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Lovin’ the New Blend

Howdy, Blenders!  It’s permanent guest barista and 2nd assistant assistant to the assistant manager “Radical” Russ here, just checkin’ out the new digs.  Hey, that espresso machine is new!  And look at the swell art on the walls.  Yeah, ol’ Pammy did us right, didn’t she?  Thank MNESD that we’re not tethered to Blogger anymore.

That’s all for now; I’m just testing to see how this diary thing works.  If you’d like to read the extended text, I’ve detailed my experience this last Monday when I took my parents to their first NFL game for their 40th anniversary to see our Packers play the Seahawks.  Enjoy!Yes, I will be able to tell my grandchildren about it.  The Great Seattle Storm of ’06.  Except, of course, for the fact I have no children, let alone grandchildren.  But I digress.

I took my mom and dad up to Seattle to see our Beloved Twelve Time World Champion Mighty Green Bay Packers, led by Three Time League MVP Brett Favre (hallowed be thy name), play the defending NFC champs, the Seahawks.  They drove from Boise to Portland, then we carpooled the three hour trip from Portland to Seattle.

Let me say this about Seattle:  The field (Qwest Field) is beautiful.  The fans, not so much.  There I am, escorting my mother and father, celebrating both their 40th anniversary and their first pro game, and we’ve got to listen to boorish “12th Men” yelling at me, telling me “Packers Suck!” and “Favre’s goin’ down!” and in a few variations, some sort of homophobic Packers insult that involves the word “fudge”.  Yeah, real classy and original, Seahawks fans, no one’s ever used the “Fudge Packers” insult before.  By the way, what the fuck is a “seahawk”, anyway?  A seagull?  You’re proud of naming your team after the Mormon Eagle?

A close eye may have caught pregame video of fans, in particular, one handsome large bald fellow with a Cheesehead topped with a Mr. Potato Head — my creation: the Au Gratin Cheesehead (an Idaho cheesehead, get it?) — screaming at the camera.  I really don’t try, but somehow, cameras and microphones seem to find me and my face, voice, or words end up on screen, radio, or print.  It’s a curse and a blessing.

Anyway, we enjoy the game (except for poor officiating) and afterwards we get to the parking garage.  Now, remember, at kickoff Seattle was experiencing low temps and precipitation.  In any other northern state, we call that “snow”.  In Seattle, Washington, they call that “Oh My God, What The Hell Is That?!?”.

Getting out of the parking garage took from 9pm-9:30pm.  That’s to be expected.  From stadium to I5 freeway took another half hour, again, a norm for post-game traffic.

But then we hit I5 at 10pm.  Did you catch any weather reports about Monday?  Well, the area of Northwest Washington received a deluge of snow.  A veritable blizzard of biblical proportions.  A monstrous calamity of falling snow, cold roads, and black ice.

An entire inch.

One freakin’ inch of snow.

Now, in a regular northern state, the mere possibility of snow sets into motion a flurry (couldn’t resist) of government activity, namely, calling in all the DOT people, getting the sanding and de-icing trucks ready, approving the overtime, and stationing the trucks in strategic areas to quickly react when and if the snow arrives.

In Washington, apparently, the government activity seems to be: wait to see if it snows, if it does, wait to see if anyone gets stuck, and if they do, then send out sanding and de-icing trucks.

So, as we get onto I5, all six lanes south are packed and parked.  Not only does the government not know how to react to snow, but also the drivers of the Pacific Northwest can’t seem to drive in it.  Maybe I’m biased, since I took my drivers test in snow and ice on my 16th birthday with no prior drivers’ training and passed with flying colors, but how hard is it to understand “drive slow, leave space, gear down, and don’t gun it”?

Anyway, from exit 164 on I5 to exit 149 on I5 (15 miles) took us four hours (10pm to 2am).  We had to pull off to get gas and pee.  The gas station off exit 149 was up a slight hill and the road was icy snow pack.  So, naturally, all these fine Seattle drivers are gunning their engines, figuring that making the tires spin faster on the slick surface will somehow get them up the hill.  Dad (an Eastern Idaho native, where it snows like the midwest) just geared down to 1st in the Cadillac and creeped up the hill, passing idiots in their four-wheel drives who were spinning their snow tires on the ice.

From exit 149 to exit 88 (61 miles) took us from 2am to 8:30am.  At that point we had to take an exit detour through six miles of Old Highway 99, because the semis had jackknifed so badly that I5 was impassable past 88.  That six mile detour took us from 8:30am to 10am.

Then, back onto I5 at exit 82, and whaddaya know, dry roads and free and easy driving.  The remaining two hours got us back to Portland.

Thus ends my tale of taking a 183 mile trip in 13.5 hours.  That’s like 13.5 MPH.  But the average is boosted by the post exit 82 trip.  If we only consider the 82 miles of icy conditions, it works out to about 7 MPH for 11.5 hours.  A supermarathon runner could easily beat that time.  You haven’t experienced impatience until you’ve sat on a packed freeway at 4am and you see people on the side of the road out-walking your car.

“Radical” Russ — in all my life in Idaho, my school got closed ONCE due to snow… that was a three-foot blizzard in a one day stretch…

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