Tandem Tracks & Tourist Traps

When last we left our heroes, Cole and Max had decided to blow the crowd’s mind by executing synchronized jump kicks during their “Shoplifter” finale. So why didn’t that happen at their show in Baltimore? Read on to discover the shocking story…
Sean and I said farewell to Warren and picked up Max to head to Baltimore. I wrote yesterday that our trip from Lexington to Richmond was our longest driving day, but the drive from Richmond to Baltimore proved much less enjoyable due to the stop-start traffic on I-95 and the lack of beautiful West Virginia mountainscapes.
We were welcomed to the Charm City by Mr. Trash Wheel, a googly-eyed contraption that removes trash from Baltimore’s Jones Falls river before it hits the Inner Harbor. Serena was particularly excited for us to visit him because he partially inspired her senior design project as a mechanical engineering student. Mr. Trash Wheel also has family members in other parts of the city, including Professor Trash Wheel, Captain Trash Wheel and the massive Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West.
Our venue for the night was Zissimos Bar in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. We arrived there with much more time to explore than we have in other cities so far, which I was very grateful for since the area was so cute. I visited Vú Skateboard Shop, Atomic Books, and Celebrated Summer Records and kept thinking, “Wow! What a nice neighborhood!” I solidified this feeling when I stopped by the Skatepark of Baltimore and read stories from the Baltimore Beat, including the poem “Code Switch” from Baltimore City College student Isabella Akilo. I also met a shopkeeper who was apparently drinking a Celsius energy drink for the first time and is probably still awake over 16 hours later.
The Baltimore gig had some special guests in the audience: members of Sean’s family, who drove in from Pennsylvania and Delaware to see us. They were treated to music from Lady Ro, an indie folk artist, and Fly By the Seat, a rocky trio of UMBC students (go Retrievers!). We switched the show order a bit, meaning Alyssa played first and delivered a particularly strong performance. Don’t take my word for it: After “What to Do,” an older guy loudly said “That was a great song!” This kicked off a fun back and forth between Alyssa and the audience for the rest of the evening.
My most memorable moment of the night came when I knocked my completely full cup of water all over my half of the stage. I wish I could say I spilled it doing something cool, but I kind of just bumped it with my bass halfway through the set. This, as you might have guessed from my teaser, meant that I decided not to risk life and limb by leaping into a puddle of water during “Shoplifter.” Even still, it was a fun night, especially since show organizer Paul, our sound guy Christian, and everyone from Zissimos was very good to us. Sean’s family members bought some T-shirts and asked us to sign them, which was a cool moment.

We had a daunting two-hour drive to Alyssa’s parents’ house in Voorhees, New Jersey, where we’d be staying the next two nights. Maybe we were just delirious and sleepy, but we had a ton of laughs and good chats as we steered Felix Vandem through the lonely East Coast night. By the time we arrived it was past 2 a.m. and time for some much-needed rest.