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To SXSW and Back: The road to Laredo

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Rusty Maples
Photo: Fred Morledge
Max Plenke

Las Vegas band Rusty Maples is touring its way toward Austin, where official showcases at this year's South by Southwest festival await. Drummer Max Plenke, a journalist who frequently contributes music content for the Weekly, checks in with a series of reports from the road.

Day 2: 193 words about driving The only daunting part of touring is the long drives. I mean buckled into a bucket seat for 12 hours, where a single drive can cover an entire George R.R. Martin audio book and the view through the windshield looks identical to the one four hours ago.

We’re speeding down the the freeway at 80 miles per hour (it’s a fully loaded passenger van, not a Mustang), The Cranberries blasting those “ee-YA oo-WA ee-YA ee-YA” choral parts through the speakers, and we’ve seen nothing but taillights for miles. It’s on these all-day drives that your dietary morals go out the window. In Arizona it’s all Clementines and Chewy bars. But by the time you hit the Mexican border, the lights of Juarez stretching like neon moss deep into the southern horizon, you’ve opened the second bag of Kettle Cooked Lays, and a late-night stop at Cracker Barrel for a metric ton of meat loaf gets justified into a nutritious choice.

At 4 a.m. local time, the Rio Grande hours in the past, visions are too blurry to push the last five to seven hours to Laredo, Texas, and we pull over to sleep.

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