The Vermont pictures really started to stack up last summer on tour with Balthrop, Alabama. We hadn't really planned to stay in Montpelier -- I don't even think we were planning on passing through Montpelier -- but then again, we hadn't really planned to get marching orders from the Canadian border patrol. That's part of the deal with road trips: where you think you're going, you're often not, and where you don't think you're going, you often are, and where you were once wasn't there when you weren't there -- Um, this is getting confusing. Does anybody have GPS?
What can you do in Montpelier, Vermont? Plenty, apparently. Our first needs were basic: eat, wash our clothes, and sleep. After parking our suddenly non-Canada-bound van in a pothole-ridden lot, we ran with our duffel bags through pouring rain into a laundromat and spent our first disappointed hours chugging quarters into washing machines, mixing our clothes all together because that's what bands on the road do.
Somewhere in between folding sweatpants at Launderama and checking into the Econolodge, we happened upon a pizzeria that offered killer artichokes and something called "Vermont pizza": apples, maple syrup, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Not for the faint of tongue. The weather report looked grim. Pascal checked his iPhone and delivered the verdict with a sigh: "It's only raining where we are."
But in the morning, our Balthrop street team was out in full force and it looked like our luck might be starting to change. Before I could even stumble to the counter to grumble for my morning coffee, we were booked for a show that night at the lovely Langdon Street Café (which, I was saddened to learn upon writing this, closed its doors in May) and Lauren was busy making flyers from Michael's artwork. We had the afternoon free. We lolled about on Lake Elmore and I lay on a striped beach towel in the grass, reading a Bill Bryson book. The sky was blue as could be. No rain in sight. Tour was working its strange magic again.
Montpelier was also home to this puzzling sign, placed prominently in the lobby of the pizzeria where we stopped our first night. Eager to make a good impression in this new town, we wanted to make sure we were law-abiding, but this sign left us wondering if that was wise.
We'd been told Vermont was liberal, but . . .