The Road Goes on Forever

luis

Hello, Friends. Back again. Got home yesterday afternoon after three weeks of travel. According to mapquest, the book tour took Cinderella and me on an 8,000 mile loop. Almost 3,000 miles by car. How about that. I kept journals the whole way, but I'll have to show you some of those later because tomorrow afternoon, we leave for London. I'll do a book reception and a reading over there in the UK. Is that the same trip, then? Or a new trip? Eh? Do I start a new series of notebooks, or simply carry on with the four I have from this one?

I learned a lot on this trip. One thing I learned is that I still think I'm 27 or 35 and I AM NOT. I think I look 35 or 40 and I DO NOT. Whoa. I creaked and got sick and was in pain and staggered around like grandpa losing his balance at the family picnic and sitting in the wading pool with his baseball cap half knocked off. On some brutal days, I looked like that too. But guess what. The fans don't care. The fans pour more love on you than you know how to process.

We left here and flew to Boston. From Boston, we drove to Rockport. (Toad Hall Books and the library.) Sheer Rockport love--100 people in the library. Lobster rolls. I found an ancient telegraph machine in a store and shipped it to myself. Every writer needs a telegraph machine. Then down to South Hadley (Odyssey Books), but first a visit to the CARE center for young mothers. We took them flowers. We were lost, so a kind fan drove in front of us from Odyssey to our hotel. Our pilot! The next day, we drove to Portsmouth, NH. (River Run Books.) Sweet good times with Twitter pals there--they live-streamed the event. All along that route, C drove and I fielded interviews on the iPhone like a real degenerate touring bar band burn-out. Saw a bad wreck out there with horses and trucks.

Puttered in Maine for only 50 miles or so then sped to Manchester, VT. We had a cabin in the mtns with a huge jacuzzi. Northshire Books--a small crowd, but a lively one. In the morning, back to Boston! Cambridge, actually. I used to hang out for many hours in the basement of harvard Books, and now here I was again--only this time it was my event. Lowry Pei, my ol' mentor was there. Many Twitter pals again.

The most brutal day followed. Up at 3:30, leave hotel by 4:00. 6:00 flight to Dallas. Arrive, meet driver, rush to Dallas Morning News for some kind of weird press conference. Change drivers. To library for luncheon/immigration lecture--100 people, one Mexi-hater shouting "MEXICAAAANS!" at me while her finger shook. O'SHIT! RUN AWAY! To airport in a limo. At this pojnt, the day wasn't making sense anymore. Fly to Houston. Rent a car. The Hertz goddess Miss Loretta got us a big juicy car upgrade for our epic TX/NM drive. Two interviews. Evening event at Brazos Books. Good pals showed up. I was sweating blood. Walking into walls.

In the morning, to Murder By the Book bookstore to sign PHOENIX NOIR (I happened to win the EDGAR, my dear--ahem!), and we sped off to Austin. Had the biggest hotel room ever built--even found a washing machine and dryer in our bedroom closet. Did radio shows in Austin from our hotel phone. That night, Book People. Cousin Dave Duty came and helped C run the powerpoint. I found an awesome Lucha Libre book! Dazed, we drove to San Antonio, for a gig at the Twig. Nice rhyme, eh? On the way, we stopped at Snake Farm and I fondled a python and a pig. There once was a gig at the Twig, where the author fondled a pig. The pig made a squeal, and started to reel, and the author was dancing a jig. The familia of TOMAS URREA and GABRIELA CANTUA came, so the first two rows were full of TERESITA vibes.

In the a.m., we booked out to Alpine, TX. If you don't believe your border is being sufficiently enforced, drive TX 90 from San Anto to Marfa. More USBP than I've ever seen. Even guys, a la Devil's Highway, cutting the drag right beside the highway. We got stopped and sniffed by Migra dogs. Then we got busted for speeding by Texas State Trooper K Turman. But we ended up talking books. Love ruled.

Great gig at Amy's wonderful bookstore, Front Street Books. We stayed in a real cowboy hotel. NPR radio in Marfa. Thewn the long endless slog to Santa Fe. Hundreds of miles of llano. Ten story dust devils. Abandoned towns looking burned and gutted. Roswell. Alien post cards. We sped to the Loretto Inn in Santa Fe and hit the glorious streets. Middle eastern traders have taken over many of the shops and are selling bull-pucky fake or mass-produced "Indian" stuff. How sad is that.

Garcia Street Books sponsored the event the next night. Holy cow! 160+ people. But the best thing EVER was that one of my idols--Gary Farmer, came to see me. I almost fell over. POWWOW HIGHWAY in the house! No time to gloat, because we had to get to an All Things Considered affiliate, and a PBS TV show, and the big mama at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. How big a mama? Well, between Santa Fe and Burque, I signed 750 books. In two nights. Whew.

Up early, and rush to airport. Stall and wait two hours for a one hour flight. Ariive in Denver, and wait another hour because there are no cars. Rush to Tony and Pam's rancho where they run Bella Luna Books. No time to pet the donkeys of the friendly bull. Eat chicken. Drink something I don't remember what. Go to Tattered Cover. Nice 60 people event. May-lee Chai had a fruit basket delivered. Can you believe that? But the coolest thing was that, as we were dragging back to the car, two people came running up the street shouting my name. Huh? Wazzat? It was author Helen Thorpe, and her husband, Denver mayor (and future CO governonr) John Hickenlooper! Dude! Off to drinks!

Sadly, during my talk, my eye started to burn and spew white goo. By the next day, I had a mass hanging out of my face that looked like Davey Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. Fun day at the doctor's office. After that. we rushed to John Dunning's house for a meal, and some of his atomic gin&tonics. On, on, ever on, to the Boulder Bookstore.

We stayed near the airport so we could get to the plane in time for a 7:30 flight to DC. Are you tired yet? I was. I am, just writing this. Boom, into DC. Immediate interview in the hotel room like Rod Stewart or something. Ha ha. Do ya think I'm popeyed? Off to chat and drinks with the awesome goddess, The Book Maven. Then Politics & Prose. I had this dark lump of bacon in my skull that used to be a brain.

Home.

The whole time, we were doing The Post Card Ministry. Post cards from Tres Camarones. We ended up distributing over 500.

Cinderella will put up pictures later. Right now, we're going to do laundry and make sure the kids are packed.

So. How was your summer vacation?

Will be thinking of you, L

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)

Sounds like a rough but fun road trip. At least you had good company.
I asked for a post card but didn't get one. Que paso?

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Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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