Boulder, CO – “HOME” – June 17, 1999

We finally made it through Kansas.

I’m sure I speak for all 1-70 cross-country drivers when I propose Kansas divide herself up into two halves, east, and west, just so she doesn’t seem so damn long to drive across. Alternatively, she could grow some small hills so that an innocent driver doesn’t have to see all 600 naked miles of her at the same time.

Kenny snored, the radio crackled between stations, I took the pre-dawn shift and burnt through Missouri at 85 MPH. I like the road first thing in the morning—no squinting, no traffic, just the sun rising in the rearview mirror and a cocoa coffee in my lap.

It wasn’t hard getting to Boulder ahead of schedule. In fact, what we’d approximated to be a 13-hour drive minimum, turned out to be more like 11.5 and the sun was just melting over the flat irons when we topped what we’ve come to call Boulder Turnpike’s “Home Base Hill.” It’s a crest over which the town of Boulder spreads itself like a smooth layer of peanut butter under the razor-sharp knife of the Flatirons. Driving over it feels like diving into a warm pool of sweet familiar memories. “Home Base Hill“ signifies the end of a tour and boy, was it a sight for sore eyes.

But the longest drive of a tour isn’t the overnight one from Baltimore to Pitsburg or even the flat endless one through naked, windy Kansas. The longest drive of a tour takes place once you’re already back in town but need to drop each player off before getting to your own doorstep.

First off the road is always Kenny who lives in Broomfield, a Boulder suburb. We unload his bass amp, hug his wife and daughter hello, and hurridly bid Kenny goodbye. Leaving him feels as unnatural as saying farewell to my left arm and yet, the pull of my bed is so strong I rush the act and hop back into the van, tighten the reins, and spur our white steed on. Next off the road is Brian with his drum kit which suddenly feels unreasonably large and has way too many pieces.

Brian likes a long goodbye with logistics about rehearsals and next gigs which could have been discussed at any time during the last 24 hours!!!!

Finally, we drop Soucy off at his house. He almost forgets his guitar he’s running so fast to his front door. The anticipation increases with every goodbye at every home that’s not yours until the van is suddenly wayyyyyy too empty, and it’s just you and Delucchi in a deafeningly quiet white whale of a van called “Moby.” I’m the 4th to be dropped off and boy, isn’t it nice to be home again…. Then again, the road is a nice home too.

Reader interactions

2 Replies to “Boulder, CO – “HOME” – June 17, 1999”

  1. Sally!

    Such great imagery here – starting with the pleas to make I70 through Kansas more interesting!! Did you note the billboards for “worlds largest ball of string” and “worlds biggest groundhog”? Those are always highlights!

    I know *exactly* that view where Boulder is like butter spread by the knives of the flatirons! Gorgeous! I think the postcard you posted is from the early 1950s, when my parents were both students there! My dad remembers sliding down the flatirons on his bum!

    Your posts on Colorado always make me homesick. ❤️

    1. Thanks Cindy,
      It’s so cool that you have first hand knowledge of all these places in Boulder. I miss it there too. Those really were the best days of my life.

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