Saturday, May 12, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

When was the last time you stayed up for 24 hours? Well, that's what I ended up doing on Friday, May 11. I certainly didn't start out the day intending not to sleep for that length of time. It just sort of happened. Let me explain.

I was in Tampa this week speaking at an AUGI CAD Camp event there. That was an excellent event, by the way. The folks in Tampa really rock. It was one of the most "with it" group of users of all the events we've done this spring.

Anyway, I had to leave my hotel around 4:45am to get to the airport for my flight back to Bellingham. So I was up early. Thank goodness I was able to get first class upgrades on Delta all the way back to Salt Lake City (there is no first class section on the Delta Connections flight from Salt Lake back to Bellingham).

But once back in Bellingham, my day was just beginning. It turns out that once American Idol narrows its field down to the last three contestants, those contestants get to fly back to their home town for the weekend. Well, Blake Lewis, one of those three finalists, hails from Bothell, WA. So Friday was Blake Lewis Day in Bothell. And Bothell is only about 70 miles from Bellingham. And my family watches American Idol avidly and we've been Blake Lewis fans all season (although I have picked Melinda Doolittle to win). You can see where this is going...right?
So, no sooner did I arrive back in Bellingham, then I drove my car to the Bellingham Amtrak station, shifted over to my wife's minivan, picked up our girls and my daughter's friend Anna from school, and drove down to Bothell. We made the trip in record time (amazing considering the usual Seattle-area traffic) and managed to find a parking space in beautiful (and tiny) downtown Bothell. The girls and I positioned ourselves near the end of the parade route while Genny went over to the small park amphitheater where Blake would eventually perform.

The parade was supposed to start at 3:30pm and the concert at 4. The parade finally got underway a little after 4pm. The parade consisted of two police cars, a fire truck, and then Blake riding in a convertible. Check out the reaction on Blake's face when he sees my daughters' sign.

As soon as the parade ended, we quickly walked over to the park to see the concert. Of course, the park was already packed with people. And when I say packed, I mean PACKED. There was literally no where to move.

Even the local television camera people were having a tough time getting a decent vantage point.

I didn't so much see the concert as hold my camera up over the heads of the people in front of me and shoot. My daughters were positioned near the stairs where Blake came in, and they touched hands when Blake entered the amphitheater.

After some introductions, the mayor of Bothell declared May 11 Blake Edwards American Idol Finalist Day and then read from a fax he had just received from Paula Abdul announcing that the judges had chosen "Roxanne" by the Police as the number Blake will perform this Tuesday, May 15, on American Idol. Then Blake performed several numbers, including two original songs.

When he finished his final song, he introduced some of his friends, including the woman who had organized the Blaker Girls.

Then it was pretty much bedlam again when it was time for Blake to leave to head over to Safeco Field where he was scheduled to sing the National Anthem and then throw out the first pitch.

So why is this posting called "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" and why didn't I get to sleep until nearly 2 am (more than 24 hours after I had gotten up that morning)? Well, while there wasn't much traffic getting to Bothell, leaving Bothell afterwards was another story entirely. See, the rest of the plan was that Genny and Emma had tickets to "Rent" at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Clarice, Anna, and I had tickets to take Amtrak back to Bellingham while Genny and Emma went to the show. Thus the reason for me parking my car at the Amtrak station in Bellingham before leaving. Unfortunately, we missed our train. Then Genny thought she'd drop us at Safeco Field so we could try to get tickets to the Mariners game against the Yankees (at which Blake was to sing). But again, the traffic was so bad (not to mention the game being a near sell-out) that I was concerned that she would then be late for her show. So Clarice, Anna, and I ended up going to my sister Lori's house for the evening while Genny and Emma went to the show. Then they came back and picked us up a little after 11pm to drive back to Bellingham. By the time we dropped Anna off at her house, went to the Amtrak station to get my car, and got back home, it was after 1am. By the time we got everything settled, it was 2.

We were signed up to participate in the 5km Haggen to Haggen run on Saturday morning...

Right. Like that was going to happen.

1 comment:

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