On the last leg of my drive from TX to GA, I encountered a tornado-laden lightningfest of a storm that had me alternately tailgating the semi in front of me to keep track of where I was, crying, and generally freaking out. And crying some more. I was really scared.

The tornado passed around me, complete with wipers being pulled off the windshield and a chunk of guardrail smashing the side of the poor rental car. I thought the scariest part had come and gone; my nerves were really shot after 9 hours on the road and 300 miles to go. But the worst was yet to come, as it turned out. The rest of my travel on I-20 was under a torrential downpour that matched my exact speed and heading and obscured all but the taillights of the 18 wheeler I latched onto, lane change for lane change. My wipers were a joke, there are no lights on the highway, and smashups that percussively dotted the roadsides reminded me that my fears were well founded.

I scanned the dial for news, sports talk, NPR, anything to keep me company and on the level. And you know what came through in staticky pulses? The Petros and Money Show, or ‘PMS’, as it’s known. It’s a Los Angeles based (mostly) sports show that recently went syndicated, and one of my favorites. I actually know one of the guys on a cursory level, and although I was across the country I felt like I had a friend in the car, reminding me in 12 minute segments that home still exists, that there was sun up somewhere else, distracting me from my fright. Thanks, guys. You’ll never know.

I pulled into my hotel and slept, and dreamed.

The next day, I taught a private lesson and was treated to a magnificent dinner. As I pulled away, a shiver came over me. I knew it was going to snow, and the weather channel agreed with me. I jokingly texted CelloGirl that I had brought the bad weather with me. The next day as I drove to the church for the class, I did my first snow drive. (I have done ice driving, or car-skating, as it should be called on several occasions) The entire trip was worth those 40 minutes of absolute wonder.

Did I mention that I was happy about the snow? Thanks, Ann, for taking this pic of me, even though it is very silly.

And then there was the class!!

Here are the participants, and me. (guess which one I am)

Casey played a stellar Kol Nidrei, artfully photographed by organizer Ann’s husband.

All 3 participants are students of the amazing David Hancock, whom I didn’t get to talk with nearly enough and was just about regale him with sordid tales of Emily Wright, compulsive truth-teller and hence Hollywood outcast. I may have scared him off!

There are more pictures here, some of them more flattering than others. I had such a cute outfit planned for 70 degree weather, but alas, warmth won out just once over fashion.

I’m in Miami now, in a new hotel. Last night yielded about 57 minutes of sleep due to an exuberant bunch of cruise ship passengers passing through the various stages of drunken glee, romance and finally the inevitable justice of physical illness.

There is much to be said of this tour, now that I’m entering the final 36 hours of the adventure. I’ll save that for the next post, which may be written here, or maybe after I get back to LA.

Thanks to: Ann and Dan, Justin and Penny, Kim, Martin, Casey, Elizabeth, Kat, the other Elizabeth, Stephen, Kathy, the cellist who works at Hertz rent a car, Church of the Redeemer, Louis, Mrs. Bryant, and the nice people at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta and The Blue in Doral, FL.