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Day 4

Day 4

...The sun slowly rises over the deserts of Arizona. The roadside vegetation turns from black abstract silhouettes to cacti and tumbleweed. DRIVER X and I are in the front seats of the van. Patrick and Brian are passed out in the back. I am approaching the 72 hour mark of having only 3 hours of sleep. The weather is turning from a pleasant windy warm to an uncomfortable stagnant hot.

2 hours outside of Phoenix we pull in to a rest stop. We all exit the van and take a break from being on the road. I sit on the curb and space out. 
The others scope out the rest area and take pictures. 
Brian reveals that something terrible is happening to his feet. He takes off his shoes and reveals that some of his toe nails have turned green. I can smell them from where I am sitting a few feet away.
The unfamiliar heat is pleasant to me at this point. We talk a little bit and eat some of the road snacks I had packed.

At this point DRIVER X has become concerned with the hurricane and is obsessively talking about needing to find Wi-Fi so we can check the weather situation. DRIVER X says that he is from Houston and has gone through a hurricane before. He relays a story about him sitting on his porch drinking beer when the hurricane hit and waiting for the eye of the storm to pass so he could go to the store and buy more beer. This is a story we are about to hear at least 50 more times over the next few days...

We pile back in the van and start heading towards Phoenix. Brian is from New Mexico and mentions that he has played the venue in phoenix (let’s call it “VENUE: LAME”) before and that it sucks major ass. We pull into Phoenix at about 11:00 am and locate VENUE: LAME.
There is no one there and the venue looks sketchy. There are no Uglyhead tour
posters on the door. All the booking was done through phone and the club has a
myspace site that they haven't logged in to since 2007. I find the phone number of
the club and call it. There is no answer but that is to be expected since it is early in 
the day.

Our situation: We are dying of thirst and are sweaty and tired in an unfamiliar place.
It looks as if VENUE: LAME has done absolutely no advertising for the show. We have no place to go and an entire day of hot, sweltering, sweaty misery ahead of ourselves. We decide to go to a Sonic to debate the situation. For those not familiar with Sonic, it is a drive up fast foot joint where you pull up to a menu in a parking spot, order food through an intercom and they bring it out to your vehicle.
There is also an outdoor eating area. People are not supposed to enter Sonic because they will just walk in to their kitchen.

I find a table and order a burger and a "blue coconut" slushy. The others order while DRIVER X wanders inside the Sonic and gets yelled at to get out. Instead of getting out he hounds the employees about having wi-fi. They have no idea what he is talking about and kick him out.

We stay at the Sonic for about 2 and a half hours sweating and stinking. I am tired, hot and irritated. Morale is low because the drives are mysteriously turning out to be longer than what was listed on the google maps directions and the shows have been lackluster. We know we have a place to stay in Albuquerque as well as a potentially awesome show with Diverje and Vertigo Venus. My phone is dead so I ask Brian to call the club again and leave a message. He leaves a message asking the club to call him so we can find out when we can load in so we can figure out what we are going to do to kill time in this miserable place all day.

I order another blue coconut slushy. DRIVER X wanders out to the road to find a somewhere that might have a wi-fi. Some more discussion is had and we conclude that the show is not worth playing and since we can't confirm it we should head on to Albuquerque. It is too hot and terrible to sit around all day waiting for a show that will suck.
The drive to Albuquerque is a sizeable one and I already know DRIVER X will not be happy about doing more driving as he has been constantly sighing and complaining about the lengthy drive times since hour 1 of this tour.

Once DRIVER X returns I tell him that we need to ditch the AZ show at CLUB:LAME and press on to New Mexico. Out of nowhere DRIVER X demands that we veer off course and go to the Grand Canyon. He breaks out a map and starts plotting a course. Sleepless insanity has taken hold. An hour long argument starts between me and DRIVER X about going to the Grand Canyon. DRIVER X is maniacally ranting about how “every American needs to see the Grand Canyon” and how we need to not only go there but take some crazy back forest road to get there. I make logical arguments on why we shouldn't go the grand canyon (I didn't budget gas for it, we want to get to NM as soon as we can, it will make the trip longer, we will still be worthy Americans if go see the grand canyon on another trip...) but I am not getting through. I just wanted to get the fuck out of Phoenix and I was having a really difficult time staying calm about the situation. My mind is reeling in only the way a sleepless brain could and all I want is for this lengthy argument to be over.
I eventually make a compromise with DRIVER X that we will drive through the petrified forest on the way to Albuquerque. DRIVER X had been obsessing about the Petrified Forest since we had gotten in to AZ. The forest appeared slightly out of the way but has a road that runs through it that connects to a freeway that we eventually need to be on.

Surely any normal human that just drove 20+ hours, has gotten little sleep and has only ingested power bars and clove cigarette smoke would pass out immediately if put in the backseat. So I plot to let DRIVER X pass out in the back and then drive right past the Petrified Forest to save time and gas. When he wakes up I can tell him that we drove through it and it was amazing.

Upon agreeing to go the Petrified Forest, DRIVER X informs us he has noticed the voltage meter on the dashboard shows that the battery is registering slightly low and he wants to work on the battery and get new bolts for the clamps that tighten the cables to the battery.

We stop at a gas station where DRIVER X crazily starts asking everyone around where an auto parts store is. He gets bunk directions from a person who doesn't speak English and then we start the hellish drive of DRIVER X obsessively trying to find this auto parts store. Wrong turn after wrong turn in a hellishly hot van.
Eventually we find one and we all sit in the blistering heat of a parking lot for about an hour while DRIVER X sweatily tinkers with his battery and eventually concludes that we can go. Brian somehow acquires a Mexican flag sticker from the auto-parts store and there is a small debate whether he paid for it or not…

I eventually get to take the wheel so DRIVER X can sleep and drive towards New Mexico.
We approach the Petrified Forest and on queue DRIVER X wakes up. I hope that he doesn't see the signs for the Petrified Forest but they keep coming and coming, sign after sign…
“PETRIFIED FOREST” in huge white letters over and over begging to catch DRIVER X’s eye.
I can feel his annoying excitement and expectation surging from the back seat.
I feel guilty about wanting to pass it and cringe as I pull off and make a 40 minute detour to get to the Petrified Forest. We go through a town that has strange decrepit, cartoonish dinosaur sculptures. The town depresses me and we get tailed by a cop as we pass through.
We drive down a long, flat, broken road through a long, flat, miserable landscape.
We eventually get to the Petrified Forest to see there is a barricade across the entrance that informs us that the forest is closed and that we will have to turn back the way we came.
I park the van to stretch my legs for a second.

DRIVER X is clearly upset and enters the gift shop in front of the gates and demands that we be let in the forest. After it is explained that the gift shop does not own the forest and the state does and we can't get in, DRIVER X begins the long and painful process of asking if there is any wi-fi when there is clearly none. The gift shop owner has no idea what he is talking about and he rudely and condescendingly explains.

We go back the way we came and lose about 2 hours of driving.

The roads are broken and the speed limit is high and I drive us all the way to
Albuquerque only able to stay awake by the intense anger I am feeling towards DRIVER X.
DRIVER X eventually falls back asleep after smoking about a half pack of clove cigarettes, letting out random sighs and intently complaining about anything that passes through his mind...

90 miles outside of Albuquerque (it is now about 10 pm) I pull off the freeway to go
to a Carl's Jr. at Brian’s request. When DRIVER X wakes up he is angry that we have gone to Carl’s Jr. and vocally protests us stopping for food. I shrug off his rude comments and order some food. DRIVER X orders some fries then eats a power bar and smokes clove cigarettes outside as the rest of us dine inside.

We continue the drive and DRIVER X informs us that he has a sister who stole $375,000 from him that lives in Albuquerque and he hasn't talked to her in 10 years. He informs us that he would like to pay her a visit tomorrow. I am excited because this means a little bit of time without DRIVER X.

We eventually get in to Albuquerque and locate where we will be staying (Brian's friends’ house). We unload and the option is presented that we can either go to sleep or go party with some of Brian's friend. I see the opportunity to wrangle up some people to go to the show so I opt to party even though I am still running off the 3 hours of sleep I got in SF.

Once we arrive at the place of the party I can barely stand. I go and sit by myself on the patio and have a beverage. I am eventually joined by Patrick who seems to be in surprisingly good spirits. I talk to Patrick a little bit about DRIVER X’s problem with him going up hills in the van and we are shortly joined by DRIVER X who is now drunk.

DRIVER X starts telling Patrick that he is a bad driver and starts referring to the incident in Los Angeles where Patrick told DRIVER X to give him the keys to the van because he was drunk.
Patrick calmly explains that he was just trying to inform DRIVER X that he could continue drinking because Patrick would stay sober to drive. DRIVER X does not understand this even though Patrick explains it to him several times and DRIVER X starts crazily yelling things like "You are not going to tell me what to do with my van!!!" and other slurry drunken offensive statements to Patrick while sucking down more clove cigarettes.

Things have just started to get bad.

Patrick expresses frustration towards DRIVER X but remains calm. We eventually leave the party and DRIVER X is still going on about how bad Patrick is at driving the van, his sister, the hurricane and the importance of finding wi-fi.

I finally get to shower and sleep for about 7 hours. Things are tense and
weird. I sleep on the floor and let everyone else have couches in hopes they all
get a good night’s sleep and will wake up the morning feeling more reasonable and
sane. CLUB: LAME never returned our call so I deem that we made the right decision about skipping out on Phoenix. I plant my stinky carcass in my sleeping bag and use my suitcase as a pillow.

Day 5

to be continued...

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