Rough start for Special C

Ashby FrankAshby Frank has a sad story on his blog at

It tells of how the first leg of a midwestern tour with Special Consensus turned into a roadside disaster yesterday (7/9). Their trusty vehicle let them down, and left them stranded far from where they needed to be.

Well this is the beginning  (Day 2) of one of the famous, long, multi-state Special C tours and it’s gotten off to an interesting start. This one’s 17 days with stops in Buffalo and Casper, WY, Windsor, CO, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

We  left Nashville kinda late. I drove to Paducah, Justin drove a good ways through Illinois, and then I took back the wheel a few hours later. A short time after I started driving, I noticed Justin was messing around in the back and didn’t think much of it until I realized that for the first time ever, I could see head lights in the rear view mirror. UH HO! The back door had come open and Justin was standing back there trying to rescue my suitcase from falling out into Saint Louis traffic while screaming for me to stop. It’s soooo loud in the SpecialCmobile that I hadn’t heard his first scream. I didn’t freak out, realizing that if I hit the brakes all of our stuff and Justin would go flying out the back door onto I-70. We got pulled over, locked the door, and and made it to Columbia, MO at 1 AM. I saved Justin’s life, and he saved my suitcase and probably my mandolin and computer bag‚Ķ so he saved mine too.

After tons of talking and Google-ing we finally found a place to stay. This morning we got up and hit the breakfast buffet at the Comfort Inn (where the main course was “pancake wraps”, AKA Corn Dogs), then headed out through Kansas City and on through Kansas‚Ķ or at least a part of the way. I stopped my shift in a town called WaKeeney. There was a Sinclair station and we were running low on Diesel and not within 30 miles of another town, so that made sense to me.

The Special Consensus Turtle Top being hauled away from a roadside in KansasDavid started his first shift of driving for the trip after we fueled up, and he made it three miles. THREE MILES. Then squeek, bang, bang, smoke! We stopped right there on I-70, and called AAA. The “Turtle Top” made a horrible noise when we shifted it into park, and then we waited for an hour and a half or so in the 100 degree heat. A VERY friendly and helpful Kansas State Trooper came and parked by us and got us in contact with a heavy duty tow truck driver that happened to have a shop right there (here) in WaKeeney (Pop. 1924).

Once the truck got here to pull us away, they figured out that we have broken bearings and a broken rear axle. So we got pulled back to WaKeeney, said goodbye to the friendly Trooper, and hello to Steve the super friendly Repair Shop Owner. He tells us that it’ll be a week, maybe two, two get all this stuff fixed‚Ķ oh and by the way‚Ķ. we’re supposed to be in Buffalo, Wyoming, (11 hours from here) for a 2PM set tomorrow.

Will Special C make it to their show on time? Will they be able to find transportation out of WaKeeney?

Follow Ashby’s blog for all the news.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.