With Katie rescued from her Rapid City, South Dakota motel room and back on the bus, the Crew made its way to I-90 for the final leg of the tour. Scheduled to arrive in Iowa City, Iowa later that week for one final concert, the Crew enjoyed the sights of one of the United States’ most famed highways. After leaving Rapid City, we (of course) stopped by Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, enjoying the much-advertised free ice water, five-cent coffee, strangely wonderful sculpture park and delicious donuts. Not ones to miss a scenic byway or the chance to visit a National Park, the bus made it’s way later that afternoon to the Badlands—the otherworldly geological deposits and the vast gray-white canyons captivated the Crew, its rugged landscape and eerie beauty like something from a science-fiction movie set. Pat, Ellie and I sat atop the rooftop porch as the bus slowly drove through the park, the sun setting in pinks and blues across the white backdrop of the Badlands and the wind rushing by us. Unfortunately, the ride was cut short by a park ranger who didn’t think that sitting on top of a moving bus was the safest of ideas. That evening we camped on the banks of the Missouri River, fearful to leave the bus after a swarm (more like plague) of mayflies had greeted us at the river and splattered across the bus’ windshield. The next day was spent driving on the not-so-beautiful portions of I-90 (no offense to you, southern Minnesota), ultimately leading us to a campsite at Myre Big Island State Park. In honor of it being our last official night camping on the bus, Pat cooked up a delicious meal of stir-fried rice and grilled corn (that I had paid far too much for solely because they were being sold by adorable small children) over an open campfire. We sipped on Grain Belt Beer (not bad!), nibbled on s’mores and enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. It was a bittersweet final evening spent in the wilderness with Georgia bus and our fellow bus mates The next morning we hurtled towards Iowa City, Iowa, excited to meet up once again with two Iowa City-local bands we had interviewed earlier on in the Locavaux tour—Chasing Shade and The Olympics. The Olympics had just returned from a regional tour, and Chasing Shade was leaving the next day for Los Angeles to pursue studio time and a professional producer, and so, in the spirit of local support and love of Iowa City music, the two groups decided to host a collaborative concert at the popular local joint, The Blue Moose Tap Room! The Locavaux Crew was beyond excited when, just a few weeks earlier, we had learned that two of our favorite bands from the tour were performing together in their hometown—it was going to be a prime example of the vibrant and supportive Iowa City community we had once witnessed a few weeks back and an opportunity we couldn’t miss! We arrived to Iowa City late that afternoon and reunited with the members of both Chasing Shade and The Olympics, happy to see familiar faces and swap summer adventure stories with the two groups. We even took a few minutes to interview both groups, asking them about the importance of the approaching concert that night and their plans for the future. That evening we enjoyed ourselves at The Blue Moose Tap Room while listening to both groups perform incredibly well played and energetic sets on stage. Having listened to both of their CDs numerous times over in the bus throughout the earlier portion of the summer, the Crew was able to dance and sing right along with the other fans! However, it was particularly moving to see the giant crowds of fans and family supporting the arrival home of The Olympics and the final hometown performance of Chasing Shade—talk about community. The highlight of the night, you might ask? The two groups on stage together performing The Chain by Fleetwood Mac! Or maybe it was the five-person bus dance party the Crew had while getting ready for our evening out. From the reuniting to the dancing to the singing to the late-night snacking, it was an evening perfectly befitting of the Locavaux Project and it’s winding-down tour.
The next morning we enjoyed a locally-famed breakfast from the Hamburg Inn (Pie Shakes—you seriously need to try them) and headed back to good ol’ I-80, an interstate we had become familiar with earlier on in the trip while heading West through Iowa. We spent the morning taking in the open road and as much of life on the bus (that we had started to take for granted!) as we could before reaching our final destination: Chicago. With heavy hearts, we dropped Ellie off at the airport later that afternoon, sad to say goodbye to one of our most beloved (and enthusiastic) bus mates. We made our way north of Chicago to Lake Forest, Illinois and the Scribner’s driveway; we were happy to be greeted by family and a delicious meal but couldn’t knock a notion of melancholy upon realizing that the bus ride of a lifetime had officially come to an end.
Despite the end to our incredible and eye-opening road trip tour of American music scenes, we’re excited to announce that the Locavaux Crew will be living in Hamilton, New York this coming fall as we work on postproduction and editing for the documentary feature. Stay tuned for more announcements regarding the documentary, and, even more exciting, the new reincarnation of Georgia the bus! She’ll be living in Hamilton as well, so who knows what new business plans the future has in store for her… Thank you for your continued support and love, words cannot describe how inspiring this summer on the bus has been for the Locavaux Crew and friends.