shows without this head start. Cheapest gas I've seen on this Tour. That's for a litre- about a quart- of gas. Tim's provides the caffine and a breakfast sandwich. I'm off!

High winds push and shove at the Lincoln. Good-bye to the prairie flats. I'm trying to go east. This would be about two and a half hours in good weather, but today...

It doesn't get better. But I'm thinking that if I do make it to Kenora I'll head on down to the Bijou Club. Edmonton's Bill Bourne is supposed to be playing a show tonight- and if he doesn't make it through the storm, I'll try and scarf the gig for myself!

Rolling into Kenora on worsening roads, just as it is getting dark. The highway is bad- but the local Kenora roads are worse. Humpy ice ridges and deepening snow. I can feel the tires slipping and sliding underneath me. It would be bad to ditch dive at this point, but better here than out on the TransCanada 17. I'm going to stay with my good friends Cathy and Dave, and to my relief I make it up the side road to their house. Hello! I'm parked safely. I'm inside. It's warm. And Buddy, the dog, seems to remember me.

Dave phones down to the club to see if the show is still on. Yes, and apparently Bill is already there. Oh, well, no gig for me tonight. I decide to go to the show anyway, as a number of people have asked me if I have seen the featured artist- suggesting that I do so. Of course, I bring along a guitar. I know the promoter, and the owner of the venue, so I'm thinking perhaps I'll be invited to play a little half time set. But I'm no rock star this evening. I'm to pay $20 for a ticket, $8 for a glass of wine. And I'm to sit through a set that lasts for two hours and fifteen minutes. Bill Bourne is a veteran performer, an interesting guitarist and storyteller with a comfortable stage presence. I can certainly understand his popularity, but we come from different worlds. I've enjoyed the night, but I'm glad to get back to my room. A little warmth. A little solitude. And a big sleep.

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