In Montreal, we made friends with a French Canadian named Francois. We made plans to meet up down the road, and all through Manitoba and Saskatchewan we heard reports that he was just a week behind us, three days behind us.
Finally, in Calgary, Alberta, we met up with Francois in front of a closed-down pizza joint. He had booked a rideshare: a 1980s-era Volvo with a canoe on the top, driven by a frenchman named Pierre. Pierre and Francois are both musicians (guitar and violin, respectively) and we all went camping illicitly on an indian reservation. We spent a few great days roasting vegetables on an open fire and rescuing a kitten (cute pictures coming, I promise).
Francois and Pierre had plans to beeline to Vancouver, but they changed course and played several shows with us, unplugged and smelling of woodsmoke. They were awesome shows: the new instruments added so much to the music, and they're both very good-natured people, so there was so much more good energy on stage. (One of the things I've learned about being a musician is how important energy is: it's partly distinct from the music you're playing, it's crucial to give it to the audience, and it's crucial that they give it back to you.) These shows had the best energy of all the shows we've ever played: everyone in the room (including us) had a big smile on their face the whole time. We made those rooms into big families. I honestly can't believe that we had that effect. It was pretty magical. One girl told us "Everyone here is so cool and friendly and happy!" I'm really happy we ran into those gypsies: these last few shows have been the highlight of the trip for sure :)