Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Nineteen

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

Near the end of June 2002, I traveled with three friends to Western Colorado to stay a week with my friend Shawn’s girlfriend’s parents’ home. The four of us packed up Jeremy’s new pick-up truck, absorbed Gran’s warnings about flash floods and drunk Native Americans, and hit the road around sunset. Jeremy was wearing his driving sweatpants, and Casey and I started drinking Tecates that Casey had purchased at the Tracy AM/PM by the time we’d made it to Stockton. Shawn refrained, as he was scheduled to take the second driving shift, and we were blasting AC/DC. 

By the time we stopped at some strange gas station off of I-80 between Auburn and Truckee, the first of many massive pisses was taken. We rolled through Reno, shuddered, and split off onto Nevada state highway 50 to head towards Fallon. After eating at an unimpressively unstrange all-night diner in Fallon, Casey decided his liquid jacket was in sufficient effect to sleep in the bed of the truck, a decision which led to him to pound manically on the back window of the cab about ten minutes later screaming Stop This Fucking Truck. Apparently speeding through the Nevada desert at eighty miles an hour around 3AM is rather Goddamn cold, colder than any case of Tecate could prepare you for.

We saw about five other cars on the highway over the next 250 miles, and arrived in Ely, NV to eat breakfast at the only casino in town around 7AM. I had done some internet research about this casino and came prepared with a printed-out coupon for a one-dollar margarita. The bartender looked at me as if I was asking directions to the moon when I presented it to him, and sought a second opinion from co-workers by yelling out Anyone Ever Heard Of This Thing? When a fellow employee, bless her, confirmed the existence of the internet, he served me the drink and apologized, saying Never Seen One-a Them Before.

I decided that with the sun up I stood a better chance of catching some Zs in the bed of the truck, and my theory proved mostly correct. East of Ely we split onto another state highway heading southeast, and I awoke a few hours later in Beaver, Utah, home of the Beavers. Every business in town was Beaver this or Beaver that, a fact which left us paralyzed at first. However, by the time we met the angriest gay man in Utah at a truck stop and headed north up I-15 to meet I-70E, we all had boners and the Beaver jokes were coming left and right. Such was our distraction that it was hard to focus on the majesty of the red rock canyons of Utah, which I was seeing for the first time; we just couldn’t stop making Beaver jokes (Sample: “Sure would like to go back to Beaver!”… Hilarious, no?) and talking about that angry guy who sold us all that beer.

We stopped in Fruita, Colorado, the birthplace of Shawn’s mother, and vowed to come back and see the Dinosaur museum the following day. In the meantime, we bought an air freshener with a picture of a topless woman to hang on the rearview mirror, as the truck was realy starting to smell. We turned onto Colorado state highway 50 in Grand Junction, which we re-christened Granjo, and pulled into Delta sometime around five or six. We went to the first grocery store we saw as Shawn wanted to buy flowers to bring to his girlfriend, A, and who should we run into at the store but A!

We followed her back to her parent’s house, and as we approached the front door, she explained that her father was the high school art teacher. I asked her what he did, and she replied that he painted, mostly classic Western landscapes and still-lifes. I Don’t Know If I Can Sleep Here If There Is Any Native American Bullshit, I proclaimed, and thus the massive feathered headdress hanging over the stairs down to the rumpus room where we would be sleeping was certainly of a harbinger of the madness that ensued in the following days.

We were honored to be the first Californians a few people had ever met as we wrecked shop all over the Highway 50 corridor; playing stickball in the parking lot on top the Grand Mesa, throwing bags of trash all over the Granjo mall parking lot, drinking quarts of Old Milwaukee in the parking lot of the Montrose Denny’s, nearly dying in an underground hot spring cave in Ouray, playing miniature golf and going to the batting cages, taking two-for-one shots of Goldschlager at the awful sports bar A worked at, talking in hushed tones so that A’s mostly deaf mother couldn’t hear us…

We played monopoly every night and drank beer and rum, and the last night we were there, A tried to hook Casey up with her obviously lesbian best friend, home for the summer from her first year at an art school in Denver. The final morning I had a minor heart attack, prompted, I’m sure, by my over-consumption that week of booze, junior bacon cheeseburgers, Mountain Dew, chocolate donuts, and corn dogs. When we hit the road on a Friday, having been there five days, the rumpus room at A’s parents’ house smelled like a mass grave that no one had thrown limestone chalk on.

We left on that Friday to attend a rockabilly weekender in the fabulous town of West Wendover, Nevada, but that’s another story. Let it suffice to say at one point I was engaged in battle with a swarm of insects that ended with me walking head-on into a stop sign, and that I slept naked in the corner of our hotel room and was clueless as to the origin of my head wounds when I awoke in the morning.

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