Riding in cars with girls: tales from the DIY road to Treefort Music Festival and back

Do not stop at this gas station -- the owner will kill you.
Do not stop at this gas station -- the owner will kill you.

"Heh, heh. Nice John Wayne pin," says Don from behind the counter at the Holiday gas station on State Street in Salt Lake City. He's responding to the sight of my tourmate Alex Edgeworth -- who is the drummer and one half of Lust-Cats of the Gutters -- and her giant pin with Ronald Reagan's face on it, one that's barely hanging onto her oversized and tattered Kurt Cobain-reminiscent sweater. Reagan, Wayne, same difference.

This was the second time on our recent miniature tour from Denver to Boise and back that The Gipper would make an appearance. The first was on a bumpersticker plastered across the back of a pickup in front of our car somewhere in Idaho that had a picture of Ronnie on it and read, "Bring Back Capitalism" -- as if capitalism had ever left.

Alex lifted her head, peered out from underneath her thick black bangs and gave Don a gruff and bewildered "Thanks" before swiping her coffee from the convenience-store counter and bolting. It was too early in the morning for weirdos, but then again, shit almost always gets weird in gas stations on the road.

See also: A butt-level view of music festival fashion in 2014

The Lust-Cats' modest merch table.

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