Tuesday, July 24, 2007

US Highway 90 West

Jeff, here, riding shotgun as we cruise down the coal black stretch of US Highway 90 West through rural Southern Louisiana at night. The Ladyhawke is bound for Lafayette tonight for our next show tomorrow at a club known as 307.

It’s about 9:30pm right now and we’re running late as usual. This time it was a clogged pre-filter and it hit us at a bad time too. We had just fueled ourselves to the gills on beautiful amber-clear grease from the back of the world-famous CafĂ© Du Monde and we expected smooth sailing and the faint smell of beignet-scented exhaust so we set out late in the evening – about seven.

Everything seemed peachy for about an hour when the telltale lethargy of a clogged fuel line overcame the Ladyhawke’s engine. We changed the main filter, as we had always done. No good. Kate poked her head back under the Ladyhawke’s rear end and discovered that the normally clear pre-filter was dark and cloudy. The only problem was we didn’t have a replacement and the stores would all be closed soon.

Frantically calling all the phone numbers my Google Maps would give me, we finally found an O’Reilly Auto Part in Houma, Louisiana and Kate sweet talked the old man that answered into staying open a few minutes later than he normally would. Of course we then realized that Houma is about twenty minutes south of the main highway, so we had to bust our ass to get down there before the old man gave up on us.

All this frustrated me something fierce, but what could we do? All of our pockets feel a little too light after a few nights in the French Quarter so we didn’t want to just run on diesel for the next 120 miles.

The store was open when we got there (thanks, old man). I decided not hide behind the camera this time, so I got under the Ladyhawke myself. Sure enough, there sat the fuel line with it’s clogged pre-filter looking like a garden snake if it had eaten a small rat. It came out easily enough and we popped the new one in. I didn’t even get a face-full of vegetable oil like I’d expected.

By now it was 8:30. I should know by this stage of the tour to expect antics like this every time we set out for a destination in our little grease-powered gordita, but it still gets to me.

Oh well. The air is cool as we barrel down the road and with the tilt and sway of the Ladyhawke as she listens to Clifton Chenier from our boom box and with the blackness of the Louisiana night to keep me company I’m doing just fine.

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