Quick update for those checking in. Greetings from Tempe, AZ, an hour before my event tonight at Four Peaks Brewing Co. It's co-sponsored by Changing Hands Bookstore and here's what they did: set it up so that people pay $27 just to see li'l ole me. That gets them a book and 2 pints. An interesting tactic. And here's the best part: presales are 30 tix. Hooray for Tempeans.
Here's what the past few days looked like. After New Orleans, I hauled clear across Louisiana through the bayou to Hurricane Ike ravaged Houston. When I saw all the McDonald's and Wendy's, etc signs dilapidated, I thought maybe they were remnants from a suburb that had fallen on hard times. But it was just visible proof from I-10 of the destruction suffered, even that far in from the Gulf. The upbeat part came when I made it to the Ginger Man to meet Bob and his wife (Nanette?), Doak, Steve, Sean, and some stragglers from the Foam Rangers, Houston's homebrew club that had just pulled off the Dixie Cup homebrew competition even in Ike's wake. They plied me with Texan beers (no, not Lone Star) and homebrew stories, then, instead of sending me on my way, took me to H-town's only remaining brewpub, Two Rows, for dinner and more beer. B/c they are all barleywine-o-philes, I got the whiskey aged barleywine. Yowzah.
I made it to Austin before the end of the World Series game and in addition to seeing my good friends Chris and Elana Orf, I met their new Orfling, Isaac. They did well.
I started the next day stopping by Austin's newest brewery, 512, and only tried their Wit, made not with curacao orange peel but with grapefruit. My late grandfather the grapefruit rancher would be proud. Alas, I did not even have time to try their Pecan Porter. Mmmm. The event called for 6 p.m. at Opal Divine's Freehouse, around the corner from Book People, who was on hand to sell a few books (thanks, Allison and Laurie). Are you ready for the awful part? For the first time on this tour, I paid for my own beers. The horror! Thanks to PJ from the Austin Beer Meetup for sending out the word and hanging out! Afterward, Orf, Elana and I hit Chuy's for some Tex Mex. I believe my dish was called Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Anything with green chile is okay in my book.
In the morning, I had some Maria's breakfast tacos with Elana (and Isaac), then began my mind-and-body-numbing drive across Texas, or at least the bulk of it. Man that's a long haul! I didn't make it to the New Mexico border until around 8 p.m., then to Columbus, NM by 9, where I stayed with my former manager's dad in the tiny border town. He even let me do laundry!! After a great night's sleep, we didn't have time to head into Palomas, Mexico for desayuno, so we went to the cafe for breakfast, conveniently located across the street from the Columbus Public Library. Where there was a crowd! To hear me! The attentive crowd listened well and had the best Q&A session of my tour. They even gave me some gas money in the form of out-of-trunk sales. Then they showed me where the basement had been boarded up from back when the library was a bar, doubling as a drug layover station. Border towns are cuh-razy places.
OK, off to Four Peaks. Cheers.