The Westward Front: Flowing Forward
30 Sep 2011

The Author

Profile photo of Jessica Dugan
>>>Dream Chaser Activist * Live Music Enthusiast * Cannabis Industry Expert *Sparkle Spreader * Mindfulness Teacher * Yogi Artist with a Mermaid Soul <<<



What was supposed to be a 44 hour trip to Colorado and back is turning out to be the expedition of a lifetime. About four weeks ago, today, a friend of mine insisted that I be present for this year’s STS9 run at Red Rocks. I had been chasing this experience for almost three years now and agreed, with this positive encouragement, that the time was now. With the agreement on lock I booked a flight, packed my glitter, and found myself adventuring west for what has become a thrill for the year.

Everyone knows that Colorado is a special place: its clean, fresh air says free with everyexhale and the state’s infinite mountains surrounding you on every side all scream independence. Our presence in this beauty of a land was so powerful that my friend Harry and I could only make sense of renting a 2011, red Camero convertible, for our weekend trip. Top laid back and our beat down low we pedaled to the metal like Bonnie and Clyde blasting Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” from Denver to Boulder.

Boulder is beautiful and the people, both looks and personality, are even more gorgeous! To be transferred from a classy place like Charleston, SC and implanted in an intellectually cool atmosphere like Boulder, CO instantly had me drooling over the hippie babes available at my every angle. A pleasant stroll down the ever popular Pearl Street and one artichoke chicken sandwich devoured, I found myself on Grove Circle fancying over the adorable architecture that each residency hosts. Each home has its own individual style with an elegant mountain influence comfy for whomever lives under their roofs. We traveled across the street from the laid back neighbor hood and I introduced Harry to Naropa University, a nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education.  Smiles were exchanged as we walked softly through this enlightened facility and back to our hot rod, it was four o’clock already and Morrison, CO was about to pop off.

One pit stop in Denver and a few PBRs later, there I was, pulling into the lower south lot at Red Rocks bumping “Notorious Thugs”. As I stepped out of the car I blinked my eyes a few times to make sure this wasn’t just the best dream ever. As I verified the truth I was living, intense energy struck like a match in my heart and all things were cosmic. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was completely overwhelmed at firs; rock canyons, delicious edibles, sexy mamas, luscious beats, and eye candy created my reality- and that is just a minimal list, my friends. It took a minute for me to catch my breath, rage lot appropriately, and mingle my way up the stairway to heaven, I mean Tribe at Red Rocks. Unfortunately the line getting in was absolutely painful. In fact, I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the claustrophobic fuck before the long hour passed and it didn’t matter anymore because Snoop Dogg was performing “Still Dre” and my timbs were rolled like a gangster.

In my opinion the D. O. double G. was better than Tribe on Friday night because I’m a thug for life and pop lock and dropping it to “Jump Around,”  “Gin and Juice,”  “Fuck You,” and “Who Am I” parallels my swag perfectly. Ain’t nothing but a G -thang baby! As I accepted the mood of Friday night’s Tribe sets and was not enthused at all, I used what little energy  I had to mingle and dance through “Circus,” and an encore of “This, Us,”> into “Monkey Music”. The encores were better then the rest of the night but totally left me hanging on a cliff.

Although Tribe didn’t do anything for me on Friday, I knew that I was at one of the craziest parties in the world and they had to, without a doubt, throw it the fuck down the next night.

So Saturday arrived and, there I was, night two in the madness of the lot raging in a heavenly chaos complete with bus loads of Tribe kids out of their minds dancing on top of their rides. The energy was even better than the night before and I made it a point to get in before the anxiety of the line heightened. Saturday night fulfilled every expectation I ever had for STS9 at Red Rocks. Savoy opened and that shit was fire in my opinion. Forgive me to all who were disgusted with their performance: you guys can blame it on the lasers and my new exposure to the amphitheater’s gnarly orgasmic bass.

The entire night was perfect and all I could really see was glitter, glitter everywhere. Costumed as an emerald mermaid I swam around the Sound Tribe and got charismatic with my mates. Our posse was thick in row 25 and our collective made it more than extreme for the Nine Inch Nails opener 9 melted our faces with. “Moonsocket” and “Rabble” glorified my existence but “Abcees” had me thinking Sound Tribe could make murder look sexy. Cuz killing it, they were. Set two was just as delicious as set one and embarked an important pilgrimage: that I currently find myself driving cross-country on. ‘Wut is Luv?” kicked off the mouthwatering jamtronic fix intoW, Atlas, Shock Doctrine, New New 4 U U, Wika Chikana, 20-12 > Inspire Strikes Back, The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature. At points of the show I thought I could potentially fall down the mountain because both the incline and gravity were defying me.

Throughout the night my hand grasped tightly around a powerfully charged aragonite symbolizing my non-return to South Carolina – bold, edgy and cool. I had a westward calling and a safe and friendly ride to go with it. That moment, as “Baraka” was encoring, tears of freedom warmed my chilly cheeks.  As I zoned out into lush colors stroked by some of our world’s most talented live painters, I found myself letting go and moving forward into an unknown flow that fit like the missing puzzle piece to my stream.

My flight boarded at 6:40 am on 9/11/2011 and I was getting comfortable with some of the coolest cats in a dope hotel. I was a new addition to room 406 at the Residence Inn and everyone was curious about my arrival with similar stories to share. Sleep I did not get here, but faith I did. The friendly characters available in the room verified my decision to skip my flight and not question any of my traveling thoughts. By the time sun rays began beaming brightly through our blinds it was time to move on.

Delirious, but calm, my chauffeur in crime, only because I can’t drive stick, brought me to a delightful town called Nederland, CO. We were exhausted so we slept on a mountain beside a lake until we got in touch with Eric’s awesomely cool friend Mike Devine who housed us with his beautiful girlfriend Willow for three comfortable nights.  We caught up with the generous duo at the First Street Pub and Grill in Nederland and feasted on mouthwatering meals not to be forgotten quickly. With our bellies full we made our way up the rocky incline, where oxygen is limited for a southeastern girl like me and tucked our tired souls in bed. By morning we were out and about exploring the town where the local bars here, call “Ladies Night,” “Goddess Night” and according to our host Mike, every night in Nederland is “Goddess Night”.

The town itself is very small with a population of about 1500 people. Every shop in town has its own presence about it. My favorite store in particular was lima bean green with purple wooden accents along its edges. Nederland was the place to be and we even bumped into Eric’s pre-established friends who are also journeying west, boosting our company to a two car Caravan through Utah and up to San Francisco. Together in Nederland we enjoyed Himalayan food, Hawaiian ice cream, vinyasa yoga, and a few astrological books. We then made moves to Denver, our city of departure for the epic expedition the five of us have in front of us.

In the next month, I will be reporting to you, from the road, my adventure and the wonderful things I come in contact with. I am so utterly confident in this mission and although this voyage was completely unplanned and drives aimlessly at times, I know in my heart that this is it and my time is now. With that being said please join me and read along with my trip, find inspiration in the flow, and please don’t ever ignore your SOUL.


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