The most telling aspect of the second Barnstormer tour was that as lucky as we got with kind summertime temperatures in July, we got blindsided by dastardly cold weather the first week in October. Instead of what should have been prime and mild autumn conditions, Dawes, Maritime, Suckers, Christopher Denny and the Natives, Snowblink, Paleo, and Brooks Strause were greeted with frigid temperatures, some 30 degrees below normal, with highs never getting out of the low 40s. Bands played in these open-air barns wearing as much as they possibly could, drinking whiskey and hot cocoa faster than they normally would have. We started the 6-day tour in Milwaukee, Wisc., at the Turner Hall Ballroom, the only non-barn, but the result of a kind offer from our friend Ryan Matteson of Muzzle of Bees. It was one of only two nights in warmth, though the show happened on a rainy evening. Night two saw the caravan take us to Lodi, Wisc., and the Treinen Farm Pumpkin Patch, which was a playground of fall delights, including a corn maze, pumpkin launches and plenty of goats and horses. Night three took us back to Maquoketa, Iowa, where the Biehl family had erected a stage for Barnstormer. There was an ice cream cake and crock pot after crock pot of soup and chili to eat the morning after. Then it was a short drive north to Bellevue for a return to the Mooney Hollow Saloon, where heat was had once again and the bed & breakfast was fantastic. We returned to West Liberty on the following day and ended the tour in Johnston, Iowa, with an ice storm closing out the night.
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