Trip Report   October 2001 Part 1
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 Trip Report   Part 2
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 Trip Report   Part 3

 Thursday 3:30 PM, we checked in the Timber Cove Inn in a desperate attempt at food.
 We had an hour to kill before the restaurant would open.
 Since we were thru driving for the day, I suggested a pre-dinner drink.
 She had some Beringer's White Zinfandel and I had a Black Russian.

 Maybe I didn't mention that. When we went thru Sonoma wine country heading north
 we bought some liquor in Healdsburg, or whatever that town's called.

 I had my bottle of Chinaco, but that's just for sippin' so I cruised the aisles at the Food Hut
 or whatever that place was and saw a 1.75 of Stolys for just $20.  Hey, it's not Grey Goose,
 but Stolys is worth $20 for a quart and three quarters. So I bought some Kahlua to go with it.

 So we had a few drinks and made some mini-spliffs disappear and got ready for fine dining.
 Yeah, the menu had almost all foreign-sounding squid and stuff, but I saw a filet mignon
 on the menu so I figured I could live with that, and she wanted fresh salmon so we went in.

 What a hoity-toity place!
 It was so upper crust, they pulled in dead trees for decorations to block the view of the ocean.
 How bourgeois it must be to see the ocean while dining.
 So it's 4:30 on the nose, and they let us in. We're the only people in the place, naturally,
 because the locals wouldn't be caught eating before 6, I guess.

 The waiter was seven-foot tall, bald, and looked like Lurch.
 Walking to our table, he's Chatty Kathy and he eventually asks where we're from.
 Having learned my lesson, I'm about to say, "Denver," but Mrs. BartCop said "Oklahoma."

 Lurch says, "Why, I never would've guessed. You don't sound like you're from Oklahoma."
 Hey - big tip for Lurch.

 So we got seated and Mrs. BartCop was explaining all the fancy gadgets and attachments
 to me like I'm Ernest T. Bass eating my first meal indoors.  Good thing she did, too.

 Lurch takes our food order like a pro - no runs, no errors.
 Then Mrs. BartCop ordered a bottle of Beringers White Zinfandel.
 It's 5-buck wine, but they need to make a profit, so they sold it to us for $14.
 So here comes Lurch with the Zinfandel.

 He presents the bottle to me - for my inspection.
 ha ha

 Hell, I didn't know what to do.

 I don't think I've ever had a waiter present wine to me before.
 Besides, she ordered it - why not ask her if the wine is acceptable?
 I didn't say it, but all I could think of was "Hey, Lurch, get real - it's 5-buck wine."

 So, I said, "Yes, that look's like the right bottle."

 I felt the giggles coming on - that's not good because if I get the giggles then she will, too,
 and we'll have to go back to our room and, ...dammit, ...we were too hungry to laugh.

 So Lurch uncorks the wine and puts the cork down in front of me do what     ...sniff it?

 ha ha

 I ain't sniffing no cork from no 5-buck wine.
 I started to lose it there. I'm thinking, "Hey, Lurch, it's 5-buck wine.
 That cork's not going to smell any sweeter at $14 than it does at $5."

 Mrs. BartCop ran the heel of her shoe into my big toe.
 Things were no longer funny.

 He finally left so we could get the laugh over with and things settled down a little bit.
 I had a nine dollar mini-bowl of soup and she had a eight-dollar small salad.
 Lurch told us about the specials, one of which was a New York steak.
 I got that - call it a tribute - and she ordered her four-adjectives salmon.

 The food was pretty good - it should've been for $70.
 All in all, dinner with Lurch cost about $240 including the room.
 All I wanted was a room with an air conditioner and something in my stomach.
 I would've settled for a Taco Bell and a Motel 6.

 So we retired back to our fancy room to watch the waves until the sun set.
 It was a fine room with a great view of the Pacific.

 Mrs. BartCop got the binocs and searched the water for wildlife.

  Those are seals poking their noses out of the water.

Then, getting a little closer to the wildlife than we wanted, this little guy showed up.

I said, "Hey there, fella.  What's your name?" my surprise, he said, "My name is Raugroughcun, but my raccoon friends call me Rudy."
 (it was really good pot)

He asked me what I was smoking, and I told him, "God's flowers."
The he asked me what I was drinking and I told him, "God's sunshine - Chinaco Anejo tequila."

He asked me if he could have a sip of my Chinaco, I asked him how old he was.
He said he was only two, so I told him he was too young to drink Chinaco.
He told me he was 22 in raccoon years and that he ought to be able to have a sip..
(I was losing a debate to a damn raccoon.)

I asked him if he'd ever had alcohol before and he said, "No,"
but he promised to behave if I gave him a little so I agreed.
I told him if I gave him some he'd have to sip it slowly and enjoy the flavor.
He agreed.
I told him to come back after dark, when Mrs. BartCop wasn't paying attention.

...and I told him to come alone.

So when it got dark, I put a little Chinaco in an ashtray and set it out for him.

 Sure enough, Rudy showed up....

                   (Sony's night-shot vision)

...and got his first taste of Chinaco.

He licked it like crazy, sucking it down all at once!
I told him he was supposed to sip it, like a fine cognac, but raccoons never listen.

Next thing I knew, he did a little raccoon whistle and his girlfriend showed up.
I told him to come alone, but it seems a raccoon's word isn't worth much.
I guess Rudy was already getting pretty drunk because he attacked his girlfriend!

He forced himself on her from behind, like we weren't even there!
I banged on the screen door, ...and it scared him ... and she got away.

Moral of the story?
Never trust a raccoon who's been drinking tequila.

So it's Friday morning, our last full day in northern California.

Of course, the skies were full of B-52s.

I guess you California readers see this stuff all the time, but when a B-52 is close to the ground,
it's so hueueueuege it looks like it's flying in slow motion. It just hangs there in the sky.  But when it's
so high you can't see it without a 72x zoom, it seems to tear thru the sky like a bottle rocket.

We headed south along the no-food coast for a few hours, still in that Garbage/Humboldt trance.
By noon we still hadn't seen anything close to a restaurant, so we gave up on the coast
and headed towards Santa Rosa. After driving thru Santa Rosa for miles and miles without seeing
any "normal" restaurants, we finally found a shopping center that had restaurants inside.
I wish someone would explain why California has no visible restaurants.

After lunch, we headed south until we saw something that was familiar.

                Hola, de Oro Gare

I called Marc Perkel to see what the plan was.
He said he'd be free in a few hours, so we grabbed a Motel 6 and set out
to find Tommy's Mexican Restaurant - "The Premier Tequila Bar on Earth."

I called to get directions, and here in California they do their streets the same stupid way
that they do them in New York, which is without any sense of logic or reason.
Tommy's address is 5929 Geary Street, no naturally it's located between 23 and 24th street.

Now, you can say a thousand bad things about Tulsa, Oklahoma, (and I do) but in K-Drag,
if you're between 23 & 24th street, your address is going to be 2350 Whatever Street.

They did this to me when I was in New York, remember?  I left my important notebook in the
Navigator that took us to the car rental place. When I went to get my book back from them,
they said their address was 1715 Second Avenue, which, of course, was between Fourth and Fifth Streets.
Somebody needs to straighten these big cities out.

So we found Tommy's.


It's about half the size of the smallest bar I owned, but I know how expensive land is in San Francisco.
We went in and had a seat at the bar.  I was impressed with how many bottles of fine luxury tequila
were in view, but it couldn't have been more than 70-80 bottles. And before you suggest I give them a break,
they advertise the largest selection of 100% Agave Tequila outside of Mexico.

The bartender looked very, very Mexican.
He sounded Mexican, too, because he knew NO ENGLISH.

When I say he knew NO ENGLISH,  I'm talking about NO English.
He didn't know what "How much?" meant, that's how NO English he was.

I asked for a tequila list, and after several hand contortions he figured it out.

First thing that caught my eye was this:
Chinaco Añjeo Black Label 100% (Rarest Tequila on Earth) $90 a shot.


Did I read that correctly?
$90 a shot?

It was so expensive - they don't have to spell Añjeo correctly!

Geez, for that much money I should get a great shot of tequila and great oral sex
from the wife of the executive editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
$90 a shot?

Sure, I had $90 with me, plus a wad of credit cards, but  $90 a shot?
I kept reading the tequila list.

Chinaco 4 year old Añejo 100%   $60 a shot.
$60 a shot?

I thought it must be 60 pesos or something, but no.
I kept reading and saw that regular God's Sunshine Chinaco Añejo was $9 a shot.

Since Garcon knew NO English, we pointed to the bottles and he'd grab one, and I'd say "No,"
and point to the left or right until he had his hand on the right one. That was pretty scary.
When he was about to pour my shot, I watched him closer than Larry Klayman watches Clinton's crotch.
I didn't want Mr. No English to pour me some $90 shot then kick my ass for not paying him.

Things weren't working out exactly as I had envisioned.
I recognized almost every bottle of tequila that was in sight - plus, I was driving.
I ordered a shot of the regular God's sunshine and a Corralejo Reposado margarita for Lorena.

Garcon was very strong, and very practiced at making margaritas.
He whipped out a lime juicer, and one by one stuck limes in it and in less than a second,
a gush of pure lime juice came flying out of the end of it. He ran several limes thru it
plus a shot of something, triple sec, maybe, and added her Corralejo.

The Chinaco tasted so fine in this fancy brandy snifter.

I asked the bartender if it would be OK if I took the Chinaco snifter home with me and he smiled,
so I took that as a "yes," and we got to leave with a very exciting momento of our trip to Tommy's.
If our timing had been better we would've like to have tried Tommy's food, but noooooo.

Back at the hotel, I connected with Perkel and he offered to show us the town.
Mrs. BartCop was tired from the eleven hours of driving so she declined to go,
so Marc picked me up and we headed to Twin Peaks to catch the sunset.

Remember the Death March Christian took us on in New York?
Well, I'm not too bright, because I found myself repeating the same mistake.

First thing we did was climb Twin Peaks.
It wasn't too bad - it couldn't have been more than 200 steep steps, that is,
when there were steps, because they only put steps where the incline was extra steep.

But when we finally reached the summit of Twin Peaks, the view was spectacular.

                           de Oro Gare


                              Market Street

As it got darker, Perkel suggested we hop a subway and see the town.
He also said he had such pull with Mayor Willie Brown that he got the mayor
to write "Bart" on what looked like every subway car in the whole Bay area.

Thanks, Mayor Brown!

So we got near Perkel's place, parked the car and walked towards the subway station.
It was pretty close, couldn't have been more than about a mile and a half to the subway.

We got on and took this "Bart system" into town - to the Mission District.
We got off and walked thru town, getting the feel of the place.
We saw many interesting people from a variety of economic strata.

Marc said we could walk to the next subway station, that way I could get a better sense
of the town on foot instead of riding those sterile and rapid air-conditioned subway cars.
Sure enough, before I knew it, after only about 18 blocks, there was a subway station.
Why, they're almost on every corner, it seems.

From there,  Marc asked if he could show me some graphics-shrinking tricks at his office
to try to delay his bankruptcy proceedings with a smaller flow-thru-traffic-rate ...something.

I asked Marc if his office was nearby and he said, "Sure, just a few blocks this way."
After about ninety minutes, I asked if we were getting close, and Marc said we were almost there.
Sure enough, just a couple of more handfulls of blocks and we were there.
We met some people and reduced some graphics and got hungry.

Marc said he knew a great restaurant that was "just over a few blocks."
True to his word, within 45 minutes we were in front of the jammed packed Cha Cha Cha restaurant.
It looked like the cafeteria in the U.N. Building.    All kinds of people were there.
One thing's for sure - we weren't in the land of Pissquik Inhofe and Steve Largent anymore.
It reminded me of Central Perk - full of exotic babes of all kinds, colors and races.
I had a burger, Marc had a steak.

It started getting late, my dogs was barking, and Marc said the subway station was "near."
Sure enough, after just an hour of walking we were on that cool, rapid subway headed back to the spot
where we could begin the "short" trek to his car, which was close, indeed.

As he pulled away from the Motel 6, I fell to my crippled old knees and crawled to my room.
Fortunately, the room was on the bottom floor, it only took about 40 minutes. When I knocked,
she couldn't see me thru the peephole, so she picked up the Glock, like I taught her.
Then I remembered the secret knock, then she opened the door and saw me lying there.
It was the first time I'd ever come crawling home sober.

I turned her bottle of Vioxx upside down and chased it with Stolys.
I knew relief was "near."

Saturday morning would prove to be another chapter.

We had two concerns about flying that day: terrorism and the Humboldt souvenir buds.
I wrapped my buds all in one baggy and put them in the San Francisco phone book and stood on it.
(I'd like to thank the people of San Francisco without whom this would not have been possible.)

This worked pretty good, but who knew what kind of security would be at the airport?
The war has started since we arrived in California, so we were flying blind.
Then I remembered a Saran Wrap commercial where they wrap one juicy steak in Saran Wrap
and another in some awful, generic knockoff and let a tiger into the room. Well, the tiger proceeded
to eat the steak wrapped in the awful, generic knockoff because the smell came thru, so we decided
to stop at a grocery store in the way to the airport and buy some Saran Wrap.

As we drove towards San Jose, we remembered that people on the California coast don't eat.
There are no stores, gas stations or restaurants anywhere near the Interstate north of San Jose.
We drove and drove, looking for any kind of normal grocery store.

We were running out of exits, so we just picked one and started driving west.
After several miles we saw a Unocal Station in the distance and headed there.
I had to gas up the Ford, anyway, to avoid that $4 a gallon Hertz gouging.
As I'm paying the Vietnamese fella, I asked him if there were any grocery stores nearby.

He looked at some other Vietnamese fella nearby and repeated my question then looked
back and me and, with a straight face, said, "No."

I said, "Dude, how you people eat in this city?" and he again talked to his friend then told me
if I stayed on this road long enough, I would eventually hit some road that, if taken a few more miles,
would eventually turn into a shopping center with a grocery store.
(My mistake was asking if a store might be nearby.)

So we're driving and driving - past some interesting places.
We drove past Yahoo. We drove past Intel.
I guess those people are so smart they don't need a grocery store or restaurant nearby, eh?

We finally found a store and got our Saran Wrap (four dollars for a foot of Sarah Wrap)
but not going to jail for illegal flower possession is worth 4 dollars, right?
As we neared the airport to return our car, I slipped the odorless packet under my sock.
I was limping like a pirate with two wooden legs, anyway, so it just helped sell the role.

As I returned the car, I bitched at them for renting me a broken car - the cruise didn't work.
The Hertz clerk offered me a 25 dollar refund and I told him that wasn't good enough.

He called the manager over and he asked what I thought was fair, if not 25 dollars?.
I told him 25 percent sounded more fair than $25, because instead of enjoying the trees and
the coastline I had to spend the last week staring at the damn speedmoter, which was true, mostly.
I told him if I wanted a broken car I would've rented from Alamo.

That did it - he agreed and we were back on that nut-case shuttle bus driven by Turbanboy
We got to the Southwest ticket check in and it's a mile long. And this was, swear to Koresh,
just the curbside check-in that President Fredo said was no longer allowed so as to "trick" the terrorists.

So we went inside and up the elevator (my knees!) to the real check in.
There were hundreds of people in this line, so, we had no choice but to find the end.
When we finally found the end, a Sky Cap said no, that wasn't the end.
They had to break to let traffic by, and the line continued "over there."  Sure enough, hundreds more
people were in line to check in their luggage. This is why they want you there hours ahead of time.

After a while, we got to the front half of the line where we saw this:

The American Airlines counter was open, and planes were listed on the monitors,
but there was nobody in line for the American Flights. I couldn't see United's counter,
so I don't know if they had the same bad luck, but it was pitiful.

After we checked our bags, I went into my
"I have an unloaded and dis-assembled firearm in this bag, Ma'am," speech.
We were finally cleared thru Checkpoint Able and headed for Checkpoint Baker.
This is where the Saran Wrap was going to do it's job and keep everything friendly.
They ran our bag thru the X-ray machine and we passed the metal detector, but as I
reached for my bag, a Phillipino lady grabbed my arm and said, "This way, please."

My mind flashed back to Johnny Depp in Blow - ......just be cool.

I wasn't too worried, at least she wasn't a Mexican federale with a 357.
They ushered me over to the side where they had a special table with a special machine.
I'm the whitest guy in the airport - or at least tied for whitest - why pick on me?

So Imelda asks me to put my bag up on this table near this funny-looking machine.
"Can I look inside?" she asked

I'm thinking, "ha ha, You can check my bag all you want, lady.
Just stay away from my socks and my zipper and we'll all stay pals."

So Imelda picks up what looks like a coffee filter and rubs the handle of my bag several times.
Then, with same coffee filter, she rubs the zipper on the bag and put the coffee filter into this
machine that resembled a CD drive and inserted the coffee filter and pressed the button
on the "terrorist - not a terrorist" machine.

Well, it must've come up "not a terrorist" because she told us we were free to continue
to Checkpoints Charlie and David.  Things were moving like a clock in a molasses factory.
As we're about to talk to Checkpoint Charlie, the idiot woman issuing boarding passes says
something really crazy, even for an airline employee.

To the non-English speaking man directly in front of me, she says,
"You're on that plane that just took off."

I knew right away the ticket lady was from Oregon.
The poor bastard stood there while she repeated that two more times.
Finally, I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Wrong line, Dude."

Eventually, we got on the plane and took off from San Jose International airport.
This time, instead of flying back thru Vegas, we switched planes in Phoenix,
so we took a slightly different angle than we did going west.

I saw this on a dry lake bed in the desert northwest of Las Vegas.

I snatched my camcorder and worked the zoom.
It was a dried up old lakebed, with runways on it.

Why would an old dry lakebed need a runway that long?
That runway looked longer than most runways, but what do I know...

The flight home was uneventful, no sign of Hadji.

But, hours later when I sat down at my computer, we learned that
we just missed the big excitement by a hundred minutes or so.

Click  Here  for the last page.   (Heavy applause)

Epilog: Eighteen days later, I can walk without a cane.

Disclaimer: Most of that story was made up.
                    I haven't smoked pot since I was in my twenties.
                    ...and the raccoon didn't really speak.

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