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Published on January 20th, 2010 | by Thompson


The Importance of First Aid Kits and Sober Drivers

Lost in Yellowstone National Park While Attempting to Search for the American Dream in a Southern Utah Desert…

We’re lost in Yellowstone National Park. I don’t know where, and I’m sure our driver, Dave, doesn’t know either. I’m not entirely sure what makes this place a national park. Seems to me the state should take some of the hard-earned money used to save these trees and invest in education or something. I mean, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at a tree, it still won’t produce a brain, nor will it grow money. Then again, there are things the most advanced brain won’t accomplish and things money can’t buy. Yellowstone must provide some of those things. I’m already becoming slightly comfortable being lost. It’s quite liberating.

We were already 2 hours behind schedule when we departed from home, but we had to wait for my friend, Dan, to pick out the best pair of gas station sunglasses he could find. I must have watched him try on 30 pairs of the worst sunglasses you can pay money for, but it was worth it in the end. He definitely got the pick of the litter. Plus, we were stoned so the entertainment was worth the 20-minute wait.

When we finally hit the road everyone was ready to abuse drugs at a rapid pace. Hell, the whole thing almost never happened. It wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to go, but I figured $350 is a fair price to pay for the opportunity to abuse drugs every hour of every day for a week. I’m not even supposed to be here. I can’t leave the county unless my probation officer knows of my whereabouts, but what address and telephone number do you give your probation officer when you’re trekking into a Southern Utah desert with no cell service and surrounded by nothing but sand? I’m taking an incredible risk just being in this car because if I’m forced to show my identification I go straight to prison. And I don’t mean county jail. I mean hardcore, you-got-a-pretty-mouth, federal prison. But an opportunity like this doesn’t come around everyday.

The cocaine is what convinced me to go. Al and Dave held that shit under my nose all night. I haven’t slept in 50 hours, but that’s what this trip is about – living on the edge until you feel like you’re going to fall into the Abyss – and then just shoving more drugs into your system to keep you hanging on that edge.

Our navigator, Al, gave us all a gift – a hotel, mini-bar bottle of whiskey – to signify the beginning of our trip. The trip that would change our lives forever. We made a toast in honor of our search for the American Dream and drank our whiskey shots. We all finished except Al, which is surprising given his lengthy and intimate relationship with alcohol. He was very busy planning our route, and he probably should have taken even more time to do so given our current situation lost in this sea of trees some asshole decided to protect.

So in a pathetic attempt to help you realize my current state of mind, I better reveal the contents of the suitcase. Every journey in search of enlightenment has to have a first aid kit, and our suitcase is so impressive Dr. Hunter S. Thompson would be envious. We have a fifth of Jack Daniels, 2 liters of Evan Williams whiskey, two cases of beer, 12 LSD gel tabs, 8 Ecstasy pills, a half ounce of mushrooms, a half ounce of cocaine, an ounce of weed, a tin of roll-your-own cigarettes, a flask of scotch, and 20 Vicodin pills.
Yellowstone National Park
We’ve developed a routine now. First, we all do a line of coke, then a bowl, then a cigarette, and some booze to calm us down. It’s a nice little rotation. At least I know I feel good. The close parameters of this car may drive me insane very soon, though. We just started another rotation, so I’m trying to cut a line of coke on this tiny mirror, which is a lot harder than it sounds when you’ve been drunk and coked out for 2 straight days.

Soon, Al begins yelling, “Shit! Put that coke away and lock everything up! Ranger checkpoint ahead!”

You’ve got to be kidding me. The cocaine quickly makes its way into my nose where I can feel its numbing affect go to work on the front of my face. It’s a little chunky. I didn’t get a chance to cut it up very well, but it doesn’t bother me. I lick the mirror and throw the paraphernalia in the suitcase. The cocaine tastes like pickles. Good cocaine always seems to taste like pickles.

“Lock up that suitcase,” Al yells.

The suitcase is really just the case for the vaporizer. The plan was to hook it up in the car and vaporize our ounce of marijuana to save our lungs for the cigarettes – an addiction we knew would consume us, especially with so much cocaine in the car – but we never got the chance to use it because we forgot the most important element of the vaporizer…the device that actually holds the weed. We tossed around the idea of rigging something together for a few hours until we smoked the pipe and forgot the idea completely. The suitcase was specifically chosen because it has a lock. We made sure of this because it’s the only thing that stops an officer from searching inside it. If it has a lock they need another search warrant to open it, unless of course they have dogs, which would mean we’re fucked, but at least we had that security blanket to make us all feel warm and cozy inside.

“I can’t find the keys,” Dan meekly utters from the back seat. “I might have left them at home.”

Great. The one thing between us and 50 years in federal, pound-me-in-the-ass prison is at home sitting on a coffee table somewhere. I wanted to take Dan’s gas station sunglasses and shove them up his ass for that…until I saw dogs. Be cool. Be cool. Check your nose for cocaine residue…and the shirt and pants. Now, go to your happy place…tits and ass…tits and ass.

As we approach the checkpoint we see seven cars being searched on the side of the road. There are dogs barking, commuters crying, and rangers cuffing. So much for that search for enlightenment, though, I’m sure prison would be quite enlightening, but certainly not the sort I’m searching for.

“Get my insurance and registration out of the glove box,” Dave insists. Al opens the glove box to find his unfinished mini-bar bottle of whiskey, which he throws under the seat just as we approach the officers, one on the driver’s side, and one with a dog on the passenger’s side. He hands Dave his insurance and registration.

“Where you boys headed?” the ranger asks.

Dave does his best Humphrey Bogart impression and is cooler than toilet water. “We’re going camping in Utah at the Escalante National Monument.”

“Have you consumed any alcohol or have any alcohol in the car?”

“I’m not 21 sir, so no.”

The dog jumps up on my window attempting to sniff inside the car. His breath steams up the window. I’m sure it can smell cocaine all over me, and if the dog can’t then the officer can see it in my panicking eyes.

“Do you have any other controlled substances in the car or in your system?” the ranger asks.

“Of course not, officer,” Dave replies.

“Enjoy your trip.” The ranger hands Dave his insurance and registration, and Dave pulls away from the checkpoint slowly and smoothly as I watch unlucky hippies sitting against cop cars on the side of the road with their hands cuffed behind them. They were probably searching for the same thing we are. Nobody said the search for the American Dream would be easy, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastards. They’ll be trading in their tie-die and bandanas for standard-issue, orange coveralls and shit-stained tighty-whiteys in a few hours, after the longest drive of their lives in the back of a police cruiser that’s too cramped to scratch your balls even if your hands weren’t cuffed. Then they’ll call and cry to their rich parents to bail them out and end up spending spring break at home listening to lectures entitled “What the Hell Were You Thinking?” and “We Never Did That Shit in the Sixties.”

I’ve been there, and I know how depressing it can be when your plans for enlightenment are foiled by silly laws and outrageous cops on power trips because after their glory days – the high school football championships and fucking the cheerleader in their truck at prom – the only way to retain that sense of power they had walking down those halls tormenting freshmen was to strap on a gun and give stoners a hard time…the same bullshit they’ve been pulling since puberty.

Now that we are free of that hideous scene, I can’t help but think what could have happened. Did we really just get away with that? A few minutes of silence pass until we all recognize the severity of the recent events. Then Dave finally speaks.

“Jesus, I’ve got cocaine all over my pants.” We can’t help but laugh until we cry.

“Al, if you ever take me through a national park with 12 counts of manslaughter sitting next to me while I’m on probation I will castrate you!” I shout from the back.

“I’m really sorry guys,” Al solemnly replies. “That was my bad. It will never happen again, but lets not dwell on the past. This can still be the greatest trip ever.”

“Well, now what do we do?” I ask my friends already knowing their triumphant reply as the smiles on their eager faces scream, “Whatever we want!”

The search for enlightenment is not for the faint of heart, so when you get scared you resort to the first aid kit. We blast Salt’n Pepa’s “Push It” on the stereo and start another rotation…and everything is perfect once again. Soon, the thought of cops and dogs no longer exists in our minds, and the drugs allow our happy place to become our new reality. Ah, tits and ass.

“This scenery has never looked more beautiful than it does now. I love this damn national park.”

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About the Author

When Thompson isn't busy writing for Go Gonzo Journal, you may find him drunk at the movie theater with Professor Heinous or stirring up trouble in a bar with his attorney. Thompson also enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and watching and betting on baseball and football.

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