Whiskey Daredevils Tour Diary

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The Whiskey Daredevils just returned from a road trip in Europe. Frontman Greg Miller fills us in on what happened.

Day 14: Vitoria, Spain

Ken and I taxi over to the other hotel and immediately see the van hasn’t moved. Two glorious downtown “temporary” Barcelona parking spaces are filled by our giant van, and have been for well over a day. I can’t imagine how pissed the hotel must be at us. Gary has become increasingly sick, some kind of cold/flu symptoms he’s had for about 65% of the time I have known him. Never a “roll with the punches” guy, this setback has left him feeble and essentially useless. He doesn’t go into a brief explanation of his health, but rather offers grand gestures of sullenly laying silently in the back seat of the van with an occasional huff and puff when he rolls into a new position. For two hours driving out of Barcelona, he does not speak one syllable.

We drive across Northern Spain and the arid tundra landscape. There is nothing out here. Nothing. We’re driving across New Mexico. Suddenly, we get some action. We get pulled over by cops that had followed us for 20 minutes. This isn’t like the United States where you need probable cause to pull someone over. The cops can flag you down, ask you a bunch of questions, and search your car for no other reason than they feel like it.

These cops feel like it.

Only one of the two of them speaks English. The other one glares at us from a safe distance, and is ready with his revolver. We get through the “Where are you going?” and “What do you have in the back of the van?” questions. They then announce we owe them money because the people in the back weren’t wearing seatbelts. The good news is that if we agree to pay them now on the side of the road out here in the middle of nowhere, we can go on our way. It turns out that they want us to pay 150 euros for the seatbelt violation. 150 euros each… That’s right, we owe them 450 euros because they say so. (That’s about 700 fucking dollars.) The even worse news is that all of our cash from the entire tour is in a floor safe in the van, and if we let those motherfuckers see that, they’ll take all of it. It’s like a movie, and one I do not particularly want to be starring in right now. No matter what, we cannot let those guys know about the floor safe. I think the technical term for our situation would be “completely fucking fucked”.

I try to reason with them that we had no idea that this was a law, as it is not consistent with the law in the rest of the European Union. “You should have known.” Well, how could we know? There is no sign. “Does every law in the United States have to be posted on a sign?” No, but an officer of the law would give you a warning and send you on your way when he realized you were not aware of it. (He shrugs his shoulders.) Well, we don’t have any money. “Then you will have to go to our station house.” How about if we pay by a credit card?

And that is how we wound up paying $700 on Ken’s MasterCard in a Spanish cop minivan for getting pulled over and shaken down for cash in the Spanish desert. With our thin margins, this is a crushing economic blow. Nobody is happy about it. The cops are pissed as they expected to pocket our cash. We’re pissed as we just got $700 charged on a credit card. After a lengthy hassle we go back on our way, now buckled up everywhere in the van. Fuckers. I hope they die in that desert in their shitty Euro mini van cop wagon.

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