The Road Trip Job
December 02 - 05, 2010
Raleigh, NC

We start this story back in November of 2010. A little social network site called Facebook and a girl named Angela. Angela posted “Anyone wants to share a ride to the Christian Kane show in Raleigh, NC? I responded with a “Yes”. We decided to meet and discuss it.

We decided on McDonald’s on Milwaukee and Oakton on November 4th. It was my half day Thursday at work, so I was free the entire afternoon. I got there and Angie was waiting for me. Angie had on her “Property of Christian Kane” t-shirt and knit hat. I then find out that we are waiting for a third person, Cheryl. Now this is the first time any of us are meeting each other, and we all met on Facebook and Twitter. A bit scary.

Cheryl arrived and we all got something to eat and we started talking about Christian. Then Cheryl suggested that we actually talk about the trip as she had to go back to work. We all agreed that we would go on the trip together. Cheryl would reserve the hotel room, since the price was a prepay price. I could tell right away that Cheryl and would get along fine.

A couple of weeks went by and Angie had to back out of going do to finances. Cheryl and I decided that we would continue and go. The two of us met at Cheryl’s on November 20th and did the final prep work for the trip. We decided to rent a car and leave on Thursday, spending the night in Louisville. We were both very excited about the road trip.

We tried explaining the trip to other people and they would look at us like we were crazy. Try explaining to people that you are going on a 14 hour car ride for a FREE 22 minute Christian Kane show, with someone you met on Twitter and Facebook. And, to meet up with about 40 other people we met on Facebook and Twitter. My friends were like, you better text me and post so we know that you’re alive.

I was quite excited about this road trip. Listening to Christian sing made music fun again. It is great to be able to listen to a guy sing and not over think the songs because I knew the band. I’m just a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Jon and Journey boys. But at a Kane show; I can be a geeky little fan and rock out. Okay. Back to the story.

It’s December 2nd, D-day (drive-day). I get off work and meet Cheryl at Hertz to rent the car. We get a Nissan – Versa. Cute little car. Cheryl had to go back to work for a little bit more, and I had some errands to do, before we left. I then picked up Cheryl about 4:00pm, I think. We were on the road a ½ hour later. We popped in Christian’s “Sony Session’s” CD. Getting around 294 didn’t take us too long with it being rush hour. The “Chicago Crew” was on their way.

I drove the first leg down to Indianapolis; and then Cheryl drove to Louisville. We were talking the whole trip, getting to know each other and we talked about Christian Kane and Steve Carlson. Between Indy and Louisville, we hit a patch of snow flurries. It wasn’t too bad. I’m telling Cheryl where the cops will be sitting along the way. Highway 65 is how I get to Birmingham, AL to visit my brother and his family. So, I know highway 65 pretty well.

We get into Louisville around midnight. We stayed at the Baymont on Blairwood at Exit 15c on hwy 64. It was okay for a sleeping hotel. I had to get up during the night to use the bathroom, so I used my cellphone to light my way. Those that watch Leverage will SO get this next part. There was a large mirror at the back of the room outside of the bathroom. As I walked toward the mirror with my cellphone’s help; I looked in the mirror and started laughing. I think we got up around 6:30 or 7am; I showed my cellphone experience to Cheryl; I said “What does this remind you of?” “The Morning After Job” we both starting laughing. For the non-Leverage fan; this episode has a bunch of thugs in the dark and they are using their phones as flashlights. It's a classic scene amongst the Leverage fans.

December 3rd, we had breakfast at the hotel, loaded the car and headed toward Raleigh. When we stopped for gas Cheryl cleaned off the windows of the car. Cheryl had bought some white shoe polish the night before. We put “Kane” on the back window, “The House Rules” and “Rule #7” on the two back windows. We had a lot of fog in Kentucky and then some snow in the mountains through Tennessee and North Carolina. It took us about 9 hours for this leg. We pulled into the Days Inn in Raleigh around 5 – 5:30pm. We checked in and tweeted that we were at the hotel and asked if anyone else was there.

We got a response from Heather and went up to her room. We also met Kenzie and Erin upstairs. We were looking for a place to eat dinner and so were Kenzie and Erin. We decided to go to Angelo’s in the downtown area. The four of us piled in our car (we wanted to show off the “Kane Kar”) and headed downtown. We found Angelo’s but it was closed. We had passed another one that looked good, Café Luna. We pulled into a parking lot and Kenzie went in and how long the wait was. It was 20 minutes, so we decided to find a parking spot and stay. Luckily, a car was leaving, so we took their spot.

We highly recommend Café Luna. It’s an Italian restaurant. The food was really good, they were packed and the service was excellent. You had to talk a little loud, but you didn’t have to yell. We got to know Kenzie and Erin. We all swapped stories; especially Kenzie with her EMT escapades. After dinner we headed back to the hotel; Cheryl and I were hosting the get together at the “White Collar Crime” bar. Kenzie and Erin passed on going, but Heather went over with us.

We found the place pretty easily, but parking was a bit confusing. The bars doorman said that we were okay to park there. We paid the $5.00 cover and went in. I believe Patsy and Blane were already there. We had tweeted that I had my leopard coat on, so people could spot us. There were not a lot of tables, so we grabbed a couple of tables away from the music and close to the door, so we could spot others walking in. Then, we tweeted that we were by the front door.

A little bit later, Christine, Joni and Kathleen came in. We all had a great time getting to know each other and Blane was in girl heaven. It was Blaine and Patsy’s 25 wedding anniversary. He asked her what she wanted to do for their anniversary and she said “I wanted to go to Raleigh and see Christian Kane.” He agreed. If Patsy is happy, Blane will be happy. Patsy said that we could all be Blane’s pseudo girlfriends for the weekend. Blane is a great guy and he watched out for all of us girls. The night ended around 1am. Cheryl and I were pretty toasty from all the driving. We went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

December 4th, Christian Kane Day. We didn’t set an alarm; we just got up whenever. We both ate waffles at the hotel; YUMMY! The first event of the day was at 1:30pm; lunch at "The Pit". Cheryl and I didn’t want to just sit at the hotel all morning, so we drove downtown and found a parking garage near the AT&T Winterfest and started walking toward the fest. We caught the attention of a guy, and long story short…He was selling magazines…but not really. We each gave him $20.00. He was a great conversationalist and he even did a little bit of tour guiding for us. As we were talking with him, Steve Carlson tweeted a picture of the bands tour bus.

I showed the picture to the guy and he said those wreaths are down here at this end of the street. We said our goodbyes to him and headed down the street through all the vendors. The bus was behind the stage area, across from the Marriott. Cheryl and I went into Starbucks and got some hot chocolate and then sat outside across from the bus. I saw Steve cross the street and he was headed to the bus. We sat for a while, and then it was getting time to head to the lunch. We decided to walk it, since it was only about five blocks. On our way up the street, I spotted Steve on the opposite corner. I ask Cheryl if she wanted to cross the street and walk by him. Cheryl then had her very first “Fan Girl Moment”. Speechless and a huge grin, and then a "no", she didn’t want to walk past him; so we stayed on our side of the street and walked on down to “The Pit”. We met up with "the group".

There were about 40 of us, so they broke us up into two groups. Those of us that were there on time got seated first. We sat there and got to know each other. We all thanked Carrie “Kandy Kane” for putting the whole thing together. She sat there very humble; and she thanked us all for being there. We all talked, ate and laughed. We also took a group photo of our table. About 3:30 – 4pm, we all headed back to the Marriott to hang out for a while. It was cold, so it was nice to be able to sit inside the hotel bar.

photo by the Danielski's

Since this was a festival; there were a lot of activities going on. There was Ice Skating, Retail Vendors, Food Vendors, Dance Troops, Bands and Singers. Everyone was hanging in the hotel, due to the unseasonably cold weather that was happening outside. We went out to the front of the stage around 6pm. Cheryl and I were with Meghan and we were just off center, about 3 people from the front. We had to endure several local acts; especially a large band that was on right before Christian and Jaron. Of course the stage acts were running late; the large band was doing Christmas Carols and normally I’d be all over that; but I was cold and it had been raining, snowing and sleeting. We were all ready for Christian to come on stage; for most of us there; this was our very 1st Christian Kane show. We were all so excited.

“Jaron and the Long Road to Love” got on stage about 15 minutes after7pm. He finished up about 7:40pm and then Christian Kane and band finally hit the stage. The crowd went wild!!! They started with “American Made”, “Let Me Go” and then “Thinking of You”. Christian introduced each song with a story; which was so great for us, as we had heard these stories from radio interviews, but now we were getting to hear them live. They had to stop at this point as the tree lighting was being televised live. Christian and Steve huddled at the back of the stage and tried to warm up a bit. The Mayor and AT&T rep were on stage and did the lighting. Christian and guys came back on stage and did the last song “House Rules”. Christian kept the song fairly clean; since this was a family show and there were children present. He tried not to grab his crouch on “Rule #7”; he had to turn away from the crowd, because he almost did it. After he got done with the song; he thanked everyone profusely for coming out to see them perform. As he and the band were gathering their gear; the crowd was still going wild, we knew every word to all the songs and did not want to let them go yet. We wanted more!!! We were so loud and cheering so much, they asked them to do one more song. WOOHOO!!!!

More photos at the end of the story.

Here is my one Kaniac "claim to fame", Christian came up to the mic and said “I’ll tell you what keeps me warm.” And we all yelled out “WHISKEY!” He giggled. (He has a really cute giggle.) Christian asked “Who said that?” I pulled out my flask and held it up in the air. He spotted it and motioned for me to throw it up on stage. I threw it right to him and he caught it. He opened it up and he took a drink. He got a very happy look on his face and then he took another drink. He put the top back on and handed it to the girls in front of me and they handed it back to me. He blew me a kiss from stage and I nodded a smile back to him. There was a girl behind me that offered me $50 bucks for the flask. I said “No!” He finished up with “Whiskey in Mind”. After the song, the local radio DJ announced that Christian would be having a meet and greet immediately following back at the radio’s tent.

Photos by Gabriella

Here are a couple of videos that other people caught of Christian and the Flask. You can also find them on Youtube.
Video: Christian Kane - Winterfest - Wiskey in Mind (better angle)       Video: Christian Kane - Winterfest - Wiskey in Mind (front view)

The three of us (Meghan, Cheryl & I) hustled our way over to the radio tent. The line was forming. Meghan’s mom, dad, other Kaniacs joined us in the line. After a few minutes, word got back to Cheryl and I, that the DJ wanted to see the girls from Chicago. We went up front and talked with him a few minutes. He was impressed that we drove all the way from Chicago just to see Christian Kane. Cheryl and I then went back to our place in line. Then word came back again that we were want at the front of the line. Patsy and Blane pulled Cheryl and I into the line with them. I was a bit confused, then it became clear; Patsy wanted Cheryl and me up with them.

Eric Griffin, Christian’s manager, brought out several boxes of CDs. Christian new CD was being released on the following Tuesday (Dec 7th). Eric was letting everyone there buy the CD early. I bought 2 of them, 1 for me and 1 for Cheryl. They were sealed, but I always carry a cutter of some sort with me. I slit open the two CDs and had them ready for Christian to sign. The cutter got passed around so other could open up their CDs. I also got out my supply of sharpies.

Christian came out and started the meet and greet. When it was my turn; he called me “Sweetie”, I gushed. He signed the CD and then I asked if he would sign the flask. He smiled and opened it up again. I said that it had Jack Daniels it. He said “I know Sweet Heart.” He took a swig and then he signed it. We took a picture together. He's holding the flask up and pretending to take a drink. I don’t remember if Cheryl went in front of me or right after me.

We stood off to the side as our new friends went through the line. Then Eric approached Cheryl and I; he wanted to take our picture. We were the only ones wearing Santa Hats that said “Kaniac” on them. Others in the group were supposed to be wearing hats as well, but no one did. We stood there for a bit, and then we all went back to the Marriott to warm up.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl

Blane and Patsy got directions to a country bar that was nearby, City Limits Saloon. Cheryl and I drove Kandy, Diane and Michelle to the saloon. It didn’t take long to find the bar; it took a bit to find the entrance to the bar. Michelle was pretty well tanked before we got to the saloon. The group consists of: Cheryl, Meghan, Meghan’s mom and dad, Diane, Kandy, Michelle, Christine, Tricia, Brenda, Patsy, Blane and myself. Michelle kept falling asleep at the table and that was not allowed, so Kandy and Diane ended up taking her in a cab back to the hotel.

Patsy rode the mechanical bull, Cheryl bought 12 shots of Jack for the group, the DJ played 3 Christian Kane songs; we danced the night away and forged great friendships. About 1:30am we finally broke up the party, Cheryl and I had a long drive back to Chicago the next morning. We did hugs and then headed back to the hotel.

December 5th, Cheryl and I knew that we wanted to hit the road between 8am and 9am for that 15hour drive home. I believe that it was closer to 9am when we left. We were driving straight back; no stopping overnight. We again ran into snow in the mountains of North Carolina and in Kentucky. We listened to the new CD several times on the way back. Cheryl and I made plans on the way back for the next two Kane shows, which were the following weekend; Ft Wayne, IN and Covington, KY. Ange will be going on that trip with us. We were getting tired and a bit slap happy, by the time we got north of Lafayette, IN. We called our FB friend Angela and she helped keep us going till we hit Chicagoland. I dropped off Cheryl and then I went home.

I had taken that Monday off; knowing that I’d be tired from the drive back. I cleaned out the rental car and washed the shoe polish off of it. I returned the car by noon. It was such a fun trip and so many friendships started this weekend. What a great start to what would be a dozen great Kane shows, with a bunch of wonderful people.

Photos by other great Kaniacs: Cheryl, Brenda & Gabirella: