2,360 Miles to SnowGlobe Music Festival
SnowGlobe Music Festival is one of the best festivals out there, but for one it is special in another way. This is the true story of possibly the most ridiculous, sideways, road trip en route to South Lake Tahoe, California 2015.
December 28th, 2015 – 4:00 AM
The story begins at my parents house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania three days after Christmas. It’s 4:00 in the morning, all my bags are packed and we’re en route to the airport so I can catch my flight to Colorado. With the holidays over, the excitement for SnowGlobe was increasing as each hour passed. Just like any other flight, we boarded with no issues and enjoyed a smooth take off towards O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Landing shortly after, the crew prepared for the layover before we turned around and headed to Denver. But, during the one hour break that we were grounded a massive rain/ice storm to hit, ruining everything.
After sitting and watching planes on the runway return to their terminals, our plane also returned to the gate and we were asked to exit the aircraft. Rumors of the weather breaking kept travelers filled with false hope. Six hours later, O’Hare airport canceled all outgoing flights for the rest of the evening. Emotions quickly turned to anger as travelers came to the realization that they were going nowhere fast. Being stuck in Chicago during any other circumstance would have been awesome, but not when your flight to SnowGlobe leaves out of Denver in less than 24 hours. Wait times to speak with a customer service representative had increased into hour long waits for a face to face. Witnessing grown men and women cry, scream and curse towards airline staff, was highly unbecoming of the holiday spirit that was shared only days earlier.
December 28, 2015 – 5:00 PM
O’Hare Airport, Chicago. Assuming the amount of verbal abuse airline staff were forced to endure from total strangers all day, it was clear their patience had worn thin. If I’ve learned anything while traveling, adding stress or a having a bad attitude will certainly not get you any closer to your goals. Unfortunately, even with a smile and positive attitude there was not much the airline could do. All flights to Denver were now sold out for the next three days, and nothing was available to California until after the New Years. It would appear that SnowGlobe was going to be a No-globe. Amtrak had already left for the day, and Greyhound would put me into Denver two hours after my flight to Reno took off. Sitting there racking my brain, I overheard a traveler joke about how this day was turning in the movie (Plains, Trains, & Automobiles) & that’s when it hit me, why not rent a vehicle and drive overnight to Colorado?
December 28, 2015 – 6:00 PM
With all options expelled and roughly 24 hours to get to Denver, I found myself standing at the Hertz Rental counter. The attempt to enlist others to join in the adventure was to no avail, this would be a solo mission. After explaining my situation to the customer service rep at Hertz they hooked me up with a band new 2015 Ford Expedition XLT 4×4 for the journey. It was nice of them to offer such a large vehicle, even though I would not be utilizing any extra space besides the driver seat since all of my luggage was still stowed under the aircraft. The biggest disappointment of not being able to get my luggage back from the airlines was one of my suitcases was completely filled with booze specifically designated for SnowGlobe and New Years Eve.
With no time to waste, it was time to roll. With a full tank of gas, a few Rockstar Energy Drinks and SiriusXM on, the 985 mile trek from Chicago to Colorado began. It took more than three hours to get across Illinois with the icey road conditions. The Route 80 stretch through Iowa saw more than 50 vehicles either lose control or were blown off the road by the strong gusts of wind. What normally takes five hours cost me seven before I pulled into the first rest stop. With energy fading fast, a power nap was needed to regain the focus to carry on. I laid the seat back, cranked up the heat, and set the alarm for an one hour before passing out. Waking up feeling slightly refreshed, I chugged a Rockstar and powered forward onto the next stretch until reaching Lexington, Nebraska for my next one hour rest break. This time the sun was rising, and more than half of the journey was now complete. While fueling up the sunshine warmed my shoulders and a cheap smile creeped onto my face realizing the final stretch home to Colorado was upon me.
December 29, 2015 – 11:00 AM
Home. Pulling into my house here in Colorado came with a major sense of accomplishment. I had defied the odds, driving through one of the worst snow storms of last year without incident. By the time my new gear was packed up, and ready to head to the Denver airport, I had been awake without decent sleep for over 30 hours. Through it all, I crossed roughly 1,445 miles of the United States in order to catch a flight for SnowGlobe Music Festival. The only thing that stood in my way now, was my final power nap and forgetting to set the alarm.
Find out what happens next in 2,360 Miles to Snowglobe Part Two
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