Thusday, June 30 – Friday July 1, 2016
So I finally get to go to S. Korea! And it’s with Darryl Worley and the Krew, whom I love working with J
Darryl is flying out of Alaska to Seattle then on to Seoul where we meet him at the airport..or so we had planned. I got a call from Joe this morning on the way to the airport that Darryl’s flight out of Fairbanks was delayed and he was going to miss his connection. Mom dropped me off at the airport and while I got the guys checked in she and Penny were on the phone with our TA trying to find him other options to get him into Seoul on Friday.
While Darryl was in the air to Seattle, we rebooked him on a Korean Air flight that would get him in an hour before us. When me and the guys landed in Detroit, Darryl landed in Seattle and got the message about his new flight. Whew. We had about an hour in Detroit to eat and stock up on snacks. The plane boarded on time. Some of the guys had empty seats between – however Soir and Joe weren’t so lucky and had a little asian girl in the middle of them L
I was upstairs and all I can say is thank God for Wifi on flights now. Zoe had started coughing Wednesday night and when mom picked her and Zac up today she was no better. So I was able to message with mom and she took her to the clinic. She has bronchitis L I stayed up most of the flight feeling bad for her and worried. Finally got about 2 hours of sleep and then was awake again.
We landed in Seoul and it took us about 40 mins to make it from our gate through passport control to baggage claim. Where it took another 30 mins for all our luggage to come out. Finally walked out and Darryl and Mr Chong were waiting for us. Another Whew! Loaded the luggage on the bus, grabbed some snacks for the 2 hour ride to Camp Casey where we will stay the first 2 nights. It is raining really hard here right now and our show tomorrow night is outdoors. Will have to see what they want to do in the morning.
I got everyone checked in and off to their rooms where I think they all feel promptly asleep. I got to my room and called mom so I could talk to the kids. Zoe seems to feel ok and mom is keeping them both home with her today.
We have a 7:30 AM departure to the DMZ so off to sleep I go!
Sunday, July 2, 2016
Up at 6:00 AM to get ready to leave by 7:30. Went downstairs for a quick “continental” breakfast and saw most of my guys up and ready to roll. Mike Elmer, our MWR rep met us in the lobby. We were talking about the weather and if we would need to move the concert tonight indoors BUT it looks like it is going to clear up and we can keep it outside.
We loaded onto the bus and drove the 1 ½ hours up to the DMZ. First stop was the JSA where Specialist Monroe gave us a tour. We were able to walk outside the Freedom building and see the North Korean soldiers standing guard across the border. There were 3 on top of their buildings and one they call “Bob” standing by the front door just watching us. We then were able to drive around Camp Bonifas and take some photo’s and learn a little bit more about the history. Saw the S. Korean Flag that stands 100 meters and the flag that North Korea built at 160 meters high. We could also see “propaganda village” which on the N Korea side. No one lives there but North Korea has their propaganda being blared from a very loud speaker there. After Camp Bonifas we went to OP Dora where you could lookout and see more of the DMZ. Last stop was a tram ride down to tunnel 3. South Korea found this tunnel in 1974. Obviously North Korea had plans to infiltrate South Korea through these tunnels. You have to wear a hard hat and walk crouched over through the tunnel. All I could hear was thump, thump, thump. My guys hitting their heads on tunnel ceiling J
Left the DMZ at 12:30 and drove back to Camp Casey. Had lunch provided for us at the Golf Course and then over to do soundcheck for tonight’s show. Had some issues at sound check so it took longer than expected to get done. Took the guys back to the green room area where they met Col. Newton and Lt Col Gardner. They presented Darryl with a beautiful clock and gave us all some coins. We stayed for about 15 mins then had to head back to lodging to get ready for the show at 7pm.
There is a USO Troup opening the show tonight, 3 girls and 1 guy. The girls on stage are in short sequin dresses. When we saw them I made the comment that they raided my bands closet and stole their show clothes! Darryl went on a little after 7. Darryl gave a great performance, stopping to take pictures with the people coming up to the stage. The crowd really loved him and sang along to all his songs. He played his 90 mins and came off stage. While he was in the bathroom, the crowd started chanting his name. He came out and the all went back up for 2 more songs. Afterwards, he stood and took pictures with everyone for about an hour.
We ate dinner after the show back at the Golf Club House. I think most of us are so tired by this point we are just ready to go back to the room and crash. Another early morning call. Leave for Osan at 7:30 am!
I have no idea what day it is. I think it’s Saturday, July 3, 2016
Woke up at 6 and went downstairs for breakfast. Most of the guys were already downstairs. I think they are all waking up around 2:00 AM J
We departed Camp Casey at 7:30 for a 3 hour drive to Osan Air Base…however, it only took us 1 ½ hours. Called MSgt Toby to let her know we were about 10 mins out. Patterson and Major Parker met us at lodging. Most of the rooms were ready except Darryl and Joe. They were putting them in the suites and those would not be ready until noon. So they gave them regular rooms until then.
A few of us went over the exchange to get a few things then we all went to lunch at the E club at 11:30. Some of the leadership came to lunch with their families and joined us. We met Col Hansen and his family. Everyone is so nice and so appreciative of us to be here. We let them know how grateful we were for having us.
After lunch the crew and a few of the band guys went to the stage to get set up, the rest of us came over about an hour later. The stage is at the Air ramp. Right when Darryl started his soundcheck it started raining, however we were assured that it wasn’t going to last and everything would be fine. They were right. The rain stop, the clouds cleared up and the temp was great by showtime. We have an early show today, 6:00 pm because they have fireworks at 8:45. About 30 mins into Darryl’s show a man comes up to the side of the stage with a little girl. He tells me she is lost and he found her wondering. Poor thing. I picked her up and held her, she couldn’t be more than 2 years old. I asked her her name but she wouldn’t talk. Joe went up on stage when Darryl finished his song and asked him to make an announcement se we could find her parents. I walked out on stage carrying her to see if anyone recognized her. We stood off to the side of stage with security and about 10 mins later a man came up and said he was her dad. He was working one of the booths and his wife had taken her to the bouncy house at the end of the ramp and she had wondered off. She was very glad to see him J
Darryl had another great show and an encore. The Col and Captain were out in the audience and I talked to them after the show. They were very pleased. Darryl took pictures for about an hour. I love how he takes his time with everyone. Some of the band left early and went to eat and some stuck around for the fireworks. We got back to lodging around 9:30 pm.
Leave for Camp Humphreys tomorrow around 11:30 for show # 3. We are scheduled to be outside but after talking to my POC earlier today, it looks like we may get rained out and have to have the show inside L
Hope our luck with the weather keeps following us!
Monday, July 4, 2016 – Happy 4th of July!!
So it looks like our luck ran out in the weather department. I spoke with Ryan at Camp Humphreys this morning and they had to pull the outdoor festivities tonight and move Darryl’s show indoors. No fireworks L The ground is to wet from past rain and more rain predicted today.
We do not leave Osan for Camp Humphreys till 11:30 so I was able to sleep in until 8 and then get ready and have breakfast. I wasn’t that hungry so just went downstairs and got some coffee and a little pastry to tied me over. Ryan and Sgt Boss met us at 11:30 at lodging on Osan and we drove the 30 mins to Camp Humphrey’s. This camp is going through a billion dollar expansion and will soon be the biggest base in the Pacific and 4th in the world. Going from 18k servicemen and women to 45k over the next year and half!
With show being moved indoors, the sound company needed some more time to set up so we pushed our soundcheck back an hour. Also, we no longer have any opening acts nor the meet and greet prior to the show (since there are no fireworks after the show)
After lunch, we rent by base lodging. Ryan had held rooms for all of us to use since we can’t really go out and do anything else in the rain. Checked everyone in and we had a little over an hour before crew needed to be at load in. A few of us went to the base exchange to look around and buy some souvenirs. At 3 I got the crew, Tom and Monty to the Super Gym where the show is tonight. We have the same production company today as we did yesterday in Osan. I met Desmond, the owner, again and as we talked he realized that Judy was my mom. He gave me a big hug to give to her. At 4, I ran back to lodging to get Darryl and the musicians over to soundcheck. All went well and they were done in about 45 mins. So after 2 days of some difficult soundchecks where we had limited time due to other activities, the one day we have the whole time just to ourselves… they are good after 45 mins??? I told them to get back up there and tweak some more just to make use of the freedom!!! LOL
We all went back to lodging for an hour then at 5:30 a few of us went over to dinner. Darryl and some of the guys were still full from lunch and chose to stay in the room and rest. After dinner it was back to lodging for an hour before we had to leave for the show at 8:00 pm. Everyone did a great job making the gym look nice for the show. The rainout kept a lot of people from attending but Darryl did a great show as always for everyone. I think we had about 350 people in attendance. Col. Holland came out and we were able to meet him and his family after the show. The only downside was Ryan never received the autograph sheets that were sent to Camp Humphreys, so I had to use what we had left over from Osan. I had about 50 pictures left and there was at least 100 people in line L
But.. as always, Darryl would sign whatever they gave him to sign and took pictures with everyone. While I was handing out the autograph sheets, I started talking to a gentleman that was helping with security…turns out I met him a few years back when I had Aaron Tippin and Darryl Worley at Ft. Irwin in CA. Small world J
After the autograph session we loaded up the bus and headed back to Osan. We will stay here again tonight then on to Kunsan. Day off tomorrow and show on Wednesday, then home!!
Hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. I sure do miss my babies but I am so honored to be here doing this.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Not much to report today as it is a Day off / Travel Day. We had to check out of lodging at Osan by 10:45 am. The bus that is driving us to Kunsan was there by 10:30 and we were able to start loading our luggage and gear. Once everyone was checked out, we all went to grab a bite to eat on base before departing for Kunsan at 12:30.
It is a 2 ½ hour drive and we almost made it the whole way before everyone needed a bathroom break. The driver pulled over to a gas station / rest area. We walked around for a few moments and there was a little kiosk selling hats, trinkets, etc set up outside the gas station. I went to take a picture of a hat and the little guy came running over “no pictures!” Steve then proceeds to try on a few of the hats and everytime he put one back up the little Korean guy came behind him and would fix it. The little guy was obviously not having a good day and we were just pissing him off.
Back on the road and about an hour later we were at Kunsan. We were met by TSgt Cale and SSgt Ritzler. 2 very nice guys who helped get us checked in and settled. More rain though L
Joe, Darryl and I had to leave at 4:45 to go to AFN for a radio interview at 5pm. Interview went well and we were back at the hotel by 5:30. We decided to walk across the street to Peppers and have dinner. Really enjoying having a day off – finished dinner and back at the hotel to chill. I think everyone plans on crashing early.
Lunch then soundcheck and show tomorrow. Last one then we have to leave at 2:00 am for the airport L
Wednesday July 6, 2016 – Kunsan Air Base
Had the morning off so I went downstairs and grabbed some breakfast then went to re organize my suitcase since we will be leaving so early. I had hoped to walk around base a little bit but the rain kept us in most of the day. At 11:30 we went over to the DFAC for lunch. Toward the end of lunch TSgt Cale got a call that the AC had gone out in the Base Theatre, which is where the show is tonight. I spoke with mom and she said to check the Loring Club as that is where the last shows have been. We went over there and they did have their own PA. It is much smaller than Loring and we thought it would take to much to get everything moved over. Joe and Roddy opted to keep things as it were in the Theatre.
I got everyone over to sound check and I guess they were working on the AC. Crossing fingers. It isn’t to terribly hot in there right now, but with the lights on the guys on stage they will swelter. Sound check went well. The production company brought a different console and amp than we had at Camp Casey and it seemed to make a difference.
Dinner was at 4 across the street at Peppers, only 5 of us went over as the others still weren’t to hungry. I tried the steak Bibibap that Darryl had the other night and it delicious. Show is at 6:30 so everyone was down in the lobby at 5:45. We have to make 2 trips because we are down to 1 passenger van (the other got pulled bc the flight line needed it) Lt Col. “Herc” came backstage prior to the show and met and coined everyone. He just took command of the base this morning! I am not sure if it was the combination of the rain, small base and people having to work but we only had about 50 people in attendance for tonights show. But as Darryl began to play and talk to the crowd, they were so engaged. Singing all his songs and asking him to sing some old ones that he doesn’t do any more. I could see on the front row a gentleman sitting in a flight suit. SSgt Ritzler confirmed it was the Wolf II. I was hoping he would come back after the show and say hello but we didn’t. Darryl did an encore then we went out front to do the autograph session. The manager of the Loring Club was so impressed with Darryl he invited everyone over to the club afterward where we were able to meet Wolf II. We stayed and mingled for about an hour then over to lodging since we have to leave for the airport at 2:30 am!!
Thursday, July 7, 2016 – Going Home!
Those 2 hours went by quick! Got up, quick shower, brush hair and teeth and out the door. Most of my guys were downstairs at 2:30 and the bus to take us to the airport was there at 2:45 am. We left base right on time at 3. About 2 hours into the drive we all needed a bathroom break. I got back on the bus and one of the guys came up to me saying he couldn’t find his passport. It wasn’t in his backpack or his suitcase. I called the hotel and while I was on hold someone went up to his room to check to see if they had it. I was trying to think of our options IF he did leave it at lodging and what we were going to do. They came back on the phone and said it wasn’t there. So.. it has to be on here somewhere. We searched around his seat to see if it had fallen out of his pocket, anything. Finally he reached into the pocket of the seat behind him and pulled it out! Thank you Jesus. This will be something that he will probably never live down around me and the band. Ha ha.
The 4 hour drive to airport was actually only 3. I think our bus driver was tired too and drove like a bat out of hell to get us there. He did such a great job that the Delta desk wasn’t even open yet for check in. The do not open till 7 and it was 6:30. Sooo.. we stood first in line to check in. Got everyone checked in then through security, passport control and the tram down to our terminal. We had about an hour before boarding so Darryl and I went to the Korean Air lounge to chill for awhile. I grabbed some coffee and breakfast and worked on my reports before heading to the gate. Flight left on time. Short 13 hour flight to Detroit! The flight attendant was talking to Darryl and he told her about the trip and I gave her a cd / dvd and some autograph pictures to share with the others. Then I crashed. Slept for about 7 hours I think.
No problems going through customs in Detroit but the baggage claim area sucks. The priority bags come out on 3 different belts and the regular luggage comes out on 3 other belts so you have to troll through them all to find everything. Finally found all the pieces, rechecked them then back through security. The security line by recheck does not have TSA precheck lane so I had to exit like I was staying in Detroit then go upstairs to ticketing and fine the TSA line up there. Rolled through it and my gate was just a few feet away. Woohoo. Started boarding about 20 mins once I got there and landed Nashville on time. Guess we just missed the bad storm that came through. Mom had the kids there to greet me as I walked out of the terminal. I was sooooo happy to see them and hug them. As we were down at baggage claim and the guys came over they wanted to know what the played in the band J
I am so glad I finally got to go to Korea and do this trip. I have wanted to go for a long time and it finally worked out. Of course being with Darryl and the Krew make the trips so much more fun and EASY. Hopefully we can do it again someday!