So we took a few more pictures at the Arizona Welcome Center before departing towards Flagstaff. The temperature finally started to climb and after a few hours we were in the 70's. Going from 20ish degrees to 70 in a matter of hours is completely awesome. Once we reached Flagstaff, it was like we were going through a portal into a different world. We were traveling upward, feeling more and more like we were in a spaceship (I call Ben's Jetta, the 'spaceship'), and the canyons were so deep and vast I was getting lost just letting my eyes wander in them. It was all great and thrilling and what not--but that air pressure! Oh my God, that AIR PRESSURE! It got so bad at one point, I couldn't hear Ben talking to me, and Primus that was blasting out of the radio, sounded like a distant voice in the cactus speckled horizen somewhere. It was truly frightening. I questioned whether or not I'd ever be able to hear again. Ben yelled, 'Brittney, you'll be fine!! Just wait until you fly somewhere!" Not very reassuring, but I'd take it...and that's when I saw it--so quick I could barely tell, but I saw it--My first palm tree. Granite, I have seen palm trees, my Uncle used to have one sitting out by his pond when I was kid that would fizzle and die in about a month, but nothing compared to seeing them in their own palm-appropriate climaxed homes.
After about a half hour of pressurized agony, my ears popped, and sounds of life flooded back into them. We were on a 5 lane highway at this point, out of the mountains, and we decided to stop and get beer and leave a pee. Arizona is gorgeous. We were blessed to have great weather that weekend too so the sun was shining, it was now 78 degrees, and the first gas station we stopped at was surrounded in enourmous green palms. The gas station was another story. I went to pee and the lock was broken, and apparenly a starving artists had used poo to create artwork on the walls. Nonetheless, they had toilet paper and a pot to pee in so I did my best to not touch any surfaces, and bolted out to the beer cooler with the quickest of speed. Arizona has 30 packs of Bud Light cans...which we excitedly took two of. Illinois has 30 packs of Busch Light/Natural Ice/ & Icehouse--The "dirty thirties" of Busch Light used to excite me very much, I mean, who can beat buying 30 beers for $12.00? The Natural Ice and Icehouse however, no thanks. A few of those and you'll be eating floor pronto.
So we hopped back on the expressway once again for about another hour when low and behold, the most amazing sight we'd ever seen--the archway for the California border. We were stopped by border patrol who proceeded to ask us if we had any fruit, which we replied, 'no'. Then he mad a remark about Bud Light and told us we should be drinking Miller, to which we replied, 'gross' and carried on.
We were pumped. I think we both smiled from ear to ear for the hour drive to Indio. When we finally got there it was the best thing I've ever seen.
The concert was good, but honestly, at that point, all I could think about was crawling into the tent, into our nice warm thermal sleeping bags (and air mattress, we like to camp classy) and get a good full nights sleep. Once we got back to the campsite, I drank one more beer, Ben cooked up a steak and then we were in bed. Ben passed out in about 10 seconds, and I was just about to doze off when a group nearby, who were quietly listening too some Bob Marley, suddenly decided it would be a good idea to blast Tupac at maximum volume. The car was right next to our tent, and I swear I almost started crying. I mean seriously? You're at a hippie music festival blasting Tupac at one in the morning? So in a fit of rage, I marched out there and nicely asked them if they could turn it down, as we had just driven from Chicago and just wanted to sleep, they reluctantly agreed. I must've sounded like such a buzzkill, but I didn't care, I wasn't going stay up for the sake of a bunch of drunk frat hippies to blast Tupac and pretend to be ghetto.
The next morning we woke up and immediately lit up the grill to cook some breakfast. All we had was meat, so we ate porkchops. Ben washed it down with a Bloody Mary and I was just trying to drink as much water as possible. I've learned from my previous 3 music festivals that waking up, rolling out of your tent and cracking a beer at 8 a.m. is not such a good idea. The last time I tried that in Rothbury music fest in Michigan, I wound up drinking 6 beers in an hour and half, on an empty stomach and 1 hour of sleep and ended up puking in my tent for 6 hours. Not fun. We had left home at 1 am that morning and arrived at our destination about 4 hours later, once we got to the campsite, got the tent up and started our celebration, it was about 7 am. I missed the whole first day, and Ben came to get me around 6 p.m. with a bottle of Pepto and a beer. What can I say, we were at a music festival, and I'm a trooper. We watched one more show that night, then went back to our tent, nibbled a few blocks of cheese with some diet coke and went to bed. But anyway, that's a whole other story, back to California...
Ben and I looked at him curiously. I had to get up and walk away because of my uncontrollable laughter, not to mention his barn door was open and I was getting an unintended peep show. Finally after a minute of silence Ben finally asks, "Hey guy--Do you want a bloody mary?" As if he came out of a trance he looked up and said, "Oh man...no thanks" He 'repositioned' himself, took a few more drags, and eventually wandered off. But that wasn't the last we saw of him, he came back a little while later, wearing clothes this time, and we soon figured out that he was indeed our neighbor.
We made friends with our neighbors after a little while, I wish very much that I could remember their names, but I can't. There were two couples, the stoned man in the picture and his girlfriend, and another couple. The other guy was constantly dressed like a sailor, and had a big firey red beard, and his strange, yet intriguing girlfriend. She was weird, but I couldn't help liking her. Come to think of it, the sailor's name was Matt. I remember that because we were playing frisbee with them and I just remember I kept seeing his name MATTHEW written across it, but I can't remember anyone else. Matt and his girlfriend actually lived in the mountains of Sacramento, in a tent ironically. So this experience was nothing new for them. They were born to live as tree huggers apparently, but we liked them. We stuck by them as much as possible during our stay.
We attended the 2nd concert again that night, which again, was amazing. By this time though our feet were so sore and throbbing, all I wanted to was sit. We headed back to our campsite and turned in for the night.