Road Blog: Saturday September 24, 2022 - Wausau, WI
September 24, 2022
We pulled out of Iowa City yesterday at 11am, Gabriel and I each a little worse for the wear, and Jacob behind the wheel. It was a long drive up through Iowa, back across the Mississippi River in Dubuque, and into Wisconsin. This run has been long on drives and short on sunshine for sure, and the cooler fall temperatures are moving in. We pulled into our dive motel south of Wausau around 4pm and the heavy metal kid behind the bulletproof plastic was adamant that I provide my AAA number to get the rate, and I didn’t have my card, and they NEVER ask for it, and his little heavy metal buddy was sitting in the lobby playing a really loud hand-held video game, so I called TrooperGirl22 to see if she could send me a photo of it, and she was out for dinner with her friend Wendy so what the hell were we gonna do? He called the manager who said Jesus, just let them check in, and he did. An hour later a text came from home and they added the number to our invoice. It’s not all fun and games out here friends.
Jake picked out a dinner joint called Wausau Mine Company which was a mine-themed local institution of a restaurant with plastic-rock walls, dripping condensation, and wooden-beam supports, but without the rats and methane gas, at least visibly. The food was good. Jake got his pasta with extra vegetables then extra on top of that and I had a cobb salad which is starting to be a thing at the end of these runs after a weekend of fast food and partying.
We pulled up to the Polack Inn and met Frank, the bartender/booker and Ryan the owner/soundguy. Both are super nice guys who welcomed us to Wausau. We met Chad, from locals CASHED, who showed us where to load in and park. We set up merch and I tuned up my guitars in the kitchen and ordered a round. The Polack Inn has a nice front-room with booths and a pool table, and back room where the bands play, that’s a cinder-block square. Edison Hollow, another Detroit band, was setting up and they had enough gear to play Little Caesar's Arena in Detroit, so it was shaping up to be loud in that little room. We talked to those dudes, and they were super nice to let us use their bass rig and drums.
I had some time and was dragging ass so I snuck off and went for a walk down the River Edge Walkway, an adjacent path along a creek that fed into the Wisconsin River. The raid had stopped and it was a wet and mild but refreshing night and the fresh air felt great. I walked down to the river and back, crossed a couple bridges, and didn’t see another human the entire time. Wausau is a bit of a sleepy town, at least it was last night, and there wasn’t much happening that we saw outside of the bar.
Edison Hollow went on around 10pm to a respectable crowd and rocked as hard as any band we’ve played with in some time. They were on the metal side, with Graham Bonnet-era Rainbow like vocals and Eddie Van Halen guitars, complete with an EVH full stack and super shredder finger tapping. Really tight, well-rehearsed, well-crafted tunes and a commanding performance. Loved it. We played second to a good room and did our best to keep the momentum going. I didn’t butcher “Huckleberry” like I did in Iowa City the night before but I still can’t remember the second verse to save my life. I’ve only sang that song probably 500 times. I have a little homework to do before our next show. After us Cashed came on and had a more loose-punk vibe, just as loud and Edison Hollow, and fast, energetic and fun. It was a diverse but extremely cool lineup and we were glad to be on a bill with these bands.
We sold some merch and cashed out as Jake made sure to get a couple more boozy-pops for the road and I got us back the heavy metal motel intact, happy to be the mild-mannered designated driver after the long day of recovery. By the time we crashed out it was just about 3am and we knew Sunday would come quick.
I got up at 7:45am, showered, and took the guitars out the truck while the boys got their shit together. I thought I’d be a nice guy and walked over to McDonalds, past a dumpster with a raccoon or something rummaging through it, for a round of road coffees, but it turned out to be a Denny’s that was ill equipped to handle a quick take-out order of this nature. After meandering myself back to the waitress station and fetching the coffees myself, mumbling profanity under my breath, I met the boys at the truck and we climbed in.
The next stop was Rockford, IL where we stopped at Binny's Beverage Depot where I had big plans to stock the Porter house for the remainder of the year. Always a dangerous place, the Amex got a workout, but the prices and selection can’t be beat. Across the parking lot we went to another favorite Rockford haunt – Beefaroo (if you know, you know) – for some fast food lunch to get us home. My double olive burger with cheese sub American instead of swiss was fantastic, but just a couple bites too much. Beef-a-Roo is fantastic, if you ever get a chance.
I got us through the western Chicago suburbs and south of the city where we gassed up the vehicle and emptied our bladders for the final stretch. Gabriel took the wheel so I could get the blog out, and as often happens when Gabe takes over driving, a massive rainstorm has moved in. We’re flying east-bound now, and just crossed the state line back into Michigan. I can’t wait to see TG22 and sleep in my own bed tonight. Last night in Wausau was a blast – our first time there – and not our last.
Big thanks to everyone in Indianapolis and Iowa City too – it’s been a fun weekend! See you all in October when we head to the southeast for a longer run that’ll be full of adventure, debauchery, debacles, and rock and roll. Watch this space. Thanks for reading. Xx