The trip to Scotland started out well enough. Christian and I were at the airport here in Minneapolis with an hour to spare, got no hassle at all about the bike boxes and were comfortably ensconced in the airport bar getting our jackass on. We rolled over to the gate after a while only to find out that we were thisclose to missing the connecting flight to Chicago where we were scheduled to meet the Oik (AKA Damon) and go over to Scotland for Glasgopoloco.

Damon showed up in good order for the flight from Chicago to Glasgow. The flight wasn't too eventful except that I had brought a bottle of Everclear with me for the long ride which maybe wasn't the best idea. Getting the spins on an airplane is no fun at all and the stewardesses quickly learned to ignore us. We got to Glasgow eventually and ran into DR Eric Wilson (former SF courier) in the line for customs. After the luggage belt stopped we were left with no sign of Damon's bike so after filling out the interminable paperwork we started to pass through the final UK customs checkpoint and then we were off to the land of McEwans and whiskey. Or so we thought.

Dr. Wilson, Christian and I made it through the checkpoint with no trouble. We started to suspect something was amiss after an hour had passed and there was still no sign of Damon. Her Majesty's Customs had detained the Oik and now they wanted a shot at us as well. A cop who was all business came out and asked if we were associates of Mr. Votour. Instead of denying it and running for the hills we went back into the room of doom and got all of our baggage torn apart. They were actually pretty good to us and folded our things neatly after the search and allowed us to be on our way. I don't think they were as good to Damon but that's his story. There was some debate among us about whether Damon was going to be allowed through at all but he soon appeared and we legged it for a taxi before po-po changed their minds. Lesson learned is cover those tattoos when going through Scottish customs.

We arrived at "where the monkey sleeps" and commenced with the drinking and the hollering and the general nonsense that greets you at the start of these events. The Scots were pretty excited to see us and after the fun at customs we were glad to be seeing anyone anywhere.

The Scots very solicitously told us that beer in Scotland comes in something called a "pint." I am still a little confused about such small beers but I suppose not everything is supersized the same as in the US. It was pretty funny and after a while the Scots stopped trying to interpret the bar for us and just let us drink.

A stack of Americans showed up for the event including Miss America, the same three Texans you see at all of these things, the aforementioned crew from the trip of doom. Other folks included Mike and Mark from Toronto, Marvin T. Monkey Crissy and Robin from London, a few assorted Germans and Austrians and Danes and Dutch and Irish and and .......

One of German kids had one of the best mullets I have ever seen. I still don't know his name as we were just calling him Kentucky for the whole 2 weeks but heres to him for rocking such a severe style. If you see him in Copenhagen buy my man a beer and tell him we said what's up. That haircut was just tough. We also made all the Euros say "show me your papers" in their best WW2 movie accent. That just doesn't stop being funny and they were good natured about it if a little confused.

The Scots went well out of their way to honor my friend and fellow Package King Big Gay Al Johnston. Al died in March and didn't make the trip and the Glasgow guys put a logo honoring him on the event shirts and made a beautiful banner for the karaoke night for him. Words can't express how good it made me feel to think that folks who for the most part hadn't even met him would be good to our departed friend. Jim McCarthy from Toronto has been living in Glasgow for the past year and I think it made him feel better about missing the funeral by doing all this for Al. I sure appreciated it. We had a great time in general and the Scots threw one hell of a party. Groundskeeper Al's friends are good guys that you should go visit right now.

The racing was low-key and really enjoyable. I am starting to think that low key events like this that bring folks together without the crazy nonsense and competition of the CMWC are the way to go. It'd be smaller but a hell of a lot more manageable for everyone involved. The midget bike racing was especially fun and it was nice to see Miss America win the sprints.

We even managed to get in some tourism along with all the mayhem. The Scots allege that they invented the bicycle and some folks went and saw the thing over at the Museum of Transportation. I managed to miss it for various reasons but the pictures of it seem cool. There was also a guided trip out to the distillery that the right honorable James "Mystery" Tait led everyone out to. He promptly puked upon arrival at the distillery and then went in and drank a pantload of whiskey, led everyone back home again and puked again. Other Mystery Tait highlights from Glasgopoloco include him setting himself on fire to win the air guitar contest and his victory in the main race. James drank all night and all day and still beat everyone by a huge margin which is pretty impressive. Every time I saw him he was kissing some different girl and he was charming and hospitable at all times. James, if you are out there reading this in some dimly lit bar after Hutch printed up this email for you heres to you my friend. Those of us who were on the trip still talk about you with a large amount of awe and you really should come get up with us on our home turf sometime. That goes for all of our Scottish hosts. Brian, Paul, Jim, Xander, Bertie, Ross, Sheona, Andy the African and the kid with the mohawk are all credits to our sometimes fractious community. I have left a ton of things out of this narrative and a story really can't do the trip justice.

Thanks to everyone in Scotland and come see us over here sometime-we miss you already.

-John Kenda



©2002 all rights reserved. Created and maintained by Angus McLeod, Upper Kilttown Graphics


©2002-8 all rights reserved. Created and maintained by Angus McLeod, Upper Kilttown Graphics
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