We’ve been covering a lot of ground on our Dream Come True tour. Connie and I decided to split from Nashville and head west. Not a moment too soon, as the entire east has been plummeted by snow, ice, and cold weather. First stop Texas. Texas?! Why Texas you ask? Well, I know a ton of great people in Texas, none of which I was able to visit with on this trip… But it got me to thinking… Back in my younger days, I attended Collage at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas for music. While I was there, my room mate told me about a mysterious canyon in West Texas (includes North Texas when they talk about West Texas) called Palo Duro Canyon. We went with a couple of gals for horseback rides… their horses decided to go on without us and our horses decided they just wanted to have a snack and started eating grass. Every time we tried to get them going, they turned around and bit us.. hahaha… We finally had to abandoned our horses and walk back and were thankful to our surprise that the girls were already back at camp, safe. The camp host was none too pleased with us, to say the least. I wondered all these years later if I would remember anything about that place, so we went. I vaguely recall some of the scenery, but none the less, it is an absolutely amazing place. It is hailed as the Grand Canyon of Texas and is the 2nd largest canyon in the US. The day we rolled in, the wind was blowing somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 miles an hour and freezing cold… the very next day, it was 70 degrees. It stayed that way for the rest of our time there. We took a couple of amazing hikes and saw some amazing parts of the canyon. Even saw some real Texas Longhorns. Those things are impressive!! The Palo Duro Canyon is very colorful and peaceful in the off season.
Next on the trip we went to Walsenburg and stayed in the Lathrop State Park. We drove around on some of the dirt roads we could find in the area, took a bunch of great photos, then headed over the pass to The Great Sand Dunes National Preserve. If you have not been there, I highly recommend it. When I was a kid, we would sometimes visit the Bruneau Sand Dunes in Idaho and always had a blast. We would run, and jump, and act like we were skiing down the dunes carelessly. It took me back to being a kid when we were on these dunes. We climbed to the top of the tallest one we could see and watched the sun set. Watching the sun set that day was so peaceful and primal all at the same time. There were others watching at the top of the dunes and we all were quiet with reverent respect for the setting of the sun. No one dared to speak… just to breath in life and connect to the earth in a way that just isn’t possible in a town. Huffing it up the dunes was a challenge, but once you are there, you feel powerful overcoming the struggle. The trip down only takes maybe a twentieth of the time it took to go up, especially if you are acting like a kid and skiing and jumping down. Though the sun was down, we had plenty of light to travel all the way back to the jeep as the light seems to fade so much slower in the west.
Next, we went to the Front Range and I played a string of shows there. I played at Cervantes Other Side, which was an absolute blast. I played solo, which has been a challenging endeavor that I have enjoyed putting together so much. I also played some house concerts for some friends around the area. They were also so fun, as I was able to perform a lot of music that doesn’t necessarily translate in a rowdier environment like a Duster’s show. As a musician that has practiced countless hours on all types of things, it really is rewarding to call upon some of those things and remember that they are fun as well! Then, I met up with my Duster Bros and played Winter Wonder Grass in Avon, CO. That, my friends, is a good time. Who would have thought that an outdoor Festival could go on high atop a mountain at a ski resort? Well it does and the people there have an incredible time! Full on blizzard and snowflakes falling and those westerners know what gear to bring and rage right through it all!! They had some heat on stage for us that was more than sufficient to stay warm enough to pick. I wore my Russian hat and it kept me even warmer. Those cats really know how to make some hats!
We left the Front Range just in time for a complete dumping of snow… Why did we leave then you ask?! I know, I know… The skiing was off the hook… and I evan had my gear with me… But if you’ve ever stayed in the cold in an RV, you know it can be very stressful… especially if it gets cold enough to freeze. In fact, our pipes indeed did freeze the night before we took off… Luckily not enough to bust them.. They were also calling for chains across 70 on our way out to west CO. We lucked out once again and didn’t need to use them.. We decided to stay and play in the Grand Junction area for a few days, as there is a lot of amazing country right around there. We went and hiked in the Book Cliffs with wild horses and enjoyed Polish cuisine and beverages way up on the top of the Grand Mesa. We crossed the valley and explored Colorado National Monument. We were floored at the awe inspiring beauty and the all mighty and impressive red canyons and cliffs. We saw Dinosaur prints and impressions of bones that had been found inlaid in rocks. We drove through Escalante Canyon and saw a few homesteads and got to take some great jeep trails. We went around to Utah and checked out Capitol Reef National park. Whoa y’all… I mean Whoa. We saw a bunch of intricate and ancient Petroglyphs depicting all kinds of animals and people and maybe what looked like aliens? I dunno, but if you saw them, it would spark the question I think. We drove 26 miles down a 4 wheel drive jeep trail and discovered temple of the sun and moon, as well as glass mountain. Never seen anything like glass mountain. A gypsum sinkhole we saw was very impressive. Honestly, to take photos and try to share a lot of this journey would be futile, as it is just to big to capture with a camera.. It’s one of those “you have to be there” kind of moments. Never the less, we captured what we could. We skipped Arches and Canyon lands this time, as we had already been there some years back. We landed close to the town of Saint George and will use this area as a base camp for a ton of other scenic and wondrous trips, not to mention it’s nice and warm here. No wonder the experienced in age like it here so much. Check out the slideshows and stay tuned for much more to come!
Enjoy original music by Jeremy Garrett inspired by our travels!
Sand In My Shoes