T ride prologue: Bad Craziness on the Continental Divide, Bunderfleisch, Yopo and a Nation in existential crisis
We were somewhere around Ouray when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying “I feel a little light headed, maybe its your turn to drive” when suddenly the car was surrounded with howling bacon wrapped banshees that resembled Catie Couric, shrieking “festivate! festivate!”.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves now aren’t we? Time for some expository background.
In their infinite wisdom, No Depression, what ever that is, delegated this grizzled journalist the onerous task of covering four days of hippie women, alcohol, wires, wood and rosin in the high Rockies. Little did I suspect that before the festival even started, I would be fighting for my very life in strange country with stranger compatriots.
Grant Alden may be a fine magazine editor but he certainly needed some schooling when it came to proper coverage of a major music event. My strident requirements for equipment and expense coverage were met with a dismissive “Your’e just a blogger dammit, don’t waste my time with these bullshit requests!” Grant, buddy, timeout. A 69 Chevelle (with a 454 V8) convertible is not only crucial to getting to the meat of the matter, it is essential in ways you Seattle Latte slurpers can only wonder about. Park the Smart car and let the big boys drive for this assignment. Do you think for one minute that Edward R. Murrow’s boss kept him driving a KIA?
Eventually after several spirited phone exchanges we managed to locate a specialty car rental joint that had the required Detroit steed. It was gassed and anxiously awaiting my right heel soon after I arrived in Denver’s modern, massive, and semifunctional airport.
During the flight, my dope radar detected a fellow adept and likely mule a few rows away. He was dressed in classic hesher gear: Cargo shorts, Tevas so worn they qualified for TARP funding, and a tour shirt from a jam band better left unnamed. I am nothing but discrete so I hollered across to him, “Hey Rube! what sorts of brain rattling drugs are you holding?”. We hit it off before the plane landed and he introduced me to his consort; a dready trustafarian gal named after a tune on Aoxomoxoa that has since slipped my mind. Since they looked both stoned and rich, I generously offered to give them a to hell we ride. “Rawd, we got some purpage!” was the slurred but expected reposte.
At baggage claim, when my five pieces of oversize aluminum Halliburton (thanks Dick) luggage were finally disgorged, we picked up the red shark and were ready to go. But Dustin, Tustin, or whatever his name is spied a strange small dark haired man in a white smock whose bleary gaze seemed to dissect, analyze and instantly parse anyone it touched.
“Wwwait!, That guy is going with us” he said , “I can feel it” or as the youth of today would say “icnflit”
So we ended up with Don Mario, some sort of Amazonian curandero and his mysterious bundles tied with leather thongs, sitting in the back seat, staring holes in the back of my head. I fitted another cheroot in the cigarette holder and we were off. To the local “Likker Mart”, strip joint, and trusted local purveyers of entheogens long ignored by all but the most devoted travellers.
Dan Mario was a little unclear as to how a lap dance worked but like any wise noble savant, he caught on quick. And in no time was throwing brightly colored, high denomination (and out of circulation thus worthless) Peruvian banknotes at stripper Jasmine (aren’t all strippers named Jasmine?) who cooed quite convincingly “Oooh! I’ve never ground on a real shaman’s lap before!”
Ten bottles of Chimay Blue label were loaded into the cooler along with some kombucha and bagged trail mix for the kiddies and we were off. The sun was beginning to spoon with the front range when we floored it on the treacherous highway towards our goal.
Traveling with passengers has never been my forte. Especially ones who wince at unexpected lane changes, passing on blind downhill curves, and high volume encounters with Motorhead’s classic bluegrass ditty Ace of Spades.
So I was miffed when Dready Gal asked to stop at the local Sam Goody. She explained it was very important that she peruse the selection and scoop up every Justin Bieber product in any physical format on offer. I shrugged which only enraged her more. “NO, you don’t understand! Justin Bieber is dangerous to the youth of America, he represents to vacous vaccuum (her prose not mine) that threatens to disembowel the souls of our young people, and I’m going to do my small part to keep this icky crap away from them” Before long, dozens of copies of “My World” were stacked on the back seat. Justin’s poutine stuffed mug cast a dark spell over the car. I understood Dready Gal’s concern only too well. Justin must be stopped!
Even Don Mario comprende’d, despite the language barrier, and seemed to be weighing the options. He busied himself preparing something out of his grimy satchel.