Laramie? You Hardly Know Me!

On our first tour, we had very few night drives. It’s a fortunate thing to be able to get back to the hotel/friend’s house early enough to catch more than five hours of sleep. Since there were only two bands on tour number one, it was much easier to keep our schedule running on early bedtimes and early wakeup calls. This time, we’re dealing with the opposite. Even the short drives are longer than they were the first time around, and because there are three bands on the bill, most shows don’t end until midnight at the very earliest. As such, we’ve had to endure some rather lengthy, exhausting, and sometimes treacherous latenight drives.

As the tour has gone on, the shows have been ending later and later. We crossed the border from Vancouver to Blaine, WA at 2:00am just this week, and didn’t get to our hotel until 4. We’ve had more post-midnight check-ins at hotels in small towns between venues than I thought possible on a single tour. Asheville, NC. Las Cruces, NM. Bellevue, WA. Baton Rouge, LA (fine, so that’s not such a small town). Subsequently, as we’ve gone further north, the weather has gotten progressively worse. Last night, we drove three hours out of Salt Lake City and landed in Rock Springs, WY. It had been snowing for hours in SLC, but as we climbed the mountains from Utah into Wyoming, the snow predictably intensified. The drive was one of the most harrowing and painstaking of my life, and I was grateful to be relieved by Kevin about halfway through.

We awoke in Rock Springs to a van completely caked in snow and frozen from the outside in. After thawing it from the inside out (and cracking the windshield in the process), we took to the road once again, for the five-plus hour drive to Denver. Midway through Wyoming – somewhere near Laramie – we got a call from Aaron (Cymbals Eat Guitars’ tour manager) informing us that Route 80 East – the major road going across the northern southwest – was closed for 50 miles in both directions. We attempted a brief run at an alternate route thanks to our shifty GPS (named Mildred), but were thwarted by yet another road closing. In fact, all roads from Wyoming into Colorado were closed due to reasons beyond our grasp. Understandably, the fine people of Wyoming haven’t figured out how to deal with a bit of snow in April just yet.

Defeated, we rolled into Laramie with heavy hearts. Not only would we miss the show in Denver, but we’d miss seeing some friends that live there, and I’d miss seeing my parents. (They drove five hours to Denver from Santa Fe and had already arrived by the time we found out about the road closing.) In an effort to uplift my spirits, I upgraded to a new cymbal stand…my first since I first bought hardware in 1998. “Huzzah!” I declared. “A new cymbal stand!” And we all rejoiced at my spontaneous purchase. We departed shortly after for Lovejoy’s Bar and Grill, where Bear in Heaven and Cymbals Eat Guitars awaited our arrival for an impromptu night of show-cancellation-related lamentation.

It was bittersweet, and Cymbals had just about thrown in the towel. They booked a hotel in Laramie with the stipulation that if the roads somehow cleared by 6:00pm, they could cancel the room and move on to Denver in time for the alleged show at Hi-Dive. The local beers were happy-hour’d, and I promptly took my full glass and threw it at Aaron.

“How dare you?!” I accused. “This is all your fault!”

We both collapsed in a sudsy, hopsy mess of pale ale, sobbing and convulsing on the floor.*

After we cleaned ourselves up, I had my glass replenished and hunkered down for what promised to be a long night of grieving our loss of the trip to Denver. Sara, the kindly tour manager for Bear in Heaven (and co-founder/co-owner of Home Tapes Records) reminded me to take it easy. The altitude, she explained thoughtfully, would amplify the effect of the alcohol. I thanked her for her motherly instincts and swiftly downed the pale ale before it had time to escape my clutches once again.

As I took my last gulp, Sara leapt from her seat in alarm. “The road is open!” she declared excitedly. Sara, you see, had been checking the interwebs vehemently for hours in anticipation of this very news! Route 287 South, she explained, a small road from Laramie into Colorado, had finally opened and would lead us to Route 25 South which would, in turn, lead us to the promised land of Denver, CO.

Tabs paid, we rushed to the van and selected our fittest and soberest driver…Doris it was! Moments later we were Denver-bound.

So here we are, only moments from the-show-that-almost-never-was, just a few miles outside Denver, and I can’t help but feel that this show is fated. It had to happen, and so it will. And even though we’ve done this hundreds of times before, I’m particularly excited for this one.

[*To the reader: The aforementioned beer-tossing incident may have been hyperbolized or embellished for the purpose of storytelling. In actuality, the author clumsily knocked his beverage to the floor, splattering himself, his belongings, and Aaron in the process.]

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~ by Jacob Hyman on April 7, 2010.

2 Responses to “Laramie? You Hardly Know Me!”

  1. We were just as happy as you were that you guys made it to Denver — as usual, it was a great show!

  2. Congratulations on your successes, wish I could say more but congrats.

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