Clearwater Gives No Fuss!

 Shot by Victor St. Baloo

Shot by Victor St. Baloo

Aunt Deb Conlon lives in the beautiful part of Florida where the "amphibious bird calls give depth to the jungle". We awoke after a peaceful slumber in an expansive house buried deep within the Florida backwoods. Large windows engulfed by the outside greenery filled in with Spanish moss. Waking up slowly to the smell of fresh coffee pulled me back to reality. I sat up on the soft carpet floor peering over to Mcgrath as he stretched and did his morning writing exercise when the orange house cat decided to pay us a visit. Unbeknownst to us the cat wasn't taking a liking but rather trying to rid us from its lush carpet palace by pissing in Chris' sleeping bag. In pure Moon fashion, Chris laughed it off saying," That's tour life, baby!"

The rest of the morning was filled with morning yawns, cereal, and yoga. This was a truly blissful way to start the day. Then with Le Croix in hand and farewell wishes, we once again hit the road in Carlyle the red dragon.

Hours and miles passed as we drove toward Florida’s west coast finally ending in Clearwater around 5 pm. We made it to a beach littered with sun dried bums, beautifully tanned families and the Sad Milk entourage. A merry band of bohemian artists, musicians and freaks dressed as if they are on a psychedelic family vacation from an alternate alien universe.

 Shot by Stephen Wilkins

Shot by Stephen Wilkins

Taking a walk down the beach, Peter and I discussed his intrigue with the occult, magic, and tarot. I told him I was reading a book on Jack Parsons who was heavily involved with Aleister Crowley as well as the founding of the Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL). Parsons was also involved with L. Ron Hubbard early on, which is interesting to note because Clearwater is a major hub for Scientology. Many of the buildings that appear to be hotels are actually live in communities for the cult, which brings a dark spirit to the beautiful beaches.

Exploring the waves as they crashed onto the beach as time stood still. Sean, the cosmic clown troll, accompanied by Peter and Arthur built a sand castle as the guitar was passed around. After watching the sun set on the westward gulf sky, we slowly made our way back to the red dragon. Upon arrival, we realized we were a part of a miracle in progress...

Someone had left the U-Haul completely open to the world with the keys In the lock. For close to ten hours all of the musical equipment and our personal belongings were left open to the public. Then they proceeded to pour up some tequila sunrises and wander the streets in search of fair maidens, music and boardwalk vibes.

Eventually ending on a street corner, they drew crowds with their infectious harmonies as they sang a cappella covers of Cherry Baby lead by Victor St. Baloo and other good time oldies.

Splitting ways for a short time, we all ended up at tequila whiskey and tacos which appeared to be a dive bar, but looks can be deceiving and tacos can be overpriced. Drinking three dollar coronas and getting weird in local borrows is the mission statement for the tour. Throwing darts and cosmic magic Cabral hit a bullseye causing fireworks to explode in the crowded bar. The patrons burst into instantaneous dance, as they had never seen such an amazing feat of accuracy. After finishing their coronas the bands decided they wanted to find a place to cut the rug, which led us to a cabana DJ dance party. At the door, we were denied access because several members were carrying book bags. Wandering back to the street to decide our next move, I decided to follow Mcgrath, which lead me over a fence onto the beach and into the EDM dance party. Flashing on the screen behind the DJ was Brian Littrell. All the occupants attempted to dance but were all too self-conscious to let go and have a good time. Just as the song was morphing from Backstreet Boys to Run DMC Chris was tapped on the shoulder. “Can I see your wristband?” It’s not often a man standing 6’8 has to look up to another human being, this was one of those rare occasions. “We’re busted let’s get out of here,” Chris said with that Cheshire grin. Victor and I locked eyes and followed suit, laughing all the way back to the road. We found the rest of the members hopping the same fence but only to hang out on the beach. It was not long after that we found ourselves in a hotel hot tub with the entire ten-person crew. There is nothing quite like bubbling hot water you’re not supposed to be in.

The moon shown down on us as we basked in the glory of the warm summer night. Floating back and forth from the pool to the hot tub, we didn’t have a care in the world. We could have stayed there forever in that moment. We found eternity, death, enlightenment amongst the cosmic psychedelic clown and a drunken racist asking if this was the Quality Inn. After leaving the arduous task of kicking open the chain locked gate he decided to address our party. “What do you mean? You don’t know where you’re stayin,” he slurred leaving his drunken girlfriend on a beach chair after nearly falling in the pool. Aggressively approaching we quelled his advance asking him who he was which stopped him in his drunken stupor for a moment. “Shit man, I don’t know…,” he said lightening the mood with a laugh. Reiterating he needed to get his lady back to the their hotel room we all agreed silently to tell him this was the place despite our lack of knowledge. He finally walked off but not before he showed Peter, who accompanied him towards the front desk saying, ”Check this out! White Power!”

There is a certain point when all your cards are on the table and it’s time to take what you’ve got and leave. When a drunken man with his halfway passed out girlfriend is yelling at you while you’re in a hot tub of a hotel that neither of you are staying at, that is the perfect time to jump ship. The rest of the night ended splendidly as we walked past the doorman who could have cared less about the antics going on outside. We did later walk passed the Quality Inn Hotel that was two doors down from where we had been. With the graciousness of Abigail Popwell’s cousin, we had a place to stay for the night, which allowed us some much needed rest after being sun soaked.  

 Shot by Victor Baloo

Shot by Victor Baloo

 

Written by Stephen Wilkins (@damngladtomeetcha)