Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Funkengroovin Wednesday - April Fools and Roadtrips

Number One Son is on his way to Oregon continuing his work (and yes, he does get paid.) He has been in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Ohio, and now the final leg of his work will be in Oregon. He took our Ford Ranger, and not the Westy. The Ford has special mud and snow tires, plus a scruffy teen driving a Westy just draws all the wrong (police / highway patrol) attention ("pot smokin' hippies".) So, we thought it best he take the truck.

Unfortunately for Number One Son the joke's on him. March went out like a lion, and he was stuck along the I-80 Wyoming highway for two days. The first evening he was lucky enough to find a hotel, after the Highway Patrol closed off the highway to all traffic. He barely got back on the road before, according to news reports,
"CHEYENNE - An intense spring storm continues to bring snow, blowing snow and limited visibility to portions of Wyoming, causing some road closures due to motor vehicle crashes according to a release issued at 2:39 p.m. from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched to a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near the Saratoga Interchange just east of Walcott about 10:23 a.m. Monday. Troopers asked the Wyoming Department of Transportation to close I-80 between Laramie and Sinclair in both directions.

One tractor trailer combination loaded with electronics caught fire and the heat damaged the roadway surface on the westbound lanes of the interstate. WYDOT personnel are assessing the damage to the roadway at this time.

Another tractor trailer flatbed lost its load of pipe. The spilled load must be removed from the highway prior to opening.

Troopers on scene reported that at least 25 vehicles have been involved in multiple or separate crashes on both the west- and eastbound sides of the interstate between mile post No. 236 and No. 237.

There have been no reports of injuries from the crashes on I-80. One man, however, suffered a heart attack.

It is unknown how long the interstate will remain closed in this area."

"Troopers on scene reported near white-out conditions due to snow and blowing snow."

"Troopers on scene of both multi-vehicle events are currently evacuating motorists as needed and are assisting victims.

Motorists are asked to avoid the areas if at all possible, as long delays are expected."

As a result, since all hotels were full, he had to spend the night in a town rec center Monday night, which he described as a Thorton Park (Shaker Heights, Ohio) with squash courts (sounds nice). This, after being stuck in the same spot, on the highway, for over nine hours! Many others who were out of luck also spent the night there. Fortunately, he had his sleeping bag, and pad with him (guess those Boy Scout sessions worked,) and a Blackberry, which he used to chat with us. Number One son said, "I'm never getting out of here. I'm fucking stuck here!" All of this causing VB to loose quite a bit of sleep worrying (shades of Brokeback Mountain).

As of Tuesday, wearing a plaid shirt to blend in, Number One Son was able to hightail it out of Wyoming before the next storm set in. He was, coincidentally, stuck around The Continental Divide, in a small town where the first two Grey Wolves were killed, since being taken off the endangered species list by Bush (VB's sure, Wyoming's home boy, Dick "can't shoot straight" Cheney, will be after one of these hides.)

Sometime after May 20th, Number One Son's work will be done, and then he's off to Montreal, Canada to meet up with some friends. Inshallah. VB is still worried as he has not yet reached his destination in Oregon, yet. Although, he has been keeping in touch regularly, by phone to have us check on highway and weather conditions in addition to any news of importance (the Democratic Primary.)

Since yesterday was April Fool's Day, and Number One Son is driving out west, it seemed appropriate to post a few foolish photos from past road trips, of what some merry little pranksters do with a Westy. (VB actually loaded these photos for another post, but they seemed appropriate for April Fools.)

(Below): Photo was taken in a campground, somewhere along Route 5 at Evangola State Park, New York, the first summer (1987) we had the van. We used the photo for Awesome Daughter's High School graduation congratulations advertisement, with the heading, "All packed up and ready to go!"

(Below 3 Photos): Taken at a family reunion picnic outside of Cincinnati, Ohio the summer of 1999. We traveled back from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to get our van out of storage in Cleveland, so we could move it to a storage spot near relatives in Cincinnati (where it sat until 2002).

(Below): Cooper, Awesome Daughter's Springer, does not take well to back seat drivers.

(As usual more information and photos available at the links.)

I hope we don’t ruin Top Gear, by Jay Leno
"So someone calls me from the network and is clearly not a car person. He says: “You like cars, right?” I say yes. “Like, all kinds of cars?” Well, yes. I like all kinds of cars. Why? “Well, the network has bought the TV show . . . um . . . High Gear? Top Gear? Top Gear! Top Gear, yes. We know you like to build cars.”

April Fool’s pranksters in corporate America
"Legend has it that April Fool’s day started back in the 14th century when people moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Back in that era, New Year’s day was observed on April 1st and those who celebrated on the wrong date we considered April Fool’s.

Google’s current CEO Eric Schmidt was a VP of product development at Sun in 1986 when the company pranksters reassembled a VW Beetle inside his office."

April 1: When Sun Microsystems has fun"Two years earlier, Eric Schmidt, Sun's product development chief and now chief executive of Google, discovered that a Volkswagen Beetle had replaced all the furniture in his work space.

"The VW bug was purchased for $600 from an employee and registered in my name, so I owned it," Schmidt said in an e-mail message. "For a day or two, I conducted meetings in the car."

(Check out the photo at the link):
A Short List of Famous San Francisco Pranks
"On Feb 5, 2001, Bay Area commuters were confronted with a massive traffic snarl on the Golden Gate Bridge. Engineering students from the University of British Columbia, who have a history of pulling pranks,suspended an intact VW Beetle beneath the bridge using a cable. The prank not only wrecked havoc on the morning commute, it stopped ships from traveling under the bridge. Authorities cut the car down, which sunk into the bay. According to the Chronicle article about the incident, the Golden Gate Bridge wasn’t even the students’ preferred target. They tried to dangle the Beetle off the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, but tripped a silent alarm."

VW's 'Max' Coming To A TV Screen Near You
"Volkswagen America's latest television ad campaign featuring spokesman Max, the German accented talking VW Beetle, is set to debut this Saturday evening during the NCAA Final Four college basketball games."

Ad Track: Introducing Max the Love Bug
"The campaign's star is "Max," a pristinely restored 1964 black Bug."

Auto restorers max out effort to bring Max in front of cameras by deadline
"After Volkswagen marketers settled on the 1964 model as best representing a classic Beetle, admakers had three weeks, Dec. 24 to Jan. 13, to have the first Max ready for his close-up, says Brian Schultz, a producer with VW agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.Teams began a mad search for a restoration expert and restorable Beetles. Within days they found John Bickel, a VW restoration expert who runs State of Mind Customs in Oxford, Mich. Meanwhile, those scrounging for cars and parts found enough for eight to 10 finished cars.

The hardest part to find in mint condition: steering wheels."

Worse than B movies: Oregon group pokes fun with bad film fest
"ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) - There are Hollywood flicks, independent films put on at Sundance and Cannes and B movies. Then there is the stuff the Bad Film Society puts on.

At the top of the bill is "The Giant Spider Invasion," a 1975 effort about aliens from another dimension invading Wisconsin.

Special effects include a fur-covered VW Bug driven in reverse so that the red tail lights serve as the monster's glowing eyes."

(Toronto):r>The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (***)
"Cao Hamburger’s The Year My Parents Went on Vacation deals with the primary subject (next, perhaps, to adultery) of foreign films that reach English audiences: coming of age. No one with the slightest interest in seeing the film should be surprised, then, by its positioning of a defining moment in a child’s life against a backdrop of political upheaval. Here, Mauro (Michel Joelsas), a young Brazilian soccer fanatic eagerly anticipating a Pelé-led victory at the 1970 World Cup, is dropped off at his grandfather’s apartment building by his parents. They tell him they’re going on vacation, but they are really trying to escape persecution from the country’s mounting military dictatorship.

Mauro’s life without them is, again unsurprisingly, one of great change. When he arrives he discovers that his grandfather, who lives in São Paulo’s Jewish enclave, has died; Mauro’s relationship with the neighbour who takes him under his wing (and renames him Moishele, after his religion’s most-lauded foundling) forces him to confront his heritage. Mauro forges friendships with other ragtag kids in the building, develops crushes on pretty women, and yearns to return to the way things were (his parents drive a blue VW bug, and Mauro gets his hopes up every time he sees one drive by)....

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation is now playing at the Cumberland (159 Cumberland St.)."

Reed KD: 'Empty Bottles'
", March 27, 2008 - Reed KD is a perfectly orchestrated hybrid of Elliott Smith's soft, introspective voice and Simon & Garfunkel's narrative songwriting. Frontman Reed Dahlmeier's songs are mainly stripped-down, art-folk pieces with intricate guitar melodies and spare, rhythmic riffs. Recorded in closets, bedrooms and living rooms, Reed KD's latest album The Ashes Bloom, is minimalist with a hint of bluegrass, some pop textures and touches of electronic experimentation.

Dahlmeier is getting ready for his first national tour without The Armchair Aviators. "A friend and I put the whole thing together," he says. "We'll be packing five or six of us in my little VW van for 2-3 months." Besides touring, he is working on a new album that he hopes to release in August."

Lastly, check out Jon's Foreign Auto & Supply, Inc. site, particularly the Research & Development page for numerous interesting updates.

I know Number One Son's not going to like this, but his trip and VB's pictures reminded her of this song.
TOM COCHRANE - Life Is A Highway

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