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Post-Festival Road Trip - Part 1: Feeling Arizona

The sun woke me up from my backseat slumber, Elen was still passed out in the passenger seat. The country music festival had been a fun experience, parties raging all around, it was all a giant celebration really. The music had ended the night before, now most people had filtered out, our lot was dotted with just a few cars and some loose tents now.

I pulled myself out of the car, Molly and Kirby were lounging in the spot where the big blue tent used to be, it was gone now. I went over and sat with them, smiling glazed conversation with gentle bliss being the tone. Slowly more joined us, others came to say goodbyes and give hugs; Joshua Tree Will came over shouldering his backpack, he was to catch a ride to Santa Cruz with a vendor he'd met.

We talked about Elen's spirit, we all agreed she was something intriguing. She had a smile that seemed to be derived from past, present and future; she didn't need anybody or anything for her happiness, but welcomed everything all the same. She soon woke up and joined us in the last patch of shade on the lot.

Talk shifted to plans of movement, we couldn't stay on the festival grounds forever. With some passion and excitement, the following plan was formed: Myself, Molly, Olivier and Sidney would take the car, Sindney's, to Phoenix, we'd then visit Sedona, Flagstaff, Vegas and then San Francisco by the weekend. Kirby would meet us there in San Fran, and Elen would ride with Mark and meet there as well.

The idea had us thrilled, the chant was heard for the uncountable time, "Aint no party like a coachella party cause a coachella party don't stop!". Sidney was out of money, but Molly volunteered the gas money to make it all work. Olivier was happy to be getting north, British Columbia being his next big destination, from there he'd be hitching across Canada to get back home to Halifax and work on his bus. I was in it for the movement and action.

After some packing, scavenging and a few loose beers from the cooler, we were in our cars caravaning out. Kirby bought us a round of slurrpies from the 7-11, we parted ways from there, me and Sidney in her car, Olivier and Molly in the other car all heading towards Surprise, Arizona.

Sidney's car was a classic for the roadtrip, an old white mercedes with it's share of quirks, we cruised down the freeway with the windows open, my arm fully outstretched taking on the rushing wind, tunes blasting.

We got to Molly's place just before sunset, we immediately started taking turns showering. Molly and her mom went and picked up a pizza, the four of us couldn't be happier, our bodies now clean on the outside and full of food inside. We fell asleep soundly sprawled out in the living room.

I woke up feeling zonked out, stuffed up, crusty. My bottom lip was scabbed up badly in three places, a result from biting it profusely in the windy sun beating madness of coachella. It took the whole morning of packing and a big meal of eggs and more before I felt back to good again.

We got on the road after painting things on this car like "Stagecoachella - PHX - Sedona - Flagstaff - Vegas - San Fran", these were are destinations, Sedona being where we were currently headed to. We rolled into Sedona just an hour or so later, Sidney in Olivier particularly wowed, Molly and I appreciated the beauty as well, but had before seen the red swirling rocks that towered above us.

We stopped at one spot and walked down to the river, hiking up it just a ways to find some rocks to sit on with our feet by the water. We sat there for a little while until hiking back out, hearing drumming as we got closer to the parking lot. There was a man banging away, we quietly sat close by and listened. Once he was finished he was greeted with a warm hug from Molly.

We continued north from there, arriving in Flagstaff at the apartment of some of Molly's friends, no one was home though. We took the time for the girls to stop at the store, then eventually headed towards Tanya's place. Tanya wasn't home either, but one of her roommates was, so we came in and Molly whipped up some tasty wraps for the group of us as we settled in.

We almost got caught up watching a movie, but Tanya burst in the door fresh from a bike ride back home with a backpack full of beer. I satisfyingly sipped one as we all stood in the kitchen and caught up. We all headed up to her room with the cushions from the couches, spreading them all over the floor of her room to create a giant mattress for all of us.

We relaxed with this, some on the floor exchanging massages, me next to Tanya on the bed while she gently scratched my head playing with my hair. At some point I went down to the kitchen with her on a beer run, we wound up lingering down there in a conversation about her growing up and some other things. It was simple and refreshing, I realized I hadn't had a one on one conversation about such things in a bit of time.

The others slowly filtered down and joined us, including one of her roommates who offered me one of his home brewed beers. We all talked in the kitchen for some time until beer began to run out and the group I rolled into town with started thinking about sleep. Tanya and some others had plans of going out, not ready to call it a night, I stuck with them.

We hopped in the car with the last of the beer and a mix drink that got passed around, all empty by the time we reached the bar. We got some big local brewed beers, then Tanya, Mary and I went to play some game on the Wii. Mary was a girl I'd just met, one I'd get to know better later, but I was already enjoying her fun loving nature. Her ex-boyfriend was working at the bar, he came over to her several times throughout the night to get some words in with what seemed like lingering interest in her.

The Wii game was a bust, we ditched it in favor of joining the guys in our group at the pool table. I talked with Tanya a while, she wandered away for a few minutes, then came back saying to me that she couldn't be away from me for too long, "I feel like being close to you", she said, "I like you, I don't like girls that play games". I told her that was good and that I liked her too. This all seemed apparent to me anyhow, but words can sometimes clear up any doubt and make things go smoother. Mary came over agreed with the whole thing, the act of being straight forward and avoiding the games.

We finished up our beers and headed for the door to seek out the next bar. We crossed the tracks and the next street, one of Tanya's roommates knocked over a small barricade on the sidewalk as he walked by it. A police car was passing at this very moment, he abruptly slammed into reverse, Tanya and I walked by quickly and moved on as he got out of the car and approached her roommate. We walked by the scene a minute later remaining unassociated, down the block we went into Flag Brew to wait out the situation.

We sat there for a beer contemplating the situation, but still laughing about one thing or another. A hitchhiker sat next to us on the bar, we talked to him a bit too. Soon her roommate came back in and joined us, he'd only been giving a talking to and sent on his way. We finished our drinks and went to one last bar for a round of beers. Last call came quickly and the bartenders seemed unnecessarily upset and rushed, literally trying to pry the beer from my hand as I was pouring the last sips down my throat. We left with some words back and forth, laughing at there lack of tact and patience.

Tanya and I were dropped off in front of her house, we remained outside for a bit while looking up at the full moon. I told her I'd kiss her if not for the condition of my lips, she leaned in and kissed me then, unconcerned with such things. This continued for sometime in the moonlight until we finally headed inside and up to the her room, Sidney and Olivier on the floor passed out. Molly was on the bed, but angrily moved to the floor when we woke her up as we hopped on with her, it was something around 4am at this point.

I woke up late in the morning, Molly and Olivier had left early to see the sunrise as was the original plan for all of us, I'd slept through the alarm, I'm not sure why Sidney didn't go. They were both back by now, we all showered, packed and headed out the door.

We met Mary at the buffet on campus, she had somehow built up food credits of some kind and was able to get herself and the four of us travelers in for free. We filled up our stomachs with food, as well as our various bags and purses.

We spent the better part of the afternoon in the library catching up on things. I also went with Molly to the international office she used to work at where she was greeted by a slew of familiar faces that were thrilled to see her and catch up.

Afterwards Molly collected a small debt from an ex-boyfriend, then we headed to the Sprint store so Sidney could deal with the issue of a busted phone. This issue had been brewing for a while, creating some stress in the group, particularly Molly's frustration in this was heating up. Nothing was resolved in this visit to the store, they could neither fix or replace her phone.

We headed for the car, but the lock seemed busted, the key wouldn't open it up. There was already a quirk with the lock, as someone had one broke a key off in the lock, requiring a special touch to unlock it, a touch that now seemed to no longer work. We managed the trunk open and loosened a port hole that gave us a hole into the main car. I ran into the laundry mat and paid a dime for a hanger, we attempted to use this to reach in and unlock a door. A few of us tried several times, also continuing to finagle the main lock with the broken key.

Despite the situation, it had us laughing in our attempts, this was breaking the stress a bit. Finally I managed to hit a sweet spot with the broken key in the lock and it popped open, we were inside again. We cruised to a friends house, eventually meeting up with Molly's good friend. We headed to his house where the plan was now to spend the night there.

There was Lady's 80's on this particular night, a bar that had 25 cent drinks with 80's music and free entry to anyone dressing in the style. I had every intention of going, and after some debate the girls decided to join as well. Olivier held back, he was 20 years old, which is legal enough in Canada, but wouldn't fly at this bar in the US, he wasn't a drinker anyhow. I did, however, partake in a shot of courvoisier with him before we went out, the only drink I'd ever seen him take.

We showed up at the bar in our make-shift 80's attire, good enough to get us in the door. Molly and Sidney stayed only for a drink or two, then headed back home. I stayed out, Tanya and Mary were there to keep me company.

The 25 cent drinks stopped being poured and I left with Tanya. She lived a ways a way, but I jogged along side her, she had her bike to cruise on. We at last got to her house and shared some more time under the big moon before heading in for the night.

It was a good night, and a good trip to Flagstaff all together. Las Vegas was our destination the next day, part two of this stagecoachella road trip.

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