A few weekends ago we traveled to Salida for the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover. This is a big music festival put on by Mumford & Sons – because why hold a concert when you can hold a three-day music festival?!
We traveled to Salida on Thursday evening in the van, which meant it took quite a bit longer than traveling by car, but the beauty of taking the van is that it helps us enjoy the journey (and wave at a lot of angry drivers as they pass us by 🙂 ). We arrived in Salida after dark and were shown to our camp spot for the weekend. They lined up all the cars and had tent sites in the middle of the rows. Across the row from us was another van that I called the “pretty twin” (I lovingly called our van the ugly twin) since it was almost identical to ours, but in pristine condition. We caught a shuttle into Salida (we weren’t allowed to take the van out of the campsite, but they had a great system for shuttling people downtown) that evening to enjoy a few bands at the downtown stage and then shuttled back to the camp site to sleep.
The next morning we woke up, made a pancake breakfast, and shuttled back into town. We spent the day listening to local bands, wading in the river, and sitting in the shade. Later, we shuttled back to the campground to get ready for the concerts playing on the main stage. We saw a few bands that night, but the best and biggest show was The Flaming Lips. I had heard some of their music, but not a lot, and Nic had warned me that the show would probably be pretty weird. It ended up being awesome. Each song included some sort of crazy antics. During one, they had people in a rainbow costume and two huge mushrooms on stage dancing around. In another, the lead singer got into a hamster ball and rolled out onto the crowd to sing the song. It was definitely entertaining and fun. After the show, we walked back to the van and went to sleep.
The next morning we got up and walked into town to hike the S hill. We hiked up to the S and had a great view of Salida and the Collegiate Peaks. On our way down, we decided that we wanted to be a little more adventurous, so we took off on a side trail and kept following random trails for awhile. We often felt lost and questioned our decision to wander off the main trail, but eventually, we found our way over a few hills and made it back to Salida. It ended up being a 5.5 mile hike, and we were both tired and hot, so we ate at a Chinese restaurant (air conditioning!!) and then found some shade in the city park to lie under while we listened to a few bands on the downtown stage.
Later, we shuttled back to the van and talked to the owners of the pretty twin for awhile. One thing about owning a Vanagon is that you instantly connect with other Vanagon owners. You also have the opportunity to meet a lot of other people who want to come look at the van. I’m not the most outgoing or social person, but owning the van forces me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people.
When we felt like we’d recovered a bit, we headed to the main stage. We found a nice spot to sit and listen to Jenny Lewis and then we pushed our way closer to the front for Mumford & Sons. Their concert was absolutely amazing. Their CDs are folksy and chill, which I like, but in concert, they were much more rock ‘n’ roll. It was great. At one point, the lead singer jumped into the crowd to crowd surf, but the audience kept dropping him. It was an embarrassing moment for Coloradans. 🙂
After the concert we made our way back to the van. The next morning we woke up early and headed out to beat some of the traffic. We took the long way home through Leadville and enjoyed the scenery (including Mt. Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado). It was such a fun weekend and a great way to spend one of our last weekends in Colorado!