Over 1,000 miles, 16 hours of drive time, a stop in Kansas City and plenty of time to reflect...now I'm here. It's 6:30am in Boulder, CO. The pile of pistachio shells on the desk grows larger, the coffee in my cup ceases to exist, and the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains emerges right out of the window as I write this very blog.
As I embarked on my journey I had accepted the long road ahead in the beginning. This allowed me to relax into the drive and just allow things to be. I broke it up amongst two days. First, a 7 hour drive to Kansas City, Kansas and then a 9 hour drive to Boulder, CO all with only the company of the thousands of podcasts, music streaming platforms, and youtube videos that a smart phone grants us. It's crazy how much I love to create music, and at times listen to it, but in reality most of my time listening to anything consists of podcasts.
Between the Ted Talks on YouTube and the podcast with Joe Rogan and Kevin Hart, I certainly had enough to keep me inspired throughout those first 7 hours. Not to mention the nitro cold brew from Starbucks had me shaking like a cocaine addict, but hey, I'll take a legal rush where I can get one.
That evening I decided to drive straight to a park just off the border of Kansas, directly after Missouri. I got there and was greeted by an incredible heat front. All the Wendy's and bullshit I was filling my body with needed to be purged so I began what was probably the hottest most miserable run in my life through a beautiful rose garden in Jacob L. Loose Park.
Drenched in sweat, beat down from the road, I finally arrived at my first destination. Laura Lockton had graciously opened her home for me. Man was I thankful to feel a wall of AC as the she opened the door and let me in. I met Laura last year while playing at a music festival in Kansas City called "ReKinection Spring Up Celebration". She is the founder of the production company ReKinection and her work ethic shows clear as her and her partner were hard at work in their office as I arrived.
We really hardly knew each other but she gave me a bed, showed me where to shower and after a brief nap I woke up to the smell of shrimp and the luxury of an ice cold beer. I was certainly in good hands. Hospitality on the road is one thing I've come to greatly cherish. Throughout our years on the road we typically never book hotels but rather just shout out on facebook that we need a place and we are always blown away at the lengths strangers will go to house us and feed us. We couldn't be more grateful and connecting with those who have given us a place to rest has been some of our favorite times traveling.
I believe you can tell a lot about a person just by a conversation with a child they've raised. Kaya, Laura's youngest was clearly an intelligent, kind, adventurous spirit who was already years deep in piano lessons. I was in love with this home that I had only a pit stop at. We stayed up late in the night just chatting and having a few drinks. Talking of the business of music festivals, and the current political climate, and relationships and just everything. It was truly great to connect with you Laura.
For anyone who is in the area or interested in making a trip out to see us, our very next tour date is in St. Louis, Missouri at Laura's festival, ReKinection Celebration on August 3rd. This will be the very first time the band has seen each other since my move to Boulder and it's sure to be a special gathering.
After a few cups of coffee to sustain my addiction, I was forced to bid farewell to my new friend and hit the road for a last 9 hour stretch to my destination. After an hour and a half or so of being on the road and having passed Topeka, Kansas I began to feel like everything started looking the same. There were hills and fields and hills and fields and hills and fields FOREVER. Oh yea, and the coffee I drank that morning had begun to find its way into my bladder and there was nothing in site except for...hills and fields.
I just about called the mayor to tell him quite literally how "pissed" I was. I wanted to highlight the whole state on a smartphone and just press delete. Sorry if you're from Kansas but the drive across your state is nothing short of torturous. Please someone tell me why you guys don't believe in rest stops.
Ok, I'll save you anymore ranting about Kansas but mark my words, next time I'll add hours to my trip if it means I get to circumvent that god forsaken stretch of interstate. If you know, you know. If you don't know, just save yourself the misery and find alternate routes.
Finally after about 5 hours I reached the state line of Colorado. I realized very quickly that East Colorado looked a whole lot familiar. It looked a lot like....FUCKING KANSAS.
At least I began to see some gas stations and save myself from pissing my pants. I was honestly happy to have made it to my new home state after all these hours of travel. I began to see the mountains peeking over the horizon. This is when the reality of the trip really hit me. If I had to describe it with one word it would be liberation.
You can read all of the philosophical books from "Into the Wild" to "Celestine Prophecy" to "The Alchemist" all with similar narratives of owning your own reality and taking control of your life; but it's when you make a decision like this and just plunge into it that you really feel this deep sense of liberation. How freeing it is to know that you are never tied down to what you believe you are. A whole new life and a whole new way of being always awaits you if you just so choose to walk through the door of uncertain opportunity.
So as I write the next chapter of this story in my life, I keep a heavy heart for those back in Indiana who have shown me so much love and support but I keep my eyes forward as life is full of surprises and blessings beyond my wildest dreams and I want to be sure to witness them. This isn't a goodbye to anyone but rather just a shifting of course. The band will still be playing 100% of our shows together. I will be returning to Indiana for several shows this year. So don't you guys at home get it twisted, I'm proud of my roots, and I intend to return to them regularly. But for now, I think I'll go greet the mountains as my first morning in Boulder, CO has begun.