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Chapter 32 - ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

We knew we still had a long drive ahead of us so we all agreed it would be best to leave Grand Junction fairly early. We had a concert in Denver that evening and getting there would require another long twisting ride through the mountains in the land yacht, this time over the Rocky Mountains, through the ski resort of Vail and then down the other side to the "Mile High City" of Denver.

Our early departure from Grand Junction turned out to be a wise decision indeed. Do you remember road rule #10, which states; "The less time you have the more time it will take"? Well, we were just about one hour outside of Grand Junction when Roadzilla attacked us once again. Jeff jumped on the CB radio and found out a large tanker truck had overturned about half a mile ahead of us and both lanes were entirely blocked. And they would remain blocked until the tanker truck was removed, which a friendly highway patrolman informed us would take approximately forty-five minutes to an hour. That was the bad news. The good news was that we were on a land yacht with plenty of food, drinks and satellite TV and the bar was open. As you can see, we eventually learned to take those Roadzilla events in stride.

After a short period of time, our interstate parking lot had become an impromptu social gathering as people got out of their cars to take in the scenery and actually talk to each other. Amazing! In fact, at one point a guy jumped out of his convertible with an acoustic guitar and proceeded to give anyone nearby a free concert. Of course, the land yacht started to draw as much attention as an elephant standing in your living room. We were like a giant in a sea of automotive dwarves, like Gulliver among the Lilliputians. And it wasn't long before a few folks started to wonder who was on board, so we all got out and joined in the festivities of the first annual "Grand Junction Interstate Fiesta." After all, what else were we going to do?

Well, it wasn't long before they had cleared the obstruction and we were all back on the bus and rolling down the highway. As usual, I was strapped into The Chair with plenty of drinks and snacks and I was ready to sit back and enjoy the ride through some beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery. And believe me, it was nothing short of spectacular.

We were wonderfully distracted for quite a few hours as we rolled through the beauty of the Rockies. But as we descended into the valley and got closer to Denver, a reality started to creep back into our minds that couldn't be avoided. There were only two more gigs and then the tour was over. Nobody was really talking about it but I could tell from the unusual silence on board the bus that we were all thinking about it in some way.

Our show in Denver was at the Paramount Theatre, another one of those grand old theatres from a bygone era. And of course, it was sold out and filled to capacity with Dan fans that had been waiting a long, long time for the tour to finally come around to the Denver area. They let us know it as soon as the lights went up and we started playing "Part of the Plan." These people were there to have a good time and we were more than anxious to give them one.

It was a great high-energy show that night but maybe it just seemed more significant to me because it was one of our last concerts together as a band and I was intent on savoring every musical moment. We had become so tight since our first gigs on the east coast and it seemed like such a shame to know that it would all disappear in a few days and become memories, just another wonderful chapter in the "Big Book of Roadzilla." We were like a championship team that's reached the end of a great season. I was finishing the last few drops of a wonderful vintage wine.

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