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)