Sturgill Simpson in concert at the Paramount on November 4th. Who could say no to that? We hadn’t even finished packing up the house in Cocoa and we were already planning the road trip to Denver way back in May. (Evidently the goosebumps hadn’t gone away from the solo show in Madrid.) This would make our third Sturgill session if we actually made it to the big city. (There were serious doubts about dodging winter weather at the time this date landed on our calendar.) Well, the stars were aligned and the sailors shoved off… Denver or Bust!!
The trip to Denver from Cuba could have carried us in any number of ways. On this occasion, we had a compulsory stop in Durango on Thursday to meet the family for Terry’s birthday lunch at the historical Palace Hotel next to the railroad station. Filled to the brim with chicken n’ dumplings and happy smiles, we headed east towards I-25 via Hwy 160 to Walsenberg. Wolf Creek pass was clear and just amazing in the candy-coated light of sunset. Unfortunately, we blew by the little town of LaVeta in the dark, so we’ll have to go that way again.
The Palace Guard
We arrived to our beloved LaQuinta close to midnight where they always warmly welcome little pup Radar, and we crashed out hard after spending the last 12 hours on the road. Friday was all about catching Mark at the incredibly hip Union Station for lunch, and then settling in for some power-packed horns and time-tested twang delivered by Mr. Simpson and his accompaniment. The little-known but respectable duo known as The London Souls opened and delivered a wall of distortion that set the crowd up for what was to come.
The band was bright and the audience was loose. Sturgill came out to meet the roar and then struggled to clear his voice, commenting that the altitude was to blame. He put all he had into it while the band kept the momentum going. They played favorites from the past in the first part of the show and then transitioned to play A Sailor’s Guide to the Universe from start-to-finish in very fine form. Sturgill had to pitch one of his guitars along the way when it wouldn’t tune up for him to satisfaction, but he really set fire to the stage at the finale when he propped his axe on the mic stand and sent distorted vibrations out through the venue to soothe our bones. You can get a taste for this shellback’s take on life in this video at RollingStone.com, and follow all the chatter in the Facebook fan group.
Leaving Mark to his own devices on the light rail the next day, the trip back took Ben and I on the well-traveled and spectacularly scenic Hwy 285 South where we hit snow on top of Kenosha Pass. The clouds broke after that and gave us quite a vivid panorama to gaze upon out the window all the way through the South Park and Saguache valleys. We made it to Georgia O’Keefe’s Abiquiu as the sun dipped behind the hills, but the lake cast a shimmery wink at us as we drove by. Unfortunately, the rains had come earlier in the day and drenched Cuba before we made it into town. We decided not to chance the driveway and rented a room at the Frontier to treat ourselves to Saturday Night Live and one more hot shower.
Somewhere on the way to Abiquiu
The BEST view
It was a stunning drive, touching visit with family and friends, and sensational live performance, but we are extremely pleased to be back home at Sahalee in our cozy yurt. You can see our route here that took us through no less than 5 national forests… Have you visited any of these place before?