“You got a gypsy soul to blame and you were born for leavin’.”
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve kind of fallen off the internet grid – but for good reason. For a week, my friend Julie and I left “life as we know it” in our comfortable San Diego homes and traded it for life on the road to a festival three states away, where we camped in unknown territory. After returning from a road trip for the books, I spent a week back in the office playing catch up before I hopped aboard a flight with Derek to celebrate America’s birthday in the most American place on Earth: the great state of Texas. Now that I’ve spent a couple of weeks recuperating and absorbing all of the sights I saw and all of the feelings these trips have elicited, it’s time I recap where I’ve been.
First stop, Country Jam Colorado.
I caught wind of Country Jam Colorado around October of last year as I was buying my Stagecoach passes and debating whether or not to invest in Route 91 Harvest Fest (hopefully this year!). At the time, a limited lineup had been released but one of the headliners caught my eye: Keith freaking Urban. Ever since 10-year-old me heard a little tune by the name of “Somebody Like You”, I’ve loved Keith Urban but never had the chance to see him live. Until now. With artists like Tim Mcgraw, Billy Currington (also LOVE), Toby Keith, Colt Ford, Frankie Ballard and Parmalee also in the midst, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
June rolled around and we packed our bags for the 12+ hour drive. We had no idea what we were in for – partly because it was three in the morning, but partly because we had never ventured on the open road past Vegas. As we crossed the Colorado state line, Siri kindly directed us to Exit 11 for Mack, Colorado down a narrow dirt road. Are we in the right place? Indeed, we were. Off yonder sandwiched between the highway and a working railroad track, we found ourselves facing a slew of RV’s and campers. It took a few minutes to absorb as it literally looked like an abandoned field that people have decided to gather at after putting up some tents and stages. Let me tell you – we certainly weren’t in San Diego anymore.
The next few days that followed were like something out of the “The Simple Life”. (Yes, that early 2000’s reality show where Paris and Nicole struggled to do normal everyday things.) Only, we weren’t heiresses (though that would be nice). We were two small-town girls who had grown up just outside of the sticks, or so we thought. After a stalled truck crisis (where we legitimately thought we were going to be stranded in Colorado forever), being attacked by prairie dogs in the middle of the night (which at first we thought was just drunk people) and “roughing it” for five days, we’d never been so happy to see indoor plumbing, even if it was in a sketchy Las Vegas inn.
The trip wasn’t all bad, however. In fact, looking back, it was kind of great. We saw this awesome lineup, met some really cool people and got some great stories out of it. We also learned a few tips and tricks should we make it back to Country Jam next year.
The week back from Country Jam felt like something out of the Twilight Zone. Whenever I get back from a long trip or a long weekend and re-settle into my routine, I feel like I’m in an alternate universe. But before the feelings had time to settle, I was off to my next destination: Houston.
Rules were out the window on this early Wednesday morning as Derek and I got our grub on at Stone Brewing in the San Diego terminal. Bloody Mary? Yes please. I mentally prepared myself for the heat and humidity ahead of me with reminders of the scorching 100+ degree dry heat I had just withstood the week before. When we took the first steps out of George Bush International, my worries were lifted and I found that 80 degrees with humidity was much more bearable than desert life. “I could dig this,” I thought. At least until we were hit by a surprise monsoon while in HEB. Then I suddenly remembered why California may be my forever home.
As you can guess, we filled our All-American weekend doing All-American things. Time was spent on the gun range, shooting a pistol that was way too big for my hands. A ridiculous amount of American flag wear was donned out of patriotism. We lit up the 4th of July night sky with some crazy fireworks courtesy of Texas’s fireworks warehouse. I picked the biggest one of course, because when in Texas.
And the highlight of the weekend: we saw the man, the legend – Garth Brooks. Garth’s concert was nothing short of amazing. Every song he sang instilled some serious feels in me and the rest of the packed arena. Trisha Yearwood came out looking as beautiful as ever and poured her heart into some tunes, instantly reminding me why I loved her version of “How Do I Live” way more than Leann Rimes’s.
The weekend was wrapped up with one last trip to Cracker Barrel, which, if you’ve never been you’re seriously missing out. (P.S. Cracker Barrel, if you see this, please open a restaurant in California.) Soon, it was back to good ole still-not-sunny San Diego.
So after spending the last month jumping from one weather extreme to the other, listening to some killer live music and eating way too much BBQ and drinking way too much sweet tea, I’m finally settled back into San Diego. As for the next trip? All I can say is it won’t be as far – but that isn’t to say it won’t be as adventurous.