It was an event hosted by Bernie Sanders volunteers for volunteers to take a break between the hard work of campaigning by walking around Drake "in support of [Bernie's] positions on social justice and cannabis reform" -- thus the 4:20 starting time.
I signed up for the event and got an email confirming my space. A few hours before it started, I clicked back on the event page to get the address. The site said space had filled up with so many people RSVPing, so it was sure to be a crowded event.
Well, this is how it all went down.
My Uber driver approached campus and asked if there was a particular building I was going to. There wasn't -- the event listing just said "Drake University" and when I'd emailed the Bernie help desk earlier in the day, they said they didn't know the specifics.
So I hopped onto campus and started wandering, figuring I'd find it eventually.
I found four people with Bernie stickers and t-shirts. Success! I went up to them and we were all smiles talking about the event.
We quickly realized we were all in the same position: No one knew where the 4:20 break time was actually happening on campus.
Then again, it was only 4:10, so maybe if we waited a few more minutes, more people would show up?
More people showed up! A small crowd of about 10 Bernie volunteers walked toward the center of campus. They piled out of a van carrying volunteers around Des Moines.
We waved at each other giddily. But when they reached us, the truth came out: They had no idea where the official event was either. We decided to hang out a bit longer. The event was supposed to be a tour event around campus, so surely a crowd would show up eventually!
The new group of Bernie supporters told us about their insane day. They started driving to Des Moines at 2 am that day, coming in from Indianapolis. One woman from the Indianapolis crowd handed out matchboxes she made with Bernie Sanders stickers on them.
"Feel the Bern" -- get it?
We decided to walk around campus, heading down toward the big Olmsted Center where press people were standing around. The volunteers broke into chants and cheers.
We ran into a group of Rand Paul volunteers holding signs and chanting "President Paul!" A little squabble broke out between the opposing squads, but peace was reached quickly as one volunteer said:
Someone got word that the 4:20 event was happening in the law building on campus, so we turned around and started walking back that way.
We got to the law building and couldn't see anything happening inside, but people were cold and had to use restrooms, so we stormed on in. The Indianapolis crowd was starting to get a little grumpy in their sleep deprived- states.
Half the group walked through the law building and back outside. We were all giggling -- of course we were lost finding the 4:20 weed event.
We traded campaign stories, and I was told that Josh Hutcherson had been on campus earlier in support of Bernie. That little event basically involved a long line of girls waiting to take selfies with the "Hunger Games" actor.
We were still waiting outside the law building for the other half of the group to emerge. One volunteer wondered aloud:
The other half of the group emerged to relieved sighs from the rest of the group.
The volunteers got a text from someone back at Bernie headquarters telling them where to go for the caucus that night and asking how the 4:20 event was. A group member said to write back:
The group of wanderers officially decided to give up the search for 4:20. We split up and walked away in defeat, waving goodbye to each other.
The first volunteers I found went back to their cars, the second big group went back to the van to go on campaigning and the other reporter who had shown up and I went in search of a drink.
That search was much more successful. As we sat drinking our pre-caucus beers, we had to agree it was only fitting we spent the 4:20 cannabis event bumbling around in mindless circles dazed and confused.