We left San Diego in the morning and headed back to the majestic desert of Arizona, only this time it wasn’t for a show. We decided to drive and spend our day off in the high altitude and clean air of Flagstaff. Dustin lived there in a previous life and knew of some good spots that we could visit, maybe refresh our souls a little bit.
     We arrived after dark and the cold was instantaneous when we opened the van doors. But the air smelled amazing and the stiffness in my joints that was so omnipresent along the coast was surprisingly absent. We piled into the motel and got into the usual routine. Dean made an outrageous chili and egg noodle dish that would definitely get a blue ribbon if it were entered into a white trash food competition. Normally my hunger is tapered but that night I ate more than my fair share. Sublimity from food, friends. We drank some white wine and cheap beers, watched Louie and tried to pass out. It was late but I wasn’t quite in a sleep space yet. Now I rarely approach the edge of madness and suicide but not being able to sleep because of snoring is one instance that I would choose death over the psychosis of insomnia. Snoring sounds like choking. It sounds like death, only louder. Death seems cunning and ninja-like. Snoring is the rock music of death and Badgerfield was rocking hard. A couple times we elbowed him to lay on his side but after he would unconsciously rotate back and let it rip. I thought about going to the Denny’s or I thought maybe I could sleep in the bathroom. I wished I had my stolen earbuds back. I wished I would have ponied up the dough and had custom earplugs made for me back in Portland. Any of those solutions seemed like the answer but were all so far out of reach.
     Needless to say I was not well rested in the morning. I showered first and walked to the Starbucks a half mile away to get a bite and some coffee. Chief showed up, then the rest of the dudes in the van, minus the trailer. We took a gamble, a big gamble, and left it at the 6 so we would have an easier trip that day when we drove into Oak Creek Canyon. Both our back van tires were on their way to male pattern baldness so we stopped at a tire store in town. It was a cluster fuck of idiots so we had to make an appointment for later that day. We headed out into the scenic wonderment of Sedona.
     The area in general is very reminiscent of Bend. The high desert air and shrubbery feels like eastern Oregon, but all that changes once you descend into the canyon. The sandstone walls slowly started to reveal themselves and the strata was like a psychedelic geology exhibit. Making our way through the curves, the epic cliffs stood like giant fortresses in Middle Earth. Our lives are but farts in the wind compared to the time scale that was taking place all around us. Maybe it will all end up under water or maybe the wind and sand will erode all that beauty to a flat and benign surface. Who can say?
     We pulled up to Red Creek Bridge, parked the van, and gawked. Dustin knew about this spot because he and his buddies would illegally repel off it. We walked out to the edge underneath the span and took in the views. There were a couple different trails that went in different directions so each of us explored where we wanted to. Separately, Pete and I made our way to the bottom of the canyon to where Oak Creek was flowing peacefully. Aaron found a secluded spot to sit while the other guys went to the other end of the drop off. The area reminded me a little bit of Zion National Park only on a smaller scale. I think we all got a little bit of that spirit juice to refill our centers; I know I felt better after leaving.
     We had an hour to kill so we went to Alpine Pizza in downtown. The place was empty and rustic as hell. The wooden edges of the tables were long ago carved by patrons forever putting their marks and initials into the history of the restaurant. We only ordered slices but what came out of the kitchen was amazing; almost whole pizzas. Apparently, when you order a slice you really get two. Our server told us it’s the best deal in town. I would concur.
     At the tire store everyone took advantage of the free coffee and when we were leaving someone said, “That was pretty good coffee for being free.” “Well, it’s more like five hundred dollar coffee,” Dustin rebutted. Touche, my friend, touche.
     Our evening consisted of watching Cabin in the Woods at the 6. Holy fucking shit, what an amazing and game changing horror movie. It was like the Matrix of scary films. Peter kept on saying how impossible it will be to ever make another scary movie because the bar has been set so high. I totally agree and can’t recommend it enough.
     So we have two more weeks out here. The easy drives of the west coast are long gone now and the burly drives into and out of the rocky mountains are about to begin. The next two shows we’ll be playing with Antique Scream so that is something to look forward to. I think everyone has now acclimated to the reality of driving hundreds of miles and sleeping in strange lands but there is still an element that is draining even if we only have to sit our asses in the van all day. The only consistencies are the six of us, gas station bathrooms and Motel 6 comforter patterns. Well, that and the unknown. Let the strange be our compass and if we don’t see you in this world, we’ll meet you in the next one…and don’t be late.

‘Till next time!

- ryan | No Comments