Just finished ten days of the traveling bookstore’s 2019 Western States Tour. Two weeks to go but so much happened already, it made sense to write. In fact, so much happened, I need to write although I doubt I can capture it all.
Weather Last year on the Grand North Carolina and Back Tour, the traveling bookstore hit the road in early April. Having barely survived single digit temperatures, blowing snow, and fingers too cold to type, I decided to wait until mid May this year to start a major tour with the bookstore. Thus a surprise to get hit by freezing rain in Wyoming and blowing snow in Colorado. Thankfully managed to dodge a major storm and made it safely through Glenwood Canyon the day after a serious rock slide closed the interstate highway.
Mechanics Having a traveling bookstore by definition requires a vehicle. Those mobile bookstores that stay in one city have the luxury of going to the same trusted mechanic whenever there’s an issue. A travel-all-over-the-country kind of bookstore obviously requires a different approach. And then add the intricacies of a Sprinter van with a Mercedes diesel engine to further complicate life. There were indeed some intense moments. I couldn’t bear to watch Aaron, a very patient tow truck driver, load the bookstore the morning it wouldn’t start (Sarah took the photo). It was Farley’s in Casper that got us back on the road that day. And when some issues persisted in Buena Vista, CO, All Valley Auto came through. That mechanic didn’t have the necessary parts but managed to troubleshoot to get us to Grand Junction. There Scotty’s took over to get the bookstore squared away before the long Memorial Day weekend and the next leg of the tour. I never had the opportunity to talk books with any of these mechanics but they all did their best to get the bookstore back on the road in a timely manner. Only missed one day of gigs (Stella’s in Denver and Elevation Beer in Poncha Springs) and otherwise managed to get where we needed to be.
People How to describe so many good people met along the way besides the mechanics and tow truck drivers? It warmed my heart to open at Sheridan’s Black Tooth Brewery, and readers I met there last year showed up to buy books. Virginia graciously housed us in Casper even when it required an extra day and she had never met us before. The waitress at Johnny J’s Diner let us sit for hours over coffee and pie while waiting for the bookstore to get fixed. Connie and Duff held dinner til we finally pulled into Buena Vista, and served great White Chicken Chili to thaw us out. Plus their neighbor donated a box of books to help my inventory! Cafe Dawn and Eddy Out @whitewaterwraps made room for the bookstore to set up in Salida. A customer there stopped by to bring chocolate chip cookies and buy books. At Glenwood Springs during a non-bookstore stop, had the good fortune to meet Darwin Raymond who has a wonderful typewriter repair shop and an amazing Moluccan cockatoo named JJ. In Grand Junction, a very kind soul traded two dozen fresh eggs for a book and told us stories about her chickens. Besides the people who purchased books, there are those who provide space for the bookstore to open, put me up, offered meals, let friends know where I’d be setting up next, and in many fine ways support the quirky existence of a traveling bookstore.