San Antonio TX to Dallas TX
Today's Driving Distance: 300 Miles - Driving Time: 5 Hours
Total Driving Distance [so far]: 2550 Miles - Driving Time: 41 Hours
I listened to one of my favorite [yet unheard of to the masses] bands all day yesterday. RIOT. They have put out 14 albums since 1977. Their best known album is "Fire Down Under" which is an essential album to Heavy Metal fans. Although RIOT has had many line up changes, the one constant was founder and guitarist Mark Reale. Sadly he passed away from Crohn's disease in 2012. Being one of my personal favorites, his death at age 55 really affected me much like the death of Ronnie Montrose that same year. I had read that he was buried in San Antonio and I found the name of the Catholic Cemetery. A Marriott hotel was only a few miles away so I made a nine hour detour to San Antonio.
It rained hard all night. It was still raining when I left the hotel around 10:30am. I found the cemetery easily. As I drove in the entrance, I could see that a memorial inside the chapel was just finishing. There were about a dozen cars but mourners were getting into their vehicles and leaving. I saw some cemetery maintenance workers in a cart. As I parked my car and got out in the drizzle of rain, I wasn't sure where or who I would talk to. I walked past the ended memorial service and found one of the maintenance guys. He looked at me very perplexed as I told him I was looking for Hard Rock guitarist Mark Reale's gravesite [like he would know off the top of his head]. He said the office was closed since it was Saturday and they would have to look it up. But behind him, out the side door came the casket of the person whom had been the subject of the memorial service. I asked if I could look around the headstones and he said no problem and continued with the burial process I had interrupted.
I had a picture of Mark's headstone but had no idea where it was. I started wandering through the tombstones in the drizzling rain. The headstone part of the cemetery was about the size of a football field. I walked around for about thirty minutes and had no luck. I knew it was here. I said to God, "Lord, help me find this. I will not give up, I had come too far". I moved my car over to where I had first looked. As I repeated a walk through the first area I had wandered through, I kept looking at the photo on my phone so I would have a mental picture of the headstone. Suddenly my eyes came across a match. I was temporarily filled with emotion as I stood before the headstone. Knowing that Mark Reale was a Christian and this was just a spot for his earthly body, it was a moment I would not soon forget.
I had seen RIOT twice in my concert going, 1983 and 1988. At the 1988 show for "Thundersteel" tour at the Stone in downtown San Francisco, I positioned myself in the front row on top of Mark's monitor. I think that was the first time I really suffered hearing loss. The show was awesome and I was so pumped after the show, it has remained one of my favorites concerts.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved - Romans 10:13
I left a guitar pick and a card from my radio station
Mr. Met remained silent in respect of the surroundings. I took some photos of the area. As I returned to the car which was only about twenty yards away, I found it hard to leave. I sat in my car as the rain started to increase. I kranked up the RIOT song "Warrior" with my window down feeling the rain blowing into the window on my face as Mark's guitar filled my ears. The song is famous for the line "Shine On, Warrior".
I gave the Metal horns and said "Shine On" while I continued my journey toward Dallas. It rained the whole way to Dallas. I planned to meet my friend Dave, whom I have known for over ten years but had never met face to face. I arrived in Dallas right at commute time but made it to my hotel easily. While I was getting settled into my room, my third night in a row at a Marriott Courtyard, I had this strange feeling of Deja Vu. Every room the last three nights had a similar look and feel. I felt at home in a hotel room. Kudos to Marriott Courtyard for that but it really isn't a good thing to feel at home in a hotel. Especially now that I have two residences. One in Modesto and one waiting for me in New York.
Dave and I met up at a local live band venue. We had a couple beers and talked for a couple hours about our many similar interests. Baseball cards. Baseball. Record collections. Michael Schenker. Riot. I showed him my earlier in the day adventure.. I hope to meet up with him again on my way back. We did not eat at the music venue so I had another hamburger at the Courtyard bistro before heading to bed.
On to Day 10
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