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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Towing our Toes out of South Florida

Hello from The Rough & Tumble! We're currently doing our laundry at our friend Tom's brother's house on an island off the Gulf Coast on a sunny day where all you need is a sweater to ward off the breeze coming off the water. The washer and dryer are outside in a covered shed on the patio which is a perfect way to encourage you to sit out in the sunshine with those shoes you're drying out and some fresh Florida strawberries you bought and do a little blogging. So, here we are.

We've been spending the last couple weeks here in South Florida and we've got a lot to tell you about. First things first, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale are not welcoming to our kind; boon-docking camper-dwelling folksingers, that is. All of our go-to spots- Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, Cabela's- all had "No Overnight Parking Signs" and there was hardly an inch of land that hadn't been bought up by someone who'd charge you a pretty penny to park there. We even almost got towed by Sister's Towing at the Aldi's parking lot we were shopping at in West Palm while we were still in the truck, narrowly escaping the clutches of the tow truck with some Too Fast, Too Furious style driving and a thumbs down signal from the passenger's seat. For a lesson in poor customer service and a master class on how to angrily yell into the void, do yourself a favor and look up Sister's Towing on Yelp.

It made us think of one of the often unsung verses in Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land,

"As I went walking I saw a sign there.

And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."

But on the other side it didn't say nothing,

That side was made for you and me."

That's how we've lived a lot of our camper life, with this belief that people are people trying to get along in this world and that when given the option to help or to hurt, they would rather help or at least not notice and that if we can just get to the other side of that sign, we'll be okay. We're finding out that isn't always the case, especially when someone has the ability to tow your car. But to acknowledge that there are places (a lot of them in South Florida apparently) where we are unwelcome has brought with it a lot of empathy for other travelers in much worse situations than ours. Yeah, it's a bummer that we have to waste gas money traveling from place to place, but it's not because we're fleeing violence, tyrannical governments, or genocide. And while there may be signs that say "No Overnight Parking For Folk Singers," nobody has been calling for a wall to be built to keep us out, either.

Speaking of which, we might have been the only two people who benefited from this government shutdown. After we realized we were not welcome to park in South Florida we drove out to Big Cypress National Preserve and camped for a week with the gators and sunbirds, free of charge because there was no one there to collect our money. Which also meant there was no one to take care of the restrooms and no one to call when we started to worry about our tenting neighbor who hadn't returned late at night when he'd said he was going out to hunt for pythons. He did return. With a 7 ft python, in fact, that he'd caught behind the where-there-should-be-ears. He didn't show it to us and for that we're grateful.

The highlight of our time down here was getting the chance to play the South Florida Folk Festival in Fort Lauderdale. Comparisons to Woodstock were made as the sky opened up and showered us with the worst rain they've ever had at this festival. We spent a good portion of the weekend huddled up with other folksingers and their guitars under tarps and inside tents, trying to sing the song that would ward off the damp. It didn't exactly work but we did get to make some new friends and spend time with some old ones. So, a thanks goes out to the Broward Folk Club for having us out, and a "glad we're in this together" goes to Rupert Wates, Escaping Pavement, The Moon and You, new pals The Appaluchians, and all the other fantastic performers at the festival.

I guess what it comes down to is that we just don't fit in here in South Florida. There are a lot of Porsches, Lamborghini's and BMW's and not a lot of parking, which is why this week on Double Americana this week we're asking the good lord in his infinite wisdom to help us fit in a little more so we don't get towed. We're singing a song of great political and social import, a song by Janis Joplin called "Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz."

Join us! We have a camperful of groceries and are in good spirits as we head North of the farthest South to more shows and good weather.

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