Friday, September 23, 2005

Location: Stamford / Hartford, Conn.

We needed a change of pace after the Indiana State fairgrounds incident. None of us had ever been to the North East yet we had heard that we could find the world's largest lobster trap in Oxford, Maine. We wanted to find it and we were hoping to see what beast required the world's largest lobster trap. Maybe we could even broker a deal with those folks up in Loch Ness, Scotland. We neared, our inquiries would not steer us to our goal. We began doubting ourselves. Was this myth, legend, fiction or fact?

We arrived in Connecticut a picturesque place, which lives to reputation. As we toured a quaint village an edifice beyond our imagination mushroomed from the horizon, a structure surpassing the Taj Mahal or Notre Dame. Lorileelee and I argued that it possibly shadowed Grace Land ... I say never, but close. Yes, it was the home of Vince and Linda McMahon, of the WWE! Lorileelee jammed on the brakes and parked it near the front gate. We scrambled atop the camo-camper in order to see over the fence. My jaw dropped... At the corner of the mansion, an Amanasaki Daug Haus tethered a large Rott. I was so proud!

A deep booming voice asked us what we were doing. I spun around and was struck speechless. Vince himself was there to run us off... The second time in ten minutes that I was filled with overwhelming pride. "Those KTM jackets y'all are wearing tell me that you are bike riders. Me too! Why don't you come on in for a refreshing beverage? " He introduced us to Linda, a wonderful lady. She treated us to lemon aid and finger sandwiches. Tater behaved himself on the deevan, apparently realizing that we were in the presence of greatness. We talked about motorcycles and dog houses and eventually the world's largest lobster trap. Vince began to laugh as he told us... had he thought of that scam earlier, the WWE would have never come about. "They're making tons of money from the giant lobster traps up there."

Lorileelee confided that she always wanted to be in show business. They offered their best advice and said, " If you want to get into entertainment go west ". Her eyes lighted. She turned to me and said, " If I want to follow my dream, we must go to Barstow. That is where Waylon Jennings got his start. " I knew it was Littlefield, Texas, but it’s her dream.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Location: Indiana State fairgrounds, Indianapolis

We're headed south from Michigan for two reasons. Tater has not recovered from his electric rodeo and we thought a couple of weeks rest and recreation at the fair would do him some good. The second reason it is that I had a chance to fulfill a kidhood dream; driving the State Fair, people moving, tractor shuttle. A guy named Mick set it up for me . They don't take just anyone, they have to want you. He drove last year and put in a good word. Mick also said that he set the record of 582 laps around the outside of a 1 mi. track in 10 days. It's kind of like a big scrambles. He never said how many people he carried, but I figured if I came up with a good gimmick, I could really pack the people on those wagons.

We stopped in Kokomo to see 'Old Ben' the 5,000 lb. bull (dead and stuffed) and the world's largest sycamore stump. As we bathed in the majesty of the colossal oddities , Lorileelee struck upon the idea that providing an in-transit dinner would have people scrambling to ride the tractor shuttle.

We got to the State fairgrounds , registered the camper and proved that I had a driver's license. They assigned a tractor shuttle to me that I found in the horse lot. I jumped in and turned the key. It fired with a groan and a belch of black diesel . Lorileelee climbed in beside me and Tater easily found the rooftop air conditioner. A quick grind of the gearshift and we were off for hot laps. When we hit Turn 3, Lorileelee screamed and pointed to the roadside. There it was... Our galley. I pulled to the side of the road, backed up, and in the span of two minutes we had a full blown corn dog kitchen trailing our people mover.

Week Two

Location: Indiana State fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana - DNF

The worst kind of luck. We needed better than 58 laps a day but sometimes it doesn't pay to even get out of bed . At morning's light, we'd begin by trying to get Tater into his tuxedo. His job was to take tickets and double as maitre'd. Lorileelee would start the deep fryer by changing oil and defrosting the dogs and elephant ears dough. I'd give the tractor a walk around and kick the tires on the people wagons.

When they opened the gates, people mobed the shuttle. They'd bark orders " Take me here... Take me there... There's hair in my elephant ear... Your monkey is knocking the air conditioner. " None of them cared that we ran a schedule. " We can't jump off this thing if it's still moving ". WHINERS!! Then there was grandpa driving the tractor in front of us... Starting, stopping, starting, stopping... ALL DAY LONG!!! Things finally snapped. I followed that guy for seven hours and logged only 26 laps. It was time to take action. By this time I knew he took the entry into turn one, wide. The next lap I was gonna hole-shot the geezer , diamond turn two , and put some distance between us.

Well, almost everything went according to plan. I got even with him, and side checked him at the horse barns. I would have passed him clean, except he corrected and smacked my weenie wagon . That sent him off toward the mud bog pit . It also sent a whiplash through the rig splashing grease everywhere and beating Lorileelee up pretty good. People were screaming and pitching their souvenirs while Tater scrambled into the cab with me. He put a death grip hug around my neck as I struggled to control the mechanical beast.

The dust finally settled around the department of Natural Resources building where they keep the big fish. We managed to scoop Lorileelee into the camper during the confusion, effecting an inconspicuous departure amid a cavalry of emergency equipment.