Wanderlust: Breaking down on the rez, a kind old couple, and a living-room stripper pole

by Brittnie St. Cyr

“We went to Flagstaff, on a mini-tour, me and my band, Long Con. It was in the middle of summer. It was so f–king hot and all we had were these tiny bottles of water that we dumped on our heads. I was driving and we got about three hours outside of Flagstaff, stopped for gas, started driving again and then the engine started clicking. We pulled on the side of the road and didn’t want to restart the van because we didn’t know what was going on and we didn’t have any oil. We were still on the rez and it was desert everywhere; we were in the middle of nowhere.

Me and Jake (Padilla) stayed with the van and Matt (Dickey) and Jordan (Epstein) hitchhiked back to the gas station about three miles away. They met the nicest people who were super stoked to help us, this old Native couple … They were super sweet and drove them not only to the gas station but back to the van.

Luckily, we put oil in the van, let it sit for a bit, and it started right back up. Then Jordan drove and I was so sketched out. The van only went about 80 or 85 miles per hour max. Jordan was maxing the rest of the way to Flagstaff. I was like, ‘Jordan, it is an old van and can die at any point!’ (Laughs) But we made it to the venue, this cool coffee shop, Firecreek Coffee, right as we were supposed to be going on. We unloaded and played the weirdest show we’ve ever done. We were the only punk band. Everyone else was folky or super mellow. It was a buncha hippies but they really dug us. (Laughs)

After the show, we went back to the band Tiny Bird’s house. It’s a DIY space called The Hive. It was super sick. They had a stripper pole in the living room, so of course Matt jumped on the pole. (Laughs)

The next morning, Jordan came out to the van and we listened to the entire ‘Moana’ soundtrack waiting for people to wake up. Matt was so mad because he was sleeping in the van and me and Jordan were singing so loud.

The van was an ’87 Ford Econoline. I named it Ernie because my family calls me Burt. It was sick, but I didn’t realize at the time that the radiator was losing fluid. It ate gas and was overheating from burning up so much oil. We had a couch in the back and a cooler in the floor that held ice and snacks. It had no air conditioning and hardly any windows, and we had a pirate flag. We musta looked kinda like a crazy murder van driving through the desert. (Laughs).”

Brittnie St. CyrVocalist for Long Con and counterstaff at Your Flesh TattooGot a travel story worth telling? Write it in about 400 words and send it to [email protected]. If you’d rather tell your story, send a brief synopsis to the same address. Either way, your story should be true.


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