I just read Lloyd Marcus’ account of life on our bus, and it was quite amusing. But “brother”Lloyd was being kind, charitable, and discreet. Living and working with each other can sometimes be the biggest challenge of this entire five-week trip. Imagine it — we all come from different experiences, walks of life, geographical locations (Florida, Nevada, California) and bring to the party our various idiosyncrasies, temperment, likes and dislikes, personalities, etc.
So accommodating each other in a way that is harmonious is a lot like being married — you pray for God’s grace to get you through the rough patches, and His mercy that your teammates forgive you and overlook your own shortcomings. At the end of it all, we are family.
We’ve taken a break from the highway and have been here at the Staybridge Suites in Michigan since Friday night. It’s given us time to relax, do laundry, stock up on necessities at the local Walmart, and refocus on the second leg of the tour which will begin when we check out and board our twin buses on Tuesday morning.
I thought you might like to have an inside look at our life on the road, so I’m including some photos and excerpts from our emails.
First, the bus. People are all the time asking us if Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney are on board because their images are prominently featured on both sides of our buses. Answer: No, they’re not. Nor are we in any way connected to their campaign. We are a Political Action Committee (PAC) and by law cannot collaborate whatsoever with the Romney/Ryan campaign. If we bumped into one another, well, that’s different…
Below is me inside the bus, which is decked out in dark wood paneling and black leather seats, flat screen TVs, a galley, lavatory (liquids only, no solids or toilet paper, thank you), a dozen sleeper bunks in the midsection, and a lounge-like configuration aft. I’m standing with my back to the driver’s “cockpit” and the windshield. No, we don’t sleep overnight on the bus, but the bunks are nice if we want to nap or want privacy. I use mine to store all my clothes/gear.
Here’s another view of the bus interior. That’s Luan Francis (below) working at the club table. Beyond her is the passageway into the bunk section leading to the back lounge area. I like sitting up front, especially in the leather recliner adjacent to the driver’s seat, where I can watch the scenery through the windshield and chat with the driver. Secret: tour bus drivers have very interesting stories to tell. For example, one of our drivers — Bill from Tennessee — mostly drives rock groups on their concert tours. He showed me a detailed tour book put together by guitarist Carlos Santana’s management team in support of his July 2012 tour. Folks, this is a huge undertaking. The book was spiral bound and loaded with all the tour info — the hotels, the rehearsal dates and places, the venues, the support staff, phone numbers, email addresses, maps, calendars. Everyone on the tour had this bible in their possession, including and especially the tour drivers. Everything you would need to know, right there in that half-inch thick book. Bill drove that tour and got to know Santana like he’s gotten to know dozens of other recording artists — Loretta Lynn, for example.
It’s an interesting life, if you like being out on the road. And if you like being with people. Most of the tour bus drivers do, or else they’d be home instead of negotiating those behemoths through tight turns and ribbons of highway. Master road jockeys. I marvel at their driving ability. And besides getting us there safely, they keep the bus clean, carpets vacuumed, lavs refreshed, etc. We love our drivers and we make sure we take very good care of them too. They are a member of the team, for sure.
Here’s driver Bill at the beginning of the tour. He was with us for the first eleven days, before he had to leave us. We hated to see him go. He was the best.
While we’re on the road, we’re working, setting up tour stops, calling contacts in those cities, reaching out to the media, the tea parties, the conservative groups, etc. Oftentimes I have to remind myself to look up from the computer on my lap to enjoy the gorgeous fall scenery passing us by outside. We hit the peak leaf color when we traveled through Wisconsin and Michigan on our first leg to the Upper Peninsula at the end of September, and then again when we traveled south through the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. (That’s the other tour bus ahead of us in the photo below).
I could wax lyrical about the foliage in Alpena, or Cheboygan and St. Clair Shores on Lake Superior, but you get the idea. It’s God’s country and its His gift to us. We are determined to save it according to His principles. And speaking of Godliness, Selena Owens is our Conservative, Godly woman, who takes time each afternoon to read the Scriptures from a Bible encased in a lime green leather cover. Sometimes she gets up front in the “shotgun” seat, and sits contemplatively, seeking His wisdom, which she later imparts to us through her words and deeds. Below she’s modeling the T-Shirt we’re offering for a donation at the rallies. “Yes, We Did Build It”.
Every now and then, we have an elected official or a candidate come out and join us. During our stop at the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan we had a chance to chat with Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is running for US Senate against Democrat incumbent Debby Stabenow. In the photo below you’ll see Hoekstra flanked by team member and singer/songwriter Diana Nagy (whose talent is remarkable), me, and a very patriotically garbed Elizabeth Letchworth. Hoekstra will join us again at our Oct. 16th stop at Cascade Falls Park Bandshell in Jackson, MI. If you’re in the area, please join us for the rally from 5 to 6:30 pm.
And we also get to meet some absolutely precious people. Like this 92-year-old veteran of WWII that Lloyd Marcus wrote about:
On the Rebuild America Defeat Obama national bus tour, we finale every rally with “God Bless the USA”. As the song is sung, vets in the audience are invited on stage. At our rally in Saint Clair Shores, MI, a very frail bent over gentleman, overflowing with dignity, slowly and methodically began making his way to the stage, assisted by his daughter. The old soldier was 92 year old WW II vet, Mr. Roher.
Talk about an amazing moment, there was hardly a dry eye in the audience. Though unspoken, somehow Mr. Roher epitomized the pride, dignity and greatness of America.
The Left relentlessly attempts to brand the Tea Party haters. We are NOT about hate. Quite the opposite. The Tea Party is about love – love for the greatest nation on the planet and a deep desire to restore and preserve it.
A member of our team said Mr. Roher’s daughter said she believes her dad is holding on to life until after the election.
We’re getting some decent press, and today saw in a Boston Globe piece that we’re getting under Obama’s skin.
The conservative group ‘‘Campaign To Defeat Obama’’ quickly sought to raise money off Biden’s ‘‘rude and arrogant’’ performance, sending a fundraising email to supporters asking for contributions.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina retorted: ‘‘When the other side is talking about eye rolls and smirks they are losing the debate.’’
And we’re delighted — and encouraged — by this news, sent to us in an email earlier this evening from Joe Wierzbicki, executive director of the Campaign to Defeat Obama:
Fox News just showed their revised Electoral Map and our 5 Light Blue States are now ALL listed as TOSS UP: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa.
And Real Clear Politics is showing same.
More to come later…