Days 18-20 Denver, Blackhawk, Arvada

Days 18-20 Denver, Blackhawk, Arvada 

We were somewhere between Cedar Rapids and Goodland when I realized that in the hectic nature of our departure, I hadn’t changed the oil in the Subaru. We forgot a lot of shit. I generally get a little extra life out of the synthetic oil I use, but we were pushing it, and I knew it.  

Getting your oil changed without an appointment in Goodland, Kansas proved to be impossible. “We’ll get it changed in Denver. No big deal,” I told myself and my family. Well, get the oil changed in Denver is exactly what we did after we got a low oil alert on our dash in late afternoon, I-70 Denver traffic.  

Oddly enough, we would have hometown ties with the manager of the oil change shop we pulled into in Arvada.  We had a nice chat about life back home while the crew prepped our car to get back on the road.  We said our goodbyes with fresh oil in the pan and headed out for our next adventure.   

We arranged to pop up at Mountain Star Studio near Blackhawk, CO which is an hour west of Denver. The original plan was to stay a little closer at a rainbow trout farm in Pine, CO, but after reading some pretty shitty reviews and just a lingering bad feeling about the place, we opted to visit our friend Kip at the studio.  

After a quick pop up, we got ready to head out for our first show at Red Rocks. This was a bucket list venue for me, and when I saw Bobby was playing while we were in town, I had no choice but to pull the trigger. What an amazing venue, and to hear the music of the Grateful Dead in it for my first time there was something special. August was having a blast singing along and dancing, and I could not imagine a more perfect family experience. 

The next day was scheduled for me to get tattooed by one of my favorite tattoo artists, Ready Freddie. I met Freddie years ago at dba in New Orleans before drunkenly making a tattoo appointment with him for the following day. He was holding down a guest chair at Downtown Tattoos. I was stunned by his rendition of an old Sailor Jerry gypsy woman design that I liked, and the gamble of randomly agreeing to let a stranger tattoo me paid off. It quickly became my favorite tattoo, so needless to say, I was pretty excited to get back in his chair.  

The five hour session went by painlessly as we talked and laughed about our lives and families. It was awkward saying goodbye as I felt we could’ve continued to talk for hours, but after all, I was there to get a tattoo and he was finished giving it to me. The best part about this tattoo is that Maggie gifted it to me. She had been giving me gift cards for it over the last year.  

Thrilled with my new tattoo, Maggie, August, & I capped off the day with some delicious Indian food, a trip to the bookstore, and a stop at a dispensary before heading back to camp. August and I threw the baseball back at Mountain Star while Maggie watched, relaxed, in her camp chair. When it got too dark to see the ball, we decided it was too dark to keep our eyes open.  

What I failed to mention about our magical evening at Red Rocks is that when we were there for Bobby, we saw an advertisement that the Revivalists would be playing there on our third night in the area. We hit up a friend in the band, and after a couple of text messages, it was decided that we’d be going back to Red Rocks for our second show in three days.  

It’s impossible for me to express the feelings of love and joy that we shared with each other at these concerts at Red Rocks, but it’s important to understand that the energy here was like a catapult to a higher place, a place where only love, and laughter, and music exist.  

Our friend from the Revivalists brought us backstage after the concert to say hi to the band and give us a little tour of the facility before ending our night. At this point, the overstimulation is kicking in. We are riding high. Too high.  

More tales to come about a crawfish boil in Boulder, a crash in Carbondale, and meeting up with some good friends and playing some music in a box canyon.  

Until then, remember our friend Spencer Bohren, and be good to yourselves and each other.  

Peace, 

Mike

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