Postcard 9

Issue Number : ix
Date : April 30,1996
Period Covered : 03/29/96 - 04/04/96
Current Location: Boulder, Colorado
Future Stops : California, Alaska, Europe(Spain, Turkey)

I picked the worst day to set off on my cross country trip.
The weatherman said that a storm was on the horizon and it
would snow all night. I figured it would be ok if I left after
the traffic snarls of the morning rush hour. I got a good
night’s sleep in anticipation of the first day of my long
drive. Of course, weathermen are never right. When I woke up,
the air was cold but the sidewalks were clean. I thought maybe
the storm missed us. I grabbed a quick shower but when I came
out to load the car, snowflakes started to fall. The storm
clouds didn’t bypass me but were directly overhead. These were
the fattest snowflakes that I ever saw. Big white fluffy
flakes quickly covered my car like bad dandruff.

I wanted to reach Cleveland for my first stop but snow, highway
hypnosis and hunger pangs forced me to make Youngstown, Ohio my
home for the night. The boxer Ray Boom Boom Mancini hails from
Youngstown. Ray is now punch drunk but everyone else here is
just plain drunk. The town was very depressing. The steel
mills closed awhile back and the life slowly drained from this
town. There was no nightlife to speak of and the only people I
saw in this one bar looked like they have been sitting there
all day.

The next morning, I drove to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
Cleveland. I was only there for 3 hours but I could have
easily spent a few days there. Music wails from outdoor
speakers as you make your way toward the entrance. The museum
is filled with multimedia exhibits. Computer screens with
private headphones allow you to hear specific artists and their
musical influences. Films show the birth of rock and roll and
how music has affected each generation. As people were walking
from one display to another, you could see some of them tapping
their feet or moving to the rythym of the music being played.
Music touches people universally and everyone seemed to be
enjoying themselves. People were singing or humming and smiles
were everywhere. This is probably the most fun I’ve had in a
museum in a long time.

After Cleveland, it was 2 days in Chicago. I did the
obligatory blues bar crawl and stuffed my face with deep dish
pizza. It was too foggy for climbing the Sears Tower so we
just walked around the city. Unlike Cleveland, which has a
drab downtown area, you can’t help but notice the architectural
details sprouting from the city’s skyscrapers and buildings. I
was also surprised by how friendly the people were. I was told
its a Midwestern thing. Other than the elevated subway, the
El, whose infrastructure looked worse than New York’s subway, I
was impressed with Chicago.

The day that I was scheduled to leave was day of the home
opener for the Chicago Cubs. The afternoon game in the
friendly confines of Wrigley Field was sold out. The concierge
at the Hyatt said that she had tickets for 45 bucks each.
Pretty steep for a baseball game so I declined. I had to pass
by Wrigley on my way out of Chicago, so I thought I would drive
by just to check out the scene. The whole ballpark atmosphere
got me excited eventhough I’m not a Cubs fan. I was behind
schedule and supposed to be in St Louis but this was Opening
Day at Wrigley. I couldn’t pass this up. I tried to scalp a
seat but couldn’t find a scalper. Cops were everywhere. I
checked with the box office and they had standing room only
tickets. I bought one and walked right in.

Wrigley Field is one of the tiniest and oldest ballparks. Its
a baseball institution and I was happy to be making this
pilgrimage. It was really cold (mid 30’s with a strong breeze
blowing in) so there were quite a few noshows. My original
plan was to get in with my SRO ticket and bribe the usher for a
good seat but that wasn’t necessary. I found an empty row of
seats right behind home plate and plopped my butt down for the
game. They were the best seats that I have ever had for a
ballgame and it only cost me 8 bucks! It was too cold for
drinking beer but I had my share of tube steaks and peanuts.
Catching a foul ball would have really made my day, but that
was impossible with the protective net behind home plate. I
had to leave early to beat the traffic, but before I split, I
joined Harry Caray in singing an off-key rendition of ‘Take Me
out to the Ballgame’.

Random Thoughts
I made it from NY to Colorado in 5 days with no speeding
tickets. I speed the old fashioned way – no radar detector.
The higher speed limits help but the highest posted maximum
speed that I saw was 70. I got one parking ticket but I don’t
think I will be paying for that one.
America’s heartland sure looks beautiful but they should do
something about that cow manure smell.
I was looking forward to picking up a few hitch-hikers but I
didn’t see a single one on the road.
I hitched a ride for the first time in 10 years a couple of
weeks ago. I was late meeting a friend for a movie and no
taxis were around. I didn’t have to wait more than 2 minutes
before a college professor offered me a ride.
Thanks to everyone that answered my plea for addresses. For
those of you that didn’t respond, when I finally figure out
your address, I am going to forward it to the Unabomber.
There was some confusion about Scandanavia in my last postcard.
I was there for a week in March but may go back later this
year. I caught Bruce in Stockholm and Oslo. Even sat in the
first row this time! I had 2 extra front row tickets that I
could have sold for astronomical prices but I let them go at
face value. I guess I’m no longer a capitalist.
I just moved into a real funky house in Boulder. I am living
with a tai chi master, his ex-wife, a nurse, a dog with an
eating disorder, and a 20 year old cat. Its a big house with a
fireplace, barbeque, hot tub and dojo. I have plenty of room
so if you’re in the neighborhood, don’t be a stranger. It took
me awhile to find a place because Boulder is like the Berkeley
of Colorado. I was rejected by many places because I wasn’t
vegetarian, vegan, spritual or holistic enough for them. Tough
crowd to please here.
I have 2 Northwest FlyWrite tickets that expire April 1997. I
don’t think I will be able to use them by then. Does anyone
have FlyWrites which expire later and would like to trade?
** Dave – I heard today that u are off the waitlist. Congrats.
Big decision time now. What happened with the ankle? Thanks
for the translation help. **
** Alvin – How was NY? Sorry, I couldn’t show u around.
Thanks for giving Colleen my address. I caught up with her in
Chicago. She went to NY too. Give her a call so u can compare
notes. **
** MAO – Thanks for the adapter. It worked like a dream. It
came in real handy when I was in between strong stations. Also,
TVM for forwarding the postcards. I thought they were gone for
good. **
** Masako – That picture that I sent is all screwed up. The
sign should have said “florist” but I guess the sign makers in
China have terrible proofreaders. I may be in NY in July for a
few days. I’ll keep u posted. **
** Margarita – I went skiing again last weekend and we had 4
inches of fresh powder each day. Thinking about going to
Cairo. Probably not your idea of Africa. Also, probably doing
a driveaway at the end of June or early July. **
** Greg – Did u meet up with Ella? I didn’t see her or her
cousin after u left. **
** GFH – Thanks for the info, but I’m not ready yet. Did u
get my postcard? **
** Irene – Did u go to the elephant park? No more vouchers
left. They expire the end of May anyway. I heard about
Garrick from Diesel. Very sad story. **
** Cheryl – I lost the dates that u are going to be in Alaska.
I should be there sometime in mid to late July. Get that fly
rod ready. Have u ever heard of a company called CampAlaska or
Trek America? I’m trying to book a trip with one of them. It
was good seeing u and Lisa. Thanks for coming out. I know its
about an hour drive for u and you’ve done it twice. I am still
trying to read OTR. My housemate is a friend of Ginsberg. You
were right about the rivalry between Boulder and Ft. Collins.**
** Jason – Too bad about the Infiniti, but the story did make
me laugh. One of these days, I am going to visit every ML
ballpark. Didn’t Waldo talk about doing this too? **
** Gen – Too bad about the knee. U should yell at your doctor
for not giving u a brace. U are banned from my future ski
trips. We’re 2 for 2. Not a streak that I want to keep up. **
** Dennis – I hear u are working on a homepage. Is that going
to be online in May? If u get a chance, check out some CDs
from a company called Walnut Creek. Remember those 2 girls
from St Louis? I ran into them again. **
** Ayaaz – When u are in NY, you better eat all the beef that u
can. Maybe u should smuggle some back and sell it. **
** Chandra – Your friend has good taste in music. 🙂 What is
Tamari? We used it to cook with last summer but I can’t seem
to find it anywhere. It tasted like soy sauce to me. **
** Eileen – It doesn’t look like I can make your race this
year. I am scheduled to do a 10K here at the end of May. I
need to start training. I learned to snowboard this month. I
took a half day lesson and can now do some blue trails. I
think its easier than skiing. Though, I don’t know if I would
like to try it on the ice back East. I love my GT now. I am
riding it everywhere. **
** Momo – Did u ever make it to Seoul? Don’t feel too bad, I
am still older than u. 🙁 **
** Tony – I went to see a podiatrist about getting orthotics.
The doctor said that when I had my softball accident, I
probably snapped one of my plantar ligaments. It should have
shown up on the MRI but mine was fuzzy. Did u get any joy
after writing to Value and AA? I am all skied out this year. I
have no edges or wax left. When I get back to NY I need to
finally get them tuned. Its been 3 years. **
** Sonia – When I was in NY a month ago, I thought I saw u and
Engel going into an office building on lower (99?) Wall St. The
picture didn’t look right, but I would swear it was u two. Was
I imagining this? **
** Niels – Its nice to see common sense parents. Stefan is
very cute. Since he will soon have more FF miles than me, u
might want to check out the catalog from Tough Traveler (1 800
GO TOUGH). They make gear for travelling tykes like him. **
** Alan – Does your company dive around Cocos Island? I think
I saw an article mentioning Sea Hunter and the Undersea Hunter.
If I remember correctly, the dive trips were pretty pricey. I
have a friend who is thinking about doing a dive trip for his
honeymoon. Is there a contact number in the US? **
** Sue – Inheritance? Who started that rumour? I wish it were
true. I am always willing to take donations from philantropic
souls wishing to subsidize my travels, but that hasn’t happened
yet. I am sorry to report that the funds are all mine. **
** Tracy – Thanks for the kind words. Did u ever make it to
the Far East? I saw Maria about a month ago. She got married
last December, bought a house and is expecting a bambino later
this year. **
** Cathy – Happy Anniversary! **
** Serena – I will try to take a yoga class here. If I make
any progress, I may take u up on your offer. I can’t even sit
Indian style comfortably. **
** Jiasong – I have reservations on Alaska from Oakland to
Anchorage. I like them better than Reno and it only cost me 25
BA miles. I can also stopover in Seattle afterwards. I am
trying to save my AA miles for the Far East. It looks like I
am taking a tour of Denali, Fairbanks and Wrangeli-Elias. You
should check out Wrangeli. Its supposed to be gorgeous. My
tour should end on the 20th (the day you get in). Maybe we can
do Kenai together. **

Quote of the Day
I sing this song because I love the man
I know that some of you don’t understand

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done
a little part of it in everyone
but every junkie’s like a setting sun
– N. Young

The views expressed in this postcard are solely my own. They
may not be politically correct and may even be exaggerated.
Names may be changed to protect the innocent or guilty parties.
I do not have a spell checker so typographical errors will be
common. Reproduction or rebroadcast without the expressed
written consent of Major League Baseball is strictly