When I’d been to Sonisphere a couple of weeks before the trip, I’d picked up an Anthrax t-shirt. The first time I went to put it on, I noticed from the tour dates on the back of the t-shirt that they were playing Toronto the night after I arrived. Two nights in Toronto wouldn’t be so bad, so I started checking out getting hold of some tickets on the internet. It turned out it wasn’t just Anthrax playing. Toronto was having a metalfest – Heavy TO – with many of the other bands from Sonisphere playing, but best of all Rob Zombie was playing. I’d had tickets to Rob Zombie’s Edinburgh show at the end of June – it had been one of the shows I’d delayed the trip for. But that gig had been cancelled. This seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
I spent my first few hours in Toronto on the hunt for a ticket, but to no avail. It seemed that it was impossible to get a ticket for collection on the door. I could have taken the change of finding a tout outside, but the organisers seemed to being strict on controlling tickets, so I decided to hit the road the next day – I still had all the bands at Sturgis to look forward to. I didn’t feel I was short-changing Toronto – I’d be back for a couple of days at least at the end of the trip.
I’d been up since 5am UK time, and I hadn’t slept well the night before – too excited. Toronto was 5 hours behind, so by the time 7pm rolled around it was midnight at home. All I needed was a couple of Molson local brews and a beef rib, then bed! I’d booked into an airport hotel before leaving the UK. This was the only accommodation I had booked in advance, because I needed a first night address for the shipping forms.
The next day I woke early – 4am local time – my body not yet adjusted to the time difference. I made coffee and spent an hour on notes for the blog and re-packing my bags to try to reduce the volume. The quick re-pack I had done at the airport cargo area meant both the Trooper’s saddle-bags were full, and I had a dry-bag strapped to both the luggage rack and across the pillion seat. I’d have to reduce this considerably when Doreen arrived – she’d need that pillion seat and some luggage space of her own.
I threw out all the extraneous packaging I could, and packed things tight – but it still looked as if I’d have to lose half my t-shirts and underwear somewhere along the route. But I could cross that bridge when we broke camp after Sturgis. For now, it was only me and the Trooper, and it would do.
With the bags packed, we headed for America.