We’re gradually trading cornfields and farmland for drier and rockier landscapes every day, and I’m getting increasingly more stoked with every sign that I’m closer to Los Angeles. It’s only a matter of time before I have animal fries and a double double in my hands at this point.

I skipped the last two Canada dates of the tour because I didn’t want to deal with any hassle at the border over my not having a passport, and really, I just needed a few days off. So my co-merchie and I ditched out on the Bleed the Dream guys for three days, got in some quality time shopping in trendy boutiques, eating at restaurants that don’t have drive-thru windows and sleeping in real beds. It was a sort of vacation away from our summer-long vacation, and as far as we were concerned, it was well-earned.

I’m still on the Bleed the Dream RV, but I’ve been spending a good amount of time with the As I Lay Dying dudes this week. Bands in their genre often get reputations for being really intense, either in partying or taking the moral high road, but outside of their usual face-melting stage show, these guys are just … normal. And nice. And singer Tim Lambesis has an amazing wife.

The extent of their craziness was us drinking red wine bought at a Wal-Mart out of plastic cups. Uncultured, maybe. But overindulgent? Nah. Oh yeah, go buy their brand new album, too. It will be money well spent.

The last two days off saw us doing habitat restoration in Monterey, throwing hay, picking seeds, cutting weeds, you know, a typical leisurely day for a bunch of punk rock kids. I had envisioned us spending the day cuddling baby seals, but I guess there’s more to saving the environment than that. I guess.

The realization that we only have a few shows left is hitting me a lot harder than expected as well. Suddenly those epic disagreements and rivalries seem so much more petty and insignificant.

My boss from my pre-tour day job called to see if and when I would be ready to start up again, and the prospect of going back to a regular job felt scarier than boarding that plane to Utah seven weeks ago ever did. I’ve grown so accustomed to living this life of sweating and partying and chaos and bro-ing out and amazingness, everything else feels so mundane by comparison.

It’s so cliché, but it’s funny all the same how I was so ready to throw in the towel three weeks ago and now that I’ll actually be back home, I don’t want the tour to ever end.