Subject: I'll Go First...A Phish roadtrip story by Noah
Author: Noah Wilderman
Date:   12/6/2008 2:19 am EDT
Why I Hate Nebraska / Why Plutonic Road Trips Suck

I like to affectionately call this story “Why I Hat Nebraska,” because the story that follows took place during my one and only trip through Nebraska. I admit upfront that Nebraska has been made a scapegoat for my lack of foresight. I apologize to all the Cornhuskers who braved the frigid conditions for Phish.

So, it was October of 1995 in Boulder, Colorado. In the early 90’s Boulder was the kind of town where people felt like they had all discovered and shared a secret. No small amount of that bond seemed to stem from a shared appreciation for quality live music. It was a beautiful, almost magical place for a college student to live. I was living in the area of town known as “The Hill,” with my roommates, Brett and Brad. Brad was an avid tape trader and aPhicionado extraordinaire. When tickets went on sale for a show in Nebraska, a mere 9 hours away, we jumped at the chance to see Phish in the 4,500-person capacity Pershing Auditorium at the University of Nebraska. At this point, Red Rocks, the Fox, and all of the days of badass ballroom live recording were fading. A Nebraska show with only 4,500 people was about as small as we could hope for.

Brad, our friends Sara, Kelly and myself all jumped into my beat up Jimmy and hit the road around 5am so we could watch the amazing Colorado sunrise. If memory serves me right we listened to the Dead at the P.N.E. Coliseum in Vancouver (6.22.73) getting all choked up as one of the most fantastic “Here Comes Sunshine’s,” actually met the burning sunrise. It was either that a 1968-1971 Pink Floyd recording with babies screaming. Other than an amazing stash that Brad had saved for the trip and many unsuccessful attempts to enjoy it through his Chillum (how the hell do you spell that anyway?) the trip to the University of Nebraska was mostly uneventful.

When we arrived, ready to suck balloons, eat burritos – whatever came our way; I couldn’t help but notice that I recognized an alarming amount of people. After several hours of wandering, beating drums and getting pumped up for the shows, I could have sworn I recognized half of the people at the show. I later found out that it was estimated that over 1,500 people in attendance had road-tripped from Boulder that morning.

The show was a blur (as usual) but I do remember the acoustics being great for a big room, and Trey teased some Michael Jackson and Halloween stuff, which was 10 days later. We left the shows with big smiles on our faces, ready to jam out to some Phish shows in the car (which sounded better than the actual show). It’s worth noting that I had tricked out my Jimmy’s stereo with a new head unit, 4 speakers and an amp/crossover and bass tube. Since I was from Maryland and often found myself driving from the East Coast to Boulder, before making the trip back to Colorado in August I decided that a killer stereo was crucial. Consequently, driving through the mountains was pretty kick ass. But I digress…

This is where the real shit began. Up to this point we hadn’t really felt the bite of the cold Nebraska day, but that night was unforgettable. We danced and made merry at the show, but when the buzz wore off and the sun went down we found ourselves about eight hours from home, trying to ride our adrenaline back to Boulder. With no cell phones, hotel reservations, or any real plan to stop for the night or money to do so even if we had the accommodations, we found ourselves at the point of exhaustion with about seven hours of driving to go. My car was stick, and I don’t think anyone besides Sara could drive it. And she was passed out already. Anyway, I was always more of a Cassidy – I HAVE to drive.

We settled for plan B. We pulled over in the parking lot of a roadside motel that time forgot. Now, the back seat of Jimmy came down which left plenty of room in the back to stretch out. Sara and Kelly, being women which either A) Made them much more practical and therefore remember sleeping bags, or B) Made Brad feel guilty and thus giving up his sleeping bag; the girls ended up snug as bugs curled up in down sleeping bags in the back. Neither Brad nor myself was romantically involved with the ladies (although Brad and Sara did later date). This is why plutonic road trips suck.

Sara and Kelly must have been asleep within 10 seconds of closing their eyes, but Brad and I remember a much different night. We both organically fell into the same routine that I imagine any person who is freezing to death would do. We started by covering our mouths with our shirts. Did I mention that neither of us seemed to have proper winter jackets with us despite the fact that we lived in Colorado? Next, I covered my head completely, trying to keep warm with the moist air on my chest. Then, I tucked my arms completely inside of my shirt and covered all openings except for a tiny air hole. I could hear Brad’s teeth chattering. At a certain point after what must have been hours, I was shaking uncontrollably, almost completely numb, and I painfully unwrapped my get-up and poked Brad. He was in a similar state. I remember saying something to the effect of, “We’re going to fucking freeze to death – I have to start the car.” We hadn’t stopped for gas before stopping and hadn’t turned the car on prior to this for fear of using our gas and then waking up freezing with no options. It must have taken another hour for Brad and I to regain the ability to function, but at around 5am we finally regained feeling in our hands and started driving again.

Having not slept at all in nearly two days and feeling like a de-thawed popsicle, I was ready to crash. Despite our foul moods, Brad and I couldn’t help but laugh as Sara and Kelly yawned and awoke like little princesses out of their cozy slumbers. We pretty much demanded that the girls take the front seat and relinquish the sleeping bags and luxurious back. The happily took over and let us have our way with the back seat. We went to town on that chillum and passed the fuck out. Only the girls know what we listened to the rest of the way home. Probably me snoring.

Sure it could have been any night in Colorado without a jacket. But it wasn’t. It was in Nebraska, and even Phish can’t make me go back.
Reply To This Message

 Topics Author  Date      
 I'll Go First...A Phish roadtrip story by Noah    
Noah Wilderman 12/6/2008 2:19 am EDT
 RE: I'll Go First...A Phish roadtrip story by Noah   new  
Kyle 1/6/2009 8:37 pm EDT
 RE: I'll Go First...A Phish roadtrip story by Noah   new  
Noah Wilderman 1/6/2009 11:32 pm EDT
 RE: I'll Go First...A Phish roadtrip story by Noah   new  
Noah Wilderman 1/6/2009 11:32 pm EDT
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