In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the indie pop band, MONOWHALES, shares one of their crazy stories from being on the road. You can check out the story and stream their newest single, “Real Love”, after the break.
One of our first experiences going on tour had us doing a run from Ottawa to Thunder Bay, and ending in Kenora. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the far reaches of Ontario (and believe me, we weren’t either until we found out we had to drive there), there are about 21 hours of straight highway driving between Ottawa and Kenora. Since all our shows were in the evening, we planned our whole tour around driving through the night and sleeping all day. We felt pretty good about this plan, along with discovering that grocery stores sell dirt cheap rotisserie chickens and tofurky slices. It wasn’t long before crafting artisan foot-long sandwiches on baguettes in the trunk of a Nissan Murano in the rain became a regular occurrence. The sandwiches were a little dry, and the rain helped with that. Zach had packed ziplock bags filled with protein powder as a snack and quickly realized it was easier to mix it in the bag and cut a hole in the bottom to drink it through like some kind of disgusting protein bladder rather than wash out his water bottle every once in a while.
Everything seems to be going according to plan until we were buying weed from a friendly stranger in Thunder Bay. Explaining our fly-at-night plan (CUE CHILLIWAK), he was quick to let us know that night time was when the swamp donkeys come out to play. After exchanging some confused looks we were informed that swamp donkey is a lovable pet name for moose and since the mosquitos bite the moose so bad at night they come and hang out on the highways to escape, mangling the cars of unsuspecting bands from the big city. We immediately changed our plans for the whole tour so we could drive through the day, but there was still so much driving to do we couldn’t avoid at least 2-3 hours of night driving per day. On our drive back home we stopped for dinner in Wa Wa, Ontario, which featured broken down buildings juxtaposed against a brand new Subway and Tim Hortons. While we munched on some Sweet Onion Teriyaki Subs we noticed the sun was going down. Checking the map only confirmed our fears – we had four hours of driving through Lake Superior National Park, with no cell service and only hi-beams to light the way. There are signs warning about moose every few kilometers with lights on them to show if a moose had been reported in the last half hour. Everyone we passed was flashing. As Zach white-knuckled it through the park, the rest of us were on moose-watch, while also trying to keep a look-out for the occasional “moose-barrier”, a fairly self-explanatory term we had for locals driving the same strip with a confidence we couldn’t believe.
Thankfully, we arrived safe and sound to the only motel we could afford, complete with sticky floors and cigarette burned sheets. They had a sign on the door saying they had just changed their policy on “by the hour” bookings. We slept like little bebs, hoping they had changed the sheets since then.