Officer Lee Groinman; Bummed in Boise…

It’s been said that things happen for a reason, that destiny can’t be fooled, that a sucker is born every minute. I could go on and on, but how much self-abuse is needed? It’s been over four days now, and counting…

The end of a warm and often times too dang hot summer, a brand new Harley and an opening football game with Boise State. It would be the homecoming for Husky Coach Chris Peterson, back into the bedlam of Boise’s State’s Albertson’s Stadium. This one had ROAD TRIP written all over it.

The Huskies, or Dawgs as we call them were 12 point under dogs to the Boise State Bronco’s. Insulting, like taking candy from a baby. So I call my bookie in Reno. Mr. Timmy…

“So you taking the Dawgs for the outright win right Lee? Forget the points and take the win, you’ll triple down on your bet at this point.”

“Yeah sure Mr. Timmy. Double that bet. It’ll pay for this trip and my next Hog payment…”

With a little chuckle in his voice, Mr. Timmy chortles out; “With a little pocket change to spare Lee…”

I like how you think…

So with that the plan was set. I’d order game tickets thru the UW and Mr. Timmy would make a reservation at Boise’s Best Western. I planned to stay in Baker City Oregon on the way down with the Harley just to break up the trip and give my backside a chance to heal up and hair over…

Besides, it had been a long time since I’d been thru that part of the country, a very long time...

Maybe a little side trip thru Pendleton Oregon for Lunch at ‘Mac’s Bar n Grill”, and then take the ‘underground tour’ and ya’ just gotta stop and have a drink at Pendleton’s ‘Working Girls Hotel’…

This trip was gonna be awesome, I just had to wait all summer for it….

Thursday morning, Septem

 

ber third, the Harley’s all gassed up, washed and waxed…It’s time to ride. First stop, Pendleton Oregon…”Mac’s Bar n Grill”. I’m already feelin’ hungry, some belly growls, and there’s a chill in the air...omen?

The Harley is running strong. I’ve held a constant 70 mph thru all of south central Washington, a slight head wind, no worries. I cross over the Columbia River Bridge and now I’m into Oregon. The winds pick up considerably and the speed limit drops down to 65. Freakin’ Oregon…

I see a black Chevy Blazer on my ass, been there since Sunnyside….

The best thing about now being in Oregon is that I’m closer to Pendleton and Mac’s bar. After all these years, I wondered if she’d still be there, I do wonder. You see, back in a prior life, when I was a traveling salesman, Pendleton was part of my sales territory, hence my fondness for Mac’s…

Good Golly…how I do wonder

I take the Pendleton exit and gas up the Harley at Jerry’s Texaco. Jerry’s Texaco is up on the hill overlooking Pendleton. I can almost see Mac’s from here. I’m a real hungry man now…I cruise down the hill take a right at the Pendleton Rodeo, then roll to a stop into Mac’s parking lot.

I enter Mac’s Bar n Grill to find a very sparse crowd. Where is everybody? Then I remember it’s a Thursday, sometime around 2pm…The place hasn’t changed, still a dive, just the way I like ‘em…one thing hadn’t changed. Seems every pretty gal in Pendleton still works here…

I belly up to the bar and take a seat in front of the 40 inch flat screen, one of about twenty thru out the entire joint. I guess somethings have changed, the dive didn’t have those 40 inchers back in the day…

“You need a menu mister?”

 “For sheet sakes! Look what the cat done drug in! How ya’ doing Lee! Ya’ ol crusty BUGGAR!!”

“Good Golly it’s Molly!! How ya’ been Molly!!”

“Couldn’t be better! Ya’ know, for a saggy old broad…ya’ want the usual Lee?”

Molly then pours me a Coors Light and yells back into the kitchen.

“One Buster burger with fries, double pickle with tartar on the side!”

“You still seeing ol’ what’s-her-face down in Baker City Lee?”

“Nah, I haven’t been to Baker City in years, but I’ll be there tonight…”

“You pig…”

I have another Coors Light, what the hell. I’m just getting warmed up…

I pay my tab then head out towards the door. Molly then comes runnin’ up…

“You leaving Lee?” “Yes ma’am, it’s time to go…”

“Just a minute Lee…just give me a hug…”

So I did…

“No hands Lee, no wait…no hands…ohhhhh, just a little to the right Lee… ewww, a little lower…oooooooooohhhh.”

Now in the parking lot, I see dark clouds over the Blue Mountain Pass…the wind has picked up, the temperature has dropped…across the street, under a billboard, I see the black Chevy Blazer...omens?? There’s plenty of sunlight left. My phone says I can make it to Baker City in 2 hours and 9 minutes. But what’s it like up on that pass at nearly 4200 feet?? And I got that black Chevy Blazer in my rear view mirror, and those dark tinted windows...been following me since Sunnyside…

I make the pass 45 minutes later, the wind has picked up. I’m now cold. The sun has gone down behind the trees, and I’m in the shade, the wind is stronger…and the black Chevy Blazer, still on my butt….

The Blue Mountain Pass has been crossed, and no Chevy Blazer in sight. The Blue Mountain Pass is in the shade and in my rear view mirror. I’m cold, but the switchback turns up on that mountain pass, while on my Harley had been a little thought provoking, and a little fun, even with Oregon’s lame speed limit and ample construction zones….never-the-less, my butt-side is now counting down the miles to my Baker City Best Western destination, and it’s hot-tub, the one calling my name…just 47 miles to go..

The Baker City exit. I can now see the Best Western Hotel. Food, a hot tub, a pool, the Seahawk game against da’ Raider’s is on a big screen TV in the pool side bar…what more can a guy ask for?? In my rear-view mirror, I see a black dot. At the end of the exit ramp, in that same rear-view mirror…there it is…

The black Chevy Blazer…

Ya’ll remember that 1971 movie, “Duel”, the one starring Dennis Weaver in a red Ford Falcon? It’s where he gets terrorized by a hell-bent-for-leather black semi-truck?? One of the first movies directed by Steven Spielberg…well the names and characters seem to have changed...

I hit the hot-tub, then the pool. A hot shower and I’m good…I watched the Seahawk-Raider game in the bar…You ever watch a Seahawk game in a bar in Oregon?? Eastern Oregon that is…

The crowd was pretty good, as I was the only one watching the game…’cept for the guy next to me, a duck know-it-all, which means stupid…but I was ready for bed anyway…

In the morning, the sun broke, it was dazzling. The heated pool was simmering in the dawn light. What the hell, I’m already paid up, so I went for a swim then another dip in the hot-tub…

I hit the hotel restaurant for the ‘quest’s breakfast’ I ordered the #2…

Satisfied, no longer a hungry man, I was about to guzzle my coffee and hit the road…

A grizzled old Oregon logger was about to pay his bill…He spies my Harley shirt…”A bit chilly to ride today!!”  “ Thank God for leathers” I say, He laughed…

I gas up the Harley, this time at “Jackson’s Truck Stop”. In the island to the west, sat a black Chevy Blazer...

I starred at the empty Blazer, its four way flashers are flashing, your lights are on, but, nobody at home…

131 miles to Boise, I’ve got enough gas to make that at any speed…try me…

90 minutes later, I’m crossing over the Snake River Bridge, I’m now into the Mountain Time Zone…and into Idaho. The coolest thing now is that the speed limit just went up to 80 mph with no helmet law…How cool is that! I kept my helmet on…

Now I gotta tell ya’ this… if any of you folks have been riding the ol’ Harley with the 88 cubic inch with the five speed transmission…the 103 cubic inch motor with the six speed transmission just puts you into another dimension…trust me…

So I take exit 53 and take a left into the Best Western Airport Vista Inn. They put me on the west side, with all the Boise State fans…it had been that kind of day…trust me…

Mr. Timmy was waiting in the lobby. It had been years since I’d seen him. “What happened to your hair? What happened to your belly?”

“Nice to see you too Lee…”

I tell Mr. Timmy to stand for search, he’s done it before. He places his hands in the air and puts his feet about shoulder width apart. I conduct a thorough PAT search. He’s clean. When you’re a corrections officer and you’re sharing a room with a bookie from Reno, you do a PAT search. It’s what you do...

We catch up on old times for a bit and then call a taxi to take us to the game. The taxi shows up, a tattoed guy about forty is in the drivers seat smoking a cigarette. “You guys call for a cab? Hop in. Going to the game? Hold on I know a shortcut.”

With that were in the back seat and heading down alleys and back streets. The driver, known as ‘Bub’ has some satanic head-banger music cranked up on his stereo…

“Hey! Can’t we get some good ‘ol down home Boise music?” “No prob, Mac...”

“Well it’s eight o’clock in Boise Idaho…

I got 600 miles to ride n do one more show…

What’s your name little girl, what’s your name?”

Nothin’ like a little Lynyrd Skynyrd while in Boise Idaho…

The taxi comes to a screechin’ halt at a place called the Ram, and a place called the Stonegate or some such. Boise State fans were in the Ram and Huskies were in the Stonegate, but they were right next door to each other so you could mingle back and forth. I gotta tell ya’ this. Those Boise State fans were very hospitable. I didn’t know what to expect. Now in Pullman or Eugene you need a helmet and a flak jacket just to attend a game, not so here in Boise, refreshing….

I order a Coors light and the barmaid brings me some exotic microbrew…whatever…we then crash the Husky party, as it’s getting close to game time, a lady trips on the steps, she’s ok, the wind picks up, a table cloth goes airborne. High entertainment…a tent blows by. Maybe they’ll start Lindquist?

We find our seats at ‘The Blue’. Good seats on the twenty. I did not enjoy the first half, you probably could figure that out on your own… I did call for a defensive score and another by the special teams. Well one out of two ain’t bad. I didn’t think the offense would not smell the end zone. This is what I get when I start doing my own thinkin’…

The second half was a different story. The defense came to play, the offense waited until the end of the fourth quarter, then went backwards…I kept waiting for one big play from the offense, one play would do it, just one play could win it…one bomb, one break through run by Dwayne Washington, Lavon Coleman, or Myles Gaskin, hell anybody…one play…just one...still waiting

The field goal team came out for the tie at the end of regulation. The kid to my right grabbed my arm…”You think he’s gonna make it Lee?”

“I dunno, I can’t look…yeah sure kid, he’s gonna make it!!”

And with that the kick sailed wide, taking my 500 dollars in bets with it…go figure…

In the morning, Mr. Timmy’s phone rings. It’s his wife Barbie back in Reno. Seems Reno has gotten cold too. Barbie wants to know how to turn on the furnace. Yeah, she’s a blonde, but give her a break, she was born and raised in Florida…

“Yeah, we got trouble in Houston Lee.” “We got trouble in Boise Mr. Timmy, you seen my Harley keys?”

I’m two states from home without my keys, the front wheel locked, it had rained during the night too, my bike looked like squat…

I call every locksmith in the book, nobody does Harleys or barrel locks, until the last guy. “I’m booked till 5 pm. Bub, but I’ll see what I can do…”Checkout is at one…

So he shows up at noon. “I had a cancellation Bub...” After about an hour of messing with my bike he had it free, all but one saddle bag. “That’ll be a hundred bucks even Bub.”

With that I pull out my wallet and hand him 5 twenties, they were right behind my losing bet slips, of course they were…

Back on the road and heading for home. The coolest thing about Idaho is that 80 mph speed limit. Once you cross the Snake River and enter into the Pacific Time zone, you are in Oregon where the speed limit drops back down to 65. Freakin’ Oregon…

I’m cruising thru LaGrande where a rain squall develops. No rain gear on me, why it’s September? A group of five bikes pass me, all dressed in rain gear. Waving, all of them… It was the only time I was passed by bikes on the whole trip, go figure. And the wind picked back up…

Nearly to Pendleton, and ‘Mac’s Bar n Grill’. I can at least change out my wet socks. “Well hey Lee! You look like a drowned rat!” It’s Molly…”Give me a hug Lee!! No hands Lee….”

“Ooooooohhhhh…”

I get in the men’s room and find a large handicapped stall. I heard Oregon had great facilities, but this was top notch…

I can’t remember in my entire life, being this cold and miserable on Labor Day weekend, even when dang near dead...

I belly up to the bar and I wanted something warm, clam chowder, it works. Now as some of you might know, I’m an Eastern Eagle. EWU. Eastern was to kick-off with Oregon with ex EWU quarterback Vernon Adams starting for the duck. I had to slam down my chowder quick, as kick-off was in 20 minutes, had to be back on the road, this place is full of ducks anyway, how much abuse can one guy take in a mere 24 hours….An Eagle transferring to the ducks, is nothing sacred??

I pay my bill, I’m back on the road. The 1-82 Bridge over the Columbia River is just ahead, at least I’d be in Washington…home…

One mile to the cutoff. I see high beams flashing, a horn is honking. In my rear view mirror I see it. The black Chevy Blazer. I’ve got a loaded Ruger 38 in my saddle bag, you got it, the one that’s still locked…

I thought I’d brake hard and squeeze in behind  that freaking Blazer, too late now, they’re on me, more horns, a constant honk honk honk! The passenger window of the black Chevy Blazer now rolls down, the moment of truth…

A pretty young girl in a Boise State Jersey drops her pants and hangs me a B.A…she wiggles her butt, then blows me a kiss, she blushes just a little…then giggles….

Now them Boise State fans, they sure are hospitable!!

“What was your name, little girl, what’s your name??”

Across the 1-82 Columbia River Bridge now, I’m home, back home in Washington State…

Now come on Huskies, sack Sacramento State…

Ease my pain…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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