MY TOUR SCRAP-BOOK

From sunrise 'til after midnight, Dierks Bentley gives Country Weekly an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a day on the road with George Strait.

Dierks Bentley may know a lot about the little white tank tops and peppered tailgates he sings about in his No. 1 debut single, "What Was I Thinkin'," but until his first tour with George Strait last year, he didn't know much more than any other country fan about the icon known as "King George." But he does now.

Five shows into his second tour with George, with Amber Dotson as the opening act this time-Dierks invited me to tag along during a tour stop in Knoxville where he played Country Weekly reporter for a day. I asked a few questions to get the ball rolling, but in his own words and with his own photos, Dierks gave me-and now you-an exclusive inside look at what it's like to spend a day on the road with one of his musical heroes.

Here's his report, and I think he did a perfect job-definitely good enough for me to worry about him replacing me on staff if he ever quits his "day job"! But on a personal note to Dierks, Tour/Production Manager Kai Griffin and the guys in the band, thanks for making me feel like part of the team.

- David Scarlett

FRIDAY, JAN. 21-7 A.M.
This morning I got up early for a visit with Andy & Alison (below) at the WIVK radio station in Knoxville. When my dog, Jake, is on the road with us, he shares my bunk. And on chilly mornings like this, he's probably glad that I'm the one heading out to do the interview!

I try to squeeze in a morning workout whenever I can, but since I didn't get much sleep during the trip from Richmond last night, I got back on the bus and took a nap after the visit to the station.

My problem is I like to stay up with the guys who stay up late, singin' and playin' guitar 'til 2:30 in the morning. Or breaking out the Xbox and playing games or watching a movie. But then I also like to get up early with the guys who get up and drink coffee and read the paper. I especially love early morning on the bus when no one else is up and you're up front with the driver- coffee, newspaper, open road, real quiet-that's the best time.

But my favorite place in the world is my bunk. You get me in my bunk and close the curtain-ah, I love it. I feel like a little kid, hiding from the world. No one can find me in here!

To read more about Dierks Bentley's time on the road with George Strait, pick up the new Country Weekly hitting newsstands on the sale date of February 14!

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