Thursday, November 3, 2011

june in colorado: the grand mesa and country jam


Since my mom was at Country Jam, a four-day country music festival in Mack, Colorado that weekend, my dad and I stuck our dog, Packer, in the car with us and got out of town. We ended up driving over the Grand Mesa to check out the lakes and look for moose. We still didn't see any, but there was a close-call and I made my dad turn around -- turns out, it was a moose-size cut-out across the hill. I guess it doesn't count . . .

We spotted a bunch of marmots (that are ADORABLE!) and stopped at the general store to buy choke cherry jam for Calvin and Mariella. What better thing to take back to Washington? So perfect!


And Mount Garfield from the car window. SO PRETTY!

That same weekend (on Saturday), my mom had gotten me a ticket to Country Jam so that I could go with her for at least one day. IT WAS SO AWESOME. The ticket that I had was for literally the farthest chair away from the stage (seriously!), but for the entire day, I ended up being able to sit in the second row near the center with my mom. It was seriously so good!

I didn't know who the first guy was, but I guess Charley Jenkins was on an American Idol-type-show for country stars. He was actually really good and it was totally a great way to start the day, especially being Military Day.

Brett Eldredge was a total dreamboat and a great entertainer. He did a great medley towards the end of his show also (below!). Apologies for the lousy sound quality. Turns out, my SLR videos sound REALLY HORRIBLE. Now I know, I guess. It was my first time to actually play with it, which was kind of fun, even though I don't think I was supposed to be filming. Whoops!

Sawyer Brown was one of the two people that I was REALLY excited to see. I've probably seen them 10 times before, but they NEVER disappoint, especially in the middle of the day in 100 degree heat, they are ALWAYS on. I could see them again and again and always have fun. Did you know they were discovered on Star Search 25 years ago? I love it!

Dinner Break! We walked around for a bit afterward to the giant rodeo statue. Turns out, it was Chris Ledoux. It made us a little sad, but it was totally awesome.

I'd never heard Rodney Atkins (at least, I thought I hadn't), but it turns out that I knew a lot of his songs from the radio. He was hard to follow after Sawyer Brown had everyone on their feet dancing, but he was still pretty good (even if he seemed really grumpy -- I guess he was sick?). I'm sure he's a great guy, though.

After Rodney Atkins, the CJ staff were really hyping up a big event that would happen before Alan Jackson. A bunch of young (18-years-old-young) were sworn in (is that what you would call it?) to the Army. I actually recognized two kids that I went to school with, and it was a really weird and slightly emotional thing to see.

The real big event though was a video that had been made (days after Osama Bin Laden had been killed) with videos of soldiers in action, footage from the World Trade Center, and heavy patriotic messages. I'm not usually political at all, but it was hard not to have any emotion when there is literally thousands of people cheering/silenced/whatever watching this stuff after some big events had gone down not too long before. I got a little choked up and felt it collectively weighing on everyone else around me. It was a weird vibe, but also kind of a special few minutes. After the video, a couple of soldiers marched onto the stage, and then a few more after them to give another soldier a flag for what he had done. He then presented the flag to a few other people to display somewhere around Grand Junction. I was a little lost at what was going on at that point, but again, being Military Day, it was a cool thing to witness.

Excited mom!

And of course the main reason I wanted to be at Country Jam for Saturday (other than Sawyer Brown, of course!) was to see ALAN JACKSON! I had seen him once years ago, but I was really young, far away, and I FELL ASLEEP! He even had an inflatable jukebox -- I think it was when "Don't Rock the Jukebox" was popular. That would make sense, right? This time though, I was really close (still second row!) and it just felt really special. He seriously played every song that I could have dreamed of hearing, plus a bunch I didn't even realize I wanted to hear but that I definitely knew. He had his videos playing behind him, videos of the crowd, and videos that they had recorded all over Grand Junction. He's obviously great, but when he's on stage, you really can't take your eyes off of him -- he's just huge, handsome, and really takes control of the stage. After the military stuff earlier, the song below felt pretty real. It really was just the best day.

These cute kids got a set list, and we got an Alan Jackson guitar pick and our pictures taken! :)

What night is complete without a stretch truck limo? HA!


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