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Day 1: Flying over Texas
I (along with our sound engineer Alejandro Iragorri fresh off a tour with The Head and the Heart) flew to meet up with the Helio boys Benjamin and singer/guitar player Brandon Summers who had driven the tour van and equipment out from Portland. That meant flying through a spectacular lightening storm from Dallas to Austin and as the lights exploded around our small plane I literally thought how mad I would be if my plane went down when I was wearing mismatched socks.
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Day 1: Austin, Texas
Austin's airport greets you with music whether you want it or not.
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Day 2: Austin, Texas
In the morning, boys played a radio set for KUT the University of Texas’ station, which is an NPR affiliate. The show was a thank you to sponsors who donated a lot of money to the station and somehow this led to an entire room of men that looked like Governor Kitzhaber lookalikes. Alternatively, the Governor has invented a successful cloning program.
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Day 2: Austin, Texas
A very capable looking attorney.
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Day 2: Austin, Texas
Portland girls and Austin girls could easily have a fashion exchange program. Way to work the vintage denim.
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Day 3: Somewhere in northern Texas
Gun shows galore.
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Day 3: Somewhere in northern Texas
Driving through northern Texas to Oklahoma was about as far from Portland as you could get. The car was leaking differential fluid and we knew the axle was broken. Thanks to some Yelp searching we found a place with an incredibly helpful staff of polite mechanics who fixed it up while I sat in a room with no less than 15 taxidermy animals (including a bear and a crocodile head) staring at me while outside down the road there was a spray-painted sign that said “Fire Obama.”
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Day 3: Oklahoma
With the van fixed, we headed to the University of Oklahoma for an outdoor show in freezing weather to meet up with our friends and opening band Ramona Falls singer Brent Knopf, violinist Lauren Jacobson, bassist Brandon Laws (Hosannas) and drummer Paul Alcott (Parenthetical Girls, Menomena).
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Day 3: Oklahoma University
I wandered the halls of the pretty campus with photos of different tribes in the areas and snapped a pic of Benjamin in front of this gorgeous hand-woven tapestry. As the show began I saw a clear cultural divide. The dudes with baseball caps and girls in hoodies with Uggs veered to the right to get in line for the campus movie theater’s showing of the new"Red Dawn" remake, while the guys in screen printed tees and girls with chunky jewelry wearing far more black headed left outside to watch the bands in the dark Midwest night.
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Day 4 (Election Day): Oklahoma/Missouri
The first thing I heard when we got into the car heading from one red state to another was the radio saying “Liberals hate American Energy” then a number of talk shows discussing at length how Romney was guaranteed to win by a landslide. We Portlanders were a long way from home as we drove through the gorgeous countryside of flame red trees glowing in the autumn light.
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Day 4: Missouri
I bought three.
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Day 4: Columbia, Missouri
The election was called a few minutes before that night's show began. Half the camp was thrilled, but there was definitely an unusual energy in the venue. But this happy young Missouri gent rocking suspenders was pleased with the whole night.
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Day 5: Unknown
Nothing like blowing out a tire in the middle of nowhere
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Day 5: Iowa
Sums up a large portion of Iowa.
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Day 4: Iowa City
One of the club employees in Iowa City reminding me music venue attires across country blend together.
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Day 4: Iowa City
Unexpected glitz and glam in Iowa!
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Day 4: Iowa City
Cute midwest gals in glasses.
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Day 5: Iowa or Minnesota
Awaking in another themed hotel means I was lucky enough to see a series of this "art" before I even had breakfast.
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Day 5: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Mosaic mural in Saint Paul glittering in the freezing cold.
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Day 5: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Who knew the Saint Paul men were bringing such style?
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Day 5: Saint Paul, Minnesota
One half of Ramona Falls rocking the fooseball pre-show.
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Day 5: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Some daring backless behavior for the temperature.
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Day 6: Wisconsin
This castle was (sadly) not actually made of cheese. Sigh....
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Day 6: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
We found a spot called Nona's cafe where the owners were so excited to have Oregon traveler's they took our picture and I responded in kind. (Home made raisin bread too!)
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Day 6: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Again the people of Milwaukee are so incredibly kind. After I took this photo of Paul Alcott with a local fellow I had told I liked his Badgers shirt, he literally took it off his back and gave it to me. I couldn't convince him to take it back because "everyone should have a Badgers shirt."
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Hitting Chicago on my own personal Expressway!
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Hmmmm.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Raise your hand if that flower is too big.
I thought so.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Heading to find a cup of coffee we stumbled upon a red carpet event for what I believe is a gym that teaches pole dancing.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Ramona Falls' Brandon and Lauren camera mugging.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Cute indie rock couples were all over Chi Town.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Truth.
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Day 7: Chicago, Illinois
Hundreds of enthusiastic fans came to Chicago's Lincoln Hall to listen to Helio (and one screamed over and over they wanted to buy them a burrito?). An excellent way to send us out of the US into our Canadian tour leg.
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