Whiskey Kiss’ Unlucky Lucky Day
We had such a great time at our first show at The Mini-Theatre de Melkbus. Marc put us up for two nights, showed us great hospitality, ran sound, and even did a live recording of our show (coming soon!). The people of Dordrecht were so fun and welcoming. Dank je!
(Photos by Tony Versluis, Niki’s style by Kelly Gordon Sahr)
Then we headed out to Gierle to finally play at the legendary Den Eik (“Down at the Oak!”). Chris and his wife made us dinner, and made us feel so welcome. The sound by Benny was excellent, old friends Dirk, Nadine, Vinny, Line, and many others came out, as well as all the new folks we got to meet and dance with. We partied all night, and learned that Belgian beer lives up to all the hype.
After the show, the real work began. We loaded the nine-seater van, and began to drive back to Hotel Fauwater. All of a sudden, the van started losing speed, we smelled burning rubber, and before we knew it, we couldn’t move at all anymore: the clutch had gone out. At this point, it was close to 4am, we were 1.9 miles from our hotel, and we had all of our equipment with us. After some deliberation, we decided our best option was just to push the thing all the way home.
I got to steer, and the boys began to push. Unfortunately, Michael had a few too many Belgian beers, and couldn’t assist in the effort. Slowly (s-l-o-w-l-y) we wound through the streets of Belgium (beautiful countryside 😝). You notice every little incline a lot more when you are trying to push a van up a hill. Tommy, Nick, and Bruce walked that van every step of those 1.9 miles. When we finally made it home around 5 in the morning, we collapsed in bed, setting the alarm for 8 am, when the Avis rental office opened.
The nicest person in the world, TJ from Hotel Chaletpark Fauwater, assisted us in making calls to the rental office, speaking perfect Dutch and English (and a few more languages). He helped us more than we can possibly express, extending our checkout without a thought, even offering to drive us if necessary. After he spoke to Avis for us, they sent out a tow truck to tow our van away in 30 minutes.
Getting us a new vehicle, however, took much longer (of course). They finally sent a very nice taxi driver to drive us to Antwerp (about an hour away) to pick up our replacement van. The upside of this is we got to see the beautiful train station in Antwerp.
Avis got us set up with a new van, we picked it up from a garage six floors underground, and we were ready to roll.
The ceiling had only a couple inches of clearance, and we had to go up one of those winding concrete ramps. When we were almost to the ground level, CRUNCH! We had gotten caught in a tight turn, and the entire back window shattered.
In absolute shock, followed by panic, then scheming, and finally acceptance, we drove our new van right back down to the 6th floor below and trudged back into the Avis office.
They were a little surprised to see us, but they were so kind and helpful (this seems to be the norm for everyone in Europe so far). Mehamel, the very nice Avis agent, took care of us, set our hearts at ease walking us through the insurance process, and got us ANOTHER new van. He told us it was our “unlucky lucky day” because they normally don’t have the large vans in stock at all at that location, but he just happened to have two that day. Mehamel offered to drive us out of the garage, and we gratefully accepted.
So- Day number 3, and van number 3. We’re hoping that’s the end of the vehicle replacements. We’ve noticed that stressful situations right before a show actually make us play better somehow, but we feel we’ve had enough stress to last the rest of this tour. I am writing this as Tommy drives Van 3 through the traffic of Antwerp on our way to Oostkamp for our show at the Kingsland Club tonight, so keep your fingers crossed that we make it ok. Never a dull moment with Whiskey Kiss!
What an adventure!