It’s Tuesday afternoon, two days till the start of the 2009 Bonnaroo festival and the final word comes down, I’m going. Then came the hard part, getting there. I mounted my computer with the intensity of mating rhinos and spent the next thirty hour period drifting between five different travel websites looking for the cheapest flights into thirty-two different airports. After giving up three times I found Charlotte, NC for under $250 on CheapOAir.com which was a little under half of all other flights into the thirty-two airports I looked at (and i would highly recommend that you check this site out if you plan on taking to the skies in the future).
This however presented me with problem number two; Charlotte is over 350 miles by car from where Bonaroo is held in Manchester, TN. So my next move was to book a ride on the big dog, Greyhound Bus Lines. A direct route to Manchester was estimated at fifteen hours at price of $144, that wasn’t happening but a bus to Atlanta was for only $90, and a second bus ride to Manchester for $4O at nearly half the traveling time. All booking was finished on Wednesday, 5 PM the day before the festival.
I left for SFO at 2AM PST and arrived in Charlotte at 7PM EST (many crying plane babies included). From there its a 9PM EST bus ride to Atlanta that arrived at 2:30AM EST. After a three hour wait I board my bus and arrive at a gas station in Manchester on Friday 10AM central with two new Bonnaroo friends, a sore body, a new found respect for bus drivers, and I’m sure some random communicable disease.
Now comes problem number three. I haven’t been able to reach Ambler #1 since Charlotte, and he is my access to my ticket. Luckily i had remembered that will call was in town and was able to finagle myself a ride. To my fortune Ambler #1 had left my ticket behind for me….. I’m Going. I was shown a back road into the festival which was only a mile and a half away. So I began my walk with all my bags pumping my fists and singing Devendra Banhart songs to myself as I ambled. After a brief time of standing on an overpass dancing and waving to cars going by I entered the muddiest tent nation I could never imagine, alone. Very alone. Luckily as I stepped onto the festival grounds I received a call from a random number…… AMBLER #1 on a strangers phone. Turns out he had left his out side just in time for a typical Tennessee downpour. Ragged. I shouted out i see a big pink number eight balloon, the rendezvous was set, and the chaos set in motion.
We greeted each other with a dance, a wiggle, a hug, and a loud BUBBA!!! I could see the sleep deprivation in his eyes, and on his clothes and I knew things were going to be nucking futty.