Smile Politely

Tour Diaries: You & Yourn and western roadblocks

Photo taken by Jack Emerson Garland at Everyday Joe’s in Ft. Collins, Colo.

Our most recent tour started out much like any other, with a healthy dose of optimism about the days ahead. We kicked things off with four great shows two in Nebraska, and two in Colorado. A particular highlight was our show at the Clawfoot House in Lincoln, Neb. Home of Ember Schrag and Bryan Day, the Clawfoot is one of our favorite venues in the U.S. The atmosphere is a perfect combination of relaxed yet organized, welcoming and friendly yet professional. This time through we got to meet Ember’s two-year-old daughter. She showed off some awesome dance moves to Diamond Kazzoo’s opening set of old timey bluegrass tunes. I wish we had video.

Colorado was enjoyable. We played in Greeley and Ft. Collins, and then spent a couple days hanging out with friends around Easter. Our stay in Colorado even included a trip to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. When Tuesday morning arrived, we joked about the desolate drive through Wyoming that was in store. Nic even updated his facebook page that morning with, “Preparing for the views of desolation: I-80 through WY, and a jog to the north on a few lesser roads.” Our experiences driving through Wyoming have been something like this: dry, hot, barren land where nothing can grow and no one wants to live. But a few hours later, Nic’s status read, “Nevermind desolation. Just hit a blizzard. I-80’s closed. Shoot.”

They literally blocked off the interstate with gates and police cars, prohibiting any travel down I-80. So at 10:30 a.m., we were forced to exit to the Flying J truck stop. We scored a booth and hung out for awhile, expecting the roads to reopen momentarily. After about seven hours, we began to lose hope, but at that point, all the hotels in nearby Rawlins were booked, so we spent the night in our van next to hundreds (maybe thousands) of other weary travelers. Eventually, a little community formed at the Flying J.

Heather met a couple who were moving back to Washington state. They were riding in a small, crowded truck, with furniture (including their bed) in the back. They were anticipating an uncomfortable night’s sleep and the purchase of a new mattress, as theirs had been soaked by the snow. Around the 24th hour, a guy in the car next to us pulled out his guitar and started jamming in the snow. Soon enough, Nic had his guitar out as well, playing songs for a random truck driver. Everyone was bored and delirious, and things started to feel like a strange festival. Finally, at hour 26, we were back on I-80.

At this point, we had missed our show in Logan, Utah, and it was questionable whether or not we could make it to Boise in time. We rushed along, making few stops, and were able to play our show in Boise on Wednesday night. Following the show, we treated ourselves to a motel, as we were desperately in need of a good night’s rest. Our heads hit the pillows a little after 2 a.m., and we didn’t hear anything at all until the room phone started ringing frantically about four hours later. “Hello,” Nic says groggily. “Sir,” the front desk clerk says, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but it appears your car has been broken into.”

It was true. Sometime between 2 and 6 a.m., someone busted out our passenger side window and grabbed everything within reach, including lots of electronics (GPS, iPod, nice cameras, etc.) and a suitcase full of You & Yourn merch. (Sorry to those of you who signed up on our mailing list in Nebraska and Colorado. That list was stolen before we could enter your email addresses.) The good news is that no instruments were taken and Sadie (our dog) was not in the van. Of course, we did what any person would talked to police officers and insurance companies, waited for a glass repair person to come fix our window, called our moms, and then pulled it together and drove on to Oregon.

As Nic was settling up with the man who fixed our window, the glass man asked what we were doing in Boise. Nic explained that we were musicians. Then in an honest Idaho kind of way, the man looked Nic in the eye and said, “Huh. How’s that workin’ out for ya?”

See more photos on You & Yourn’s website. They’re back on the road as of this morning and heading Northeast this time. Here’s hoping this leg is less problematic.

More Articles