Detouring with Nona Marie Invie of Dark Dark Dark

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The best part of touring is the detours. An abandoned gas station in Texas, piled high with mouse skeletons. Meeting a friend on the top of a mountain in France, to eat the pies he's just made. Harvesting sage on the side of the road in Utah. Finding a swimming hole. A good swimming hole always saves the day. Think of it: hours and hours next to each other in the van, no air conditioning, and, in the worst case, it's August in Arizona.

This particular day we all were at the point of van delirium. Everyone was annoyed with everyone. We were dehydrated and squirting each other with a spritzing fan I had gotten at Walmart. It was 110 degrees outside. And when I closed my eyelids I could feel that my eyeballs were also 110 degrees. Phoenix was still five hours away, and we were looking at the map, the border, and the Colorado River. What a sight! We got off on the nearest exit, followed a couple false leads and kept trying. It took 20 minutes of driving with two naysayers in the back, saying : “Turn around! We'll never make it! We're only getting hotter driving around trying to find a place to swim! This is crazy!”

After following our instincts, and some perseverance, we found a dirt road that seemed like it might lead to the river. This looks promising, so we follow it. Swerving around on the set of No Country For Old Men. At this point the river is nowhere to be seen. But we know we're not far. The nay saying is reaching a crescendo, when there it is. Again. The Mighty Colorado. There are a bunch of locals already there, swimming. Two men with beers and short folding chairs sit in the river. Had probably been sitting there all day. The sand is so hot! And the water? It's perfect. The perfect thing. There is a slight current and it feels so good to cool off. Everyone starts relaxing and speaking considerately to each other, making jokes and feeling so happy, like little kids. Somehow all the rocks are so beautiful and mystical. Impossibly, a shimmering green dragonfly lands on my hand, just above the water.

What a blast! The naysayers? New converts to the Tour Swim.