Karen Kay’s Rough-And-Tumble Book Tour, 1998


Did you know that camping and glamour don’t necessarily go together?
 Yes, you might say, of course. Who wouldn’t know that?Well, apparently I didn’t.

Sadly, it’s true. Upon deciding to do a booksigning tour to promote the release of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, my husband suggested that we take the motor home out on the road as a sort of promotional tour vehicle.  

 Our Motor Home, parked on the Blackfeet “rez”


Because I wanted to combine the tour with a research trip to the BLACKFEET Reservation in Montana, the motor home seemed the perfect choice. And so, off we went, my husband and I, after a terrific round of cleaning the motor home and getting it ready for the 3,000 mile jaunt into northern California, Oregon, Washington state, Idaho and Montana.
It seemed to go well at first. We made it to each booksigning with what seemed to be little hitches. Ah, I thought. Cinch.


 Booksigning in Wal Mart Clovis

 At Wal Mart signing San Jose


And then reality struck.
We got the first notion that we might not know all there is to know about this motor home thing when we discovered that the pilot light had gone out on the home’s refrigerator, spoiling all of our food. Well, I thought, who would know there was supposed to be a pilot light? Would you?


With Hubby

With Friend, Nancy
San Jose


Then, came the hard part. Where, for goodness sake, does one park this contraption at night? We learned that not only did motor home parks cost almost as much as a motel room, they were also few and far between on the stretch we were traveling. And so we discovered the wonderful world of truck stops… which have such unique and interesting things as… showers.
I did mention that I discovered that camping and glamour don’t go together, didn’t I?


At Wal Mart in Yuba City, CA

At Wal Mart In Redding, CA


We kept traveling north, and of course, because the tour coincided with the tail end of El Nino, we hit the sort of weather which is best experienced from the warmth and comfort of a heated, dry house. (I never thought it was going to stop raining.) And then there was the night when we had to park beneath the blooms of a willow tree– to which I am extremely allergic. Need I tell you how my eyes looked the next day?
I didn’t fail to enlighten you about my original discovery with this glamour and camping thing, did I?


At Waldenbooks, Sacramento, CA

 At Wal Mart, Verdale, WA


At McMinnville, OR
Wal Mart

At Laurie’s Paperback Etc.
Oregon City, OR


As it got colder, the farther we went north, we realized we needed the heater going throughout the night. However, much to our chagrin, we discovered the the warmth of the heater went out in the middle of the night, every single night, leaving us with nothing but freezing air and cold temperatures to greet us in the morning. 
Well, you can imagine we immediately figured out what the problem was, right? Since we didn’t want to freeze?WRONG.
We didn’t learn until the last few days of the tour and of course, after we were out of the cold weather, that one has to plug the home into a power source with each and every stop, so that the battery keeps charged enough to keep the heater running through the night.
So much for all the study we did of the motor home before the trip.


At B. Dalton, Billings, MT

At B. Dalton, Yakima, WA


But at last, once we had traveled to mid-state Washington, we were treated to good weather which stayed with us all the way home to sunny LA, where we again experienced rain. 
Loved the town of Wallace, Idaho, by the way, where my husband and I went silver mining and spent our anniversary.


 Husband, relaxing in Motor Home


And then we were off to Montana and the Indian reservations of the FLATHEAD, the BLACKFEET, the CROW, and the Northern CHEYENNE. We visited the tribal headquarters of the reservations, where we were treated with respect and great cordiality. On the Blackfeet reservation, we were given a tour of the college which sits directly on the reservation in Browning, MT.   

A beautiful spot in mid-state, WA   

On the Flathead “rez” in MT


Also, we visited the battlefield of Little Bighorn (which brought on great sadness), and visited the college on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. 
 On the Blackfeet “rez”


And then it was time to come home. Consulting with our fearless driver, we immediately decided to take the quickest route home.


Our Fearless Driver

On the Blackfeet “rez”


Once home, though, the booksignings continued on the home front every weekend, traveling to far off towns of LA like Victorville and Barstow.


With Authors Diane Pershing and Donna Davidson 
At a library lecture


But, as with all things, it was time to begin something new, and not being quite tired enough from our excursion, we decided to bring the trip to an end and, in the company of my daughter and new son-in-law, we embarked on a “relaxing” tour of Disneyland… 
 Son-in-law Patrick and daughter, Alyssa


And so ends a book tour for yet another year. It was an exciting trip, on filled with the pleasure of meeting old friends, making new ones and coming face to face with fans, whose correspondence I have enjoyed for years.  
 At Birthday party with daughter, Trina
But beware. It’s entirely possible that we could decide to visit your town sometime soon, where we might sign a few books and sit and visit with you. Stay tuned.
Karen Kay