Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wild West Showdown Part One: Goin' Out West

"We're experiencing some turbulence and ask that you remain calm," the pilot said via the intercom. "Up in the cabin, we think it's pretty fun."

For the first fifteen seconds, I agreed. The view of the clouds above St. Louis, MO  lost none of its charm as the overhead compartment rattled with each mini-bump the plane hit. I had eaten a snack, been served a Coke Zero by a flight attendant who looked a lot like Julianne Moore, and just finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad (procure this book and read it). Had Dread been with me, I'd have been gritting my teeth as she crushed my hands to cope with her fear of flight. Relishing my mitts uninterrupted blood circulation, I was loving the ride.

Then the woman to my left slumped over and onto me. Minutes before this, my seat neighbor told me she'd taken a Xanax prior to boarding so she could sleep all the way to Seattle. The turbulence had shifted her now-unconscious body to the right and my bony shoulder was her new pillow. An elbow moved her without her waking up. I was resolved not to complain much that weekend. I was headed to the Wild West Showdown!


Southwest Airlines: gremlin free since 2011!
Arriving in Seattle, I was greeted with the rainy weather for which the beautiful Rat City is known. My dearest aunt, Patricia, picked me up from the airport for a quick lunch and then brought me to her house to retrieve the car that Lady O and I would use on our trip. Kissing my aunt on the cheek, I left her house with alacrity and went back to the airport to pick up my announcin' spouse.

True.

A word on the Pacific Northwest's highways for those who have never been there: They suck. Most of the smaller highways have NO NUMBERS on them. There's also places where an off-ramp is for THREE different exits. Given the pouring rain, you may miss your exit. Fifteen minutes from our destination, we almost missed ours.  I was able to get onto the exit 100 feet before I'd have to wait until God Knows when to turn around. Then Lady O and I were pulled over, threatened with a thousand dollar ticket for reasons that our police officer friends and lawyer relatives have since dispelled as "bunk" and sent on our way. Honestly, I am grateful we received a warning, even if it was all BS. We arrived in Bremerton, WA at 7PM PST. We made our way past the shipyards, juggalos and different roadside inns to our home-away-from-home, The Oyster Bay Inn.

Home for the next five days.

The staff of the Oyster Bay Inn were exceptionally kind. The concierge was ready to do anything for us, including moving Lady O and I  to a new room when our first room's heater blew cold air and the refrigerator was both on and blowing hot air. Was there a disgruntled HVAC worker in this quiet town? We'll never know.

There was a bar in our hotel, reminiscent of the Chinatown bars in 80s action films where Steven Seagall would fight Yakuza for whatever reason was hot at the time (Asian confusion, sadly, still plagues most Americans to this day). There were only six hotel guests in the bar that Thursday. We met Stu Pidasso and Bruce, referees from Utah's leagues, along with a truck driver from Eugene, Oregon (who bought us drinks!) and the town's local band leader, Willy.  Never passing up an opportunity to get on a microphone, O and I sang karaoke at the other four patrons and the three staff until it was time for bed.

Our room had a quaint porch that looked over the bay. The next morning, I went out to enjoy the view while Lady O beat her face in the mirror.  Nature was happening. I loved it. Then I saw something that reminded me we were no longer in Boston.

"LADY O! LADY O! LOOK!"

They hunt trees from porches out here.

I grew up in a hick town, but this...this was some Crystal Lake type of shenanigans.

Tomorrow:  Day One of the Wild West Showdown! Meeting the folks! Awesome games! Dancing! Derby Skinz! Be there!

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