Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ghost Rider

By Neil Peart (2002; 460 Pages)
I started reading Ghost Rider on May 16, 2004, before numerous interruptions followed, i.e.; Vacations, (Two trips to Japan, the San Juan Islands, Arizona and countless treks to Tacoma, along with a few RUSh concerts to boot before I finished reading the book on April 28, 2005; Aye Karumba!

I bought Neil’s two books: The Masked Rider (his bicycling trek across Africa) and Ghost Rider after Mary Ellen and I saw RUSh perform at The Gorge in George, WA on Sept 12, 2002, which ironically was Neil’s 50th Birthday.

Originally, I’d planned to read the book in the future once I got my reading aides figured out and with great persistence from Mary Ellen, I finally bought a CCTV and once again was able to read books!

Having not heard of Neil Peart’s ordeals until purchasing Ghost Rider: It's the story of his daughter and wife's death and his road to mental recovery...
Although Neil was never officially married, he’d lived in a common-law marriage for 23 yrs with his wife Jackie Taylor and daughter Selina Taylor.

On August 10, 1997, Selina perished in a single car accident on her way home to Toronto, as she was returning to begin college at the age of 19.
After this tragedy Jackie went into mourning. The couple then spent 6 months in London attending grief counseling. Upon returning home Jackie was diagnosed with cancer as she simply did NOT wish to live after the death of her daughter. Upon traveling to Barbados, Jackie passed away after an agonizing final two months…

Thus, after having purchased the book a few years earlier, my new target was to finish the book prior to RUSh’s upcoming 30th Anniversary tour concerts during the summer of 2004. Of which I attended four shows at Auburn, WA, Vancouver, WA, Mountain View, CA and Concord, CA during the month of July with RUSh “Groupie” Mark.

Yet, unfortunately due to ALL of my gallivanting about I wasn’t able to finish this book until much-much-much later… Upon having taken a siesta from multiple journeys’ to ‘N fro; I finally sat down to finish this DAMM BOOK! To which I elatedly said; “Mission Accomplished!” at the end of April 2005; SHEISA!

Yet, since I found this book so fascinating, it wasn’t read in the normal fashion. Instead while reading a chapter; I would take notes for which would become my references for my book review project.

But as I began the second half of the book, (Page 230) I discovered that I was missing my notes on the first 200pages I’d previously written... (Sometime back in 2004, SHEISA!!!)

So I went back and revisited the first six chapters, before continuing this laborious method of reading the remainder of the book... And starting in May 2005 I began my “Book Review Project,” finishing the original draft on June 9th. Then “All HELL broke loose” as the Call of Summer impeded this ever Mushrooming project! Along with “Action-Packed” summer travels, I was enticed to read another mammoth book: The Creature from Jekyll Island. (588pgs) By Edward Griffin, as I followed the same slow-motion reading process of Ghost Rider on this deeply fascinating book, albeit being interrupted once again; yet, with the Formula One and “Chump Carzs” season over, I finally became motivated to finish the DAMM Ghost Rider review!!!

As with ALL of my writing projects; Ghost Rider seemed to continuously grow larger and larger, as I scrambled to finish it prior to my trek to Arizona for Thanksgiving. But upon returning, my micro-SOFT Word 2002 became CORRUPTED and led to a month’s period of NOT being able to open any word files… F%%KING Confuzer’s!

So, after nearly two years the 36 page Ghost rider report was completed, seeming a distant memory… Although I was very jealous of Neil’s journey and enjoyed learning about several places I’ve never been!

And then in the fall of 2006 I began scribbling my No Fenders “BLOB” which has completely re-arranged my reading priorities, as there’s only about another seven books in the queue currently!

Ghost Rider; Chapter 6Leaving early on a sleepy Sunday morning, Neil stopped in “The Onion Capitol; Walla Walla (WA) for breakfast at the Red Apple, and with the weather being so fine, two mysterious attractions Neil had previously heard of called his name. The replica Stonehenge and the Maryhill chateau turned into an art museum in the middle of nowhere.

The Columbia River scenic Highway also warranted exploring, although only two relatively short stretches remain. Originally having been built in 1915 solely for the purpose to access the scenic Columbia River Gorge, the highway has been largely replaced by Interstate 84. And although the Oregon State taxpayers paid for the project, the highway was the vision of Samuel Hill.

Both the replica Stonehenge and the chateau overlooking the town named Maryhill are constructed completely out of poured concrete, as Samuel Hill made his fortunes as an attorney for the Great Northern Pacific railway after marrying the boss’s daughter. (Mary)

Samuel launched his career as a railroad magnate and Financier, having commissioned the building of Stonehenge as a war memorial, while the chateau along with the town it overlooked were both named Maryhill in deference to his estranged wife whom had moved to Washington DC by the time of its completion.

Samuel also built the first paved (concrete) road in Washington State along with commissioning the Peace Arch, which is situated at the Washington – Vancouver, BC Border crossing of Blaine, WA

Passing away in 1931, Samuel Hill’s death certificate named his occupation as Capitalist.

Heading west, Neil passed through the countryside, spotting a sign for Irrigon, OR while riding on I-84, as Mount Adams loomed in the distance. Turning at Briggs, Neil crossed the Samuel Hill Memorial Bridge to Maryhill.

After visiting both Stonehenge and the Chateau, Neil passed The Dalles, then turned south at the Hood River with Mount Hood providing a serene backdrop, before reaching Idaho, with Neil arriving in time to find shelter for the evening upon reaching Boise. Neil then set off for the drug store, liquor store & leather repairs while having his scooter serviced…

Therefore, albeit somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I was learning some unknown history about my home state from a “Kuh-Nuck,” nevertheless I’ve remained captivated about this little town in the middle of nowhere ever since learning about it back in circa 2004-05 and have harboured the ambitions of visiting it once, as it also happens to be the site of a very low key Historics Hill Climb and thus I’m finally going there after some five years of waiting!