Thursday, March 8, 2012
Flashback To GNRS 2011
I'm writing this post as a flashback, because when it happened, I had a nice new camera, but an ancient computer that couldn't download the photos.
Anyway, the story begins like this: I always go to the SEMA show in Vegas every November, but in 2010, I had other obligations that I could not get out of, so SEMA was out. Right around the end of August 2010, it was beginning to become clear that I had no shot of going to SEMA. I was seriously depressed & pissed off! Then, a funny thing happened: news began to spread of an amazing tribute to 75 years of Kustom Cars to be held the last weekend of January 2011 at the Grand National Roadster Show, in Pomona, CA. Anyone who was anyone, in the world of Kustoms, was gonna be there, along with 75 of the most significant Kustoms ever built. They say everything happens for a reason & if I had been able to go to SEMA, I never would have had the chance to attend this amazing show. The wheels began to turn & my twisted , little brain began to plot! Now, I find out, that one of my fellow Idol Mixtures, Luke (Publisher & Editor of Kustoms Illustrated magazine), was going to be one of the sponsors. I quickly contacted Luke & we hatched a plan for my dream vacation. I would meet Luke in Pomona, where we would stay for 3 nights & then move down to North Hollywood for 3 more nights to visit with our friends from Tiki Central. Holy Crap! Was this really going to happen? Even though I'd spent most of my life believing I belonged in Southern California, life kinda happened & I had never even visited my Mecca. I was a bit worried, that, once I got out there, I wouldn't want to come back! I made my plans & began counting the days 'til I could leave this God-forsaken Winter Wonderland & head for the paradise of Southern California. I was scheduled to fly out of Logan Airport in Boston at 9:05 AM on Thursday, January 27. As the time grew nearer, I endured storm after storm, in what would turn out to be our snowiest Winter on record. Ugh! I couldn't take much more of this! The weekend before the show, another storm was on the horizon. This one was set to dump 6"-12" of that miserable crap on us Wednesday into Thursday. I began to pray that they were wrong, but it was not to be. Wednesday morning, they canceled my flight. I spent the next hour & a half on the phone with Expedia, trying to reschedule. I WAS GOING TO CALIFORNIA! Finally, I had a flight booked at 2:00, Thursday afternoon, with a layover in NYC & then on to LAX. I would miss the Thursday night party I had been invited to, but at least I'd get there for the show. I dug out & headed to Boston to meet my buddy, Larry, at the airport. We got there pretty early, as the roads were cleaner & quieter than we had expected. We talked about Kustoms & shared our enthusiasm for this adventure we were about to embark on. When 1:30 rolled around, we headed for the terminal, only to find out that our flight was delayed. Apparently, the boys at JFK, in New York, are not as adept at clearing snow off their runways as their Boston counterparts. OK, so, we headed over to Johnny Rocket's for lunch. After we ate, we went back to the terminal & guess what? It was further delayed. The JetBlue people assured us we would still make it to JFK in time for our connecting flight. They were wrong! An hour later, the flight was canceled. Larry & I got in line with everyone else to plead for a way to California. Larry was ready to go home, but there was no f@%&*$g way I was going home. I told him I'd fly into Vegas & drive to SoCal if I had to. When it was my turn at the counter, I looked at the guy & said "I don't care how you do it, but get us to California!" He punched the keys on his computer and, within a minute, he said "I've got a 6 o'clock to Long Beach!" "Long Beach?", I said. "I didn't know there was an airport in Long Beach." "Six AM ?", I said. "No, in an hour!", he said. "The plane's right there!" he replied, pointing out the window. "We'll take it!" Soon after, we boarded the plane to paradise. I was amazed when we landed. I could see the palm trees swaying in the breeze, silhouetted against the night sky. WOW! This truly felt like Mecca! We grabbed our rental cars & headed for Pomona, stopping off at In 'n Out Burger for some chow, before we headed to the hotel. When I finally stumbled, bleary-eyed & starving into the hotel room, I was greeted by the sounds of Exotica music & Luke, mixing Mai Tais. What a pal! One cheeseburger, some fries & a Mai Tai later, I was snoring & dreaming of the adventures the week ahead held for me.