“Pat, I’d like to solve”

Dateline:  Tucson, AZ, 12Feb2017

Paqui Indian Reservation, Casino del Sol

 

February, dreary, overcast days, often stormy, is, by cosmic design, the shortest month.  However, tucked between Valentine’s Day to the left and President’s Day to the right is the birthday of the most attractive national icon.

Dressed in a lemon chiffon gown, pacing 15′ of runway, nightly, between the evening news and unrealistic network fare, yes….it’s Scott Pelley.

Of course, only a rumor, but if you guessed Tiger Woods or Rosie O’Donnell, strike three, you have landed on ‘lose a turn’.  Devout wheel watchers know that Feb. 18, 2017, is the 60th birthday of the beloved Vanna White.

DSCN3720

With the remote click → ABC’s  KGUN, Tucson, AZ, popular anchor and professional photographer, Guy Atchley, directs viewer attention to the Wheelmobile, the Casino Del Sol amphitheater, and your chance to become a contestant on America’s favorite game show.  Why not ?

Sooo, several thousand hopefuls show up, vieing for the opportunity to ‘audition’ on stage, be interviewed, and participate in puzzle solving.  Few, however, are chosen, as names are drawn from the golden drum, a lottery like device without ping-pong balls.  Odds on being selected, ~ 1 in 50.DSCN3708

The atmosphere is electric.  Hopefuls arrive, some in costume, carrying signs.  Loudspeakers blast away the Isley Brothers, “Shout”, women dance on the stairs, the emcee works the crowd into revival tent frenzy.  Gospel, rock, camera, lights, resort vacations, cruises, a chance to win one million $, oh the humanity.

By divine intervention, I am the 8th name drawn.

Entering stage right, 1st, sign the release statement, 2nd, pose for an official photo, 3rd, be seated and take instruction on behavior from the staff sargeant (Justin Timberlake look-a-like). DSCN3714

Justin, a Wheel employee, moves in on a KGUN staff member, no papparazzi, please.

If you’ve ever been arrested and booked, this is similar, however contestants are not allowed the one phone call.  Seems fair enough, as there is no fingerprinting, polygraph, or urine sample required….let’s party.

The ‘faux’ Vanna is a lovely young woman, ⅓ the age of the real article, adept at printing letters, but may have partied last night.DSCN3719

Our team solves the puzzle, the prize wheel is spun, and five of us win the big surprise, a Wheel of Fortune exercise bag, containing;

  • baseball cap
  • tee shirt
  • key fob
  • lapel pin
  • bookmarks

Who is reading books…?…. this is delerium.  Halleluia, Sister Vanna.  Will any of us be selected to appear on the show ?  Not so fast.  A few, perhaps, but only if invited to the next level audition in a month.  Pre-requisite vetting, background check, and signing a non-disclosure agreement may be on tap, all of which narrow this writer’s chance to zero.DSCN3724

Finally, when asked to pose with a two dimensional Vanna, a quick blast of desert air forces her to assault my hand in an inappropriate advance, a cardboard calamity.  Under advice from legal counsel, I’ve been advised to sue for damages; emotional anguish, sexual battery.  

120 volts of embarrassment.

DSCN3726

Naturally, as a compassionate soul, the charges will be dismissed should I be selected to appear, live, on the Sony Pictures, Hollywood stage set.

Later, after sibling counseling and 0.5 mgm Xanax®, my brother and his wife prep the family pet, Foxy, to exhibit the day’s bounty.  None of which will be seen on Animal Planet© or eBay©.

DSCN3731

DSCN3732

Foxy, a professional actor, received compensation for this appearance..

Will my bucket list be fulfilled…meeting Vanna in person ?

Will Sony be willing to settle amicably, out of court ?
Stay tuned……….

and Happy Six-Oh, Vanna

 

References to Sony Pictures©, Wheel of Fortune©, courtesy of Merv Griffin Enterprises©, all rights reserved

©insightout2017

 

Appetite for Solo

 

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain ~ 1907 

Dateline: Idaho Springs, CO; Tommyknockers Bar

Peeling from the pack, Mapquest indicates I’m 958 miles from Rochester, MN. Reuniting with Lynn at Mayo Clinic in a few days, the open road celebrates both anticipation, random musing and wiggle room in case the roadster breaks down.

images

Or should you happen upon a fellow traveler at an Esso station in 1958

 

 

 

1st, convening with the cars became a smorgasbord of personalities, an exceptional travel value, member support, and encouragement to drivers of these little beasts.  Consider it in your future; you’ll never be disappointed.

End of pitch.

Adios Denver, a short stretch of I-70 heading east, a reminder to return to the blue highway soon.  Being followed too closely by a motorist, left rear quarter, he is in that unseen isosceles triangle spread between the two, too small mirrors.  At age 16, learning to drive, the instructor warned us to ‘watch out for Helen Keller‘, when referring to the “blind spot”.  Today, he would be pilloried by the A.D.A. and sacked by the superintendent of schools.  That he was the best teacher, ever, would have not been considered.

I slow, he slows, I accelerate, he velcros, then at last, passes.  His co-pilot is taking pictures of the roadster on her I-phone.  Nearly flattened, I should be flattered, although I feel the victim of a drive-by shooting.  This is new tech…old tech was a thumbs up and a beep.

Old tech is better.

The stark plains landscape provides miles of power lines.  Standing silent sentries, as if marching soldiers at ease, tethered together by an electric umbilicus.  Stoic.  Technology may soon doom them to antiquity, an industrial relic overshadowed by buried lines, fiber optic cable, satellites, wind and solar farms.

dscn3396

Goodbye REMC, hello wireless.

The desolate agriculture here, grazing land, to feed our addiction for beef, the In & Out Burger, MacD, and 5 guys & fries.

Forget the Druids’ unhinged rocks in Wiltshire, UK ⬇

stonehenge_condado_de_wiltshire_inglaterra_2014-08-12_dd_09

No pickle, lettuce, mayo on a sesame seed bun. Face-to-face with rural Kansas’ Route 36, very own Hayhenge ⬇

dscn3393

As beautiful as Claude Monet’s grainstacks in Chicago’s Art Institute ⬇

560px-wheatstacks_end_of_summer_1890-91_190_kb_oil_on_canvas_60_x_100_cm_23_5-8_x_39_3-8_in_the_art_institute_of_chicago

Beauty is in the eye.

I awaken before the rosy fingers of dawn on a new day.  Nearing a town of 600, Pretty Prairie, Kansas, the genesis of the civil sunrise emerges, at 60 mph, the view can best be described by the image;

dscn3404

The reflection on the roadster bonnet, engulfed in the bosom of the fenders is exhilarating.  I begin to hum the Woody Guthrie refrain,  🎼  his soliloquy on this land is your land;

When the sun came shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
This land was made for you and me.

The balance of this final day was colorful.  A drive down Johnny Carson Blvd. in Norfolk, NE, Tom Brokaw’s boyhood home in Yankton, SD, and a brief stop in LeMars, IA, ‘ice cream capital of the world’ to taste sample at the home of Blue Bunny.

Blue Earth, MN boasts the statue of the Jolly Green Giant, a very large well-known vegetable, and Austin, MN, not to be confused by vegetarians, home to Hormel Meats and the SPAM museum.

Arriving in Rochester, Lynn welcomes me with a warm embrace after a week apart, knowing I’m refreshed, exhausted, and hungry, and asks “where should we go for dinner”.

“Anywhere I can get a lunchmeat sandwich, steaming dish of green beans in melted butter, and a dish of vanilla ice cream”.

“That’s odd, I was thinking of going to Chipotle”…oh well, welcome home.

 

“In life, don’t wait, the time will never be just right”  Mark Twain 

 

©insightout2016

Being Older than Your Car

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

images-1

Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Mark Twain 1912

Others may expand on convention activity, actual events, and please, be assured the cars are the focal point.  However my interest is the character pheromone that attracts people to attend.  It’s true the women are attractive, and too, they smell good, either on the elevator or in the overhead ski lift bucket.

dscn3312

Kim, a 6′ model from Early, TX allowing an elderly 5’6″ voyeur to fondle her 3½ lb. dog.  So cute, and the pup was a real looker too….

The men, while this may sound peculiar, will not be auditioning to become Chippendale dancers.  They have good taste in both women, cars, and collectively, are a living encyclopedia of all things 190sl. Understand, however, Chanel #5 is not interchangeable with 15W/40, synthetic or not.

On our first climb above 9000′, my 2nd carburetor becomes inoperable. Egads, a deep six tragedy, akin to the century old anthem, “Pike’s Peak or Bust”.  Busted, truly; in a state allowing legal marijuana ?

Able to drive only 5 mph at 500 rpm, or, roar through hairpin turns at 5000 rpm, nothing in-between. In little more than an hour, club gurus, the Two Dons, had it running in fine fettle.

dscn3282

dscn3281
The doctors make a highway call……Don Drabik does the re-install,
Parts and tools from Don Freese, this is gonna be a breeze.  

Sung as a rap tune       

 dscn3280 kenny-g_612x380
The air breather assembly, removed, appears to be a primitive saxophone, cast aside by KennyG

At dinner, with no assigned seating, I always attempt to sit with people I do not know, and have never been disappointed.  At the opening salvo, I land between the Craigs, non-member guests from KennyG’s hometown of Seattle.  Ray to my left, a retired test pilot of the 700 series Boeing jets, and to the right, Jan*, a recent public health nurse retiree, all three of us sticky eating BBQ ribs, while discussing the breakdown of the healthcare system.

At the last luncheon, over salad, soup, and Tommyknocker beer, we were  entertained by aćcented brits, Theresa and Andy Holmes, from Buckingham, UK, 5000 miles from home.  The subject matter was not cars, the distance traveled, nor lunch, but Brexit.

dscn3391

Reminiscent of the PBS sit-com, “As Time Goes By”, it was like having lunch with Lionel & Jean.

The only member who has attended every 190SL convention (30 plus years) is club statesman, Don Drabik, who takes delight in disregarding warning signs.  We know he can read. We know he can see.  His wife, Kathy, is a knockout.  Literate, he is an accomplished artist, reader, and Studebaker fan, so why is the evidence caught on camera so difficult to interpret…?….⬇

dscn3372dscn1970

dscn3324

 

A planned adventure drive, suitable for glamour photo-ops, takes the parade north to Grand Lake, almost missing this stunning antler array in a Fraser, CO, C-Store parking lot.

dscn3317

Rudolph the red nose light fixture, price on request

From the Grand Lake Lodge estab. 1920, peering down at the shimmering lake framed by glittering aspens in golden glory, three of our very best absorb the serenity from Colorado’s Favorite Front Porch.  An easy task following a 3000 calorie brunch at 8,769 ft. above sea level.

dscn3333

dscn3344

dscn3338

Train bust….no…a Brain trust.  Southern statesmen contemplating the good life.
L-R  Kent VanMeter, TX; Walt Puryear, GA; Kip Gibert, LA.

Next, the beauty of the long ride home on the road less traveled.

 

*sister of popular members, Mary Anne Westphal and sidekick Ken Lowman
KennyG photo courtesy, Chapman Baehler©/Kenneth Gorelick

 

©insightout2016