We Made It a Week!!!

The YMCA:

We’ve been taking advantage of having somewhere to get some exercise, and most importantly, SHOWER. Not only is it nice to be clean, but it’s also nice to have somewhere to stretch, move, get the pulse going, and not be in the car. Rudy’s perspective is always great. But, in this case, it was a physical perspective that made us laugh so hard.

Jared’s story:

In the mens’ locker room at the YMCA, there was an open shower with multiple showers and no divisions, but also individual stalls with curtains for the more modest. The first day, it was just Rudy and I, so we just used the big, open shower area. The second day, however, when we went back, we put our shampoos and soaps in the open room, turned on the water, and “Oh, I have to go potty, Dad.”

Okay, I took him to use the facilities, and when we got back to the shower, a few elderly gentlemen had begun to shower. Rudy hesitated. Can’t say I blame him. The first glimpse that we got of the bigger and presumably older man was as he was sloshed in lather and bending over to wash his lower legs and feet. Not a pretty sight. I asked if he would rather shower in one of the private stalls. Yes, he would. Wonderful choice. He took one stall, I took the other, we had fun showing each other our feet underneath the dividing wall. Shower over, Rudy said “I don’t mind being naked in there with them, but . . .” he gestured me closer and whispered, “I just don’t like it when they show me their butts.”

Me neither, bud. Me neither.

The Crow’s Parking lot:

After our hour and a half drive, we pulled into Crow Peak Brewery, where the “Open” sign was off and the “Closed” sign hung on the door. The parking lot was full though and people were on the patio and inside. “How very welcoming.” I thought. We parked and were waiting for Rudy to wake up, when a woman drove up to our truck and said, “Am I meeting you for a cat?”. No, but that would make for a great novel beginning. And this was our intro to Spearfish, South Dakota.

The Brewery:

Cool and quiet with outlets and WiFi inside, we decided to head in since we had about 4 hours to kill before our show. The bartender, Nate, greeted us warmly and offered us all drinks. Rudy got a porter, we had waters. Actually, Rudy got a delicious lemonade. The owner of Crow Peak, Caroline, came to say hi and got a 30 min summary, quotes and all, of the Incredibles 2 from Rudy. He also told her that we had just visited “Rount Mushmore”. Then he asked if she hired Superman to hang all the artwork that was up so high. She said, “Well, kind of. This is Mike. He’s kind of like Superman around here.” And with the introduction, we got to meet the head brewmaster, and “Superman”. Mike took to Rudy immediately, and offered him a tour of the facility.

“You want to see how beer is made?”

“Sure!” said Rudy.

“Oooh! Me too!” said Dad.

And the three walked happily into the back.

When they came out I asked if they had gotten any photos. Jared flashed me the “Oh shit. I screwed up” look I’ve grown to “laugh” at and said, “Let’s all go back in and get some pictures together!” All part of the plan. Once inside, Rudy began to give me the tour! He showed me the newest beer they were brewing, the blue handles to NEVER pull (or beer goes everywhere), and showed me how the yeast was making the beer “burp”. Mike just laughed at Rudy and probably would have awarded him a mini brewmaster badge if there was such a thing! We got some great shots and Mike was so kind. The sweetest part of this is when we found out later in the night that Mike had been dealing with a horrible week of work with back ups and catch ups and just that day had a huge load of things to do. Even when swamped and busy and stressed, he took the time to spend a few minutes with a four year old and his mom n dad, just to make our day better. Mike is going to be a first time daddy in October. I’m sure he will make a great one!

The Show:

Well, I’m happy to say that Crow Peak Brewing, with their Chili Ale and their 9.2% Porter, their super friendly brewmaster, lovely owner, funny and charismatic bartender, along with tons of regulars, did NOT disappoint! Again, we left the venue so full up of love and acceptance that we just had to shake our heads. The locals were eager to tell their stories after hearing ours for 3 hours and we took them all in! Lynn and Patty told of how other bands had come through, befriending them and loving supporting music. Lynn was sad we had to leave so soon because she wanted to give us a place to stay and relax. Patty thanked us for our authenticity and message of love, begging us to keep spreading it cuz it what we all need. We met “Brad Pitt”…the pit bull, and “Fish”, Mike’s Alaskan “Forever a puppy” dog. Jason sat the whole 3 hours and intently listened to each story, each song, and shared his own about the mugs I saw a bunch of guys drinking out of. A local who had made these ceramic mugs for the brewery and was going to make more because they were so popular, had passed away before anymore could be made. One recently went up for sale at an auction and brought in $1500 for an art foundation set up in his name. A few of the guys proudly toasted their fallen friend and drank a quiet sip in his honor.

The bartender, Nate, loaded us down with cans of flavored peanuts, chocolates, sunglasses, keychains, stickers and a t-shirt for Jared. I gave him some swag in return and he immediately took off his shirt to hold the butt-towel up to his chest, coming across very “Zach Galafinakus-like”, and everyone laughed!

My favorite story of the night came from a sweet woman named Jay. She was (as was everyone) smitten with Rudy and shared a bit of her past, about her kids and inquired about our lifestyle and if we lived permanently on the road or not. I told her we had recently bought our first home and how, regardless of our spirit and desire to live on the road, it was very important to us to have a place for Rudy to grow up, a solid foundation, roof over his head, and the security of permanence. She shared with me that she got pregnant when she was 17. She was nervous and sad but was, and still is, best friends with her grandmother, Thelma, who gave her some great advice. “Sweetie, in life children only need 2 things. Roots and wings. Find a way to give them both, and they’ll be just fine.” Jay then looked at me and said, “It’s clear you two are doing just that for your Rudy.” I threw my arms around Jay and thanked her for that gift. I told her to thank Grandma Thelma too. She just turned 100!!

Caroline, the owner, then sent us off with 2 packs of our beer of choice and wished us luck, love and opened the invitation to come play again anytime.

We stopped at the “Loaf n Jug” convenient store for some salads and coffee (which the man wouldn’t charge me for), I made a very hard decision to pass on a $13 trucker hat that said, “I love fries” (which I will get on the return trip when our budget may allow!), and we were on the road again to find a rest stop for the night. About 2 1/2 hours in, right outside of Murdo, SD, we pulled in behind a trailer full of tap dancing horses and tried to get some sleep.

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