A humble bus driver cruisin the country....enjoying all the music this country has to offer.
MontanaMatt: Well I find myself in Charlotte North Carolina today. 🤷♂️ Quick 30 hour trip....total.... including 10 hours in a nice hotel.... and I'm gonna pocket about $1500! Hey can we do this twice a week? I'm in!
MontanaMatt: Well the Roanoke Virginia airport is a pretty sleepy place at 2 AM. One police officer sitting in his car out front.... one guy following his floor polisher around the building.....and me! At least the restrooms are open! And the floor polisher told me everything wakes up right at 4 AM. Then I'm off to Atlanta for a 2 hour layover.... and then back up to Nashville. I should be back in my camper and asleep by 10 AM!
Unfortunately it's probably gonna be about a 2 hour nap..... and then I have to go see my doctor. I think I may have acquired some lung damage during my bus fire adventure.
😲 And yes it sucks. My lungs pretty much feel like hot garbage. And I have a pretty consistent really deep and disgusting cough that I've never experienced before. So I'm expecting my doctor will send me out for lung x-rays pretty much immediately. And we'll go from there. 🤷♂️
So I apologize for my absence. When I got back home after 30 days on the road I was pretty wrecked. It's been pretty much sleep and some laundry. Followed by more sleep. I told my employer I really needed a week off of the road.... and then I'd be ready for the big push to the finish of the season. They made it 4 days without calling....and that's why I find myself virtually alone in the Roanoke Virginia airport. But I'm not gonna complain. This very quick trip more than pays for my flight to Montana for Christmas and New Year's Eve.
And I'll get some sleep when I get back to Nashville. Ya right! 🤣
MontanaMatt: One more show! Tonight in Vancouver British Columbia. Then I dropped the gang at the airport Sunday morning and head for Nashville. And the weather has cleared enough that I do get to cruise through my hometown in Montana and spend some time with the family.
Currently hanging out at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.... and should be boarding the ferry soon. Pretty expensive proposition paying for a 45 foot bus and 7 passengers! $370 ......one way! I paid for both directions but the tour manager is going to reimburse me with cash. 🙂
MontanaMatt: Ugh..... and I'm well aware I've been saying that a lot lately. Los Angeles today. Right in the middle of downtown. This time the venue did mark off plenty of parking spots. I had all the room in the world.... If those 5 cars hadn't ignored the no parking signs. 3 of them got lucky and showed up before the tow truck. 2 of them are gonna have to spend a bunch of money to get their vehicle out of hock. Bummer.
If you're old enough to drive a vehicle you should be old enough to read a sign. And the signs were huge. Stevie Wonder would have seen those signs! And once again they can't tow a vehicle until there's a ticket placed on it. So you have to wait an hour and a half for parking enforcement to ticket the vehicle.... And then another 2 hours for a tow truck to show up. And I was a mental midget the second I pulled up in front of that venue. I really needed to park that bus and get to bed.
I really didn't think i'd ever see anything uglier than New York City to drive a bus around.... but Los Angeles gives them a pretty solid run for their money. Just a shocking number of people driving around.
But leaving Phoenix this morning might have been worth it. A spectacular sunrise in my mirrors.... and the full moon with Venus hovering nearby out my windshield. Pretty spectacular in every direction! 😍
MontanaMatt: So I was on the bus and ready to leave Denver at 3:30 this morning.... exactly as planned. But the tour manager was 30 minutes late getting back to the bus. Blessing in disguise!
The plan was to drive over I 70 West of Denver and end up in Moab Utah this morning. Him being late gave me screwing around time which I used to check road conditions and weather over Vail pass. Somewhere between 8 inches and 2 feet of snow with a 30 mile for our wind. Yeah that ain't happening on my watch.
So I told him about that when he got on the bus and he immediately said...well that's the only way to get to Moab Utah. I am aware. Yes we have to find another place to spend the night. But he'd already paid a 1000 bucks for airbnb for the night in Moab. Bummer.... But I don't think there's anything you can say that's gonna make me drive over Vail pass in the middle of the night.... With those road and weather conditions. So he sat there for a few minutes formulating his argument..... And I was doing the same. And all of a sudden all of the weather apps on my phone flashed a Vail pass closed warning. And he got them on his phone at the same time.
So we're in Santa Fe New Mexico! 🤣
And I got several thank you's and apologies before we got here. And he told me he would never try to convince me to do something like that again. It's my bus and my rules.... when it comes to route finding.
So we're all good! And headed to Phoenix in the morning. Where it's supposed to be in the mid-eighties tomorrow! Yay! I don't have to wear pants!
MontanaMatt: Minneapolis last night.... Omaha Nebraska for a break today.... And Denver tomorrow. And then Phoenix on Saturday night. Then 4 shows up the West Coast before we end the tour in Victoria and Vancouver British Columbia. Los Angeles... San Francisco.... Portland and then Seattle up the coast. All done on the 4th of November when I drop them at the airport in Vancouver. Then I have 5 days to get back to Nashville...... where I have insisted on a week off. I just can't do 30 days all over 2 countries...and then do a 24 hour turn around and go do it again. I'm old dammit! It is fun and the money is ridiculous.... but I have to have an occasional breather. And I don't think that's too much to ask. I actually told management to lose my number for a week.... and we'll see if they can stick to that. I highly doubt it but maybe they'll surprise me. Please?
This group I'm out with is a lot of fun.... and they really are exceptional people. They are all very French so the language barrier is challenging at times but we make it work. And I'm actually learning a little bit of French! 🤷♂️
But please don't ask me to prove that! I'll just pretend I didn't hear you! 🤣
MontanaMatt: Since we can't use plastic straws anymore I've just been choking turtles to death with my bare hands. 🤣
MontanaMatt: Montreal for the next 5 days....sort of. We are leaving Wednesday morning to Quebec City for a show.... but keeping these rooms and we will come back here after the show early Thursday morning. And then rolling out of here Saturday headed headed for Chicago. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: Can someone post the new Chris Stapleton tune for everybody to enjoy? I'm on my phone so I can't make it happen. It's called "White Horse"
....and turn it up! It's spectacular!
MontanaMatt: Bus fire! Me and another driver headed from Fresno to Los Angeles. He was sleeping.... I immediately yelled at him to wake up.... got the bus off the Interstate and parked safely. Fire department was there in about 10 minutes. 😢
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MontanaMatt in reply to lazydays: Yeah I'm headed out the door any minute to head for New York City. On the road for a month with some French electronic music dude. And I'm more than a little happy to drive 900 miles by myself after that experience. Obviously I'll keep a close eye on everything.... But if it's just me on the bus I don't have to worry about other lives..... and play the what if game all the way to NYC.
MontanaMatt: 4 drivers and 2 buses. We left Nashville at 2:30 pm on Monday.... and find ourselves in Spokane Washington shortly after midnight Tuesday night. I drove the Nashville to Kansas City leg.... And then from Murdo South Dakota to Belgrade Montana. I think it was right at 1154 miles....total. And beat like a rented mule. But I have nothing to do until we pull out of Spokane after tomorrow night's show at the casino..... So I will get caught up on rest before the 1000 mile drive to Fresno. Fresno Friday night and Monterey Saturday night. Then we cruise down to Los Angeles to drop Elle King and her band off at the airport for their flight to Australia. And then 4 drivers get 2 buses back to Nashville as quick as possible.
And I've got at least 5 days off when we get back. I was added to the Medicare rolls as of October 1st.... And I have to find a dentist that accepts medicare and get a couple Issues taken care of while also learning my way around medicare. Not thrilled about the medicare thing.... mostly because it means I'm old enough to be eligible.... But I've been paying almost $1200 a month for insurance through work. Medicare with vision... dental and hearing coverage... plus a $47 a month prescription drug plan... will save me very nearly $1000 a month. That's like getting a $12000 raise! Yay! Of course there is the hassle of finding providers that accept medicare.... but for $1000 a month I can spend a little time doing that. Happily!
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MontanaMatt in reply to gwennith: I was given that same advice from my brother. I have the standard medicare dental plan.... But I have until the end of the year to change that if I choose to do that. And my insurance lady emailed me a list of at least 100 dentists in the Nashville area that accept medicare. I guess I won't learn about how much medicare pays for dental until I actually get a dentist on the phone or I'm sitting in the chair. But I am saving so much a month versus company healthcare.... and a bunch of money every month on diabetes testing supplies.... If I have to pay a little more for dental I'm still far ahead of the game. But this whole thing is for sure a learning experience. And at my advanced age I am really not interested in learning a lot at this point. It's difficult enough learning the different systems on these buses and how they all work and if they work together or not. That's taking up pretty much all the available brain power I have left. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: My mom and dad took a river boat cruise from Memphis to Nashville. My nephew picked them up this morning and I met them all at the Pancake Pantry! Always great to see the folks! ❤
MontanaMatt: Queens! An actual borough! The gang has one more show opening for Old Dominion.... tonight at the UBS Arena on Long Island. A very cool arena.... right across the street from Belmont Park..... home of the Belmont Stakes... the third jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown! Pretty easy getting in here this morning....but it was 5:30 AM on a weekend. I expect getting out of here tonight won't be quite as easy. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: Well that's what's left of my bus. 😢
I did get a little more info. My buddy Ralph was driving the bus in Pennsylvania.... with a band and crew on board. Not sure who it was. But Ralph got the bus parked on the shoulder and got everybody out of the bus with no injuries. Pretty much a band and crew standing on the side of the road nearly naked in the middle of the night... and I'm damn sure they were more than happy to be there! Scary shit right there!
MontanaMatt: So my bus that broke down and got a new generator and a new main engine a couple weeks ago.......burned to the ground yesterday. Don't know where it was or who was on it. I've actually been a little bummed that I wasn't on it with all new noise makers. Still haven't heard if it was actually occupied when it burned. Obviously hoping it was sitting empty in a parking lot somewhere. 😢
MontanaMatt in reply to BugHug: One of the guys that I was on the Megadeath tour with was in the yard picking up his bus to head to Washington DC and overheard the phone call to our 24 hour emergency helpline. But they ushered him out of the room before he could get any other details. 🤷♂️ He remembered that that was supposed to be my bus for this whole season so he called me with what he knew. 😢
MontanaMatt: About 1600 miles in the last 3 all-nighters. We left Chicago at midnight last night and pulled into my parking spot in the bus yard at 8:30 this morning. Beat like a dirty rug hanging on the clothes line. 🤪
Ever since I started driving a truck..... The first thing I do when I get home from a trip is laundry. I NEVER let it wait until tomorrow. Until now. I have nothing else to contribute today. My personal fuel tank is running on fumes. 🥱
MontanaMatt: Wow! Tonight's gig in Bethel New York is on the .....wait for it......site of the Original Woodstock in 1966! 😲 So cool! I can almost smell the unwashed masses! 🤣 Kidding of course. I would have been one of them if I wasn't 8 years old at the time! They've built an extremely modern amphitheater here.... and it's first rate!
Not sure a venue can ever be cooler than this! 😎
MontanaMatt: Tonight's lineup? Thanks for asking!
Lily Rose is the opener.....followed by my buddy Brett Young. And the headliner is Sam Hunt. Not really a fan of his music....but he is a really good dude! 👍
MontanaMatt: Well I just did a thing. 😳
I was just on the road with Jameson Rodgers. Pretty much a weekend warrior in this business.... but at a minimum it's a four day weekend. The bus that had been assigned to me for this entire year was in the shop getting a new motor and a new generator.... so they got me hooked up with Jameson. A seriously good dude.... as is his entire band and crew.
Well they love me! And they called management and begged and pleaded for me to be their bus driver for the rest of this tour season. They are currently booked very solid through the end of October. I told the boss I really didn't want to sound greedy.... but at my advanced age I have a limited number of working years left. So my only real concern is making money. Lots of money! He laughed....and said...of course. I get it. And told me I would be guaranteed to make more money with Jameson versus going back to my bus and picking up whatever came along between now and the end of the season. Obviously the trips that had been scheduled for my bus had to get moved when my bus went in the shop. The other good thing is I'll never be gone more than four or five days in a row. So I'll get to sleep in my own bed a couple nights a week and take care of stuff in Nashville that needs some attention once in awhile.
The only real drawback to working with the same band is it completely limits the variety of people you can meet. The list of people I met working last summer mostly as a co-driver is ridiculous. I'm going to miss that.....a lot!
But I have friends that call me Gumby for a reason! It's all about being flexible! 😎
MontanaMatt: Omaha Nebraska for a show at "Barnado" tonight
This building is called the Bentley. The club shares the building with a Bentley dealership!! Obviously pretty high-end! I didn't know Bentley made an SUV..... and I now have a new dream car! They have a Bentley convertible with a V12 sitting on the showroom floor and it is spectacular! And as soon as we pulled up I realized I've been here before. I was here last summer when I was on the road with Kameron Marlowe.
And I have a little more love for Omaha every time I'm here. This city does not have a reputation for being exciting.... but it's a beautiful city and really exceptionally clean. And it is home to the college baseball World Series every year.... so that's cool.
About midnight tonight we roll for Beaver Dam Wisconsin. Looks to be about 40 miles Northeast of Madison. And then we head to Alexandria Minnesota for a show Saturday night and then 1,000 miles back to Nashville. Zoom freaking zoom! 🙂
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Franken_Thosny: Matt - I lived in Omaha for several years and had been to the Bentley several times. The zoo is also one of the best - in the world! And, if you have a hankering for money action, you can just mosey on over across the river and try your hand at the casino's.
Its not a bad place to live until you have to deal with the tornado's.
MontanaMatt: Banger Maine with Jameson Rodgers and his band on the bus! Really nice people! Cool and rainy here today. Messing with the guys golf plans. 😢 Blowing out of here at midnight tonight after the show..... and headed for a show in Albany New York tomorrow evening.... and then back to Nashville. And do it all again next weekend up in Michigan! Zoom-zoom!
So I saw my doctor in Nashville before we left. Just feeling life's aches and pains more than usual. So he prescribed another Medrol pack. A really high dose of oral steroids on day one and then taper down to nothing after 6 days. And after pretty much exactly 24 hours after the first dose.... I'm a new human! I could build a pyramid.... run a marathon.... and throw a no-hitter all before lunch! Completely pain-free from head to toe! 😲 I don't even know how to act. It's a Christmas miracle in August! Two minor drawbacks. I'm guaranteed to put on pretty close to 10 lb in the next two weeks. But since I weighed in at 232 in the doctor's office I can live with that. The other undesirable side effect is remarkable spikes in my blood sugar. But....since my A1C was down to 5.9 in his office.... that's not horrible either. He was actually shocked at that number. I attribute that to the mounjaro.... and the fact that that weekly injection eliminates any desire to eat. I honestly have to force myself to eat. And that has actually given me a new outlook regarding people taking the drug for vanity purposes instead of diabetic needs. (And I'm not sure vanity is the correct word for that. Obviously some people need to lose weight for health reasons that have nothing to do with vanity) But I completely understand why people want to take it to lose some weight even if they're not diabetic. The results are remarkable. Of course the drug should be prescribed only to diabetics until the manufacturer can keep up with increased demand. But now that I've seen how well it really does work I sure understand their motivation to get it. And the word on the streets is that there are several other virtually identical drugs reaching the market before the end of the year. And in pill form instead of an injection. That will enable them to keep the price very reasonable. But it sure works. I'm really quite impressed with my results. 🙂
justme0123: Ive been on Ozempic for a year, my Numbers are steady, I am on it to help regulate my sugars as my pancreas as you know is Fkd. I didn't have any of the side effects that some had, Its a great tool for me,
AutumnButterfly: I was on victoza for a few years, lost some weight ( kinda was stuck, not loosing anymore)sugars were good. Switched to Ozempic, lost a lil more weight( got stuck again) sugars were great! Now on Wegovy sugar is 5.0! Hoping to loose more weight. It does really make you not want to eat. Sometimes I have to force myself. Was on a getaway to cabin with my mom last week, she was on my case to eat🤷🤦
Glad it is working for you Matt. And that you are getting some relief with the steroids.
Kinda a catch 22 with the steroids making you gain n the mounjaro trying to make you lose.
MontanaMatt in reply to justme0123: My older brother is taking the ozempic also. Unfortunately for him he's having all the side effects. Even after 6 weeks of injections he's still seriously nauseated for a couple of days after each injection. But his numbers are falling so he's going to stick with it. I'm not sure I could do that. Nausea is the worst for me! I just can't deal with that. Even a minor form. Being that I have to force myself to eat..... nausea is a cruel joke. 😢
MontanaMatt: Well I'm back in Nashville..... 3 full weeks early. And I've been assigned a new bus ( new to me) and I'm already headed out Wednesday through Saturday this week..... and Wednesday through Saturday next week. After that my bus should have a new generator and a thoroughly reworked air conditioning system.... and be ready for the road again. 😉 😃
So the company wasn't bullshitting when they said they wanted me back on the road as soon as possible. 48 hours is pretty quick!
MontanaMatt: Well I've been caught in a mechanical shitstorm.
All of a sudden my bus is nothing but trouble. The biggest of those troubles being the generator. It's been 3 days of hell. The biggest problem being that without a working generator there's very little chance I can keep the temperature in the sleeping compartment at a reasonable number. I don't know anybody that can sleep in an 85° room! So after 3 days of fighting it..... and not being able to guarantee the band that's paying for the bus a smooth trouble-free ride.... people that make more money than me have decided to replace my bus on this tour. I'm back at my hotel for the night and I've been instructed to head for Nashville tomorrow morning. And promised they will immediately set to work repairing my bus and get me back on the road with somebody else very quickly. I got phone calls from four different executives making sure I knew none of this was my fault. The band was thrilled with me.... and have already expressed a desire to have me drive them around again someday.
But.... between being relieved of Duty on the last tour.... and this tour being cut short by three full weeks.... I've just had $17,000 removed from my wallet. I expect the company will address that in some fashion when I get back to Nashville. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: 6.5 hours later....and my bus is fixed! And the tour manager bumped our departure time to 7 am. So....goodnight! 😴