SMOKE+MIRRORS N.A. TOUR: LIFE ON THE BUS
Every tour is different, a different bus, always at least a few different people, though you have a lot of the 'greatest hits' that are always there and that brings comfort. This tour was a big shift for me because I went from being my carefree self, adventuring on my own, sleeping on the band bus, staying up until 3, sleeping in until noon to bringing a newly crawling 10-month-old baby, sleeping on his schedule, moving to the family bus and finding a completely new tour groove.
I was nervous to say the least but it had been really hard up until that point being at home alone with the baby while Wayne traveled so the idea of having him around, no matter the environment, sounded like a big improvement. And that turned out to be true for the most part. Yes, traveling has it's challenges but having people around to help entertain the baby (or just entertain me) was huge as a new mom. It was also so nice to have that part of myself back after having the baby. I could hold a dual-identity of 'gypsy' as well as 'mother'.
The biggest prize of all was that River slept amazing on the bus so with that out of the way we were able to explore the venues or the cities with a well-rested usually non-grumpy baby.
He and I were usually the first ones up. I would usually nurse him in the back room where he slept and then we would go up to the front lounge where he could crawl around (in the small space we had.) Most days we were already parked at the venue when we woke up which can be very disorienting because the parking is usually underground. The lack of sunlight can throw your circadian rhythm for a loop. The positive of this was that it helped keep River on Pacific time for the entire tour, that way he was able to watch part of the concert on the East Coast and we didn't have to switch bedtime around (plus I got to sleep in). On the unlucky days that we were still driving when he woke, things were a little more complicated. He was too little to really be put down on the floor on his own while we drove so you can imagine it would be difficult to pee when we are the only two awake. Depending on how rocky the road was sometimes I would just dance around waiting for someone to wake up!
It's weird to think River didn't really have toys at this point. He would just play with my packets of instant coffee, our shoes, water bottles, wheels of our suitcases, the guys' instruments, Marilyn's makeup bag and he really didn't know any better. People were always telling us "get that kid a toy" but those were his toys at that stage! Funny story: the bus driver was one of those people and he ended up getting River a fake little iPad that was just a plastic toy that made different animal noises when you pressed the buttons. The box it came in said that the batteries were just sample batteries and were not meant to last but both of our kids still love the toy and the batteries are still good! I don't think I've ever used the word "batteries" three times in a sentence before but there you go. Also, I guess the story wasn't "haha funny" but you get the gist. I think I need to work on my anecdotes.
We spent a lot of time in the bus this summer tour. Depending on what conditions the dressing rooms were in, whether the venue was close enough to town that we could explore, add on River's two naps a day and there were some days where most of our day was on the bus. And it was a nice home. Part of me missed my old situation being carefree, living with all the crew, shaking my head at their "guy talk," watching ridiculous movies and laughing my butt off but I loved sharing this experience with River and the family bus had a nice calm vibe, not to mention how great it was having a majority of women on board. I felt like we took care of each other which is how touring should be.