When Lazlo left to go on Summer Dead Tour there was no apparent hole in the roof of his ranch dwelling, but by the time he’d returned home from Jerry’s Birthday Show at Red Rocks, he could clearly see the blazing Texas sun from his office chair. Not a month before, he’d sat in that very spot, wearing his puffy pants, embroidering shirts and hoodies with images of Jerry’s infamous guitars. Hippies could still get away with wearing hoodies even if other ethnicities could not. Something queer had certainly occurred, unbeknownst to him, while he had been off, gallivanting with Watusi of the first order. Something utterly unbelievable had happened, or was still happening. One of the many Herefords that took peaceful residence in his own backyard had pushed over the barbed-wire fence and was now sitting on his couch, reading his Reese Witherspoon Southern Living, the one with the recipe for Ma Roux’s cornbread, and selfishly partaking of Laz’s own personal stash of flower. Wi-Fi, from Salida and not easy to replace here, deep in the womb of the Texas sands.
In the wise words of P.Leis and Buddha, “The only thing that’s permanent is impermanence”.
Hambone and Luke Skywalker had missed the afternoon rendevoux in Beaumont and headed west toward the lights of Houston. They’d almost made it out of Florida before having to sleep under a bridge in Apalachicola and after subsequent nights camped in the pouring rain at a Mississippi rest stop, this was apparently, not going to be the glamping adventure they had expected. Boarding in New Orleans had been certainly improved, but the panicked nightmares and hellish visions that came out of the French Quarter would not soon be forgotten. Full to the rim with shatter and Vodka, they steered straight for Tomball, where four straight days of coma-like sleep awaited their weary souls.
Baitbucket and Lucienda were bee-lining straight for Spring Creek Park in Tomball, Texas, for the 2nd annual Civil War reenactment of The Battle of The Powder Mill. Long thought as merely freestaters in the War of the States, Texicans, apparently got out from under the work truck after lunch, and got busy kicking ass. Lucienda Rosalita was “jumpy” with excitement to learn more about how her ancestors assisted in driving the Yankee horde out of her precious, and still considered Mexican, Texas. (Also known as the War of Northern Aggression and the War of Southern Rebellion, depending on which statutes you pee or remove. Ed.)
There was no actual Battle for Powder Mill but on this day, no one had told the boys in blue and grey. Long rifles barked, canons boomed and Chihuahuas panicked to the thrills of curious onlookers. Wool uniforms really seemed like a bad idea for Texas in the summer. You’d think some kind of military-grade silk would have been available. In retrospect, conscientious objection isn’t the worst idea in the world, when faced with the grim reality of going up against the United States of America. For more information, research the Free State of Jefferson in California, the Free State of Winston in Alabama and the free state of Nickajack in Tennessee.
CONFEDERATE POWDER MILL
ESTABLISHED IN 1861
CANNON POWDER FOR THE CONFEDERATE
ARMY WAS MADE HERE UNTIL 1863, WHEN
THE MILL WAS DESTROYED BY AN EXPLOSION,
KILLING WILLIAM BLOECHER, ADOLPH
HILLEGIEST AND PETER WUNDERLICH,
EMPLOYEES OF THE MILL.
THE SITE WAS DONATED BY MRS. E.B. HILLEGIEST
AND HER SONS, EARL AND ROY HILLEGIEST.
ERECTED BY HARRIS COUNTY HISTORICAL
SURVEY COMMITTEE, SPRING CREEK COUNTY
HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION, AND THE DES-
CENDANTS OF THOSE KILLED IN THE EXPLOSION.
Racing down one of Texas’ many dirt roads against the pluck and grit of the Adventure Wagon, Hambone came out of an Australian power slide sideways and was first to spot the bar sign. Faded paint on wooden slats, it hung limply catawompus from rusted hooks. It’s moniker read “Moonpie Junction” and for once, on this road straight to Hell, someone had finally gotten it right. Reuben, the old black man at the taco shack, the one with wooden teeth, had come through. It’s truly a pleasure meeting folk on the road who come through. Good news is, they’re just about everywhere. At least he wasn’t an Indian. The last time Lucy got stuck in the car with a red man for more than two hours, higgly-piggly naturally ensued. Don’t forget, dear reader, about the Piggly-Wiggly 18-wheeler that tried to run them off the road somewhere outside of Dayton. That wouldn’t be the last time they ran into that kind of trouble.
Reuben had shared all of his Nicaraguan rum and showed them how to use lyman pliers to snip off the wires sticking out of their balding tires. It was only a temporary solution and the west coast was still countless miles away. “Looks like new. Let’s have some rum”, he’d whisper through cedar molars. He’d been a remarkably helpful ally even if he did wet his pants in the backseat of the Adventure Wagon. He would ride with Baitbucket and Lucienda as far as Phoenix before cabin fever would finally set in, resulting in him talking to himself in loud, unintelligible voices.
Hambone, a staunch freestater himself, from northern California, walked into the bar shouting, “Remember the Taliban!” Luke shot back, “It’s Remember The Alamo”, you idiot. Only months before at Wanee Festival, Luke had drawn a line in the sand reminiscent to the famous scratch made my Lt. Col. William Travis and dared, “If you don’t want to rip this place a new pie hole, and travel with me, through the contiguous in search of bluegrass festivals and Dead shows, just step over this line”…or rail as it would be known by Hulaween.
Her name was Sister Moonpie, and Oma God, she was allllllll of it. They’d been sent there to find her by her half-sister, Fractal Moonpie in New Orleans, who’d found herself on the muddy banks of the Mississippi, days earlier, wearing nothing but flip-flops, Mardi Gras beads and spilt gumbo. Moonpie was the only bartender working this, double-wide, Texas trailer, beer bar, where Texicans drank Bud Light and played checkers in the shadows. She was a little older, but not too old. And it certainly didn’t matter, for her jeans stuck to her Texas hips like sweat on saddle leather. Her cropped hair didn’t move and that sweet Louisiana drawl hadn’t been spoilt slinging beers in the Longhorn State. Hambone f’sho was in love and that hadn’t happened since Live Oak, only a few days earlier.
The afternoon eased into night and the trailer bar filled with cowboys and crackers of the highest stock. A gentle farmer came in with fresh eggs for everyone, helping the Armada find, yet another way to travel and camp without ice. All of the eggs would subsequently get broken in a late-night altercation with “well armed” Korean mafioso.
Before her days as a professional bartender, she and her sister operated Kids and Families tents at bluegrass festivals throughout the south. The name “The Mystic Order of Moon Pie Kids and Family Tent” had originally been derived from a Mardi Gras procession in the seventies by a group of thugs out of Mobile. Born from the Joe Cain Procession of Mobile’s annual tribal celebration, Chief Slacabamorinico would have been proud of this ship of fools as they took forth, and eventually completely took over the streets of Government Boulevard and the globe. Now, in cahoots with the Dead Cats Society, the Moon Pies can still be found slinging doubloons at the birthplace of Mardi Gras and hosting arts and crafts tents at festivals throughout the country. Check your local listing for a party near you.
With Texas, the resting place of Daniel Bong, Joey Watusi, and Gravy Crockett, king of the sauce of roux behind them, the Horchada Armada headed into the desert of West Texas and New Mexico beyond. God willin’, there could be nothing in Roswell, mind scant bladder control, to keep from making it to Phoenix and picking up Spacebug in time for Lazlo’s birthday and Dead & Co. kick-off in Vegas. Who would know then, that Lazlo would get caught with his puffy pants down, somewhere near the Oklahoma border, long enough for someone to swipe his wallet, which included Baitbucket’s Paypal card? Who could foresee Bucket getting lost, outside of Roswell, New Mexico, unloading entire clips into random corn fields? Indeed, who?
Stay tuned to nailtravels as Hambone and Luke head north to find fortune and glory with Dead & Co. Fall Tour. Keep a sharp eye for the Smoothasaurus. They are quite rare.
Thanks for showing up.