<Robert’s Rona Roadtrip Diary; 2 min. 20 sec.>
“You’re getting on a plane?
“Wow. Seems risky.”
Ok, Karen. I ‘n’ I have no choice. I’m the eldest and tasked with the responsibility of helping my Mom with my Dad. (Temporarily dain bramaged from a build up of excess spinal fluid. Called NPH.)
Since the Rona Pandemic of 2020 I ‘n’ I have boarded/de-planed 10 different planes. At first they were mostly empty. Now they are packed to the rafters. Guess I’ll take my chances with a 99% recovery rate and hope for the best.
So far so good: Bobbylon 43 The Covid 0
Here’s a diary of my trip.
- Day 1: SLC to Denver to Phoenix
I ‘n’ I love the cattle car of Southwest Airlines. Pay 15 bucks extra for Early Bird boarding and aim for the back corner of the plane. Didn’t matter. Both legs of the journey were full. In the airport and on the plane I felt the flight staff were more strict on mask compliance than last year or during Xmas 2020. It seems like the more people are vaxxed the stricter they have become.
I wear my mask b/c it’s a bitch when you are scolded for pulling it down to take a sip of anything. It’s ridiculous anyway b/c they make you take down your mask at TSA checkpoint. So I pass on my gamboo to the security person and he/she gives me their cooties. Lovely.
- Day 2: Cratedigging
Phoenix has great record shops. Several boutique vinyl mostly shops. Their local CD/Vinyl/DVD chain is called Zia and they are terrific. Didn’t find a whole lot this time, except at one store called In the Groove. Snagged about a dozen rare Greensleeves label 12″ vinyl records. Yes I!
The other thing? Mask optional. Where some stores had finally opened back up to actual “digging” as opposed to “curbside delivery”, the staff at In the Groove weren’t wearing a mask and there was no “No Mask, No Service” sign on the door
So neither did I’n’ I. I do the old hang off the ear just in case. It was strangely self conscious and exhilarating at the same time. Wow, how quickly we have been accustomed to breathing in our own carbon dioxide and huffing microscopic boogers that accumulate on those face diapers*
*My Pops: “Jesus Christ, would you quit calling masks a face diaper.” So good to have the old cantankerous dad back in the fold which we missed for almost two years!
Pops was days away from one of Cuomo’s Nursing Home/Covid Death Houses and battled back to flash the Hairy Eyeball directed at his ingrate first born!
That was 2020 for I ‘n’ I. Keeping my Pops dodging the Covid. Thanks to Ishtar, the Granter of Wishes! Others weren’t as fortunate.
- Day 3: 420 on 4/20; 107 sec.
Arizona legalized the hippie lettuce in 2020. They didn’t waste any time converting medical only Weed Huts into rec stores. There is a terrific shop in Sun City West that helped my Pops with CBD cream for his neuropathy, 1:1 vape cartridges for my Mom – restless leg syndrome.
Got Mom a nice vape pen for Mother’s Day* since I ‘n’ I broke hers in Dec. (For some reason I am lethal on vape pens, either lose them somewhere or they quit charging.)
*I have always been a good son!
I ‘n’ I figured April 20th is like Black Friday for potheads. So I called early. Found out they opened at 8am that sacred day. Sale of 40% off cartridges. Got there by 8:20AM.
Jumped in the long line assuming that was for recreational customers. Asked the guy in front of me. Nope, that was for Medical. Spun the wheel and won a $10 pre-roll. Nice.
Walked right up to rec line like a celebrity. Got in their system and went to the budtender. Nice young woman named, wait for it!…..Marley. (Last trip thru Vegas my budtender’s name was Kaya.) I ‘n’ I was so excited I violated the six foot rule. But at least I had my face diaper on.
Walked out with a little bit of everything. Indica (for sleep); Sativa (for cratedigging); Hybrid (for everyday life). The most unusual thing was that they took credit cards. I ‘n’ I have bought weed in Washington, Collie-rado, Nevada and now Phoenix. Everywhere else was cash for the kasheesh. How civilized. Just like going to Mall-Wart or Olive Garden.
Well fortified, let’s get on the road….
- Day 4: Sun City West, AZ to Mesquite, NV (350 miles)
It’s a three day drive from Phoenix to Fort Benton, Montana (North Central part of the state.) 1296 miles
Early high-light (pun intended) was the Last Chance Rest Stop on an Indian reservation just before you cross from AZ to NV.
Alien gear, weed gear and Trump gear “Still My President”. It’s a little disturbing that I’m obsessed with two of the three. Bought some alien schwag, Area 51 T shirt and a bunch of fridge magnets.
Pull in to the Virgin River Casino. Had a nice dinner. Near miss with Pops as he went ass over tea kettle. Dude still needs his cane. Two nice bikers helped my Mom and I get him back on his feet.
Pops safe in his room, Mom and I hit the machines. Video Poker for I ‘n’ I. Headed to the exact spot where I won $1000 last fall.
Nevada is a Karen state. Plexiglass is like gambling in a phone booth. I strategically aimed for an end machine close to the bar. Even then the cocktail server doesn’t venture often into the 25 cent video poker machines.
Of course you have to wear a face diaper. I ‘n’ I fire up my Sativa cart and do a little Dr. Ted recreation. (Vaping through a mask). Mmm. Strawberries.
Alas, lightning did not strike twice. The best I ‘n’ I could muster was 4 8’s (400 quarters.) But I got to play about 90 minutes and only dropped 60 bucks. I was crosseyed exhaling strawberry essence through my face diaper (sorry Pops!)
- Day 5: Mesquite NV to Idaho Falls ID (550 miles)
Time to grind out the longest and dullest stretch of the 3 day journey. Since Utah and Idaho are 2/3 thirds of the Mormon Triangle States, there will be no vaping nor gambling.
There was ice cream. It was hilarious watching my parent’s little dog Bella go through a bowl of vanilla ice cream like she was going to the dog pound for the long sleep.
Hit Idaho Falls, check into the hotel room (so tired I ‘n’ I forgot my face diaper but didn’t need it. Utah and Idaho are coming out of it and getting on with it.) Pizza Hut in the room and half a Law & Order re-run. One toke from Blueberry Indica and I was in dreamland.
- Day 6: Idaho Falls ID to Fort Benton MT (401 miles)
It wouldn’t be Montana if you didn’t have to worry about snow in April. Montana’s spring lasts from Memorial Day to June 1st.
The Monida Pass between Idaho and Montana is the stuff of nightmares. BFD. We’re going. Praise Anu, a few snow flurries, some low level fog. I give it a B+ by the usual whiteout conditions I ‘n’ I have been used to. Home sweet home.
- Chillin’ in The Birthplace of Montana
Small Axe Mini-Series, Steve McQueen (Amazon Prime)
When you long haul it that early in the spring, you have to book a few extra days before I ‘n’ I would fly back to SLC. Not much to do, so I had some binge time. My parents have Amazon Prime. I carved out the time to watch a fantastic 5 movie series from UK director Steve McQueen.
Collectively it is called Small Axe.
From the Wailers song: You are the big tree, we are the small axe. Sharpened to cut you down.
Five individual films chronicling the West Indian/UK immigrant experience. Unremitting racism, immigrant mistrust, depression of the daily beat down for the color of your skin, lack of educational opportunity.
After the 2020 BLM protests you could truly see that endemic racism is a global phenomenon that didn’t start with an Orange dude still selling MAGA schwag.
- Fort Benton down with the hemp
17 down, 33 to go. Montana legalized marijuana in Nov. 2020. They haven’t started recreational sales yet but it is legal to possess. Oct. 2021 retail starts….supposedly.
Fort Benton is a town of about 1500 people. Down from about 1800 when I grew up there. Too cold for industry, kids moving off the farm.
But there isn’t a house to be had because of a local hemp processing plant. Yes, hemp. Not cannabis, but I can imagine that will be on-deck now that legal marijuana will need suppliers. They are employing 35 employees in a huge plant on the hill close to my house. They would be the largest non-school/government employer in the entire county.
Indhemp are making hemp powder for supplements, oil, seeds, CBD extraction and I understand they have expanded to process hemp fiber.
And I ‘n’ I can’t wait until recreational is legal so I can walk up to the old NAPA auto parts store downtown and buy some vape from the Fat Hippie.
Fort Benton’s local dispensary!
- Rona in Fort Benton-a
So basically after a week of living out of a suitcase, the day after we get home, I wake up and am not feeling all that great. Achy, feverish, low appetite. Are you kidding me? Is it the Rona?
I’ve been talking shit for a year and now it caught me. On the road, 1300 miles of 99% time spent in a car with people/pets I have herd immunity with. In the house I grew up in?
Is the streak over? Bobbylon 43, The Covid 0. Bad news if the Rona scores at all!
I immediately took a vape hit…..waited…..yes, could it be? Strawberries! I ‘n’ I didn’t lose my sensi (pun) of taste! My Mom said to quit being a wuss and come up and empty the dishwasher.
I ‘n’ I didn’t get my jab yet because I knew I had this massive trip in front of me. And I have talked to a couple people who had side effects. One guy had a tingling rash up and down his arms. My sister thinks it caused her outbreak of shingles.
So, a day later a friend of Pops comes over for a beer. He was setting up for a gun show in Great Falls. His tongue felt weird. And then he had trouble breathing. His tongue was swelling. He high tailed into Instacare. Epi pen. 24 hours in ICU.
He was totally gobsmacked, a week early he had a 24 hour bout of uncontrolled hiccups that was worse than ICU.
I asked him if he had been recently vaccinated? Yep, two plus weeks earlier. Moderna. I asked an innocent question. Could his back to back adverse health incidences – uncontrolled hiccups, anaphylactic shock – be a consequence of his jab? Oh, no. Take off your tin foil hat and believe the narrative.
And that’s why I’m waiting for the Sputnik V.
Smile Jamaica Playlist: May 1, 2021
- Jacob Miller – Each One Teach One; Classic Rockers vol. 2 (Rockers) ’89 UK vinyl comp.
- Sir Coxsone Sound – Black Wars Dub; King of the Dub Rock Part 2 (Tribesman); ’82 UK vinyl dub Album of the hour
- The Pioneers – Long Shot; Give and Take (Trojan) ’68 – Kentucky Derby Set
- The Pioneers – Longshot Kicked the Bucket; In the Beginning (Jet Star) ‘69
- The Race Fans – Bookieman; 7” (Upset) ’68 JA
- Dillinger – Race Day; CB 200 (Mango) ‘76
- Sugar Minott – One Horse Race; 7” (Chris & Squidley)
- The Special AKA – Skinhead Symphony (Longshot Kick the Bucket); Stereo-typical A’s, B’s and Rarities (EMI) ‘80
- Mr. Bojangles – Selassie I Cup; 7” (Joe Gibbs Record Globe) ‘77***End of Set 1
- Roots Gwaan – Good Trees; Exalt H.I.M. (Conscious Riddims) herbtune
- Hollie Cook feat. Horseman – Cry; Hollie Cook (Mr. Bongo) 2011 UK dawta
- The Ethiopians – Train to Skaville; Norman & Joey Jay: Good Times 3 (React) ’67 comp.
- 4th Street Orchestra – Hawaii 5-0; 10” (Rama) ’77 UK TV theme***End of Set 2
- Slim Smith – Rougher Yet; Full Up (Heartbeat/Studio One) ’67 comp. Best of Smile Jamaica 31+ Years Set
- Samuel the First – Sounds of Babylon; Keep on Coming Through the Door (Trojan) ’70 comp.
- Barry Brown – Sensimilla; Far East (Hitbound) ’81 herbtune
- Hortense Ellis – Jah Mysterious Works; Holding Up Half the Sky (Shanachie) ’80 comp.***End of Set 3
- The Beat aka The English Beat – Jackpot; I Just Can’t Stop It (Go Feet!) ’80 UK 2 Tone ska
- Thievery Corporation feat. Perry Farrell – Revolution Solution; CD Single (ESL) DC dubbers
- K – Right Direction; Nemozian Rasta (I Grade) 2001 female
- The Congos – Music Maker; 12” (99) ’81 NY***End of Set 4
- Winston Jarrett – Ishen Galore; Wise Man (Tamoki Wambesi) ’79 UK herbtune: Vinyl is Vital Set
- Freddie McKay – Settle For Me; Alcatraz (Mr. Tipsy) ’85 JA
- Devon Russell – People Get Ready; Roots Music (Studio One) ’82 JA
- Kingpin – Hottest Shot; Lovers Delight (Ariwa) ’93 UK lovers rock
- Norma King – Hot Child in the City; 12” (Zion Love) ’89 Can. Nick Gilder pop cover***End of Set 5
- Robert Palmer – Love Can Run Faster; 7” (Island) ’77 Lee “Scratch” Perry prod’n; Rockers do Reggae Set
- Graham Parker – Howlin’ Wind; Howlin’ Wind (Mercury) ’76
- Sinead O’Connor – The Glory of Jah; Theology (Koch) 2007
- The Long Beach Dub All-Stars – Astro-Dub; Sunny Hours EP (Dreamworks) 2001
- Ja-Man All-Stars – Dub Zone; In the Dub Zone (Blood & Fire) ’77 Dub Album of the Hour***End of Set 6
- Bob Marley & the Wailing Wailers – Thank You Lord; Wail ‘N Soul ‘M Singles (JAD) ’67: Wailers Family Tree
- Peter Tosh – Crimson Pirate; Arise Blackman (Trojan) ’69 Jackpot 7” organ instrumental
- Phyllis Dillon – Long Time No Nice Time; Trojan Bob Marley Tribute Box Set (Trojan) ’72 Wailers cover
- Bunny Wailer – Rule Dancehall + version; Solomonic Singles vol. 2 (Solomonic) ‘87***End of Set 7
- Dry & Heavy – Rumble Dub; 10” EP (Green Tea) 2000 UK – Jah-pon: Mutant Dub Set
- Seeed – Million Dead Tongues; King Size Dub Chapter 6 (Echo Beach) 2000 Germ. comp
- David Holmes – Slash the Seats; This Film’s Crap Let’s Slash the Seats (Go Disks!) ‘95
- Ellen Allien feat. Miss Kitten – Rippin Kitten (BPitch Control) 2004 comp.
- Kid Loco – Here Copmes the Munchies; Kill Your Darlings (Bella Union) 2001 Fr.
- Alpha & Omega feat. Lee “Scratch” Perry – Dub Fire;
- Trample the Eagle and the Bear (Alpha & Omega) 2005 UK trance dubbers
- Rara Avis – Guyatri Mantra; Essential Lounge: Bombay (UBL) 2005 Hindi dub