1 July 2011

Race Days

A wall of filthy mud fifty feet high had washed out one of the two routes that lead from my dope rich town into the deforested wilderness and dope rich towns of my do not give a shit as long as I have some beers on the weekend province's fucking near forgotten interior. Highways crews did not expect to clear the debris until late the next day and I had to get over the first mountain pass to attend this year's end of June Race Day at historic Sunflower Downs. Lucky for me I know Dope City well enough that it does not, cannot, wake up early to do motherfuck all. I woke up to the sound of my get to work at the sawmill alarm, had a sweet black cup of automatic coffee, packed a cooler full of beer into the back seat of the car, kissed the dog and Sonja, who had to work, good-bye and stepped on it. I can never get out of the city fast enough.

Sure enough I reached the bottleneck into the mountains early enough to have just ten cars ahead of me at the stop sign that would later have people waiting hours to get through before it was announced the washed out highway had been re-opened ahead of schedule. I could have slept in. Motherfuckers.

At the top of the mountain pass I stopped for a piss. If it had been one degree colder it would have been snow that was falling, not bone cold drizzle. The cold beer, for once, did not seem like such a great idea. By the time I had shook my shivvering dick off into the quiet woods I had come to my senses, a cold beer did not seem like such a bad idea after all. I reached into the cooler, pulled out an Old Style, opened it, took a good guzzle and belched. Brap. That shut the fucking birds up.

Back in the warm car I switched cds. I had been listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Cosmo's Factory." That has been my first listen on road trips for quite a while now. Good old boy geezer rock 'n' roll. I put on Dan Baird's "Buffalo Nickel," a thrift store find I had never listened to before. More good good old boy geezer rock 'n' roll. Little like the Small Faces but not so fucking English. There is a picture of Baird in the little cd booklet playing an acoustic guitar in a field at the edge of a forest, a city rotting like a corpse in the distance. You got it, every song fit my destructive mood, like my feet in my worn work boots, into what I was hoping to be another perfect day.

(Later I would listen to Neil Young, DOA, the Stooges, Ian Hunter, the Drive-By Truckers and the Damned. Would have listened to a KISS cd if I owned one.)

Got breakfast at the bottom of the pass in the sweet little town of Princeton. A guy always hopes to get a waitress with tits falling out of a loosely buttoned blouse, but you know what we get? That's right. We get our grandma if she were still alive. Tits sucked dry decades ago. She was right sweet though, served me steak and eggs all done right, jumped out of her shoes when I had to poke my head around a corner to pay her when I was done.

As I was eating I got to talking to a couple who sat down after me. They were with their two young boys. From the rotten core of Dope City they were. Oak and King Eddie. They had risen an hour earlier than I had to clear out of town and like me felt just a little victorious for having done so. Some country time was going to do both of them and their bacon and egg eating boys some real good.

Usually when I go to Princeton I just go up, get bombed, watch the races and drive straight back home. Today, I thought, as I was thinking about having another beer, I was going to have to pace myself. So instead of having another beer I took some biker speed. There would be lots of time for more beer.

Before I got back in my car to drive to Coalmont and Tulameen, two places I had never seen, I walked over to the Fields department store which had just opened for the day. Got some Canada shit to wear at the Canada Day party Sonja and I would be getting gassed at the next day. Girl I paid my money to was on her first day on the job. I like that: people working for living. It is going out of style faster than riots are becoming trendy.

Next thing I knew I was racing like Batman through the mountains again. It was an even prettier drive than I expected. Above me the rich forests that have provided me my life of beer and Anarchy; below me the early summer rush of the Tulameen River on its way to the Endless Sea.

Drove through Coalmont, I was hoping the infamous hotel bar might be open on my way back from Tulameen, further up the road on the shore of Otter Lake. Tulameen is a chaotic little town. Yuppie vacation places set side by side Anarchist shacks. Every second address in town hiding a crop of the world's very best marijuana just like every other town in this supernaturally dopey province. After I parked the car by the lake and had a beer in the snow melt wind, I had a good look around the town. Sonja and I plan to retire at some end of the road place like Tulameen. There did not appear to be a pub there so we will not be moving there. Otherwise it looked real nice.

Back in Coalmont the hotel's open sign was not flashing so I stopped at a little motel to ask if they knew if it might open soon. "Oh, it hasn't been open since last year," I was told at the motel desk by the friendly owner. "There's new people just took over though so why don't you just go on over and knock on their door. Maybe they'll tell you when they are opening."

Before I did that I talked to the motel owner about her sweet old dog. "Gonna have to put her down next week. Got cancer, maybe other things wrong with her." The dog looked at me with his old dog eyes. Makes me want to cry, old dogs do.

I knocked on a couple doors of the hotel. Like the rest of the world that was not already on drugs or drinking, they were probably still asleep. Hope I get a beer in there one day before it burns down like all my province's old hotels do eventually.

After lunch and a couple beers back in Princeton I drove off into the ranch country beyond Sunflower Downs. It is a man's country up there. Did not see a lot of livestock in the fields, so you know how they are paying the bills up there. Like I said before, same way as everybody else.

The races were well run, cashed five of my seven tickets, one of them a deadheat. Were not as many people there as I have seen on my previous visits, which worries me a little. We are losing too much of British Columbia's great traditions, our hard and fast ties to the land. If we do not get out and support events such Princeton's Race Days we are going to have nothing left but roller derby and hockey on tv.

Next Princeton Race Day is September 3rd. See you at the finish line, motherfuckers.


ib said...

'Cosmo's Factory' is a good LP. I'll give you that. And the rest, though I have not had the pleasure of doing Baird in a glade. Anywhere else, for that matter.

Well. It's Friday night and I just got back from the supermarket. Cracked open a bottle of Chardonnay from fuck knows where. Probably Australian, is my guess. Could be corked but I am not complaining.

I enjoyed the reading. Made me dizzy, all that driving.

Here's to Kiss.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Forgot to mention I spoke with two couples from Scotland who stopped in to Sunflower Downs for the day as they toured my province. Damn fine people dressed wisely for our cool early summer.

RossK said...

I love that Fields store.

Usually we are stopping in to get a tarp or can of white gas we forgot on the way to Otter Lake.

Heckfire, I dig all of downtown Princeton where you can walk it all and see it all and buy it all in half an hour.

And then there are the gold rush oldies, grizzled, wizzened and, mostly, faculties still intact, unlike all those similar looking guys you see in the city.

And speaking of things you don't see much these days....How about all those kids hanging out under the bridge doing whatever the heck they want for absolutely nothing?

Thanks Beer - great story even without the actual races.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The couple I met in the restaurant in the morning were on their way to Otter Lake. If their boys did any swimming this weekend they will have surely turned a deathly blue doing so.

When I showed Sonja the Canada Day kit I picked up she said, "You just have to go into that Fields store every time you're up there don't you." I like small stores that are big for small towns.

I did not hang out by the rising river this time but I know what you mean. When Sonja and I have rested in the sun there she could hardly stand watching the kids play on the edge of near certain death.

The races were well run this year. No horses or jocks injured. Vancouver jock Ismael Mosquiera won six of the seven races. The crowd was small because the road washout deterred just about every body from Dope City from making the short trip to a town and its Race Day I am particularly fond of.

RossK said...

Day complete - now have race report too.

I think I have a water's edge, catcher in the soaking wet rye post brewing.