I Want to Shoot all the Snowmen, Traffic Bumblers, and Deer. My Trip to Texas (Part 1)

Hi!  I'm Jake!
I have been back from Texas since Monday at around 1:00 a.m.  So far this week, I have done 2 shows at Comedy Works. Both have been great. Also, I edited a video that explains how to replaced a defective electrical component in some hospital equipment.   That was super-hard on my brain. Heh. Hard on.

It feels strange to be back here in Colorado. Only last week, I was enjoying 60 degree weather, eating barbecue, and walking around in my zip-off pants. Now I'm here again, all bundled up for winter, watching snow melt to slush, eating white people food, and walking around in my zip-off pants.

FYI:  my zip-off pants are so comfortable, sexy!  Unfortunately, while I was in Dallas, I tore 1 of my 3 pairs of cutoff pants.  Now I am down to 2 pairs. Dang. Good news, though: while I was staying in the Hyenas comedy condo in Dallas, Texas, I made a special video for my friend, Shane Mauss. He worked the club and stayed at their condo the following week.  Check this video out. It's called A Message to Shane Mauss.

Yep.  I am kind of a jerk! Shane thought it was pretty funny, though. While I was working the Arlington Hyenas, I came over to Dallas and Shane bought me some fancy pizza. Cool dude!

I left for Texas on Thursday, December 30th, 2010. Originally when I booked the gig, Curt Fletcher was living with me. We were going to drive together.  However, then he and his wife moved to Albuquerque because she got a massage job.  That's the rub!

So, I was driving solo. That meant extra gas costs. Dallas, Texas is about 900 miles away! Fortunately, I got an e-mail earlier that week asking if I could work Wednesday and Thursday at Wits End in Westminster, Colorado. Sweet!  Those 2 shows would pay for my gas getting there.

My plan was to leave Thursday night after my show.  That would mean I'd get into Dallas 14 hours later.  Even with my clock jumping forward an hour as I drive from Mountain Standard Time to Central Standard Time, I'd be there by 2:00 or so in the afternoon.  That Tuesday, the weather looked great for the week. I checked all the online weather maps and everything looked clear. Sunshine and West Texas dirt. Wednesday's weather in Colorado was 50 degrees or so. Eric Henderson, Todd Johnson and I rocked Wits End that night.  I even sold some shirts to make extra gas money.  Ha ha suckers!  Just kidding. I have some sweet shirts.  You can check them out on my website. jakeisfantastic.com/store.html .


Thursday morning, I get a call from fellow comedian, Lori Callahan.  She said Colorado is going to snow so I'd better get going!  Crap!  I hesitated. I checked all the weather websites and each state's department of transportation website.  At 10:30 a.m., I was still sitting on my butt, sipping my tea.  By 11:30, I was canceling my Wits End gig, packing the car, figuring out how to get all my errands done.  Christmas was brown and green. Turns out this was going to be the biggest snowstorm of the season!

Before I could get some miles behind me, I needed gas, snacks, water, tea, and most of all, money. Money money money. Since I wasn't going to Wits End that night, that meant I had to go around getting checks from all the people who owed me money.  That took over 30 miles to get all that done!

I had all the crap in the car. Suddenly it was 1:00 p.m.  I dropped by the Comedy Works in Greenwood Village.  I said hi to Jeff and all the crew present. I got my check and hastily ran out to the car.  Unfortunately, when I got to the car, I realized I had forgotten my i-pod.  Crap!  I was not going to drive 14 hours across Eastern New Mexico and West Texas without music.  Lame + quiet + West Texas flat dirt= 1 psychotic Dumas driving in the middle of the night.  Quick note to all the Texans: did you ever notice Dumas is Dumbass without the BS?

It was 1:15 p.m. or so. I really wanted that i-pod so I drove 15 miles back home- only to realize I had had the i-pod with me the whole time! Dang it!  Panicking just wasted a bunch of time!

It gets worse. At 2:00, when I got back onto southbound I-25, I found the longest traffic jam I have ever been in- ever.  Normally, it takes 3 hours to get from my house to the Colorado/ New Mexico State Line. Not this time, bub!  It was bumper to bumper the whole way to Trinidad! It took me 5 hours just to get the 150 miles to Pueblo!  Crap!  Crap!  Crap!  The drive wouldn't have been so bad- except for all the bumbling idiots on the road.  By myself, I could have easily handled the sloshy roads and torrential snow. However, with every idiot and their cousin on the road with me, I was doomed. I was yelling at everybody and nobody.  I know.  That sounds Zen.  But I did not feel Zen.  No.  I was a gutful of stomach acid and a mouthful of get out of my way you dumb cracka! I averaged 30 miles per hour until I got past Pueblo.  For 5 hours, that was the average!  At times I was going 3 miles per hour! Son of a crapstick!  Here's me punching the steering wheel!  Why did I have to go back for the i-pod?

Then, I started regretting.  Regretting going back to find the i-pod I already had, and regretting not taking the gig.  I should have done Wits End, gotten my extra money, sold a couple more shirts or whatever, and just driven throughout the night.  Nobody would have been stupid enough to be on the road with me! Regret + traffic tension  = a worn-down Jake.

After Trinidad, it was dark, but the weather started clearing up. The drive was way easier at this point- well, until I got to Eastern New Mexico.  I almost hit a deer! You stupid deer!  Look both ways, dummy!  You dumb varmint!

I ended up driving through Dalhart, Texas- again.  That's my favorite place to go- ever!  The last time I was there for any significant amount of time, I was doing a shoot at a feedyard.  I was an assistant camera man, working on a project for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

The feedyard I had gone to was HUGE! This might have been the biggest feedyard I ever went to- and I have been to at least 50!  My first job out of college, I was a camera man/editor for a tiny little production company called Agrivision Productions.  We specialized in agricultural videos. For several years, I grew accustomed to ending a shoot by both putting the camera equipment away, and by cleaning animal feces off my tennis shows.  One time, I saw a bull try to bone another bull.  Big day!

Back when I was doing that shoot in Dalhart, I remember eating some really good Mexican food.  I also remember walking into a bar and freaking everybody out!  As I crossed the restaurant's threshold, the whole bar turned around, shut up, and stared at me. At the time, I had super-long hair. Uh oh. I hope they don't hang me with it! I kid.  One of the cowboys on that shoot told me "At first, I didn't think I was going to like you, but you're okay."  Cool.  Thanks, pardner!

All I had been eating for hundreds of miles was wasabi peanuts and sandwich bread dipped in my peanut butter container.  I didn't have time to stop.  Even when I was all the way to the panhandle of Texas, my average miles per hour for the trip was still only 50!  All those hours of driving slow really screwed me up.  So, I had to make time.

Eventually, though, I also had to eat.  I was getting punchy.  I stopped in at a Waffle House.  I have eaten a lot of good meals at those places.  Unfortunately, this time, my meal sucked.  I am not really sure how they did it, bu these people screwed up breakfast- the easiest meal in the world to prepare.  How do you screw up breakfast?  I had the worst hash browns ever.  It looked like a pile of soggy shoe laces.  It didn't taste much better.  Oh well. Now, I had something besides wasabi and peanut in my stomach.  My butt would thank me later- probably.

Oh yeah: I have learned a few tricks to save money when traveling.  For 1, I bring all my own drinks. People always complain about gas prices but then they have no problem spending $2 on a bottle of gas station water.  Don't be an idiot!  I take it a step further.  I bring tea bags and my gigantic mug.  Gas stations charge you for tea.  However, hot water is free. 1 tea bag will save you $1.25.  Considering all the times I stop at gas stations per trip, that could end up being about $5 per day!

Anyway, I had a lot of tea and made a lot of pee. I stopped about every 63 minutes on that trip.  My average miles per hour stayed around 55.  Well, at least I was hydrated.

Back to late 2010. I ended up getting to the Dallas Hyenas condo at 7 a.m.  Even though I was doing the New Years show in Fort Worth,  Hyenas put me up in Dallas. That was about an extra 45 minutes out of the way. Since I passed through Fort Worth to get to Dallas, I was going to have to drive that 45 minutes back the next night.  Whatever. I was exhausted. My 12-14 hour drive turned into another 17 hour drive.  After all the white-knuckling through the snowstorm, I was just glad to sleep.

 I called my former roommate, Curt Fletcher and he came and let me in.  He had been sleeping in the bed but he switched to the floor. For the next week, we would rotate back and forth.  He got the bed and I got the floor one night and then we'd switch for the next night.

Anyway, I immediately went to sleep. The plan was to sleep all day on New Year's Eve then drive to Fort Worth and do the show.  I was really excited to work with Brad Williams.  I had seen him years ago  performing in Colorado Springs with my friend, Josh Blue.

I haven't even begun to scratch the surface on this story.  Check out the next episode of my fantastic blog titled Texas, Part Two, the Sequel to Texas, Part One.

Bye! I'm Jake!