|Rangers Park, Dallas. Photo by Jon Wolfert|
Here's another travelogue. I file these whenever I go out of town. A compilation of them is available in my new book, WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED, available in all ebook formats for only $2.99 and paperback for only $6.99. Order yours here. Heck, order many dozen. Thanks.
Have Announcer Will Travel. Back from a whirlwind two weeks calling Mariners games. My three stops: Seattle, Anaheim, Dallas. Arrived in Seattle – it was 50 degrees. Left Dallas – it was 112. Packing was fun.
This was the start of the annual Seafair festival in Seattle, a stellar summer celebration with parades, hydroplane races (only slightly less dangerous than juggling live grenades), and Fleet Week. Over 5,000 Navy and Coast Guard personal poured out of their ships for a week of shore leave. Everywhere these sailors went in their white starched uniforms they were treated like heroes and deservedly so. Saw quite a few out at the ballpark. They missed a bet in THE LAST DETAIL not having Jack Nicolson take Randy Quaid to a Mariners game on his last day before life-in-prison.
The Navy brought San Diego weather with them. By mid-week it was absolutely glorious. Clear sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70’s. When it’s not cold and rainy, the Pacific Northwest is the most beautiful region on earth. Which is not to say that there’s anything wrong with the gloom. They film the TWILIGHT movies in the nearby Olympic Peninsula city of Forks. Although now I hear a lot of the vampires in the area are complaining about the new influx of tourists.
Speaking of tourists, I almost got run over eighteen times by Duck Tours. There must be 1,000 of these land/sea vehicles. Everyone thinks it’s so awesome that a car can also be a boat. Have they ever heard of a Volkswagen?
It’s the 50th anniversary of the famous Seattle Space Needle, erected in 1962 specifically for the Elvis Presley classic motion picture, IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR. Apparently there’s a company that will blast people 60 miles into space and this is the grand prize of a contest the Needle officials are throwing. That should be the second-place prize. First-place is NOT being shot 60 miles into space.
The “Grunge” look is still very “in” with Seattle’s street people.
SEATTLE WEEKLY released their “Best of 2011” edition. My favorites:
“Best Place to Meet Single Women” – Online.
“Best Public Restroom” – Sanitary Market Building
“Best Hair on a News Anchor” – Dan Lewis, KOMO
The Mariners wound up sweeping the Oakland Bad News Bears and headed south for Anaheim. The flight from Seattle took two-and-a-half hours, roughly the same time it takes me to drive to Anaheim from my home thirty miles away.
We stayed in Costa Mesa across the street from a huge upscale shopping mall called the South Coast Plaza -- Orange County’s answer to the Mall of America. Every high-end store in the world has an outlet there. It’s the Mall of Conservative America. There’s also a Jerry’s Famous Deli, a local chain. But this one is unique in that you never see any Jews in it.
Went to the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach for lunch. This is a funky seafood joint where everything comes on paper plates and the clam chowder is God’s mouthwash. Very informal; they don’t take reservations. One night the owner got a call from the White House. Then-President Nixon was staying in nearby San Clemente and had heard good things about this humble eatery. The president wanted to have dinner there that Saturday night. The owner said, “That’s great. Have him get here around 5:30 because at 6:00 there’s usually a line.” I can just imagine the subsequent conversation. Aide: “You don’t understand. This is a tremendous honor. The president of the United States wants dine in your restaurant . We’ll need you to close that night. ” Owner: “Look, that’s super but Saturday is a big night. Besides, as a rule I don’t close the place for private parties.” Aide: “As a rule?! As a RULE?! This is not some Bar Mitzvah reception! This is the Commander-in-Chief of the free world!” Owner: “Right. So just get him here at 5:30 and he won’t have to wait.” (Yes, I’m paraphrasing but the incident is accurate.) Needless to say, the president did not dine there. And the Crab Cooker received much better press than if he had. If Nixon were smart he would have just placed a take-out order and had Spiro Agnew drive over and pick it up.
The Mariners outscored the Angels 6-4 in the three-game series and lost two of ‘em. It’s been that kind of a year.
Next stop: Big D. Arrived at 9:30 Sunday night. Stepped off the plane and Holy Christ! It was a blow furnace. Imagine Dante’s Inferno with a lot of WalMarts. Facebook friend, Kat Winn Blanchard said, “It's so hot, Lady Gaga's meat dress is well done”.
Stayed at a fabulous hotel – the Four Seasons resort right next to the Las Colinas golf course, home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. I’m sure it’s a beautiful course in the spring but now it’s just yellow. There were more golfers than balls in the lakes.
Actual story in a Dallas newspaper: Two new In-N-Outs were opening.
Oh no! One of Dallas’ great landmarks is gone. The Washateria where Lee Harvey Oswald used to take his laundry is now a Vegan restaurant.
Fortunately, the city is not completely turning its back on its rich heritage. You can take an all-day Bonnie & Clyde bus tour – see bank locations that they robbed, the Barrow family’s original old filing station, and even a house or two were innocents were needlessly gunned down. These are not Duck Tours because there is no water in Dallas other than on golf course and city park lakes, and they’ll all be bone dry by August 18th.
According to legend, Clyde’s last words were, “What do we need a fancy bridge to West Dallas for?”
Highlight of the Dallas leg (besides winning one of three from the Rangers) was getting a private tour of Cowboys Stadium. From the outside it looks like a silver version of Darth Vader’s helmet. It’s the largest domed stadium in the world. And Dallas is so flat you can see it from Lubbock.
Inside it’s a marvel. Seating capacity is 85,000 but it can go as high as 100,000 for special events like the Super Bowl or a Sarah Palin appearance. The stadium high definition video board is literally 60 yards wide. I wonder if the all-night crew ever puts porn up on that baby. Debbie would REALLY be doing Dallas on that humungous screen.
Headed home Thursday morning. The TSA process at Dallas-Ft. Worth International was the easiest, fastest, and most courteous of any airport I’ve ever been to. And yet, recently the sheriff of Dallas County tried to push his way through the screening machines, blustering that he could because he was the sheriff of Dallas County. Too bad the airport is in Fort Worth County. Federal authorities led him away. Seriously, what is with these huckleberries?
The Mariners went 5-4 on my stint. Thanks to Kev, Rick, Blow, Sims, Shannon, Eric, Jon, KGJ, and of course Casper for helping to make this a winning trip, even if only by one game.