November 13, 2015

The Roots & Rock 'n' Roll Tour: Arizona State Fair

Everything about our trip to Phoenix was over-the-top ridiculous. The original plan was to leave straight after the San Francisco show and take turns driving and sleeping. With the extra day off in between shows, were were going to hit Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree along the way before staying in this fabulous little hideaway called Hicksville Trailer Palace, then head to Phoenix the next morning before the show.

Here's what really happened. I got the second driving shift, a.k.a. the one where we all had to stop and sleep because everyone was too tired to drive. Let me preface this by explaining that I live on the east coast, and my knowledge of California geography is minimal at best. So we stopped, I was given thorough directions on how to use the GPS on my friend's phone, the destination was programmed in for me, and all I had to do when I woke up was literally press "go" and follow the directions. I did it all seamlessly without waking anyone.

About two hours later, the cute little snow-capped mountains in the distance started coming strangely closer than I expected. I had driven us halfway up a Sierra Nevada mountain before my friends woke up enough to question my navigation.

The conversation went something like this.

Friend: This doesn't seem right. Did we go through Sacramento?
Me: Yeah, I think I saw signs for Sacramento.
Friend: Sacramento is north of San Francisco.
Me: Oh.

Google maps were double checked, and we found ourselves at Lake Tahoe. Because why wouldn't we find ourselves at Lake Tahoe?

So we never made it to Yosemite or Joshua Tree National Park. We didn't exactly pack for the 27 degree weather we found ourselves in, and we had to stop twice to put air in the tires because of the low temperature and altitude. But hey, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous.

(To be fair, I followed the directions and my friend programmed the destination correctly. Google maps just gave us a completely different route than it had shown her when she checked it from a computer earlier in the week. It won't stop any of us from making fun of each other for the next decade. #RememberTheTime...)

A number of hours later we went from snowy mountains to a starry desert. The one place we DID make it to, albeit a little late, was our home for the night at Hicksville. I'd love to go back and get to see it with a few more daylight hours to spare. Maybe next time we'll even get to see a national park we meant to be at.

The show at the Phoenix fair was a fun but quick 10 songs, and I wouldn't trade any of it. We got to see Nelson open for Hanson and watched as two Nelson fans bolted for the empty front row center seats during Nelson's last song. They were excitedly waving a piece of paper that turned out to be a picture of them with Nelson back in 1990, 25 years ago. It's always fun to run into another band's brand of crazy and see how similar and different we all are.

I was irrationally excited for "Thinking 'Bout Something" as always, and we mostly butchered the dance as always. One day we'll actually practice and relearn the ending that we've forgotten. After the show we managed to walk out into a crowd of people that looked like they had a purpose, so we joined in and found ourselves at Hanson's bus for a final goodbye. It was the strangest crowd I have ever been in waiting for Hanson to come out. The excitement level was serious, and it felt like a mix of fans that hadn't seen Hanson live in years and maybe some that hadn't realized they were still alive until that morning. Everyone was in a calm and mostly organized line that security set up until Taylor rolled out, and then all bets were off. There was screaming and a literal stampede and tears, and I felt like we somehow wandered through a time machine back into 1997. The best part is there were so few people that the crowd wasn't deeper than 2-3 people at any part, so there was no great competition or risk of not getting your chance to meet them if they came out. I'm almost sad Hanson didn't get to see it happen to appreciate the chaos for themselves.

I was also not kidding when I said Taylor "rolled" out. He showed up to sign autographs and take pictures riding a hoverboard up the driveway incline like it was a normal thing to do, complete with security holding onto him at all times to keep him from breaking his neck. Like I said, strangest bus scene I've ever experienced. Now every time I see the picture my friend and I got with Taylor, I'll know that no matter how normal we all look in the shot, he's secretly standing on a hoverboard. *insert all the bad puns in the world about Taylor putting the "Roll" in the Roots & Rock 'n' Roll tour*

Afterwards, we spent a whole $10 each to ride one ride, but it was worth every penny.

I wish we could have kept up the travels and made it to Disney, but I guess I already got my share of theme parks this tour and there's always next time. I already can't wait for Jamaica in January where I'll have a side of adventure with my Hanson instead of the other way around.

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