I am one month into the #redumbrellatour and it has definitely been an experience so far.
After my time in the mountains, I headed into the southwest with stops in Phoenix, Tucson, Tombstone, Albuquerque, Roswell, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas. I never anticipated this part of the country being so beautiful and enjoyable.
The red earth and vast landscape of Arizona was beautiful... especially at sunrise. The scenery went from bland and boring to colorful and exciting as the sun started hitting each section. I had to pull over a few times just to admire.
In New Mexico, I was flabbergasted by how stunning the landscape was. While driving from Albuquerque to Roswell, I went through an area that was a military bomb testing site and the landscape was breathtaking. From there, I drove through miles of white sand dunes all while having snow capped mountains looming in the background. I never thought New Mexico would be so magical- but it was.
Then I got to Roswell. Well, let's just say that it went from magical to odd very quickly. If you ever wanted to eat a Big Mac in a UFO, just head toward Roswell. They take their alien claim to fame VERY seriously.
Next, I hit the Texas state line and drove- and drove- and drove. Damn Texas is big... and friendly. Seriously, I don't think I have ever encountered so many nice people in one concentrated area. They say don't mess with Texas, but I didn't see any reason to want to! They were all just so nice!
First stop was San Antonio where I had a great time meeting random people all while remembering the Alamo. Next, I headed to Houston, Austin, and Dallas where I had signings, talks, but more importantly, I was able to spend some quality time with many people I love.
In Houston, I my friends Katie and Jamie put me up and we had a few fun days of loving on their adorable kid and eating amazing Houston food. Seriously Houston- well done. From there I went to Austin where my friend Danny showed me how cheap and strong drinks are in Texas! Austin was a fun time. i will leave it at that.
In Dallas, I was able to spend some time with my friends Rochelle and Rob and their crew who are all great people. My Aunt Renee also came down to hang out and Rochelle hosted an amazing party in my honor. I was beyond touched.
While in Dallas, I did some press and it was great to be able to share that with my friends Rochelle and Cynthia. Sometimes, when you have done something enough, it take someone else to remind you how cool/fun it it. Watching those two bounce around the studio reminded me how fun my job is and I had a ball.
After lots of fun in Texas I hit New Orleans where one of my best friends, Max happened to be visiting as well. We listened to some great music and had some good whiskey. After New Orleans, I hit Biloxi and Mobile. The Gulf Coast is incredible and is a place I need to explore much more. The people, sights, and food are so foreign to what I know. I think a trip to these areas alone is definitely in my future. Side note- I had Charbroiled Oysters in New Orleans and they were easily in the top 5 foods I have ever eaten. They are a MUST try.
I have made it to Florida now and am glad to be on Eastern Time again! It makes communication with most people in my life so much easier. I am used to a 3 hour time difference on either coast, so this feels right to me. I am in Saint Petersburg, Florida today and am enjoying the beautiful beaches and amazing seafood. As I write this blog, I am watching the waves roll in off the gulf. Not a bad day at the office.
In just a month, I have driven over 5500 miles and hit 11 states. Of course it hasn't been all smooth sailing for me, but I am trying to appreciate this tour for what it is: a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Through my total exhaustion, I am trying to take a few minutes wherever I am at to appreciate what a cool experience this is and how lucky I am. I miss LA, I really miss Pete and Piper, but I know that when this is over, it is something I am always going to be so glad I did. That is what pushes me through the exhaustion and the loneliness. I guess we will call this Life lesson #5500 from a total failure.
So that's where my brain went today and now it's 5 o'clock- I think it is time to find a beach bar and have a cocktail!