TUCSON, ARIZONA (with a stop in Santa Fe)

[This is Part 2 of our September 2017 BORN TO THE STARS USA TOUR blog]

[This blog was originally posted to MarinaV.com September 2017.
Please forgive any possible re-posting glitches.
Also, very sorry we can’t move your lovely comments!
Original post can be found at: https://www.marinav.com/food-travel ]


September 13, 2017

We left the San Carlos Hotel in Phoenix at 1:30pm and drove 125 miles straight to Tucson. We stopped by our hotel to check in, to change clothes and to drop off our luggage (makes it so much easier to unload the music gear from our Prius without the suitcase and personal stuff in the way).

We pulled up to our hotel and wow. THE LODGE ON THE DESERT looked like such a gorgeous place, a true oasis!

When I booked this boutique hotel, I wasn’t aware of its rich history. Established in 1936, The Lodge On The Desert is a destination hotel, not just a place to flop. It made me wish we could magically stretch time and have a few more days here. Hollywood stars Jimmy Stewart, Ingrid Bergman and John Wayne have all stayed in this cool pueblo-style lodge while filming nearby.

Sadly, we only had 20 mins to absorb the beauty of the Lodge On The Desert before having to leave for the venue. Our load in time was 4pm. Below is the timeline from Phoenix, but it looks very similar on each stop of the tour:

It was 100F outside. It took only 10 minutes to get to the beautiful Rialto Theatre, and we quickly unloaded the gear, trying to avoid sweating before the show. Beth & her band & crew had a separate green room behind the venue, but ours was in the basement behind the stage. It was an okay room, not the cleanest but not the dirtiest green room we’d ever seen. The AC wasn’t working well down there, and it had no bathroom! The Rialto Theatre opened in 1920s, I guess the performers didn’t have to pee back then! Oh, the good ol’ days when people didn’t have to pee! 🙂

We soundchecked very quickly. Beth’s soundguy Pops and stage monitor engineer Jason had saved our settings from the night before, so our soundcheck was super easy. We are getting so spoiled on this tour! Sometimes soundcheck can be quite hellish, as usually in each venue there is a new sound engineer, new gear, new everything. Sometimes it can take over an hour. But it took 5 minutes here! Yay for Beth’s crew (and the Rialto crew too!)

We quickly set up our merch table and were done by 6pm. Nick & I were both very hungry as we only had a tiny snack earlier that day (blueberries!). Went across the street to the Hotel Congress (where we performed with Árstíðir and stayed 2 years ago), but their restaurant was full. The hostess directed us to Maynards a block away.

Normally, Nick & I walk a lot but it was so hot outside that even walking a block felt too long. We didn’t want to get all sweaty before the show. But I am so glad we went to Maynards. It was the kind of place we’d frequent if we lived nearby. All the food is carefully prepared, farm-to-table style, the wine selection was amazing, the service and atmosphere simply lovely. Nick & I split a gourmet cheeseburger (and I had a side salad) and we also split one glass of wine. It was fabulous!
While on the road, Nick & I always try to eat small portions and often split the main course. I never drink alcohol before performing as I want to be totally in charge of my faculties, but half a glass of wine with dinner 2 hours before the show is usually okay.

People sitting next to us turned out to be Beth Hart fans who saw us the night before in Phoenix. They said hello and told us how much they enjoyed the show and how much they were looking forward to the show tonight! It was a pleasant surprise.

We walked back to the Rialto Theatre by 6:45pm and had to use the public bathroom to brush our teeth and to do my makeup. We had to hurry as the doors were opening at 7pm.

It’s called “hurry up and wait” in show biz for a reason. That’s exactly what always happens. We had to wait for an hour before the show, with not much to do/nowhere to go 🙂 As always, I thought about the things I was going to say in between songs, figured out the songs we were going to perform, stretched and did my vocal warmups, and relaxed my mind and body.

The show was great. The audience was full of love (again, the opening act always hopes but never expects the audience to be into their music). They embraced me fully and cheered me on and sang along. It was beautiful.

As always, immediately after my performance, I went to the merch table to sell & sign CDs & merch. Stayed there till 11:30pm, and took turns with Nick watching Beth’s performance. And I remembered to change into my flip flops this time!! 🙂

Got to The Lodge On The Desert around midnight (this amazing pool is open 24 hours!) and went for a swim at their incredible outdoor saltwater pool. I was so happy to know there is no chlorine there. And it was so buoyant! After a day of hot weather (stage lights only adding to the heat), it was incredible. Nick & I swam and swam and swam under the stars. It was a great work out, a great way to relax after the day, a great way to cool down. It was special.

Went to bed around 1:30am.The lodge had the comfiest bathrobes!

Thursday, September 14

Got up at 8am (didn’t want to, but had to). Nick had conference calls and work, and I had a lot to catch up on, including some last minute travel arrangements for Colorado and Nebraska. I went to get breakfast (complimentary hot buffet, made from locally-sourced and mostly organic ingredients, yum!), brought it back to the room (and managed to sneak one more super quick swim.)

1:30pm – 11:30pm: THE LONG DRIVE FROM TUSCON TO ALBUQUERQUE, NM (we lost an hour due to time change)

The lovely folks at the Desert on the Lodge let us check out late (after 1pm) so Nick & I could finish all of our work.

We drive was uneventful. We usually stop every 2 hours to stretch/go to the bathroom.

We snacked on the leftover breakfast and made one stop at an Arizona winery (The Golden Rule winery). We split a wine tasting and also had some delicious pistachios the winemakers grew on their land. It was all surprisingly lovely (especially their Cabernet Franc). We bought a pound of pistachios and a bottle of Cab Franc.

The drive was beautiful but oh so tiring.Got to our hotel around midnight and just passed out.


Slept in, drove 45 mins to Santa Fe for a quick lunch (breakfast for us, technically).

Fell in love with this beautiful town! Look at this stunning church (Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, built 1886)! Spectacular.

The whole town’s architecture was really neat, here is one of the main streets:
Don’t these buildings look like they’re from Tatooine (Star Wars reference, haha)?

On a side note, Nick’s phone stopped working again. He could make calls and send a text, but no data/internet of any sort. There was no T-Mobile around. Very frustrating. Thankfully, we have an old AT&T portable hotspot we forgot to turn in as we left AT&T. Turned out to be a life saver (internet-saver). Did I mention I really wanted to bitch-slap T-Mobile (yes, the whole company)? 🙂

Listened to Bill Nye (the Science Guy) audio book on the way to Boulder, and also to the episode of Marc Maron’s podcast (interview with Alice Cooper). Learned a lot and were entertained by both!


After a long day of driving, we finally arrived to Boulder.

To be continued 🙂

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