Oh my gracious. Time absolutely flies. It is now November, and I finally getting to posting something I wrote back in July.
Why am I even bothering to post this?
I’m posting it for me, more than anything. I want to be able to look back on these blog posts of mine when I’m older and smile at the insanity. I want my future kids to say that they don’t believe we drove to Wyoming in a 1990 pop-up camper, and I want to say, “Yep and I got the proof right here.”
Jessie Goes West
I still can’t believe we did it. Bradley, “Country Boy” Cam, and I crammed in a car and made our way from Nashville to Wyoming and back in four days. We played two shows - one in Lincoln, Nebraska, and another in Centennial, Wyoming. We brought Choo-Choo, our 1990 Coleman popup camper, a cooler full of snacks, and a wide open mind. None of us had ever seen Nebraska or Wyoming, nor have Bradley and I have ever been able to bring a third player along with us on a tour (hooray, growth!).
Each day of this trip, we had to put serious miles in. There wasn’t a day that we weren’t in the car for 8 hours or more. Bradley drove every mile, and Cam and Bradley set up the camper and tore it down every day. Even though we were “roughing it” on this trip, I felt quite a bit spoiled.
The first part of our trip was getting to Lincoln, NE. We got there in two days, staying at campgrounds at night. In the past, the campgrounds Bradley and I have stayed in have been good (enough). The campgrounds on this trip however… the spiders had far more fun than us. Wads of hair in the drains, rusted, cold steel clouded in soap scum, and a citrusy mold smell that soaked into our clothes. I was fantasizing about soap-on-a-rope. Inversely, the weather was so cool and lovely, I slept like a baby. We also found a great marina with stunning lake views, awesome boats, and a little hamburger shop.
Our first show was at a cafe/bar called Mo Java Cafe in Lincoln, NE. We invited a young artist from the area named Grace Titus to join us, and we had an absolute blast. It was the most gracious and attentive crowd, and they have already found me a myriad of new places to play in the area. Since this show, I’ve also had the privilege of teaching her some voice lessons over Skype.
After the show, we hit the road for Wyoming. Because I didn’t pay attention in geography class, I didn’t realize that we were headed for The Rockies. When we got to the small town of Centennial, all of our jaws dropped. It was so beautiful, we couldn’t even believe it! This little town of 270 looked like a Swiss village. Situated on a mountain, there was a small ascending hill filled with homes, 2 cozy locally-owned hotels, and a smattering of wild west-looking watering holes. One of the hotels - the Mountainview Hotel and Cafe - puts on a music festival every year called “Elevation Celebration,” and that is what we played. The night before the festival, the owners of the hotel sent us on a Rocky Mountain excursion. It was absolutely breathtaking. It was so meaningful, I took a few rocks as souvenirs. Here are some photos of what we saw.
After we played our set at Elevation Celebration, we got to talk to so many wonderful people, including a man who was friends with one of my idols, Janis Joplin. I felt so much support from the wonderful people who came to the festival. We sold lots of CDs and even had people handling our merch table for us. That another level of fancy this swampy girl ain’t used to. (Yet.) \
The Historic Mountain View Hotel is something not to be missed. We love the owners, and if you’re looking to escape from everything, I can think of no better place than there! We will actually be coming back next year and we already CAN’T WAIT! Check the website and Facebook page for updates on it.
As soon as we could, we hit the road again for the next campsite. We arrived around 10pm and quietly set up camp in the dark (not my favorite thing to do, if you can imagine). Much better bathrooms this time. (If you want to see some behind-the-scenes videos of this stuff, Follow me on Instagram and click on the Highlight called “Road Diaries.”) The next morning, we woke up early and hit the road, only to accidentally run over something and lose tread on one of our tires.
We thought we were in the clear. After 14 hours in the car and the sun had long gone,
Another tire popped.
It didn’t just pop. It shredded.
We were in the middle of nowhere, KY. We had to pray our way to the shoulder, and then to the exit, riding the bad tire on the grass with hopes it wouldn’t ruin the rest of the tire.
By the way, I have no pictures of this. I was too busy crying. Ha. It’s kind of funny now. Kind of.
Because Bradley and Cam are some well-trained “country boys,” we were able to find an empty parking lot, drop the camper off with a note, and get back on the road without too much damage.
The next morning, Bradley woke up at the crack of dawn, and he drove back to Kentucky, got the necessary parts, fixed the camper, and brought it back home, all before he had to go to his “day job.”
Like, how in the heck does he do it.
I am forever indebted to both Bradley and Cam for this tour. We have learned to take an airplane to Wyoming next time, or at the very least, use a newer-than-1990-model camper!
Thanks for reading this, I can’t wait to share more fun adventures with you!
I’m writing this as we are in the car for our last but longest drive day of the trip - 14 hours! I can’t imagine how much Cam is missing his wife and little baby girl. We have had an incredible trip, and we are ready to come home.
I am also excited to come home because I have an exciting week of working with a band from Florida who are coming up to write with me. I haven’t talked a lot about this publicly yet, but I have discovered I have a gift for helping other music artists find their “sound” - guiding them to and through the songs that are right for them. It is a very soul-filling endeavor for me.
This coming Friday, we head to play a show in Ft Walton Beach, Florida at Green Door Music Hall. Be sure to check my concert calendar and join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for lots of behind-the-scenes shenanigans and concert information.
Thank you so much for your support. Your engagement with me and words of encouragement are deeply cherished!