Wednesday, April 10, 2013

20TH ANNIVERSARY SANDLOT TOUR - 4.09.2013 - DAY 3

DME's Sandlot Tour official road song

A DAY IN WHICH WE GET NOWHERE FAST, BUT GET A LOT DONE


Dear Reader,

So we ended up having to stay in Memphis over 2 nights, because it took that long to fold 1,000 t-shirts. 

How we were going to get them all in the Tour Truckster was a baffling allocation-of-space-conundrum the likes of which would've driven a Hoarder with OCD (is that redundant?) to jump off a cliff.

T-Shirts awaiting folding
Suddenly, in a moment which can only be described as Shop-Vac like inspiration, Navigator Stacey yells: "Space bags!"

Yeah.  Those things.  You shove a hundred blankets into one, hit it with a vacuum cleaner and Presto it stuff is now flat as a Flounder.

Tennessee State Line

We picked up a selection of Space-Bags at the local Bed Bath and Beyond, in, obviously, the "Beyond" section, because Space-bags have no place in either your bedroom or bathroom.

After a little trial and error, we dialed in on the most useable size Space-Bags, stopped at the local Home Depot for a pint-sized Shop-Vac and this is what happened:

video

Now, I'm a neat freak.  I don't have a problem with neatness, I have a problem with messes.  And these Space-Bags are like neat-freak crack.  I'm buying stock in the ZipLoc company.

We took a break from the folding slog and went for a beer.  When we came back, almost all the rest of the unfolded shirts had been tidily folded!  When we walked into the room, this is what we saw:

Captain Maverick in Cobbler's Elf mode

Captain Maverick helping by folding t-shirts



Captain Maverick in full-on Retail Mode
After we got all the t-shirts safely Space-Bagged, vac'd-out and stowed in the Tour Truckster, I hit the local Pac-N-Ship for a poster box.  The Lady there had one that was the exact size I needed.  800 posters in a cardboard box weighs about 200 pounds.  It was a chore lifting it into the back seat - but I did it, in a no uncertain profanity laced effort.

T-Shirts folded and ready for vac-ing
After that it was email time.  My inbox has gone bat-do-do because of all the press lately, especially the Sports Illustrated interview.

T-shirts tidily packed

Every stack marked with its size

Then it was end of day beer time.  We are back on the road tomorrow noon for a 500 mile day.  We will hit Philly on Thursday to wash of the road grime and get ready for a full day of press.

Floor to ceiling, kind of like 50 airbags, so, we're safe

Yeah, just waiting for a State Trooper to ticket me because I can't see out the back

Check back tomorrow for Tour day 4.

End of day beer, Fallon IPA

Best,

DME

20TH ANNIVERSARY SANDLOT TOUR - 4.08.2013 - DAY 2

Morrow, Georgia to Memphis, Tennessee 

Dear Reader,

Yesterday's trip from Morrow, GA to Memphis TN was, for the most part smooth and easy.

 For about 425 miles in 6 hours we had the GPS lady route us off the major freeways and headed through Alabama, a little bit of Mississippi and then into Tennessee over Route 72.

When you travel with a canine, you end up meeting everyone else on the road that travels with a canine.  As we were leaving the hotel this morning, we met an older couple, snowbirds, on the way back to Indiana from Florida.  they had a van, the entire back half of which was dedicated to their huge, black Newfoundland dog, Pearl.

Captain Maverick said hello, and we were on the road.

Newfy "Pearl"

Pearl, a living pillow of a dog

Spring just starting to make itself known and some of the scenery was just spectacular.   I kept saying to Navigator Stacey, "Get a picture of that beautiful field with yellow flowers!  Oh, and a picture of that awesome bridge!"  Of course, in the relatively hermetically sealed Tour Truckster, I was completely missing the meaning of all that beautiful "yellow" just bursting all around us.  What it meant was about to blow up in my face - like, literally.

Alabama, spring is in the air - literally!


Quick note: Alabama drivers?  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  A bit of a speedy lot, but on the whole okay.

Alabama drivers - not bad!

Light traffic - thank you God!

Clear ahead


Getting close to the hotel, I saw the most disturbing thing.  A giant, sworling cloud of yellow stuff, which can only be described as Mustard gas, erupting from a pine tree.  I mean a cloud of the stuff, a whole vast aerial acre of the junk.  Remember that pretty spring yellow color in the fields along I-72?

Well, I step out of the Truckster and instantly, and I mean like nano-second instantly, I get smacked in the face with a powdery plume of the yellow gak and my eyes swell shut like I'd just eaten an entire triple cheese, pepperoni pizza topped with a box of rock salt.  And I'm a vegetarian.   I scramble for my iphone, because clearly that fat little North Korean dictator has managed to launch a missile with a mustard gas warhead all the way to Memphis TN, and somehow the boys at NORAD missed it!


Captain Maverick's favortie!

Tennessee has the best Rest Stops!


I drop the phone because now I'm having trouble breathing.  This is getting bad, I think to myself, and start tearing my backpack apart feeling (because I sure as hell can't see anything right now!) for my Epi-Pen.  Just as I'm about to jack it into my thigh, I realize it isn't mustard gas - it's pollen.  Whole freaking oceans of pollen.  The Truckster is green.  Now it was yellow:


Mustard Gas

The Tour Truckster gone yellow

Pollenated running boards


You see, I have allergies.  And I'm in Tennessee.  At the beginning of spring.  And mother nature is just unloading, in all her fecund majesty, her plantspermia all over my delicate little hay-fevered self.

Panic.  "Stacey?!  Zyrtec!  STAT!"

So we go to a nearby Target and I grab a bottle of Zyrtec and swallow it.  Grab a bottle of super hi-octane "Allergy eye drops" and squirt the whole thing into my eyes.

Beat.  Beat. Ahhhhhhh.... Thank you Lord.

Quick sidebar: one thing you'll notice in Memphis is a lot of camouflage.  Camouflage trucks.  Camouflage table clothes.  Camouflage strollers.  Just about anything you'd think to want to hide-in-plain sight can be found in Memphis.  It's a southern thing.  I live in Florida, and that's fairly southern, but, like, sunny-southern.  Memphis is southern-southern.  And the thing you'll see most in a tidy camouflage package is cargo-shorts.  Now since I happen own a pair of these, I'll let it die right here.  The jokes are just too easy.  And if you don't have to work to make a good joke, well, then it's just not worth it.

Because we got an early start (which is really the only way to start when you're covering 400 plus miles a day) we got into Memphis about 3:30 PM CT.  We got to the hotel and completely unloaded the Tour Truckster.  I knew the load of posters and t-shirts was going to be huge, so we needed every available square inch of interior space.


the GPS Lady


An hour later we were at my friend, Jim Walker's, house loading posters and t-shirts into the Truckster. I had badly (okay, cataclysmically!) under estimated the stuff.  There were about 1,000 t-shirts and 800 posters!   The t-shirts were in big cardboard boxes.  The posters flat-packed, but they weighed, all together, I swear like 200 pounds!  How can paper weigh that much?!  Clearly the trees from which they were produced were all laughing their collective pulpy butts off - "Payback!"

Drury Inn's are ALL Pet Friendly, Captain Maverick' approved!


Somehow, we got all the stuff in the Truckster.  Bu then there wasn't a freaking square centimeter of space left.  How the hell were we gonna get all "our stuff" back in?!  This is a bad bad turn of circumstances.  Now, as panic kills, I didn't panic, but I sure as hell fretted.  Like, a lot.

So we get back to the hotel and unload everything from the Truckster into the room.

1,000 t-shirts.  800 posters.  How are we going to get all that and all our gear into a Honda Pilot?

460 miles end of day 2 beer at Sharkeys in Memphis


We had no idea.

Check back tomorrow for Day 3.

Best,

DME

Monday, April 8, 2013

20TH ANNIVERSARY SANDLOT TOUR - 4.07.2013 - DAY 1

Dear Reader,

I'm going to post at the end of each day, or following morning (such as this post), with perhaps some gaps in-between when the time between screening events is more than a week.

And just as a side-bar, I looked up the World Record for audience size at a single film screening.  It's something like 28,442 and it was set in 2012.

Well, I've heard rumors that we might exceed that number at one of the stadiums we're going to screen in.

Got a bit of a late start out of Florida heading for Memphis, TN to pick up some Sandlot merchandise from a good friend of mine who lives there.  He's been holding it for me since we did a test-run screening at Autozone Park last October.

Chief of Security, Captain Maverick Vom Evans, and Navigator Stacey were right on time and eager to go.  So we loaded the Tour Truckster, hit the gas station for petrol and tire air, stuck the new SunPass sensor to the windshield (Ha! No more stopping at toll booths!) and headed south on I-4 to 408 West to 75 North.

The destination for the day was Morrow, GA, about 20 miles south of Atlanta.  Thereby breaking the 800 odd miles to Memphis into two more palatable chucks of driving.

A quick primer: Florida drivers?  A-holes.  They've a particular penchant for cutting you off at 80 mph with no turn signal and 14 inch to spare.  I like to call this the Spontaneous Non-Indicative Lane Change.  I wish that added up to a cool acronym but it doesn't.

Georgie drivers?  Speedy A-holes.  Not so much with the potentially murderous lane changing, but dude, seriously, do you have to crawl up my tail pipe when I'm already doing 80 in a 70 zone?  I swear not one of them was going less than 90 mph.  The nice thing about it is, that apparently the State of Georgia knows all about this, and so, have deployed stealth State Trooper cars with some sort of new cloaking device.  May like ten times in 4 hours some frickin' Nascar wannabe would rip by me and out of sight, only to reappear moments later having been pulled over by the a GST.  Out of nowhere - the trooper just appeared.  Awesome.

Otherwise all was well, just a bit of slog 6 plus hours OTR dodging idiots.

But I'll tell you what, you meet the nicest people at state rest stops.  And most of them have dogs, like Maverick.  Well, okay, not at all like Maverick, but they are of the canid species.

Captain Maverick is a hit everywhere he makes an appearance.  First question out of every little kid's mouth: "Can I pet your German Shepherd?"  First words out of every adult's mouth: "Is he a police dog?"

It's currently 8:35 Am 4.08.2013 - so I gotta hit the road.  Here's a quick photo of the size of Maverick's paws.  I don't know why.  I just thought it was freakin' amazing.  And a series of pix from the first leg of the drive to Memphis.


Captina Maverick's Paw. X-Large



Captain Maverick in his command center

The Tour Truckster

At a rest stop in Georigia

Gerogia rest stop

Captain Maverick's favorite sign!!!

A little sign from the Man Upstairs - a good omen

Where the tour begins and ends for we 3 travellers

What the HELL did we do before GPS?!


Check back tomorrow.

Best  DME