From Orange to Red: Leaving the Tangerine Traveler Behind

The Tangerine Traveler was a ticking time bomb.

We had just left Illinois, and we were on the road to Denver, CO. Everything was going great, no leaking, no more shattered windows, and no more overheating. We were on our merry way to Denver, and that was the set plan, until we were about two hours outside the pot-friendly city.

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Kayleen, waterproofing the camper.

Nearing one of our most anticipated stops, Denver, we abruptly changed the route. Kayleen came up with a new plan: Go to the Promise of the Real concert in Huntsville, Utah, then party on Willie Nelson’s tour bus with the band. She had previously met a few of the band members, so we had an in! This trip we were just winging it, so that seemed like a pretty good plan to us.

We changed the route; instead of shortly arriving in Denver, we were now in for the long haul. Huntsville was about nine and a half hours further, and we had to drive through the entire southern part of Wyoming.

Although we’d have to drive a little further, it didn’t seem like much more, in the grand scheme of things. We were ready to go, excited to see Wyoming, and pumped to listen to Promise of the Real in Utah!

A few hours later, we were not so excited. I should have listened to my brother, Cian, when he texted me, “Wyoming is a flyover state.” If only I trusted Cian’s eighteen year old wisdom.
The southern part of Wyoming is pretty desolate, offering little more than high winds and tumbleweeds. Gas stations are scattered few and far between, which left us running on empty a couple of times. Aside from the gas scares, we were golden, well, so we thought.

The winds started to pick up, and the camper seemed to be struggling. It began overheating again, and this time it was not going to stop. Anticipating the worst, we pulled over at the Continental Divide in Wyoming, to get some coverage from the treacherous winds.

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The freshly painted Tangerine Traveler.

Taking the exit, we made it down the ramp, then slowed down, pulling closer to the stop sign off the exit. Slowing down, the camper stalled and quit.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, fucking mother fucker,” were the exact words that flooded out of my mouth in the moment. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere, about two thousand miles away from home.

Kayleen hopped out of the camper, immediately addressing the issue. She lifted the hood up, and began probing the engine. Brad and I don’t know shit about cars, but we tried to help, offering any skills that might suffice.

After about 20 minutes, to our disbelief, Kayleen got that damn camper started again. Hooray!

We were back on the road, but the initial breakdown turned into a reoccurring pattern, which continued until we arrived in Eden, Utah.

Eden, is a beautiful little country town, filled with wonderful people, located near the Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville. You may have heard of the Snowbasin before, where the skiing/snowboarding games were held in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Well, this lovely little place was going to be our home for the next couple of days because the camper refused to start this time.

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Walking through the field of Eden.

Broken down, in a Wells Fargo parking lot, right next to a Maverick gas station, we were pissed, and now going to miss the concert we drove all the way here for.

After spending all day working on the thing, with no luck, we saw a silver lining. A wonderful local, working in the Maverick station, came to us asking if we needed any assistance, kindly offering to take us up the mountain to the Snowbasin concert. We took him up on his offer, leaving the camper with all of our stuff in the Wells Fargo parking lot.

The concert was just fine and dandy, a breath of fresh air in the midst of this shit show, but we were quickly dragged back down to reality at the end of the concert.

Excitedly anticipating meeting up with the members of Promise of the Real, we waited around the venue while everyone else rushed to exit the parking lot. About fifteen minutes went by and we asked Kayleen, “when are we going to meet up with them?” She said soon, so we waited patiently. The time passed slowly as the sun set, and the night grew colder. Everyone was leaving, and we were still there. Thirty minutes went by, the lights were turned off, it had started raining, and we were still there. The people working the event began exiting the venue, and we were still there.

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Driving down from the Snowbasin.

Alright, enough of this bullshit. We had clearly been stood up, and I was not going to wait around for these assholes any longer. Brad called a taxi, which we had to wait another forty minutes for, and we couldn’t have been any happier the moment it arrived.

It brought us back to Wells Fargo, and we all sat there, pissed off and cold, waiting to see what tomorrow would bring us. This was the farthest thing from fun, and I had had it. Groggy, I got up to go to bed, and that’s when I heard that drip, drip, drip. . . The water was flooding in again, and I wished I hadn’t turned back to see. All that fucking waterproofing we had done in Illinois was clearly pointless. That was the final straw.

We flew home the next afternoon, grabbed the red rocket (my Chevy Sonic), and drove to Denver the morning after that.

 

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