Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ode to Portland: Can it already be 5-Years GONE? (Part IV)

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

So my Saturday notes begin with my saying: WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE FUCKING DAY! IT WAS! (At the track...)

As, yeah, it was a truly miserable day - as I decided to gut it out and sit in a myriad of rain showers/squalls in my cheesy Chiquita banana yellow paper thin raingear, noting that I hadn’t been that miserably  wet ‘N co-oooolllldddd in years... Feeling very sorry for the drivers by denoting what a YUCKY day to be out racing; Err, trying to race! What a miserable-miserable-miserable day, albeit feeling that after the euphoria of the prior day and a half, the drivers deserved my support. Which I was happy to see the amount of fans who braved it out in absolutely horrible conditions; as I actually pulled out my pathetic rain gear for the first time in umpteen years!

Noting that the last time I’d had rain gear on at PIR was with Randal the Moniker King when I just utilized the rain coat with Randal draping a plastic bag over our legs and holding a very large umbrella - so I probably hadn’t had the rain pants on in I dunno, ten years?

After five hours in constant rain, I left for the shelter of my dry hotel room across the freeway adjacent to the track - as I can still vividly remember being so cold from sitting on the aluminum bleachers that my teeth would NOT quit chattering as I walked towards the exit of the track, across the freeway and all the way up into my hotel room; BURR-RRRRR, CRIKEYS!

By the way, did I mention what a miserable yucky WET day it was? As the RAIN would pelt us, then let-up before deluging us again! As it never, ever rains in Portland, right? After having watched the Hydrofest, I noted to self how I was freezing on the way home; Err Hotel, albeit noting I was ready to go home - with standing water everywhere, as PIR seems too cheap to pave the pedestrian pathway into the Support Paddock/Vendor Row as I managed to step into every FRILLIN’ puddle along this pathway which had turned into a giant FREAKIN’ mudbog; URGH! Hmm? Perhaps the new Lake Portland? Although I can only imagine what the driving conditions on the race course were like, eh?

And as I mentioned, I stupidly sat immobile upon the metal bleachers for one hilarious reason... Recall that cheesy raingear? ‘Whale, the rain pants were so many sizes too large and the legs elastic seemed unfashionably loose that I was afraid to try walking anywhere in these for fear of face planting; YIKES! Although they did at least keep my lower torso dry - just not overly warm - as I sat through a miserable second ‘Qualie session in which obviously NOBODY advanced their grid positions; but I’m jumping ahead here...

As did I mention the rain yet? As my raingear was so cheesy that I recall making the mistake at one point to turn and watch some of the Hydroplanes; Err racecars go by and was blessed with feeling a small stream of water immediately run down my chest! As the rain pelted me so hard that it felt literally like rivers of water running down my body with puddles collecting around my wrists, my legs feeling drenched, every time I tried moving my head it would get wet - with constant water driblets cascading off of the hood drawstrings; SHEISA!

As hopefully everything will DRY out by tomorrow as my shoes were absolutely SOAKED! Being the only part of me that got truly deluged! As I noted going thru two pairs of absolutely soaked socks that day - the second pair due to the wetness of my tennis shoes; therefore note-to-self; bring a spare pair of shoes next time Buckwheat! As this day turned out to be more like a typical Northwest camping trip vs. day at the racetrack... Especially compared to what I just endured for three days at Indianapolis; but I digress...

After a leisurely breakfast at my trusty Elmer’s restaurant, then returning back to my hotel room dreading the rain whilst listening to somebody funny on the radio, I finally departed for the track just four minutes prior to 9:30AM; noting how once again I always manage to get caught up behind somebody actually walking slower then Mwah, huh? And am unwilling to try passing them upon the miniscule sidewalk that goes underneath the I-5 freeway. Then we had to wait for all of the traffic to pass before ‘Ossifer Friendly released us to crossover to the track’s east end entrances. As today’s walk; Err saunter to my assigned seat took me a whopping 45-minutes, which seemed overly long; Hmm? Perhaps it was the weather? Although I managed to arrive just prior to the Champ Cars pulling out onto track - whilst first attempting to just utilize the ‘Fly-yellow rain jacket sans pants which I used instead to keep my derriere dry on the wet aluminum seats...

Alex Tagliani ’06 Hero card
The Champ Cars came out in the rain and basically slithered about - as the highlight of my notes was apparently Graham Rahal had some fun in the wet, or perhaps the rookie CCWS pilot was getting some wet-weather driving lessons as I chuckled to myself upon hearing over the PA System that Graham went side-by-side into a corner with ‘PT; Thee Thrill from the West Hill as two went into the corner and Graham went onto the grass as Paul Tracy merrily continued Ontrack! Hmm? NO mention of Rahal getting any Chrome Horn baptism-under-fire treatment; Hee-hee-hee...

Randal dropped by my room that evening to retrieve his limited 1st edition No Fenders t-shirt and told me that it was a pretty sad day with approximately 10-20 (Diehard) fans in the stands, which I thought there was a little more, say may be 30-each, albeit I had to admit it was pretty slim pickens.

As I said above, Messer Rahal, which I won’t disclose my new moniker for him after kissing-thee-wall at Texas; Hurrah! Let’s just say it’s the bottom part of what you use to make Smores with... Had a pretty eventful day in the rain noting that he’d actually gone off course at lease twice today.

The Champ Cars affectionately known as ChumpCarz were then followed by the Atlantics. As I think they were then known as Champ Car presents the Atlantics on Cooper tyres powered by Mazda - BLEEP! Can you make the Frickin’ name any longer, eh? As they’ll always be the Toyota Atlantics to Mwah - as I guess I’m dating myself here? But I digress further.

As I noted how the skies literally opened up just minutes prior to the Atlantics Race number one, as it was a Double-header weekend and hence, I marveled at the sight of twenty-seven Hydroplanes; Err Atlantics racecars streaking down the front straightaway; Hmm? The word Hydroplanes seems to be a common theme in my notes. While I was amazed to see the Atlantics commence a standing start in the rain - which implied to Mwah that the Champ Cars would indeed make the series first-ever standing start tomorrow even in the wet stuff...

And even way back then my vision was blurry at best which means twenty-seven raging Hornets in the spray appear to be nothing more then just blobs, as the inclement weather made their respective colours fade away to me.

Although I did notice one interesting sight; Err noise, as one particular driver was taking the opposite line thru the Festival Curves. Basically taking the outside shoulder of the racing line against the normal inside apex, which I can only surmise he was searching for the day’s elusive grip... Thus whenever he passed by on this outside line closest to me I could actually hear him hitting ALL of the water puddles! Being surprised that nobody actually went off.

‘Whale actually it was reported over the PA System that 5-cars had indeed spun off in the first corner, although they’d made it thru the chicane - nevertheless they pirouetted off exiting the Festival Curves complex; actually the west end of the track as for reasons  unknown they’ve mucked up all of the corner numbers... As what used to be Turn-5 to me is now Turn-7, etc, apparently due to the Festival Curves complex which didn’t exist when I first came to the track back in 1987 as a ‘Wee lad.

Thus with all of the carnage occurring in the West End complex - my original seats before I got pinched out... A full course caution was thrown which was followed by two laps of the Pace car - as one of the five contestants who’d found the grass was the second placed car, some cat by the last name of Matos... Hmm? Musta-been soon to be IndyCar driver Raphael “Rafa” Matos, eh? As prior to this race Matos had won the first three rounds and was leading the points standings with his spin causing him to drop to mid-pack whilst I’d never heard of him up to this point and he didn’t really make an impression upon me then.

I also noted how another driver of interest to Mwah was Ronnie Bremer now competing in Atlantics after the “Dane had spent the 2005 season as a Champ Car driver for HVM and Dale Coyne, albeit I just recollect him as the driver of the ubiquitous Sonny’s BBQ-mobile... You know, the ‘Juan Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson now drives. As I don’t remember where Bremer finished.

And then there was Linksheaven’s Boy, as Roy Madden was ultra good to me, not only posting my then just beginning No Fenders website onto his Blogroll but also letting me become a contributing guest writer for what was then the Numero Uno F1 Blogsite at the time - which ‘Mega increased my blogsite’s traffic, as where did Roy go?

OOPS! Back to his boy who at the point I don’t think had a driver’s license. You may have heard of him? His name is John Edwards - the race car driver from Arkansas who’d go onto win both the Atlantics and Star Mazda championships before his Open Wheel career sadly stalled! Having defeated a gal by the name “Symona-Symona” (De Silvestro) to that year’s title fight... As Simona’s in the recalcitrant ‘SLOTUS while last I heard John has now become a ‘Tintop pilot in the Grand Am series driving a Mazda RX-8 GT saloon.

Edwards started P18 and then almost had contact with somebody before definitely having contact since I heard over the loudspeakers that the No. 7 was entering the Pits to replace what was left of the front nose! As they couldn’t even get jackstands underneath it - with two pit crew members simply yanking the car skywards in order to slap a new nosecone upon Edwards mangled racer - as I don’t think he finished very well that day...

Whilst another driver who I wanted to keep calling Heathcliffe - you may have heard of him? As he now occupies Danica’s Go Daddy seat in IndyCar... As ‘Kuhnadiun James Hinchcliffe was on Pole position and led almost the entire race until the waning laps when a fresh-faced 18yr old by the name of Wicken? As all I could think of was oh, he’s a witch; Hya! As it turned out to actually be thee Young ‘Wicky, aka Robert Wickens passing James in the closing laps for his debutant Atlantics victory with Hinchcliffe finishing runner-up, as I noted how I DON’T know any of these guys... While thinking the intermission prior to the ‘BigCarz would be painfully long in the rain, but actually wasn’t too bad.

Then the weather teased us as the sun came out momentarily, psyche! As the rain not only returned but in gobs, as the Champ Cars went out to basically push water around as I mused how I could actually see the cars individual roostertails, with the track announcer claiming said roostertails were 15-20 feet high; Aye Karumba! As this should give some indication of how much standing water was on track, eh?

Curiously I noted that the officials must have waived the 15-lap limit which was the maximum laps allowed during qualifying sessions, as I swear the entire field simply pounded round ‘N round pumping hundreds of gallons of water skywards while futily trying to create a dry line on the racing circuit.

Obviously the ‘Boyz wouldn’t be able to knock off Friday Pole-sitter Justin ‘BIG UNIT Wilson due to the conditions - as I was happy with the second place starter ultimately, albeit I was kinda bummed for “Christian Comedy” (Tristan Gommendy) as ‘Ol ‘R (Robin Miller) nicknamed  him all those years ago... As Gommendy had actually done a superb lap to net P2 before spinning off track and bringing out a Red-flag which eliminates the driver causing it his best two lap times... Hence, another of my Champ Car World Series (CCWS) favourites ‘Bad Bobby D, aka Robert Doornbos would start on the outside of Row-1 - as I always enjoy hearing the charismatic ‘Neederlander interviewed...

As I mused to myself Way
To GO Gommendy! Saying he must be the most pleasant surprise to JV & Co. Noting that I believed he was actually outpacing his teammate Neal Jani - although the announcer stated that the PKV Boyz had been running P3-4 at the beginning of the session.

And another CCWS Footnote - driver Alex Figge, remember him? Whose father funded the creation of Pacific Coast Motorsports had a devilish time upon the racetrack, as I noted he’d spun off several times during the session; but it was good to stick it out since those Panoz DP-01’s are such cool machines - as little did I know this would be the last weekend I’d ever hear the beautiful noise of REAL turbocharged Open Wheel Racing cars! (Even if it was the spec Ford/Cosworth XFE 2.65-liter V-8...)

Thus I was ultra pleased that my boy JW, aka thee ‘BIG UNIT (Justin Wilson) was on Pole - his second Portland Pole position with Doornbos second. Don’t know where le ‘Hamburgular wound-up which is absolutely FINE with Mwah since it means he AIN’T startin’ up front, as I believe that Rahal out qualified him and I know that  pesky Will Power is up front too...

Having exited Stage Left immediately after the final qualifying session to go get dry ‘N warm, along with having gotten some much needed nourishment, I found it funny to be able to hear racing cars for a further hour (5-6PM) from my room, which is amazing since I’m across the freeway and my hotel room is directly next to the building’s elevator - which makes it extremely easy to locate. Yet I’m amazed with all of the ambient traffic noise I can hear the racecars - which I’m guessing may be the Atlantics?

Watched the local Channel-8 news which showed how absolutely abysmal the day’s outing was - showed the Alex Figge 360-degree spin I’d witnessed at the chicane. But hey, not only did they show PT going off track but Sebastain Bourdais as well - which means you know it was wet! With Doornbos’s runner-up starting spot being a lap time of 1:12+ which was a full 14-seconds SLOWER than Wilson’s Pole winning lap in the dry the day prior; which emphasizes just how much difference the rain made, while Wilson played it safe and was third quick upon the day.

Caught the lineup which was Wilson & Doornbos on Row-1. Third was Bourdais - BOOOOOOOOO!!! ‘TAG (Alex Tagliani) was fourth, with Will Power fifth, Rahal P8 and Tracy was 13th. They interviewed Wilson who said it was pretty wild in his typical understated British wit. Noting how there was ZERO visibility! Claiming that when he’d try going a little offline down the front straight to gain some much needed visibility he’d immediately be in the puddles and begin aquaplaning; YIKES! And this coming from a BLOODY ‘BRIT used to driving in the RAIN; pretty crazy!

Oh yeah, I seemed to be annoyed with a cool cat named Johnny Unser at the time, as the announcers noted that he’d actually ran a Champ Car - see how that works, as it woulda been CART in 1994, as your humble scribe was there but sure don’t remember NO Johnny Unser racing...

As Johnny said he empathized with the drivers over the torrid conditions as I had NO clue what his role was at the time - just noting he had some sort of connection with Cooper tyres, as I found it funny that we had an Unser and an Andretti on hand, as my program noted that Mario wouldn’t be there until tomorrow...

Thus, like I said, we had an Unser and Andretti on hand, albeit not racing - with Johnny representing Cooper tyres while Mario, a staunch ‘Flinstone (Firestone) supporter was in the Manufacturers Midway signing autographs at 3PM, like he did last year. As I’m not sure - Oh wait! Its Champ Cars, never mind; Hya! As I’m certain Mario enjoyed the rain, eh?

Yet the part I found totally disgusting - which drove me absolutely Bonkers, having NEVER EVER heard I-T in my life was Johnny Unser’s command to start engines by saying: Drivers  start  your Mazduh engines for the Atlantics race; SHEISA! C’mon! Can’t we even leave that time honoured phrase out of the dubious grasp of the almighty dollar; Err Capitalism?

While the other part I found hilarious was the announcer asking us to please remove your caps for the national anthem in the ensuing downpour; BITE ME! As I was trying to stay semi-dry whilst seated, albeit I did shakily rise for the Canadian anthem...

When Randall knocked upon my door and entered around 4PM, he said; where are your sheets? I dunno, having just returned and trying to change into something dry, I hadn’t noticed the lack of bed sheets and pillows upon the chair as apparently Housecleaning had taken them away? And then after returning from my much needed meal and turning the radio on; Surprise! As the maids had turned the volume way up to some ‘Funkmaster Five CRAP! Before I tuned in “Scare America,” as Jefford calls it to listen to the massive protesting of the G-8 summit where our great leader Georgie Porgy Puddin’ Pie H.W. Bush had gotten sick wherever; Hoorah!

To continue reading, see; Ode to Portland (Part V)

Giving yourself an edge and advantage with hid kits

 When it comes to the look of your automobile there is nothing cooler than adding some amazing looking headlights. Of the greatest lighting systems in the world there is nothing better than the high quality hid kits that you can now find at automotive and aftermarket auto parts stores.
Hid kits are created to be specially designed headlights capable of sending a blazing beam of light on anything that you come across. It is capable of protecting you better, in comparison to the standard traditional lighting like halogen bulbs, and it is also a much more attractive light to look at.
Built using a unique and specialized gas called xenon, hid kits were first invented based upon the bulbs that were created in World War II by the Germans to have better lighting for their movies. It wasn’t long before automotive engineers saw the potential that these remarkable lights could have and in 1991 BMW took the idea and applied it to the Series 7, creating the first hid bulb.
Now you can find these fantastic lights being used in self installation kits featuring just about every model you can think of from new contemporary cars to classic vehicles. You can find them for cars and trucks, and now you can even get them for motorcycles. There is no limit to what kind of automobile you can put these powerful lights on, and the benefits are substantial.
People do not realize what kind of risk they are in when they are driving with standard lighting. You are actually at a 40% higher risk of getting in a serious if not fatal accident when you are driving at night because of the limitations you have with your source of lighting. By applying the technology used in hid kits you can have a much better statistical chance against the darkness. Plus you will look super cool doing it.
Hid kits are simple to install and the light they produce gives off a color that is so unique that people are going crazy over it. Perhaps you have seen one driving down the road. This is a varying look depending upon the temperature that your lights are set to. From 4000k to 6000k you will get a light that averages between yellow and blue and is quite attractive. Anything above this temperature will create a purple light that some enjoy, but is so strong that some states have made it illegal.
If you have any doubt about the effectiveness that these bulbs have test it out by driving behind someone else who is using one. Right away you can see the incredible difference in illumination compared to what you are using and what the hid kit is producing...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ode to Portland: Can it already be 5-Years GONE? (Part III)

Friday, June 8, 2007

 What a Freakin’ AWESOME Day!
Started out very cold, (for me) as I was wearing just shorts and my exclusive limited 1st edition No Fenders T-Shirt in about 50 deg-f - after having a quick breakfast at Elmer’s, I left for the track around 8:50AM, arriving 10 minutes later, “Just-in-Time” to see the Toyota Atlantics; Err Champ Car Atlantics morning session. At least I think it was the Atlantics? Which I know had various names over the years but will always be the “Toy Yoter” Atlantics to Mwah...

The grandstands were almost completely empty, which meant there were plenty of vantage points to watch the Open Wheel action. Then after having “vacillated” for weeks prior to the race, I decided to purchase a Friday paddock pass after all, for two reasons. First, it allowed me admittance to my very favourite vantage point. Second, I’d finally decided that morning to attempt getting my Molson Indy poster signed by “The Hamburgular& TAG” who’d STIFFED me the previous year…

Thus I headed across the Bridgestone foot bridge to take up my position once again at the end of pit exit from inside the paddock. Still cannot believe that we’re allowed approx. 50-feet from the race track. This is my personal favourite vantage point for the start of the weekend! (Back at my room I discovered I’d spent the whole day with my ticket in upside down! But nobody seemed bothered by that…)

And this was the very first year that I used my (Dreaded) white cane… Which always makes me smile thinking about what everyone else must be thinking when they see me in the paddock!  As it’s virtually impossible for me to see any of the Champ Cars when they’re “hidden” inside of the fully enclosed tent awnings...

Meandering my way down the paddock, the Alex Figge Pacific Coast Motorsports spare chassis was sitting on the back of the transporter sticking straight out towards us. This immediately caught my attention; the solid black chassis was absolutely “WICKED!” The Panoz DP-01 is an AWESOME car! And they really remind me of contemporary Formula 1 chassis…

So I stood awhile admiring it, before I got a crazy idea. I’d just wait until I could get the attention of one of the many crew members going in and out of their tent. First I asked him what type of car was it? Then I asked if it would be ok for me to stand inside of the temporary barriers and look at it? And he was really “kOOL!” He answered my questions and let me look at the chassis for several minutes…

Next I took up station just outside of the Forsythe/Indeck (Paul Tracy) compound, watching various crew members go back ‘N forth, before tiring of this.

When I’d been chatting with the PCM crew member, he’d told me that I was looking at the back-up car and he had NO idea where the primary was? May be it’s in the pits I replied? Nope, but I don’t know where it is… And wallah! While at the Forsythe trailers Alex Figge’s black primary chassis went rolling past me… As it was being towed back from Tech Inspection...

I wandered around some more, trying to figure out what the giant black building behind me was? Nope, it’s not the “Flinstone” tire booth as I found the Bridgestone semi trailer later. And there was the constant bark of wheel nut air guns going off. But the funniest sound was the screaming noise of (2 Stroke) Dirt bikes racing about at the west end of the track which could be heard over everything else as they were totally oblivious to the current proceedings.
Then I walked back to watch the action near the exit of the Hot Pits, where I DON’T know why? But somehow I was “magically drawn to the Frilling Hamburgular’s pit stall, SHEISA!!! (Guess I must be a “closet” Bourdais fan, eh?) I asked somebody if it was (Graham) Rahals? Who? Oh, never mind! But he told me it must be Sea Basses since it had a Mac-Doogal’s emblem on it…

Le ‘Hamburgular, aka Sebastain Bourdais ’06 Hero card
With the sound of air guns going off all around, I just stood there watching as the Mac-Doogal’s crew was busy doing dry-run pit stops (Practice) before the start of Friday’s first practice session. And then at the time it was “Hilarious” to me as somebody did a full “NHRA” tire smokin’ burn out as all of the Champ Cars left the pits…

Poor ‘PT! Who’s been waiting a full seven weeks to get back into a Champ Car and had spent the prior evening “yuking” it up about how he was roarin’ to go! As I heard the interview during lunch over the track’s PA system that Tracy had gone out and HIT the WALL at Turn 8 on the very first lap! Then Mr. Chrome Horn never went out for the remainder of the first practice session! Obviously this wasn’t how Paul had planned on making his return to the cockpit, eh?

And may be it’s just another sign of my getting old-ER? But I was amazed at how many kids were on hand this morning, which is GREAT! As I heard a kid in front of me saying… And I’m glad I kept my trap shut since I’d have been WRONG! (Again!) As his dad pointed out the lights on the front straight as the kid asked; What are the lights for? These were the lights for Champ Cars very first standing start, scheduled for Sunday’s race.

Having watched that first Champ Car doing a burn out, I was unsure why this was occurring. Then I realized that they’d set-up a separate lane to simulate individual standing starts as I watched at least five cars do this. Which was INSANE! As the driver enters the box, runs the Cosworth XFE up to what sounds like full RPM’s before “dumping” the clutch and hopefully not stalling the angry beast! And this is even harder to do since there’s no traction control or clutch pedal to use… As a corner worker mused over whether or not they’d do the standing starts in the rain? (As the forecast was for precipitation both Sat. & Sunday...)

It was AMAZING to watch the practice starts as I tried to not breathe in too much of the burnt rubber and methanol after my discussion with the Nurse on the train, as I hung out there for the entire session… (Standing for at least 90 minutes)

And it was interesting to watch the Mac-Doogal’s crew bring in and out of the Hot Pits Bourdais race car, as I’m not sure what was going on? Having the chassis push directly in front of me…But instead of towing it, they simply pushed it around using a rear jack stand. Also a Forsythe/Indeck chassis was rolled past me, probably Tracy’s spare car? It was really kOOL seeing those two cars close-up!

Then I high-tailed it back across the Bridgestone foot bridge to wander the “Manufacturer’s Midway,” where of course I had to puruse the Randy Owens booth. And what jumped out at me from the wall? DAMN! A large, beautiful autographed Nigel Mansell serigraph! And the “Sales Monkey” immediately started his pitch on me while I was checking it out… Telling me how good of a deal it was; only $275 or I could get it framed for $600! And it’s really sweet! And SHEISA! I want it, but where would I stick it?

It’s titled Rookie Champion, with “BLOODY Nige” in the 1993 Lola/Ford Cosworth coming straight at you; “There’s ONLY 4 left!” And it originally sold for $400.

With my head reeling; I went and sat down in a nearby grandstand to watch the Toyota Atlantics. While I seriously contemplated purchasing the AWESOME Mansell serigraph, but think I’ll pass as I told the sales jockey I DON’T even have my Thunderdome print framed yet! To which he replied, send it back to Randy; they’re too nice to be sitting in tubes, but I digress…

OOPS! Freudian slip as they’ve now been the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda for two years. Actually I think it’s now Cooper Tires presents the Champ Car Atlantics powered by Mazda… (Try saying that fast five times.) As I watched the qualifying session for race number one tomorrow. And I suddenly thought about Linksheaven’s “Boy” John Edwards. But I don’t know what happened to him since he qualified 18th. And I believe the Sierra Sierra team was on pole? Even funnier to me was the fact that the Atlantics had 27 entrants vs. Champ Cars lowly 17…
Then just for humour I took the scenic route and went all the way across the bridge for a hot dog and bottled water… Like I said, just for humour, eh? (Walking past the much closer vendors)

Then I watched Champ Car provisional qualifying from the exit of turn 12 onto the main straightaway. And DAMN! Those Champ Cars are so FUCKING FAST!!! I watched the entire first qualifying session there, noting how different they sound on the outside of the course compared to inside the paddock. NO Wog-Wog-Wog of pit lane speed limiters here, it’s just “On the Button” as they’re screaming down the front straight.

And “My Man” did it! Justin Wilson “FUCKIN’ ROCKED!” As he claimed Friday’s provisional Pole position. And it was fun listening to the pre-qualifying interviews as PT fessed up to hitting the wall that morning. They also interviewed “Bad Bobby D,” better known as Robert Doornbos. And I really like that guy; he’s got a great attitude! And it kracks me up since I’ve heard this before. But they keep asking him about the difference between testing an F1 car…

Ok, so he’s a Test Driver this year, but HELLO! He actually raced for Red Bull as Christian Klien’s replacement in F1 during 2006. (Making 4 starts) With Doornbos stating that the F1 car is the most technically advanced machine on the planet! Very challenging technically, with the steering wheel looking like something out of Play Station… But Champ Car is great as the traction control is your right foot! They’re a blast to drive and he really enjoys Champ Car.

Then after hemming and hawing all day, I headed back inside the paddock to get my poster signed at the yearly CCWS autograph session, as I decided that I wanted Doornbos’s autograph definitely!

But I’m jumping ahead as I think Katherine Legge was last on the grid at one minute, 01 seconds plus. Tracy worked his way up to 13th with a 59.4 second lap while Justin Wilson’s pole time was 58 seconds flat, which guarantees him of no worse than P2 on Sunday. And the interview was typical Justin, unflappable, NO Ego… As they kept trying to egg him on, C’mon you kicked everybody’s ASS! “NO, I’m just happy with where we’re at today, but there’s more work to be done with the car and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.” Is there anything more left in the car? Well there’s always something left, room to improve on… We’ll see tomorrow. And then I decided that I really needed to make a Pitstop… As I must’ve walked right past the Honey Buckets that I know are near my grandstands at the other end of the bridge.

Then I headed for the Red Bull chalet prior to the autograph session. And I was there so DAMN Early, almost 1hr before, that they were still setting up the gates they use to heard us thru… And it was hilarious as I ended up standing next to Becky, who I swear was the same lady I stood behind in line last year… I mean she even had the same pile of stuff in her arms as last summer and I ended up giving her my business card… So the first two No Fenders cards went to women…

Originally I’d planned on only getting Doornbos signature, standing first in his line, but then I thought NO! I’d better get The Hamburgular’s first. So I jumped in line directly behind Becky, whom after telling her my story of Bourdais stiffing me last year told me to go ahead of her. So I was the second person in his line...

Stepping forward to Sea Bass, GAWD DAMN!!! He SIGNED my poster, NO Questions asked!!! He tried handing me a card, (Again) but I just unrolled the poster and wallah… He signed it, before sliding it over to Alex Tagliani. Who still has the thickest French accent, thus I couldn’t understand what he was saying... As I still don’t know what TAG was pointing too, but he liked something at the top of the poster… As I was bemused that TAG was actually impressed by somebody’s signature? I tried asking him what he said, but NO Reply. So I slid my poster to the next victim, followed by some “Numbnuts” from Atlantics…

In typical Tomaso fashion, while tryin’ to talk smart, I walked over two lines when I only needed to go one. So after standing there for 5-10 minutes before discovering my gaffe... And I think there were some “KuhNucks” in line behind me as they were talking about their Edsel. (Hmm, Betcha they’re in line for Tracy?) So I asked them which line was I in?

So I ended up getting behind another kOOL person, who’s I originally guessed must be military with his short haircut. He told me he’d been on tour for two years; “What do you mean?” He said he’d been to every race for the past two years, since he was part of the TV broadcast team. (2nd in charge, I believe) He was an engineer who worked in the trailer, so I enjoyed chatting with him about TV issues. He told me they’d been there since Tuesday setting up everything, taping for production, etc. And everything had been going extremely smooth, in fact so smoothly he’d been given the chance to go walk around, which hardly ever happens. So he’d decided to go to the autograph session.

He told me a funny story about that year’s Houston race where they’d hung a bunch of coaxial cable… They’d hung it high enough for the golf karts to clear; but NOT the Fire Truck. As he said the fire truck’s cab made it under, but not whatever was on the back half of the truck… So that was a $2,000 mistake!

And he had some really nice photographs to be signed, which I couldn’t make out who they were, but he was really nice. So I got Doornbos, “Christian Comedy” (Tristen Gomendy) and Neal Jani plus two other drivers autographs - as my garbled chicken scratching sez Cclare? As in Dan “Speedy-dry” Clarke with the fifth Amigo still unknown; basically the Red Bull group, eh? As I’d gotten nine drivers signatures in addition to the 16 from the previous year! And I was impressed by the number of kids getting autographs… So may be there’s hope for Champ Car afterall? Although Becky rambled on and on about the 100th year Portland Rose Festival parade being on raceday and they’d probably use that as the excuse for diminished crowd count and cancel the race…

Happy to have gotten my signatures, I headed back to the hotel as it was actually quite warm out, although it would be the last of actual heat as I returned to my room at 5PM, chillin’ out for a while before dinner at Elmer’s and Mike Malloy on the radio…

To continue reading, see; Ode to Portland (Part IV)

Friday, June 22, 2012

INDYCAR: Please FIX your BLEEPIN’ Internetz maladies...

Thanxs to No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer ‘CARPETS for a heads-up upon Iowa IndyCar practice - I tuned in the practice via MOOZILLA since is still DISABLED on my IE8 (Internetz Exploder) browser; URGH! As why has the website page been permanently DELETED and all I get is immediately re-directed to the overly bland mobile page instead? Note to Indy Car; NOT every Freakin’ person in the world wants to listen to qualifying via cell phone, Yuhs hear me Mr. Bernard?

Then just to twist the knive in deeper - since I traditionally “TRY” listening to the IMS Radio Network broadcasts via my PC; Mike "Yippee Aye Eh!" King blathered on 'N on 'bout how fans were stark raving mad about how GURR-REAT! The IndyCar broadcast was via the mobile App; FU!

Then guess what? The FREAKIN' live practice broadcast DUMPED with just over 5-mins 40-seconds remaining in the 45min session when everybody was flooding the track w/sticker tyres to go for the Top-8 positions as Practise-2 sets the starting lineup for tonight's riveting Heat Races... As my speakers just went BLANK! And I tried refreshing the page, re-logging on/off, etc before sayin’ SCREW I-T!

Hmm? As IndyCar wants us 40 ‘Somme-thuns with Confuzers to continuously prattle on positively ‘bout how GURR-REAT the sport is? And to think I gave up on watching the Euro 2012 Germany vs. Greece Football match for this run-around instead; Oh Never Mind!

Ode to Portland: Can it already be 5-Years GONE? (Part II)

Paul Tracy - Las Vegas Grand Prix, 2007. (Source:
Day 1: Thurs; June 7th (Con’t)
And since I’d arrived early enough to my Hotel, I decided that I’d try something brand Spankin’ new, since for the very first time in 20 years as a season ticket holder, I’d been invited to the Champ Car Fan Forum at the Winners, Whiners, Wiener’s, err Winner’s club at the race track from 6-7:30PM. (Ironically occurring on what would become the very final Champ Car race held in the Rose City...)

I left around 5:20PM to wander over to PIR to try figuring out which entry to go into, as I was fairly certain that my normal side gate would be closed. As I was looking around, I spotted a couple with race hats on and asked them if they were going to the Fan Forum? Yes, so I asked if I could follow them over to it, since I’d never been to the event.

Ron and Susan were a super nice couple from California… Who’d started attending Portland since Laguna Seca left the calendar, as they really liked that track! (So I’m sure they’ll be pleased with Laguna Seca’s 2008 return...)

It was kind of fun walking thru PIR which was in total set-up mode and we had to cross the track via the infield road which the race teams use. It was very nice of them as I’d have NEVER found the “Winner’s Club.” As the Hospitality tent is completely unmarked and hidden on the infield portion directly across from my old West End grandstands, requiring a very lengthy walk…

Even funnier to me was learning that they knew the same nicknames for drivers as I use in the blog, i.e.; “Whiny Bags,” etc. I gave Susan my very first No Fenders business card while we swapped stories about Justin Wilson. Susan told me about a friend of hers who was a member of the Justin Wilson fan club. The one’s who bought shares and she’d won the drawing to ride around a course with Justin in a souped-up Mustang. Along with winning a pair of his driving boots in a raffle; yet Susan seemed most impressed when I told her I’d seen Justin race in Japan in 2003…

Just prior to walking down the dirt road to the hospitality tent, they met up with some friends so I left them to Chit-chat after being introduced. Then standing in line the man in front of me was most friendly after I asked him if he was in the end of the line. After getting my drink ticket and asking where to go, I wandered about since I’m positive the lady told me the wrong way. *Pointing to me where to go, (a fairly typical occurrence - albeit NOT overly helpful to a visually impaired person...) while standing there with my white cane)

So the same man asked if I was looking for the drink line and told me to just follow him. And what do you know; Champ Car bought me a free “Butt-wiper!” (Budweiser) HOLY CLYDESDALES BATMAN!

Walking about trying to find an empty seat, a man said are you looking for a seat? Yes, go ahead and sit here. His name was Doug and he thought I was with my friend, the guy who’d shown me the beer line… Nope, just somebody helping me out. As Doug was super friendly and told me he was 48 and his wish was to go to the Las Vegas Champ Car race for his 50th B-Day… Then Doug told me the secret trick for free drinks/food. If you don’t give them your tickets they won’t ask for them… Doug then asked if I wanted another beer. How cool is that! Not to mention Champ Car picking up the drinks tab, eh?

And I noted to myself how FUCKING KOOL the evening was, with at least 100+ people in attendance, not to mention how much of a STUD I was while wearing my brand new Ferrari jacket!

As the Forum started with Champ Car president Steve Johnson, whom I found to be very forthright and even claimed that Champ Car had appeared to finally get the right person for the job! Of course Johnson
Who’s still listed as Champ Car President and CEO has since been given a “Lateral Move,” (position) now free to focus upon sales, marketing and promotions. While Tony Cottman, formerly in charge of Competition, will handle the day to day running of all On Track operations.

Nevertheless I found Johnson’s “Fireside Chat” to be most enjoyable, bringing up many items I was unaware of. I.e.; rumours of a potential Street Race in Downtown Portland to replace PIR; Portland International Raceway being torn up this summer, resurfaced and upgraded to FIA Standards for a possible MOTO GP race? (Which has since gone to Indianapolis instead...?)

Johnson made a dig about the internets… Where everybody writes something (Me included) and everyone runs with it! And although I felt like I was getting the inside scoop, one must wonder if he’s also doing “Damage Control?” As Johnson claimed that all that had happened to date - having just been to a Portland City Council meeting that was simply proposing the (
Downtown Street
race) idea and he’d simply gone to listen with NOTHING having been decided. Especially since he thinks it would be a shame for Champ Car to miss out on what would be PIR’s 25th Anniversary next year.

Sitting at the table while Johnson responded to a question about the China debacle, I noticed that Doug had a Champ Car “Winners” Circle hat on as I made a snide comment about there being one “little” obstacle to overcome… Some bloody bloke named Bernie Ecclestone. And it was hilarious as Doug replied who’s dat? Which was a total krack-up to me as I explained to Doug that Emperor Bernardo was the DICTATOR (“El Supremo.Czar”) of Formula 1! As well as throwing in a few tidbits about all of the legal wranglings currently going on over this event; yet Steve Johnson stuck firm to his “Canned Answer.” That China is still on the table… Yeah, Right!

Then a fan got on a really long winded rant about why couldn’t they do a Champ Car race at Pacific Raceways? (A FANTASTIC Permanent Road Course located in Kent, WA) Even though there’s a little runoff issue! (Uh, DUH!) As I chimed in; not to mention something called Cliffs dropping off the side to the railroad tracks below! But Johnson mentioned how he’d been to Seattle and liked the track, just didn’t think the runoff issue could be overcome…

Wrapping up his portion of the program, Johnson even made a joke about that evening’s selected driver. Something about how every time he sees him, he’s giving him a fine; Hooah! And the two of them did a great job of trading barbs back ‘N forth before Johnson said I know you didn’t come here to see me…

And the “Special “Surprise” Champ Car World Series (CCWS) Driver” was NONE Other than ‘ChumpCarz current court jestor: Paul “I CAN’T Drive 35” Tracy!  Who is FUCKING AWESOME!!! As he seems to be like a fine wine, getting better with age, at least personality-wise - as I noted to myself; dare I say it? Tracy has mellowed! And even matured? As he had the entire room laughing their ASSES Off! Then his PR person kept telling him he had to go… “Time to leave Paul,” to which he replied: NAH! Screw it! I’ll BLOW OFF my next engagement and hang out here for awhile, much to the crowd’s delight.

When asked about any future plans of becoming a possible CCWS Team Owner? Tracy replied: NONE Right now… As instead, I like the money coming into me. When you’re a team owner the money tends to flow out of your pockets, but I’m happy that Gerry Forsythe has been so gracious to me. He basically let’s me do whatever I want to do! (Hmm? Bet those feelings changed in 2008, eh?)

Tracy said he agreed with the comment that Champ Car needed to have a more stable Driver line-up as the fans have a hard time following the massive influx of new drivers each season… (Perhaps we just don’t like having to learn all those new foreign names, right?)

Tracy noted that he’s 38 and he was looking at ALL of these PUNKS in Champ Car, like Graham Rahal who’s ONLY 18… And he misses the day when he was a young gun. Coming up he raced with the likes of Zanardi, Montoya, Vasser, Sullivan, “Lil Al and the Andretti’s

When he was a rookie, the “elder” statesmen were people like Fittipaldi, Mears and Mario Andretti were the norm, all completely recognizable names that the fans knew… (Before the SPLIT and some 800lb Gorilla named RASSCAR!)

Tracy was simply Amazing! And while listening to the next day’s weather report I recalled Tracy’s answers to two questions about driving in the wet stuff. In typical PT fashion, Tracy replied to the question about driving in the rain in the spray behind somebody’s roostertail; Weell you generally cannot sea anything! Especially at Surfers Paradise, which is the worst! Portland’s Ok ‘cause its got space, no buildings, Street circuit setting, where the spray doesn’t dissipate. You just start looking for anything… Like bridges, which you know if you sea a bridge coming up it generally means a braking point is coming up! (Laughter!)

The second question was about Portland Int’l Raceway, to which Tracy replied he doesn’t care what it does. (Weather) Of course I’d prefer a dry race, but when it gets hot here, the track becomes very “greezy.” What bother’s PT most is when the rain is intermittent like a couple of years ago… I think that musta been 2005? When its wet-dry-wet-dry you can never get a rhythm going and Portland’s definitely a rhythm track. It’s a rolling track, you need to roll thru the corners and keep your momentum going…

Yeah the back is fine. (Tracy had been out of action after breaking vertebrae at 35mph during practice in Long Beach?) Dr. Terry Trammel had given him the green light to resume racing this weekend, since he wasn’t racing at a Street circuit. Definitely that would have been a little more dicier because of all the concrete walls. Portland’s open. Then they go to Cleveland, an airport which is wide open except for there’s one big wall to hit there. (More laughter!) As PT’s obviously hit that wall before! Then they’re off to Mount Tremblant which is a natural road course… Along with the two European tracks; with Assen and Zolder both being natural terrain circuits. So there’s three new Permanent Road Courses this season.

Tracy was an all around “good guy” this evening and it PAINS me to admit it, to which I’ve told two people I’m a Tracy convert now… “Who’d a Thunk it?” That I’d ever say that about “Krackman!” Although my favourite current Champ Car driver is without question Justin Wilson!

Upon leaving the CCWS Forum at 7:10PM while ‘ole PT was busy signing autographs, I attempted making my way back out of the track as dusk was fast approaching. And having missed my turn, actually having NOT gone quite far enough I decided to ask some people stopped on a golf cart for directions.  (With my white cane of course!) They were really nice and the lady driving the cart offered to drive me back to the front gate instead… They were workers busy setting up the food booths for the next day.

Next I meandered over to Elmer’s for dinner and was seated immediately, before returning to my room at 8:10PM, pre-Mike Malloy show. (Malloy is delayed 3hrs in Portland) Thus I had a nice nightcap while listening to the soothing sounds (ACK!) of Malloy, whose tag-line is don’t go to bed SCREAMING! Let Mike do it for you instead...

To continue reading, see; Ode to Portland (Part III)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ode to Portland: Can it already be 5-Years GONE?

If you’re a regular reader of the No Fenders Award winning ‘BLOB - Yuck-yuck-yuck, as thee esteemed ‘Aunty Harriet calls I-T... Then you’ll probably know that I’m the lone voice in the Bloggerland wilderness still Howlin’ (MADLY) at the Moon for Indy Cars to rightly return to the Pacific Northwest... And NO! NOT at some
SILLY ARSE Temporary Street
Circuit - either in Seattle or Portland; BUTT! Back to its rightful home at Portland International Raceway! Or whatever it’s called now?

Thus, in lieu of this month being the Five-year Anniversary of PIR having gone silent, i.e.; NO more Champ Car or Indy Racing League; Err, IndyCar races at Portland, I thought I’d attempt finishing this story I started way back when as a tribute to the GOOD OLD DAZES at Portland’s 1.96-mile Permanent Road Course - which last time I was there 5yrs ago, multiple passing occurred in the Festival Curves, so take that Belle Isle; Hya!

Juan ‘O Tomaso’s countless racing programs unearthed from its ‘Shoebox. Champ Car World Series Portland International Raceway - 2006 edition...
Grand Prix of Portland
Champ Car World Series
June 7-10, 2007

Day 1: Thurs; June 7th
Once again the Metro (Bus) trip planning Desk-jockey gives me a different route to Downtown Seattle. So I walk in the light rain 1 mile to catch the Express Bus instead. And although it’s a steady light drizzle, it’s also most humid as I’m just sweating profusely in the AWESOME Scandia Ferrari 333 SP jacket mi Madre has given me.

And for some reason the bus driver has to “FUCK” around with me. Stopping about 30’ feet shy of where I’m standing (at bus stop with white cane) and after I walk to him and start putting my money in. He sticks his hand over the coin slot to stop me before I tell him I’ve only put two-thirds of the fare in; and then when I tell him I want off at the
King Street
station, he says: “Where is that?”

Getting off at 2nd & Washington, I take the scenic route to the Train Station, as I can never quite remember which stairs lead down to what, so I go in the main entry which requires a circuitous route to arrive at. And once again I’m way too damn EARLY!!! As I’ve arrived at 10AM for my 11:20AM departure; OOPS! And once again a lady hit the automatic door opener for me…

Walking inside the cavernous station, I was surprised with how dark it was for Mwah, yet there wasn’t anybody there. Standing at the empty check-in counter I finally got a woman’s attention, who turned out to be the kindest Amtrak clerk I’ve ever had. Carol not only fixed my train ticket, since I always forget to get my Disability discount when using “Julie,” thee Automated telephone service, but when I asked her for a baggage tag, she filled it out for me. Then she came around the counter and affixed it to my bag before walking me to a seat nearby the train’s seat assignment counter. Then Carol told me she’d have a Sky Cap come and get me when it was time to board…

And then the funny part of waiting occurred - as the lobby slowly filled up with passengers. As I’d folded-up my white cane, a woman struck up a conversation with me, asking if I new if there was a coffee stand in the building? (Before inquiring: Will you watch my bag for me?) But of course there’s not, so I quipped there’s one on every corner; after all this is Seattle, the coffee capitol of the world, right...

Yet when everyone got in line to get their seat assignments, she asked if I’d mind watching her bag again. And then the Sky Cap showed up before she’d returned, so I had to leave her bag sitting there unattended... But everyone seemed pretty honest and I don’t think anything happened. And as I noted to ‘self: “Hey Lady! I’m outta here!”

And although the Sky Cap was super courteous, I was quite surprised where they’d seated me. In fact in ALL of my train trips I’d NEVER known that such a seat even existed! As they’d assigned me the “Jump Seat; apparently the reason I’ve never known this seat existed is because it’s always folded up to make room for wheelchairs. As it’s mounted to the wall of the car and doesn’t have any arm rests, nor does it recline. Still ain’t sure what that was all about since I’d paid for a “Normal” seat. So as I sat there highly bemused, I told the elderly woman seated besides me that it looks like they’ve given me the “Jump Seat.”

This casual comment sparked off what would become an almost constant 3.5+ hour conversation with a super nice woman who was 76 years old and had also requested a “handicap” seat. And although we had a great running conversation about life, I don’t think I ever asked her name? And I should have given her ‘Juan ‘O my newly minted No Fenders business cards, but Oh Whale, eh?

Telling her I was off for the Champ Car race and musing ‘bout jump seats. She started on a long story about her recently departed husband’s 1937 “Vickie.” (Ford Victoria) which Charlie wouldn’t let anybody drive, nor take anybody for a ride as you could eat off of the floor, seats or engine. He truly loved that car. And one of her daughters in Kent now has the bug as she’s currently restoring a ’57 Chevy Bell Air. She was a retired RN and we discussed all sorts of “gruesome” details about accidents and the marvels of the human body.

She told me a chilling story about a patient being brought into the ER with a large piece of wood being impaled thru half of his face. Starting below his nose, thru the jaw and coming out thru his eyeball. SHEISA!!! And he totally lived thru it with only minor memory loss along with a glass eye…

And she wanted to know how I could like watching racing as its nothing but noisy & dirty. Which made me tell her about my Uncle Bill going deaf from working on cars and WWII Bombers… Discussing how “safe” modern race cars are; before telling her about Paul Tracy’s freak accident of breaking vertebrae at 35mph. And she totally guess correctly that it was a lower lumbar breakage from how I described his accident.

She told me about the lecture tapes she watches on DVD as she was trying to figure out what I do besides going to the race track? As she kept telling me about these fabulous Astrology tapes she was watching about the stars, planets, etc. I think she meant Astronomy. And she’s just finished watching the Quantum Physics series… And then we started talking about EVERYTHING that’s NOT PC!!! As I’m positive that everyone in the train car thought we must be two “Wing Nuts!” Err, Nut Cases. Err NUT JOBS!!! Hey listen to those two disabled Wackoe Liberals… As I noted to self that we talked about all of this without ever saying the “B” word. (bU$h) Although I was thinking it the whole time, we both never mentioned King George’s name.

She seemed quite distraught about the effects of Global Warming. Telling me about her friend in Florida being oblivious to the matter after purchasing a brand new $UV. Which this of course made me immediately think of Roberto and his brand new hurkin Feurd F150 4 X 4 crew cab which gets 12mpg hwy… And how I’m sure this has something to do with our friendship currently being strained…

I told her about how not only are the “Big 3” screaming, pleading & bribing the government to ease emissions. But now Toyota is also in on the lobbying! And although not telling her my source, (Mike Malloy) I told her about the proposed coal to gas liquidfication scheme currently being pushed by Osama BuhRoc!

Stating how this will NOT only not solve anything, but will release 2X + times MORE pollutants into the atmosphere. And yet the DC YeaHoo’s are wanting to make it a requirement for the Military to sign a long term sole source contract with the Coal CARTEL! (See, I told you we talked about everything…)

Finally I had to go to the Biestro car to get a sandwich since my stomach was actually rumbling… Having lied awake ‘til 2AM and then awakening at 6:45AM... I hadn’t eaten in several hours and hadn’t planned on waiting that long on the train... But I had to wait until the Biestro car attendant came back from break and finally got in line just prior to Kelso. Which is just prior to Vancouver, WA! I.e.; two stops prior to Portland… And there was a major racket coming from the Biestro car as a group of people were partying heartily… Laughing & talking quite loudly. And drinking like fishes… I noted that they were as drunk as Skunks; well at least they were all pretty lit-up. Returning to my seat I wolfed my sandwich down in mere seconds while my co-hort in crime was using the lavatory. And it was pretty cool as I tried to figure out where to put my garbage. A voice from the rear of my car told me where the garbage was located…

Arriving at Portland, she told me not to breathe too much of the BAD racing air, i.e.; burnt tyres, methanol fumes, etc. And she and another elderly man using a walker were waiting to use the wheelchair lift and he told the purser to let me go ahead. And he guided me down the steps, asking if I needed assistance? Then as I was following the crowd to the end of the train to cross the tracks into the station, a second Amtrak employee strode along me and also inquired if I needed any help?

I called the Days Inn hotel from inside the Train Station and told them “I’m here!” So, she said Donnyell would be over shortly to pick me up. And Donnyell is my favourite shuttle van driver who’s picked me up three years in a row now. Usually I catch a later train, meaning it’s usually an hour wait for the shuttle, so I wasn’t expecting it to be so quick. As I was standing there “transfixed” watching the old man with the walker get into a car, Donnyell walked up to me. Saying I was sorry I hadn’t recognized him, he said that’s OK, I knew exactly who you were when they called me. And this time we didn’t have to pick up any Red Neck ASSHOLE truckers - which had occurred the year prior... As Donnyell is super cool and we just chit chatted the whole way… Telling me ‘bout the Jazz festivals and its just money grubbing over the contract renegotiations for the Champ Car race.

Then he told me how he loves to fish. And his dream is to go to Alaska one day. And I said what about your wife? Oh, she fishes too now. She got hooked over catching a bass, so we’d both go fishing in Alaska.

“And whada yuh knows” The train & shuttle rides just flew right by. As I’d managed to totally talk my way thru 4.5+ hours of riding vehicles. Donnyell handed me my bag and said I’ll see you around. And wall lah, I was immediately checked in. As the lady said, you come here every year! Then she escorted me to my room which was really nice since they’d stuck me on the opposite end of where I usually stay. And although it was on the noisy freeway side and directly next to the elevator, it worked out just fine… Since it made my room extremely easy to find...

So I was all settled in by 4:30PM and running on adrenalin… Since I’d been unable to go to sleep the night before; posting blog stories at 1:45AM, falling asleep at 2AM and getting up at 6:45AM, SHEISA!

And the very first thing I did was to tune the radio to the Portland Air America station, or as Jeffery likes to call it; “SCARE America.” And I knew I was “locked-in” since it was Randy Rhodes screechy voice. But hey, at least I get to listen to my Numero Uno DJ Mike Malloy. HURRAH!!!

To continue reading, see; Ode to Portland (Part II)