I have finally answered a question that has plagued man for years this weekend. It was discovered on my road trip from Tampa, Fla., to Madison, Wis., this weekend for the last camp of the Madison Scouts' winter season. I spent 18 hours packed into a Volkswagen on my journey to camp; fortunately I had guests driving with me. Alongside Scouts timpanist Justin Iadonisi, we departed Tampa promptly at 10:50 p.m. Thursday night. Of course our final destination was up near Madison, but we had a few stops along the way that we had to make. Our first stop (well, besides for food, gas, and bathrooms) came nine hours into the trip, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., home of the Masters of the Summer Music Games regional, and also home to Chris Deberry (Scouts snare drummer) and Jason Palmer (Scouts visual tech). It was a relief adding more passengers to the trip, because frankly, nine hours of listening to drum corps CDs and watching drum corps DVDs got old. After Murfreesboro came about another four hours of driving until we hit a horrible rainstorm, which eventually led us to horrible traffic in Chicago. While we were still sitting in the rain, I received a phone call from fellow pit member Mike Yip, informing me that he had just landed at Chicago O'Hare airport and was ready to be picked up. I figured we were only about an hour from Chicago, so I told him to expect us in about 1 and a half hours. Four hours later, we managed to pick him up, surprisingly no complaints were heard from him. From there we sped like crazy and made it the high school in record time, unfortunately that record time got us to camp an hour late. We were fortunate to not miss much in that first hour, since camp started off with us putting together more new pit equipment while the battery put together their brand new set of beautiful drums from Yamaha. The pit learned a couple more measures of additions to the show Friday night, and then we called it a night and went to bed. Saturday morning came with our usual early wakeup and run. I usually have no problems with our morning runs, but when you throw in a giant hill into the scheme of things, something we don't have down here in Florida, things get ugly. Not ugly such as getting sick, but I'd say I was pretty close to it. Saturday's rehearsal was mainly just a review of show music and technique. Around lunchtime on Saturday we were able to meet with our rep from Yamaha drums, Joel, who flew all the way out to Madison just to check out the corps (he's a Scouts alum, by the way). Joel has been an amazing asset to the Scouts this year by providing us with all brand new equipment on the sideline and on the field, which we are all VERY thankful and appreciative for. Sunday afternoon was a special treat for the front ensemble. Due to perfect weather conditions, we were finally able to join the rest of the corps outside on the field for the first time this year. We couldn't have picked a better day to have our first outside experience of the year. The weather Sunday was just about perfect, so to celebrate, the entire pit went shirtless through rehearsal. Then after another uplifting speech given by Michael Cesario to the entire corps, it was off to load the truck. We're getting a lot better at the whole truck loading thing finally, we've managed to go the entire year so far with no life-threatening experiences inside the truck, which is a plus when it comes to my track of truck-related injuries. Once the truck was all secured, it was back into the car for the five of us. Only one thing kept us motivated on the trip back, and that was the fact that the mile markers went down in count instead of up. I'm sure some of y'all are wondering where my usual camp traveling problem is. Well, here it is: We reached Chicago Sunday evening to drop Mike off; and we were given directions to where we had to bring him. To our luck, we missed our exit, then in attempt to turn around and find the exit, we got lost. We got VERY lost. 30 minutes later we finally found our original destination, to then find out that we had to take him somewhere else. On our way to the new drop off, we managed to get lost for 1 and a half hours in downtown Chicago. Two hours after our scheduled time, we managed to get Mike to his destination. The rest of the drive went rather quick, even though the total trip time on the way from Madison to Tampa ended up being 26 hours for me. I think I'll keep flying to camps in the future, and I'll save the driving for those who live within a reasonable distance. And on that note, I salute you, drum corps members who drive to camps on a usual basis from a far distance. And about that answer I discovered this weekend. There are 67 Waffle Houses between Tampa and Madison. The Scouts drum line and guard moves in this Saturday, come check us out! (*Author's note: sorry for no pictures from camp, my camera is sitting inside the Scouts equipment truck by mistake).