TIOGA Tour Day 12

12/23/16 Day 12: Brooklyn, NY

  • Last day of tour 
  • Meg, Derrick and I drove into the city early so we can stop by Madonia's to see my dad and grandpa, and to give them a little insight on my life
  • Traffic was horrible since Arthur Avenue is a madhouse during the holidays
  • After we spent some time at the bakery, we headed to Williamsburg to do some exploring while we waited for the rest of the guys
  • Meg was our tour guide since she spent the summer in Williamsburg
  • We browsed a few shops, went by the water and saw some cool murals. Derrick found dinosaurs- all you need to know 
  • Meg brought us to a taco place she really enjoyed called Oaxaca Taqueria. Really good and they played The Killers not once, but three times- Very good sign 
  • Meg then brought us to a coffee shop called Pudge Knuckles. We got a frozen hot chocolate with espresso and Derrick got his chai fill 
  • We talked about a bunch of things while we waited for Austin, Greg and Steve and when they arrived we relaxed for a bit and eventually eavesdropped on a woman giving a tour of the area 
  • Went by water again and headed to Main Drag Music so Steve could get a new cymbal. Checked out a few drum machines and browsed for about a half hour 
  • We made our way to my car and squeezed in to get to Gold Sounds for load in 
  • While we were there we played pool, the guys played, and we squeezed into a photobooth 
  • Steve lost his phoneu8i between the stage and the wall so it was all hands on deck to figure out how to retrieve it 
  • Quotes of the day
    • "If we were playing at 12am, we could say 'Hey guys it's not Merry Christmas Eve, it's Merry Christmas Steve'"- Steve 
    • "If we every start a jelly company we should call it 'Pearls Jam'" - Greg or Derrick 

The past two weeks were something extremely special. I gained four close friends, and met amazing people along the way. I did more traveling in two weeks than I have in my life with people I love, doing what we all love. We (well Austin) drove over a thousand miles (que Vanessa Carlton). There were slight bumps and some interesting people, but now we just have stories to tell (and I'll just butcher trying to share them). 

I've learned so much about these lovely humans in front of my lens (cheesy I know), and I cried about the Jonas Brothers more than once- not surprising. There were a lot of jokes- good and bad, and I've gained some riddles out of my name thanks to Greg... and his dad? 

I couldn't have asked for a better first experience and I wouldn't have wanted to share it with anyone else. Thank you to Tara, Molly, Michelle, Eryn and Austin's parents for giving us a place to stay and taking care of us. 

2000+ pictures and 1000+ miles later, it's done and I can't wait to do it again. 

Listen to these talented humans: https://tiogatheband.bandcamp.com/ and pay attention to who kept us going: http://www.meglavmgmt.com/

Love. Love. Love. 

What do you call Ashley while she's taking pictures? Ashley Cameraman - Me

TIOGA Tour Day 11

12/22/16 Day 11: New Brunswick, NJ

  • Meg and I made our way to NJ around 3pm 
  • We cried over the Jonas Brothers and listened to the 3D Concert Experience 3 times in a row because of traffic 
  • Met up with everyone 
  • Rachel, Lexi, and Christian came to visit me 
  • We all basically just enjoyed the sick lineup The Bunker was hosting and hoarded the comfortable bean bag that was there all night 
  • Derrick, Meg and I snuck out to my car to eat a cookie cake Meg's mom gave us. It was covered in icing and we didn't have a knife, so Derrick used a CD to cut and serve it
  • Steve started calling me AshLIE because he couldn't sit on the bean bag
  • The show ran really late, so we didn't get to Austin's house until after 1am
  • Austin's parents made us soup- amazing
  • We sat at the table exhausted, but laughing at nonsense I cant even remember
  • Greg joke of the day:
    • "If I started a Brand New cover band in my 40s, you know what I would call it? Day Job Entendu 

TIOGA Tour Day 9 & 10

12/20/16 Day 9: Silver Springs, Maryland --> Washington D.C./ Alexandria, VA

  • Molly and her mom made us breakfast with pancakes and bacon- amazing
  • Made our way to Michelle's- she had help from her mom and best friend to make us cookies 
  • Derrick got a wonderful job offer- v proud 
  • We all cramped into the car to head to D.C.
  • While we were looking for food, Derrick and I got distracted by a glass elevator because we wanted to be in Willy Wonka 
  • Elevator was cool, but it went down one floor into a hotel so we aborted real quick
  • Ended up eating in Fuddruckers. Got a banging burger, and split an Oreo shake with Michelle. Also shared it with Rick and Greg- I think Greg was more excited than I was 
  • Wanted to simply used the bathroom and the door clearly said "Broken Use At Own Risk". I thought it just meant that it wouldn't lock. Nope, it meant I was going to get locked in the bathroom without even getting to release my bladder
  • Went into a very interesting candy store 
  • Wanted to see the archives, modern art, dinosaurs, and space but there was only 25 minutes left of them being open 
  • Meg, Greg, and I walked around modern art for a bit while Rick, Michelle, and Austin went to Air & Space 
  • The one time Greg asks me for a picture, I am incompetent and it's blurry- but there's something about it I like (sorry Greg we'll try again)
  • I was able to see a Jasper John's and a few O'Keefe's
  • When everything closed we walked to the Capitol building. The reflecting pool was partially frozen; Austin touched it. 
  • There was a mother and daughter that wanted a picture so everyone acted like a photo crew with their phone flashlights 
  • Walked to the tree in front of the Capitol building since everything else was closed off 
  • Austin really loves trains so we went to Union Station and saw more trees
  • They also had an FYE that was closing, so I walked into the portal of my past and ended up getting Donnie Darko for five bucks 
  • Walked back to the car to head to Hard Times Cafe which was back in Virginia 
  • When Meg called earlier they gave some misinformation about sign up time, but fortunately the host (who reminded me of Wallace Shawn) helped the guys get on really early in the night 
  • This place seemed to revolve around chili so I was looking for an ~off the hook~ night as the youngins say- I was disappointed 
  • Greg, Rick and I were really stoked to get a chili sampler and split two things of chili. We never got the sampler and weren't really impressed with the chili we did get. Meg didn't even get her order and Austin's was brought to the wrong table. It was kind of busy, but the service was very poor and it seemed we were the only table not being checked on. So it kind of put a downer on the chili throne and I should have kept to my roots of homemade chili only
  • Cincinnati chili is not chili, it is pasta
  • Greg and Rick lightened the mood on our ride back to Michelle with some knee slappin' jokes
  • Rick, Austin and I talked about music
  • Quotes of the day
    • Derrick:
      •  There was a cherry in the whipped cream of the shake. Greg ate it before Rick could grab it, I offered the whipped cream it touched and Rick goes, "That's like saying: 'Do you want to lick the floor, Miley Cyrus walked on it'"
      • In Hard Times Cafe dying of dehydration: "Hey can I get a couple of waters? I'm fragile and independent"
      • "What would Ashley's name be if she worked in a hotel? Ashley Bellman"
    • Greg:
      • "What would Ashley's name be if she only took pictures of mayonnaise? Ashley Hellman"
      • "What would Ashley's name be if she only took pictures of things between a solid and liquid substance? Ashley Jellman"
      • When I couldn't see out the window: "Wow if only someone with a camera could see this right now..."

12/21/16 Day 10: MD --> Philly

  • Nothing really for today. It was mostly just heading back to Philly for the day
  • Ate fries from Nathans aka the superior fry
  • The guys went and rehearsed with Steve, who will be their drummer for NJ and NY, while Meg and I went home
  • My house is empty and quiet. I miss everyone already, but I'm also closer to seeing my cat 

TIOGA Tour Day 8

12/19/16 Day 8: Richmond + Midlothian, VA

  • Bless Eryn again for letting us stay at her place on such short notice 
  • Went to pick Molly up from the train and she recommended we went for food at Sushi King 
  • Sushi King = All you can eat sushi and hibachi for 12 dollars 
  • I repeat ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI AND HIBACHI FOR 12 DOLLARS, plus we had a great waiter
  • We then ventured off to Molly's house. Met her doggos, naps were taken, work was done 
  • Molly wanted to show us the reservoir; we drove down to that and it was beautiful. I didn't really grow up around woods or lakes, so being surrounded by that at sunset was amazing. Derrick and Greg were trying to teach me how to skip rocks but then we were distracted by the migration of birds
  • Facetimed my dad so he could see the sunset and he wanted me to play Lamb of God
  • Derrick chased a bunch of birds off of a dock 
  • Molly's mom made us banging mac and cheese and then we headed to the open mic at Emilio's; had a jam band vibe. It was extremely cold and my body was ready to go to sleep 
  • Went down to monument park just for the lighting 
  • Overall, we all liked Virginia. It's been a long past couple of days 
  • Quotes of the day: 
    • "You have soft hands... it's the sign of a weak worker" - Derrick to Austin
    • "If you ever get into marine photography, you should change your name to 'Ashley Gillman'" - Greg to me 

TIOGA Tour Day 7

12/18/16 Day Seven: Huntington, West Virginia --> Richmond, Virginia

  • Woke up around 9:30. Meg and Austin made a waffle and prepared some cereal for me. Bless them 
  • Unfortunately couldn't see Madeline since they are extremely sick, so we had to reroute our plans
  • Lexi and Mel helped out. Mel's friend Eryn was kind enough to let us stay with her last minute 
  • We were going to go to Dinosaur Kingdom II (dinosaur statues reenacting the Civil War) on our way to Richmond, but turns out it was closed for the season 
  • Stopped at a Virginia rest stop with very lovely employees, they recommended us some other places to stop and where to eat in Lexington
  • Lexington was a insanely pretty town. The restaurant that was recommended to us was closed for their holiday party, but we went into a local kitchen appliance store and they told us to go to Macado's as an alternative 
  • Had 39 cent wings and a sandwich called the Titanic. Amazing, plus our server Annie was the sweetest 
  • Made our way to Eryn's. She has cats, it is great 
  • Hoping we have time to see some of RIchmond

TIOGA Tour Day 6

12/17/16 Day 6: Columbus, Ohio --> Huntington, West Virginia

  • Woke up at 7:15am to make our way to Huntington, WV
  • It was pretty icy so there were a few cars on the side of the road 
  • Stopped at Burger King 
  • Got to the hotel around 11/12, we were able to check in early and Rick just kept chanting "hotel party" 
  • Showered, took naps, you know.. the necessities 
  • Ventured out of the hotel around 4pm so we can catch a 5pm viewing of Rogue One. 
  • Walked around a small village type of situation where there were a good amount of Christmas decorations, a lot of train statues, and Buffalos
  • Grabbed some soup at Marshall's Cafe 
  • Rogue One was pretty nifty if I do say so myself. We decided to make some pasta so we went to Kroger and bought the goods 
  • Made the worst salad of my life. I have disappointed my brand and my whole entire life
  • Greg made a banging sausage and peppers pasta, and Meg picked out a solid garlic bread 
  • Load in at The Ale House was at flipping 10pm, so if you haven't noticed it was already a long day 
  • The guys didn't go on until 1am. 
    • Greg: "1am. Check check"
    • Tried making a Zune reference, and no one was down for it 
  • Didn't go to sleep until 3:30am 
  • I probably missed some things, but at this point we're livin' it up
  • Quotes of the day:
    • "They can't deny us salt. That's like an amendment right?" - Derrick 
    • "She's a cool girl" - Meg on what she wants her candid headshot to represent 
    • "I know you have to vote for Pedro" - Meg giving her synopsis on Napoleon Dynamite

TIOGA Tour Day 5

12/16/16 Day 5: Columbus, OH

  • We all had a pretty rough morning 
  • Had Waffle House for the first time. Our waitress didn't seem to be having a great morning, but she probably was ending a really long shift so I understood 
  • There was a donut shop next door called The Little Donut Shop, we all split a dozen donuts 
  • Went back to Tara's and just hung out. Meg and I watched Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg's potluck show and then we got sucked in to watching a really bad Ashton Kutcher movie called Killers. It kind of just felt like a parody film the whole time. Then we got sucked into John Tucker Must Die
  • Went to BiBiBop again for dinner 
  • The guys were practicing a new song they wrote and as we were expecting to hear it they all start playing flippin' Coldplay 
  • It was a slow day, but still very tired. We're all watching This Is Spinal Tap. Have to be out of Tara's by 7:45am to start heading to West Virginia. 
  • Might see Rogue One, but we're getting out of Ohio 
  • Quotes of the day: 
    • "I drive a box. Look at my hat" - Meg on someone pulling out in one of those rectangle Hondas
    • "I feel like I rubbed myself on every part of this carpet" - Derrick while lying down on Tara's carpet

TIOGA Tour Day 4

12/15/16 Day 4: Columbus, OH

  • We had a pretty relaxed day in Columbus. Nothing was really on the agenda after our time in Cleveland the day before
  • Greg expressed how he did not like Linkin Park... whatever.
  • Went to a Make-Your-Own styled Asian grill called BiBiBop- Amazing. It was relatively cheap and you got a lot for what you paid for. Turns out it's only an Ohio thing, so we might be making the pit stop before leaving 
  • Meg and I wanted to go somewhere to get work done and potentially explore. We made a long stop at Urban Outfitters, which let me tell you, is so much better than Philly's. UO sales in Ohio are poppin'
  • Then got harassed on our .2 second trip to Starbucks around the corner
  • Started redesigning some things on my website, making my AOTY list, and starting my favorite photos of the year
  •  (Clearly didn't explore because it was like 7 degrees out)
  • Made our way to open mic at King Ave 5. Ate some spinach & artichoke dip and fried pickle chips 
  • The guys went out and Meg and I stayed in. We were going to watch This Is Spinal Tap, but instead I explained my whole timeline of the Jonas Brothers and got very emotional 
  • Some honorary quotes from Meg: 
    • "I'm a strong independent woman who knows I need to serve these men"
    • Referring to her napkin she used while eating toast as a "Biscuit tissue" 
  • I think today is another relaxed day for us. No show tonight. Might be experiencing my first Waffle House 


TIOGA Tour Day 3

12/14/16 Day 3: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland

  • Woke up at 8:30am to start our trek to Cleveland 
  • Picked up our credentials to prove we were a touring band to tour Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for free
  • Greg succeeded cutting a tag off of his scarf with a tape dispenser 
  • I walked among the achievements of musical icons and staples of fashion in music. I also cried in the whole AP section where I saw the first All Time Low cover and they played Brand New on the overhead 
  • Disappointed that there weren't any Jonas Brothers staples 
  • A friend from school recommended the Winking Lizard to us for our food choice of the day. Had this banging burger with garlic bread as buns. They also played a very interesting soundtrack with Issues, Silverstein, All-American Rejects, and Saves The Day. 
  • Greg sang about Cleveland tourism 
  • Some guy pushed through everyone because he didn't want them to have a stranger in his picture 
  • Froze by the waterfront down the road from the museum and Greg tried to avoid all of the geese poop. 
  • Started our journey back to Columbus to make it to the open mic at an Irish pub 
  • Had mediocre Tim Hortons, but the employee was very nice and gave me a free donut 
  • Open mic was a success (shout out to Carol) 
  • Greg: "Now if we don't get robbed in the parking lot, this will be way better than last night". Get to the car and Derrick lost his keys which Greg found underneath the car mat 20 minutes later

TIOGA Tour Day 2

12/13/16 Day 2: Columbus, Ohio

  • Woke up at 9am to snow starting to fall
  • Decided we wanted to go to Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so we figured out some deals
  • Derrick and Greg arrived closer to 1pm, and they tried mentioning "Ohio Is For Lovers" but I beat them to it
  • Austin and I admired NatGeos top photos of the year
  • As Meghan and I were doubling up on Words With Friends and 8-Ball we tried finding food while everyone rehearsed
  • Around 3pm we headed out in the snow on the search for food and a CVS
  • Had a small snowball fight in the parking lot
  • Greg really wanted Canes and kept saying it was around the corner with a short walk- turns out he had driving directions on the whole time. We walked about a half hour for Ohio chain restaurant chicken tenders, coleslaw, fries, toast, and sweet tea 
  • Derrick tied the heck out of my shoes for me- bless his soul
  • Saw a McDonalds sign that just said "Hamburgers" and that was interesting
  • Walked around OSU's book store which is basically half the size of Creese, and they have some legit sponsorships lemme tell ya 
  • Tara drove us back to her place so Greg didn't have to take us on another OSU tour. The guys practiced and Meg and I did some work
  • Got to the gig at House With No Name. Very cool tags on the walls, very interesting 
  • Exchanged goals with Derrick
  • The Comos opened up- talented young kids; TIOGA killed it and people were amazed at Austin's muti-tasking; Ben and Jordan of Personal Public performed an improvised set under the name Secondhand Saints- mind-blowing
  • Someone stole the money out of the donation jar so the owner bought merch as a trade 
  • Long, snowy, icy day. Three band gig didn't end until 11:30pm. Cleveland adventures await