From Iowa to Nebraska to Colorado, Car Trouble!

It’s been quite the hectic week, filled with fun and travelling, and we are currently relaxing in a condo on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. But before you can be clued in about our tropical adventures for the next two weeks, a bit of a rewind is necessary:
We safely checked out of duplex last Wednesday, with our Buick Lesabre packed with our Colorado-bound possessions, and our items for Wisconsin left at the Hunab Ku house (thanks again gentlemen, cat, and dogs), most of which are stuffed into our awesome back-up car, a ’85 Buick Skyhawk. In theory we are selling that car, or giving it away, or something, but more on that in a bit. Many thanks to all who helped us move stuff out (particularly Nicole who bailed us out of a jam at the last minute), and we hope everyone who received our furniture and other possessions gets as much good use out of them as we did. After much running about Iowa City, wrapping up some procrastinated last details, we ate a quick meal at Guido’s Deli, which has all sorts of deliciously dank sandwiches, and began the drive to Omaha, NE with the members of Hunab Ku (Luke, Scott, Joe, Collin, & Derek — drums, guitar, guitar, percussion/keys, & bass respectively) to see their show at The Goofy Foot Lodge. The bar was somewhat odd, given that it had skateboards all over the walls (which explains the name), but it was still quite nice, and since “we knew the band” we pretty much got free drinks all night. Our friend Blake, whom Anderson played soccer with at Cornell, met us at the show, and the three of us had fun watching the band rock as hard as anyone can in Nebraska. Blake has just gotten married and bought a house, so we wish him the best on both those endeavors!
After the show we grabbed a hotel room, which we packed with all 7 of us, though the iced over air conditioner was less than desirable, though the discount the next morning evened things up pretty well…
The next morning, well, noon, we attempted to leave Omaha quickly, but were slowed by Collin’s lost wallet (hopefully relocated by now), and the fact our car briefly wouldn’t start, but that seemed to be a fluke key-reading problem…
So we ate lunch at King Kong outside of Lincoln, which is completely delicious — they serve cheap gyros, philly steak sandwiches, greek salads, as well as really huge burgers (the Super Kong contains 2 lbs. of beef). We stop there everytime we go through Nebraska now – its greasy good, and the cheesy gorilla theme adds to the charm.
And then the madness began:
Just outside of Lincoln our check engine light turned on, then started flashing, and then our car started pouring smoke out from the engine. We pulled over, and the undercarriage of the car was practically on fire. Fortunately, some Mid-West kindness saved us, as the first vehicle that drove by was someone on the way to pick up a car from the nearest mechanic, which was in Beaver Crossing, NE. Basically, our transmission was about to go, and because the car was so hot the transmission fluid line had clogged and reversed itself, spraying burning hot fluid all over the engine, which then dripped down onto the muffler. However, since we had all of our possessions in the car, and were on a bit of a time schedule, nevermind that that’s about $1200 to fix, we decided to hang out until the car had cooled and the sun had gone down (it was around 97 degrees – one more degree and we would have had to sing bad pop music…) and then keep driving and hope for the best. So we ended up relaxing at the town pool for an hour or so… nothing equals fun like hippies in a small town!
We fortunately made it to Colorado, but had to take the backroads the entire way, keeping our max speed at 60, in order not to overheat. But the backroads have one problem: hundreds of miles without any gas stations that are open 24 hours. So we ran out of gas in Colorado… fortunately the Hunab Ku van was right behind us, so they found gas relatively quickly, and we were able to coast into what must have been the only working gas station east of Denver on Highway 36. So instead of arriving at 9 or 10 pm as we had originally hoped, we limped in at about 5 am the next morning. Pretty awesome.
Friday, therefore, was pretty much a blur of sleep and unpacking, as well as a car switch, before we headed to Idaho Springs, CO to go a music festival called Katenation that Hunab Ku was playing. If you live in Iowa, it used to be called the 4-20 party and was held in Tipton, but this year, the 10th anniversary, was held outside Denver because one of the promoters moved out there. So Friday night we camped at about 9,000 feet, had a nice miniature drum circle, and enjoyed some New Belgium brews since the state of Iowa has yet to get on the Fat Tire bandwagon. None of us really knew what to expect from this party, since the other bands played “all sorts of music”, but that was really code for “metal, hardcore, and punk,” so we got to listen to some fabulous screaming (ick), but the land was pristine, situated in a mountain valley, and all the people there were really nice (despite their differing tastes in music), and there was about 15 kegs of Natural Light, which was great because you need to drink lots of water at high elevations. Luke, Collin, and Anderson all went swimming for a few seconds in the clear (and clearly freezing) mountain pond on the property, though it should be noted only Anderson had the balls for skinny-dipping. A few friends joined us: our old neighbor (from Iowa) Max, who made the drive from Iowa for the fest (since he’d been to the last 8 in Tipton, he figured it’d be lame to bail out on the Colorado rendition), and our good friend Caleb who lives in Colorado. It was great to see them both, and of course the Hunab Ku show rocked – they played a bit after 7, and though people seemed unable to dance, they were definitely deemed the most talented band there by, well, pretty much everyone there! They passed out all sorts of promo CDs, and Anderson video-taped the show while Liz took a bunch of still photos, so hopefully their journey to Colorado, part of their first ever multi-state “two-er,” will be the first of many more such ventures for them. The only downside to the whole day was that we were unable to camp a second night, because we had to drive back to Anderson’s parents’ house. But of course, as much as we hated bailing on our friends, they were all a bit jealous since we were headed to…


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