We spent the last two nights at our friends Jason and Krystal's house in Turlock, CA (ie Basshead Studios). We love staying there because we always seem to have good old-fashioned-wholesome fun, the kind we had when we were kids. Yesterday we woke up, drank coffee and went to a church. The people there were nice and the sermon was applicable. The pastor is a commercial pilot, clean cut and charismatic, and I appreciated how blunt he was about living differently, humbly, set apart as a servant instead of selfishly.
When we got back we organized a basketball tournament. As you can guess musicians aren't usually the greatest ballers, but we all share around the same level of ball handling/shooting skills so it's still a lot of fun. Afterwards we played catch, sprinting across the acre of short grass behind the studio after a frisbee, climbing the fence when it went into the orchard next door. This is what happens when you bring 11 grown men together and give them space to run, stuff to throw and time to do it. We revert to our boyhood as it becomes game upon game. Exhausted and sweaty, we showered up we went to Chipotle for lunch.
After lunch Jason picked up Skip and I and took us to an air strip in Modesto. We watched with anticipation as he wheeled his Cessna prop plane out of the hanger. This is probably my favorite thing about staying with Jason. There is nothing to compare to flying a small plane. It's so many good things wrapped in one; It's flying (ie bird travel), traveling, sight seeing and roller coasteering all in one. I've been dreaming about it since the last time Jason took me up. It was Skips first time in a small plane, so Jason suggested he ride up front. Once we reached ample speed on the runway Jason coached Skip to pull back slightly on the steering column, and just like that we were airborne. My favorite thing about flying is going weightless. It's when we fly in an arc, gaining velocity while gaining altitude, and then pushing the steering column in, dipping the nose of the plane down suddenly and allowing our bodies to float up in the seats. Anything loose in the plane will float, including your stomach inside of you. It's a controlled roller coaster, you can do it as much and as dramatic as you want, and you know when it's coming. I love that feeling. As I drop the nose of the plane down it feels like our fate is in my hands, I see the ground below and I shake from excitement. We all laugh uncontrollably, partially because we're terrified and partially because for that instant our bodies become airborne and we are free from gravity. We actually fly.
We text the boys back at Jason's house to prepare them for a fly by. They gather on the tennis court out back, looking like ants below us. Of course we don't just fly over and wave, remember we're men who are busy acting like children. We bomb them. We've got a lunch box full of water balloons and three rolls of toilet paper. The unravelled toilet paper looks hilarious flying through the air from hundreds of feet up. We can see them running after it. We fly by again, unloading water balloons from above. One of Skips balloons hits near the pool, one of mine hits the tennis court. We shriek with excitement.
On our way back we stop at an air strip where people live. Their giant houses have giant hangers where they can fly in, taxiing off the landing strip and straight up their driveways. It is kind of mind boggling; these real life jet setters living the lifestyle of migrant birds. On our way back to the other airport we fly low above the ground, banking left and right following a creek that cuts between rolling, green turf. The sun is setting and we watch the orange, yellow, and pink as we fly into it. It's surreal; the green blow us, the colors in front of us. It all seems fake. Just before we land we watch the sun sink behind the hills.
On our way home we pick up supplies for a barbeque. At home we cook up a feast, and then it's out to the back yard for a whiffle ball tournament. It's us versus Write This Down (brand new Tooth and Nail band). Yelling and clapping we play under the lights, whipping the ball at bass runners to throw them out, regurgitating all of the baseball slang we haven't used in years. We win and the celebration ensues. I take my shirt of, running around the bases and yelling, I look over and Robbie has his pants down trying to run in a celebratory fashion. Skip follows suit. It's hilarious. Then suddenly I'm tired, and sore, and I think this was probably one of the best day-offs I've ever had.
Some of the other guys still have energy for tennis, so they play and I crash out.
We are all extremely sore, but we plan on bringing the adrenaline to Anaheim at the Chain Reaction tomorrow. Hope to see some of you there.