Friday, April 11, 2008


Late Monday evening, Mary Ellen, Clyde and I finally departed for Washington DC, which we were aiming to attend the presumed Five year Anniversary ANTI WAR Rally at the Nation’s capitol, thus Mary Ellen & I followed Clyde who was driving the “House car” (His 24’ RV) with expired Washington plates east on the freeway to ward’s Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, where the Housecar is now serving as the Camp’s lone caretaker’s new ‘N improved housing. Arriving just after 7PM, Carl and his dog were happy to see us, gave us a bite to eat and a ton ‘O Cindy Sheehan T-Shirts to sell in DC as a form of offsetting our petrol expense’s… Like we really needed a hundred frillin’ T-Shirts in the already overloaded Buick, of which Clyde had cleverly taken the back seat out of to allow for the driver to stick their lower appendages into the trunk for sleeping purposes during our marathon non-stop dash eastwards…

Sometime later that evening we were in Arkansas, as I awoke briefly to be informed that we’d just passed Slick Willie’s hometown of Hope and were now making hay past Little Rock, did you want to stop at the Bill Clinton library? NO! Keep going…

The next morning I awoke somewhere towards Memphis, Tennessee, to which for reasons unknown made me start humming Neil Simon’s Graceland as we pulled off of the “Super Slab” to refill the Buick’s fuel tank, to which Clyde informed me upon paying the cashier, that she’d told him; “We’re just-in-time for the RASSCAR race at Bristol!” (Bubbah) The action begins in just two more days; do you want us to leave you here?

SHEISA!!! I’d totally forgotten we’d be travelin’ thru the heart ‘O RASSCAR country as we first drove right past Memphis Motorsports Park, quickly followed by Bristol Motorsports Park… As well as passing’ the place that Elvis built after crossing one of the many nation’s major river’s. (Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Potomac)

Later that afternoon, Clyde had a hunkerin’ for crackers… But NO! NOT just any ‘ol crackers; Crackers? We don’t want NO Stinkin’ Ritz crackers! NO, Clyde wanted Costco crackers… Thus we made a detour to the Nashville Costco, to which we were perplexed upon finding the parking lot completely devoid of any vehicles… HMM? Perhaps everybody’s either at the Grand ‘Ol Opry or the Nashville Super Speedway?

Back on the road again, it was time for Clyde’s second detour, as he’d decided that we’d stop in at the Interstate Trucking satellite headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee and in honour of his brother Tommy, leave a token of appreciation… As in some free Cindy Sheehan T-Shirts. Of course we had NO idea where the building was as we drove around LOST in this little town for approximately one hour plus, with Clyde making repeated stops to ask unsuspecting proprietors and the local fire department in regards to the Interstate locale. Clyde finally got directions after stopping at a Trucking friendly motel and we set off West, back into the fast disappearing sunlight to Galveston Avenue, before pulling into the non descript business park, where Clyde told us to wait there as he’d be gone only uno momento… Mission Accomplished! Thus, we were able to turn back around and resume our easterly travel towards the Nation’s Capitol.

Staring into the darkness, we passed Knoxville, Tennessee before slipping into Virginia… To which I must confess I completely slept thru, not that Virginia is a boring state, but I was busy watching the backs of my eyeballs at this duration of the trip. Mary Ellen, whom seemed to get constantly stuck on the night shift of driving as the “Boyzs” were fast asleep, noted the overly disgusting number of Semi Trucks clogging the nation’s arteries… Proclaiming that it appeared to be a 2-3 to 1 ratio in the number of diesel trucks to cars on the Highway…

And to think we’re gonna wean ourselves off of our dependency of foreign oil, eh? I’m tending to think that the recent story of a Royal Dutch Shell executive’s statement; “American’s UN-Willing to give UP SUV’s” is most likely true. And you can read outgoing US Shell bosses story here if so inclined; President of U.S. operations questions predictions of peak theorists
Crossing the Potomac River, we arrived in the outskirts of Washington DC early Wednesday morning, stopping to make one of our numerous “Pit Stops,” before venturing into the big city. Pestering Clyde to stop for nourishment, we pulled into a Giant grocery store and while Mary Ellen and I roamed the aisles filling up our shopping cart, Clyde disappeared. Checking out, the cashier asked us if we had the requisite “Super Saver” card. To which I told her, nope, we’re from the other Washington, to which she replied’ have fun in this Washington…

Walking back to where the car was supposedly parked? Nope, it’s NOT there anymore… So Mary Ellen left me guarding the shopping cart while she went to scour the parking lot in case the car had been moved? Nope, NO sign whatsoever of the Buick… Oh whale, Clyde’s obviously run off somewhere, so, we’ll just eat our lunch now instead in front of the grocery store while waiting for Clyde to return… About 30 minutes later the Buick pulled up and honked at us, as Clyde had left us since we were taking too long shopping! He’d gone off to get some cash from an ATM machine, but managed instead to have Nelie’s card swallowed by the machine when he couldn’t remember the correct PIN.

Thus, we set off in search of the Navy Federal Credit bank which conveniently happened to be nearby, in order for Clyde to get some necessary dinero, before setting off in search of the Capitol, while instructing me to keep a look out for any Post Office’s…

Having found a non-descript Post Office, we next asked for directions and learned that we were heading towards Maryland… turning around we aimed towards the Downtown corridor of DC, with Clyde repeatedly asking where’s the Capitol? To which Mary Ellen proclaimed it’s right there… See the Dome? I thought Tomaso was the “Juan” with the eyesight problema… To which Clyde then kept asking us; “Where’s the Dome-thingy???” After trying to repeatedly park in Federal employees permit designated parking areas only, we finally secured a street side parking location just around the corner from the Capitol.

Now, we’d driven all the way from Texas to participate in a variety of events leading up to the Rally scheduled for that Saturday, with the first event being a Stop Loss demonstration on the Capitol’s steps. Yet, since Clyde hadn’t exactly explained what we were up too and I was filling groggy, we decided to stay in the car while Clyde went to investigate things… Drifting in and out of sleep between numerous police car/emergency vehicles sirens, we wondered if Clyde would be arrested, since he just loves causing trouble… As we’d learn later that twelve individuals, mostly kids on their Spring break had been arrested for sitting in the road and blocking traffic while trying to force Congress to stay in session, instead of going home for Easter break.

The ANTI WAR Rally was to be held in conjunction with the Winter Soldier hearings taking place in neighboring Maryland. This latest Winter Soldier effort was loosely modeled upon the first Winter Soldier hearings that occurred during the Vietnam War.

When I asked Clyde what it was all about? He replied that it was a take off of Continental soldier’s dereliction of duty during the Revolution. Thomas Payne subsequently wrote four pamphlets that were published in London during the Revolutionary years, which were aimed at restoring George Washington’s beleaguered forces morale. Payne’s first writing became a supposed rally cry for the forces retreating to Trenton, with Payne decreeing;

“These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
The Summer Soldier was a term applied to farmers who’d take up arms during the summer, but then return home to harvest their crops during the fall, while the Sunshine Patriots, were effectively fair weather fighters, who no longer wished to participate in the fighting when the going got tough, with many finding these actions treasoness…

(Payne’s series of four pamphlets entitled The American Crisis were published between 1776-1783)
About two hours later, Clyde returned to wake us from our mid-afternoon slumber and dropped a BOMBSHELL upon us. Guess what? The Rally’s been CANCELLED! What the FUCK??? Well, didn’t uze guys get the memo? Err, Clyde, why didn’t you read the FREAKIN’ memo before we left on this madcap dash across the country, SHEISA!!!
After giving some of the demonstrator’s a ride to the nearby police station to bail their accomplices outta the clink, we said our goodbyes and decided to get the HELL out of Dodge, Err, Washington DC… And thus began another two day drive home. Aye Karumba!

And ever noticed the longer you’re in a car with somebody the worse things tend to get? As Clyde actually told me late one evening on the way home that he was turning the radio’s speaker output ALL to my side and turning it up really LOUD ‘cause he knew I didn’t like having my eardrums blasted out, nice guy, eh?

Once again driving thru the darkness, I slept all the way thru Virginia (must be a really small state?) And the next morning awoke to have Clyde tell me we were passing the Atomic Raceway Park, a small dirt track venue paved with red clay.

Yet, this time Mary Ellen was determined to stop at Graceland for my benefit and she cried out, here come’s Graceland as we crossed the Mississippi River(?) with a giant Pyramid building next to it… Telling her I wouldn’t sing the Elvis song out loud I was currently humming to myself!

“Ah, Un-hun, Ah, Un-hun, A-Uh, I’m all shook up!”
As we took the turn off the freeway and headed for Elvis Presley Boulevard. Pulling into Graceland, we were told it would be $8 for parking, say what? Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes lady… Can we just go in and check-it out first?

So, there I was standing in Elvis’s parking lot having my photo snapped with one of his personal jets parked in the background, while Elvis music was blaring’ out of assorted speakers on nearby telephone poles, courtesy of Serious satellite’s Elvis Radio station. Turning around to leave, Mary Ellen said should I stop and ask for a brochure? Thus we were allowed to park briefly and go inside for more information. While the two of us found out that it was $32 for the entire premises or $27 for the mansion itself, Clyde was busy peein’ in Elvis’s parking lot…

Then again, Elvis was a big car nut as I tend to recall that he took personal delivery of “Juan ‘O ‘Ol Shel’s” AC Cobra’s. So, Mary Ellen asked if I wanted to go check out his car collection. With the price of admission being $8, but it was way too dimly lit, with almost everything being in the dark… SHEISA!!! I could have gotten all three of us into the Indianapolis Hall of Fame museum for the price of myself to walk about in the dark at Graceland!

With our Elvis stop out of the way, we were back on the road again… As bob Seeger’s On the Road Again song eerily played in the background, as I’d been allowed to reverse the Buick’s speaker’s sound direction… We continued our westerly course towards Austin and made Little Rock, Arkansas by late evening. Yet, as we approached Mary Ellen commented that a storm was brewing ahead… To the likes of I have never witnessed, as we were engulfed in a massive Thunder ‘N Lightning storm, with torrential rainfall, as Mary Ellen said the only thing the lightning was good for was lighting up the road! Hey, you frillin’ truckers, SLOW THE HELL DOWN! Pulling off underneath an overpass, as it was simply too hard to see where we were going… As Mary Ellen pointed out the poor sod on a “Crotch-rocket” parking under an overpass… We witnessed over a dozen Emergency vehicles passing by our hideaway,

Then Mary Ellen elected to let Clyde drive in the storm for awhile… As we finally arrived back in Austin mid Friday morning, thus in regards to having just spent four consecutive days in an automobile for a whole two hours in Washington DC, I’m struck by the INSANITY of the closing scene in Smokey in the Bandit, where Burt Reynolds takes the bet to bring them Good ‘Ol Boyzs back some New England clam chowder in under 48hrs in their hurkin’ Cadillac Eldorado convertible with Texas steer horns on the hood…