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I dunno, I think it looks more like a beaver...

I love road trips. I love them. I love them. I love them. However- with me, road trips never turn out the way they are planned. This fall (1999), a group of my friends and myself planned on traveling to Durango to visit a Rainbow Gathering that we had heard rumors about. Now- for one, Durango is a 4 hour drive away from Colorado Springs. We had a blast, but as usual- the trip turned out nothing like it was supposed to.

It started out with a lot of planning. I got supplies, packed the tents, the tarps, the cooking things- and my car. There were only 3 of us in the car on the way up there- which was lovely. The scenery was beeeyyyutiful and I didn't want to drive. I simply wanted to look at the mountains and the clouds. We were seeing lots of things in the clouds- like dragons and bears and unicorns...and beavers... so we figured that we were going to have an exciting trip.

My frind Cade was sitting in the passenger seat, and played DJ. I had a lot of tapes with me, and so we were listening to all my favorite types of music. My friend Onyx was sitting in the backseat and complained the entire time that we weren't listening to his music. We had been in the car for almost 2 and a half hours and honestly... we were starting to drive each other bonkers. Especially since it was getting dark and the road was becomming difficult to see. I needed to concentrate on the road and both of the guys with me were fighting over the radio like 2 little kids. I finally pulled over to the side of the road, threatened to kick them both out of my car and told them to shut up and I was turning the radio off. I then became very scared... because I sounded like a mother. As a result... they both started laughing at me and that lightened the air... and we started having fun again.

It was getting later and later, and at around 11:00 pm I was thoroughly exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep. I kept trying to find a rest area, so we could pull over and just sleep in the car and finish the trip the next day... but it was so dark outside that I could barely see the lines in the road much less anywhere to park.

I finally saw a turn off in a place called South Fork (not to be mistaken for South Park) and I started driving down a lonely dark road. I got sick of not being able to see anything, so I turned around and just parked on the side of a street. I was tired... cranky and just wanted to get someplace to sleep. So, we all slept in the car. When the first lights of dawn started to show, I woke up. It was FREEZING in my car, and my feet were numb. The two guys were snoring up a storm, and I just looked at them both- secretly laughing at their sleeping habits. Cade had flipped sideways during the night, and his head was on the stick shift and his feet were sticking straight in the air. Onyx was curled up on my backseat- and looked as though he was having a good dream. I just watched them for a little while, and then got too cold. I started the car and took off down the road at 5:00 in the morning, and I could tell that it was going to be a much better day.

Cade was the first to wake up other than me. I had to move him around in order to get to the stick shift... and he woke up about 5 minutes after I was driving. Onyx slept for another 20 minutes after them... but Cade decided to be rude and turnied up the radio rather loud. I didn't care... I just wanted to get to Durango.

So we're driving down the road, when I happen to look at my fuel guage. Of course we're nearing empty, so I pull over at the nearest gasstation and "fill-er up." Now, I need to explain something about my 2 friends who were with me. Cade looked like a younger version of a hard rock-er and Onyx has multiple piercings- including a huge ring through his nose. I'm fairly normal looking- and we're in this incredibly small town. I don't need to get into too much depth of how many odd looks we were getting- quite hilarious upon looking back on it...

By the time we got to Durango we were about to kill each other. The only thing keeping us sane was the whole reason we were on the trip in the first place. The Rainbow Gathering!! I found the tourist place, and asked the lady at the counter if she'd heard anything about the Gathering's whereabouts. She didn't have the slightest idea what I was talking about and so I asked for a map of all the public camping sites. She gave us a list of camping parks- but we wanted to "rough" it. We didn't want any of the touristy spots. She gave us directions for a road that led deep into the mountains- and a list of the camping rules. We then asked for directions downtown, to the park. We were meeting a couple of friends there- and the park was the agreed upon meeting place.

We finally reached the park, and located our friends. Red Sunshine and Brandon were sunning themselves in the grass, watching a group of college students play volleyball. We ran over to them, hugged, and said, "Where's the gathering?" They didn't have a clue, so we were dumbfounded. Normally at a gathering site, there would be hundreds of hippies wandering around everywhere- and they could have given us directions- but we were alone. So, we packed everyone into the car and I set off to find a camping spot for the weekend.

I made it onto the road that the Information lady had told me about, and we stayed on it for a little while. We passed a lot of campers, but obviously none of them were with the gathering. I ended up going a bit too far up the road and all of a sudden we found ourselves in a huge predicament.

There was only enough room for one car at a time to drive along the road- one side was a sheer drop off the mountain and the other side was a cliff going straight up. And dead ahead was a huge mess. There were mud/water puddles that went at least a 2 feet deep and there was no way around it. If I had been in a better car, it would have been fine, but I was in my Subaru Station wagon. I couldn't turn around, and it was going to be dangerous to go forward. But, I really didn't have a choice, because it would have been stupid to try and back down the road. So, I went for it. After some gut wrenching drops and some heart-stopping turns, I finally made it through the trouble spot. We turned the corner, and I found a turn-around spot. After I got turned around, we started back. It was getting late, and the mud was scaring all of us. Going back over the muddy holes was harder than it had been the first time, because of the slopes of the drops. It was considerably harder getting through it again, and when we were past it- my car was making a funny loud puttering sound. It never did work right after that...

We finally found our spot. It was in a secluded area, off of the main road. We had a gorgeous view from the site, and it was fairly flat. We set up camp and started supper. We were tired- and hungry, and needed to smoke a bowl- thank god we had brought our own supplies. That night, we sang songs around the campfire, and enjoyed the nice warm evening. The next morning, we were in wonderful spirits and set out to explore. But, once again, trouble arose.

Sunshine and I had stayed behind, to clean up camp a bit and organize all the stuff we brought. I put up the tarps in case of rain, and positioned the campfire under it, so that it wouldn't get too wet if it rained. Just in time. Because as soon as I did that, it started pouring. And pouring. And pouring some more. Turns out, the ground wasn't as flat as we had origionally thought. The water ran off the tarp in streams, and when it hit the ground it started moving again. Straight at the tents. There wasn't anything we could do about it, though, and we grabbed the blankets and anything else we didn't want to get wet and put them in my car.

It rained all the rest of the day, and all night. By the time the next morning had come we were cold, and wet, and a little bummed. The sun came out again, and we took that oportunity to re-orgainze the tents. We got them to a dry area, and positioned the tarps over them so that the rain would run away from the camp- and then we went exploring again. At least- everyone else did. Once again, I got stuck at camp, to watch it, and I took the time to fix another meal. When everyone got back, they told of stories of huge mushrooms, of all shapes, sizes and colors everywhere. Giant purple and pink ones, the typical red cap with white spots.. and giant ones that grew on trees.

The next day it rained some more and we played in that...
and by the time we were ready to pack up and go home- we were sick of being there. I mean, we had fun, with what we had. But, it was nothing like we had planned, and we were bummed we never found the Gathering.

So, we packed up everything, fit it in my car, and all rode back to Colorado Springs. The trip seemed a lot shorter than on the way there, and when we got home- we checked out the internet. Turns out there wasn't a gathering in Durango (duh). There was one, however, in Deckers- which was like a 20 minute drive from Colorado Springs.

Looking back on it- we had fun. It's amazing what you can fill up your time with, when your out in the middle of nowhere- and we had our own private gathering.

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