Winnipeg, Manitoba

Yesterday was a day off in Chicago. I set a wake up call for 9:00 to have time for some coffee and a trip to the fab hotel gym. This doesn't beat the San Francisco Four Seasons, but it would be in a tight run-off for second place with the facility in Denver. A quick shower then down to the lobby to meet some of the boys for a trip to Wrigley Field and a 1 o'clock opening pitch with the Cincinnati Reds. A half dozen of us marched to the 'el' and made our way over to the Addison station just outside Wrigley. It was a warm day but overcast and a very active game fortified by hot dogs and beer with a final score, Cubs 7, Reds 12. There's no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the ballpark. When the game ended the line to get back on the 'el' was staggering, but it moved along at an orderly and steady pace. Got back to the hotel station just in time for the skies to open up for the three block walk. I was thoroughly saturated when I got back to the room. Took off my clothes, put a bathrobe on and realised I wouldn't be joining the others for an evening meal that had been planned. I wasn't leaving the room for the rest of the night. Spent the night reading, watching a little TV and doing some computer work, bypassed dinner altogether. With today's early morning and only having had about three hours sleep, I finally put my head down and slept until 11:30 this morning!!

By the time I finally got myself up and about it was noon. I'd already missed breakfast and decided I'd pass on coffee and food as it was a mid-afternoon flight and I'd get some caffeine and nourishment on the plane. When we boarded I got some coffee and a granola bar straight away, but the afternoon meal was bits of cheese and crackers with little strips of ham and pepperoni. Crap. Arrived in Winnipeg and drove to the venue, made a bee-line for catering as I was now violently famished. More crap N. American catering. There were several options that were probably just fine when they'd been cooked a couple of hours ago, but were little more that high school cafeteria fare after being steamed to death. I had a slice of pork tenderloin and an awful grocery store purchased sweet, then bailed.

Tonight's show was at the Centennial Concert Hall to a capacity crowd of 2,205. We were all well rested and played what I would consider to be one of the very best shows of the entire tour. The audience was great, the theatre was great and so were the acoustics...or so it seemed to me. Another Canadian city that I'd never been to before and saw no more of than the ride from the airport to the venue. I'd like to come back again someday and get a better look.

A runner back to Chicago and a serious re-routing to skirt a massive line of severe thunder storms across the mid-west. I've never had a flight like this. We witnessed one of the most awesome displays of electric mother nature I've ever seen from the sky or the ground. Lightening striking everywhere non-stop. We shut off the lights in the cabin to get a better look. What a light show. Staggering! Our ace pilots remained about 10 miles from the edge of the storms and we only learned afterward that 30 miles is what's suggested!!! We experienced a couple of very serious bits of turbulence, the kind that threw people who weren't buckled down. After all was said and done, we arrived safely in Chicago through a torrent of rain that fell on Midway Airport. The drivers met us on the tarmac and ushered us to the cars with umbrellas. I put my stuff in the trunk of the car and ducked out from under the umbrella for five or six feet to the passenger door and in that short of a distance was completely soaked through. It was THAT heavy.

Next to no traffic at that hour so the ride to the hotel was quick putting us in at 2 a.m. I sat down at this computer, jotted down these notes and I'm now going to bed.

So long,