The adventures of Victoria and I - Starting off January right

So I seem to be taking more photos than I am writing words these days.. or writing words that are share worthy. So below is my catalogue from my recent adventure to Las Vegas and the Las Vegan Fusion Exchange, a huge convention of dancers in the desert and the reunion of so many of my favorite friends. 

See, I didn't know if I was going to go to the Las Vegas Fusion Exchange (LVFX) I kinda didn't think I would, for many reasons, but I woke up on Wednesday morning from a dream where someone had handed me a golden ticket and I was hopping in my car to drive to Nevada. I didn't know how much of a premonition it was, at the time.
Fast forward a day and a half and you have me, up at 5:45am and rustling in the dark of Sasha's living room, packing up my sleeping bag. I stuck my head around the corner of the small white wall that separates Sasha's bed from mine and looked at her sleepy form. She blinked wide eyes at me.
"So, are you coming?" I asked.
Long pause.
"Yes." She replied and with that she flung back her comforter. 
An hour later and we were in my car (Victoria) the sky to the east brightening with the dawn. Her small backpack hastily packed and thrown in with the rest of my life on my back seat.
The view from Sasha's front stoop as we packed the car in the half light.

 The road, with early morning sun, peeking through the snow on the horizon mountains.
The drivers grimace/smile.

Pit stop and Snickers break. Sasha says this is all she needs, as I load up on apples and carrots and chips and salsa.

The road as we wind into Utah.

Dancing pit stop in St. George Utah
I may or may not be listening to: Thrift Shop Anthem

 A large man in gray sedan with semi tinted windows watched me dance for 3:54 minutes. It would have been odd, but he tipped his hat to me, as I got back into my little car and drove off into the sunset.
We had exhausted the subjects of men, love, sex and surprisingly the Russian revolution. Here, we are ready for Vegas. 

Desert sun sinking.

Colorado state line/ Utah state line / Arizona state line/

Sunset through cracked windows. Beauty.

 True desert sunsets- the wind smells of sand and the fading light beckons you onward, to places you have yet to see.

We fly with as much grace as our feet lend us. 

The manditory getting ready shot. 
I swear, arriving in Vegas was one of my favorite adventure memories. The lights appearing over the sand, and the excitement of new radio stations blasting party music. 
My butt was so numb it was a bit like being a pin cushion. 
We found the resort and I parked, the twelve hours of driving, finally catching up with me, I was a bit shaky. We walked into the lobby to get directions to our room and I was immediately mobbed, by arms and faces and torsos of people I love. Hugs were not in short supply, and I felt the riches and wealth of  my friends, and of the incredible dancing community flowing brightly around me, as if in some sparkling pixie dust. Uh. I am so damn blessed.

 I love that dancing brings out the cuddles in people. Especially around 3am.
Greg, being Mr. Peanut or something.. but I remember it was much too early for faces such as these.. but somehow it made them even more wonderful. 

Faux Paris on the Strip 

Mr Sam, battling a fever, but looking very Glam-Noir. (The saturday night dress theme)

My own costume Saturday night. (something I happened to have with me, as a thrift store find for New years. Yay! Living in your car!)

Ted and Ruby doing a little improve for their sunday class.

The newly weds dancing in the circle.

Sasha and I dancing our boogie down to the Thrift Shop Anthem.

The lovely Sasha and Martin

Mr. Waldo (aka Noah)

More of the newly weds.

Dana and Sasha on Sunday
Being adorable, my friends are.

The cutest little girl at the Exchange (okay, so she was the only one, but still! Pants around her ankles, and bopin to the music. heart.)

Monday mornign found me with so little sleep and so many things on my mind I am afraid I became a bit of a mess. I climbed back into my car with all of my things, said a few hasty fairwells and got in the Vegas traffic line up around 2:30pm. I was sitting in Traffic, feeling this mighty weight on my chest, and fighting this feeling that I should call my Aunt and Uncle who live in Vegas (instead of just texting them, as I had the two days previously) and stay one more night in the desert before I attempted to drive the 9 hours home. I was fighting this I -should-probably-stay- feeling With every bit of myself, just wanting to get home. I felt the feeling again and  pushed it aside. "God, if you want me to stay in Vegas, then make me." I said to the feeling.
Ten seconds go by and I look down to see white steam beginnning to billow from underneath my chipped and peeling hood.
"I take it back! Don't make me!" I cried piteously, the lack of sleep giving me the feeling of hysteria.

Long story short, I ended up in a dental college parking lot, my face stained with tears and my resolve for anything pretty well shot. I called my mom, and it was only a few words in that my voice cracked and I was a sobbing mess on this end of the telephone. She listened with such grace. (I really hope I am as good of a mother, as she is, when it comes my time.) And she listened as I wailed like a small child, until I hiccuped myself into relative silence. Yes, I could call my uncle. Yes, I could function enough to find a place to sleep. and Yes, I would call her back once I had done so.

I posted on facebook that my car and my heart had over heated in Vegas and I needed somewhere to sleep, if my uncle didn't get back to me.
My phone began to buzz. Text after text, and facebook message after facebook message began to roll in. Someone I knew, knew someone who could help me, here was their number.
 I felt weak with gratitude and undeservingly rich in my friends and their generosity to help me out in such a strange and dirty place. People I hadn't talked to in over a year, were right there, asking if there was anything they could do. I felt weak with gratitude.
My uncle finally called me back, responding to the squeakiest message I have ever left in the history of my life. His familiar voice on the phone was like a life line. He said he'd be there to look at my car in twenty minutes. I waited, talking to a friend on the other side of the country, his voice like the arms I wanted to fall into. I watched as the evening came, the colors to the west concentrating into blues and yellows like jewels, the dark outline of two palm trees and a sign for the interstate made for a striking outline. My uncle arrived with radiator fluid and we deemed that my car, my Victoria, just might have a faulty thermostate. I followed him back to his house on the western outskirts of the city with no new problems issuing from my car.

That night, I got to see my cousins, ones I haven't seen for over four years, and my Aunt Kellie. It was so lovely to see my family and feel connected to them again. My family and theirs haven't been on the best of terms in recent years and it felt like my being plopped down on their couch in the middle of a very sleep deprived adventure was all in the greater plan of this life. I am so grateful to them.

I was so tired. I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow, without being able to send my goodnights up the stairs. I didn't wake up until 8am the next morning when my uncle came to find my keys. I walked out into the Tuesday sunshine to find my uncle, in his sweatshirt, the hood of my car up and his elbows deep in my engine. He had fixed my thermostate and he refilled my radiator fluid. I felt weak with gratitude.

After a breakfast of leftover corn bread and a stray banana, a few last hugs and I was out the door, back in my drivers seat, and with a incredibly clearer head than I had the day before. I asked if I could leave sin city now. The answer was enough for me to tur my key to the right and shift into 1st gear.

Driving. driving. driving.

 Pee stop. Setting sun. Snow.

 Victoria did so well. That is, if I remembered to fill her up with petrol. Which nearing what I hoped would be the end of my adventure, was something I forgot to do.

A few hundred feet before the first real exist after crossing over into Colorado, my trusty car, shuddered and died. We coasted to the shoulder as I silently cursed myself. Really? This trip. It was beginning to be comical. Hilarious actually. I called and texted everyone I might maybe know who would be close enough to come play my hero. My friend Naomi obliged; crawling out of bed and into her car to come and find me on the side of the road and refill my tank. I will always be thankful to her heroism. While I waited, I changed into warmer clothes. The temperature was dropping in the darkness that was the world outside my car and our flashing yellow hazards. An hour or so on the side of the road and Naomi arrived, gas can in hand. What a sight she was.

I am so blessed by my friends. Thank you for being amazing.

After we had a long drink of petrol my Victoria made it smoothly to the nearest gas station where we filled up and then headed the last 78 miles home. It was around 11:30pm when I finally opened the door to my warm cabin. My dad had made a fire for me, in expectation of me coming home. I lit a candle and watched the shadows dance on my tiny and familiar walls. I climbed out of my clothes and into a mans shirt and into my bed.
The sickness that had been chasing me, finally caught up and I let it take me like a leaf caught in the gentle current of a summer stream. Fever set in and I curled in my bed, so thankful to be home in my warm cabin, and to be so humbled to the ways of adventure and life and the friends that make my life so worth it. I blew out my candle and listened to the snores of my Border Collie for a the few brief seconds before I was joining her and deep and completing asleep.

Thank you to everyone who has touched my life in some way. Thank you to all the friends who reached out a hand or an encouragement or a text and to all the incredible people I hold in the family of my heart. I am rich and humbled by your presence and I am so thankful you exist. Thank you.

I am home.


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