WHAT! I couldn’t believe it! The Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of NASCAR auto racing AND The NASCAR Experience, the world class Theme Park and resorts… all in one mind boggling, brain numbing, week-end!

He had done it! Scoop had actually pulled it off! He had successfully requested and was granted (for reasons certainly unknown to me) Both the company Corporate jet and the use of Scoops favorite pilot; Brad and co-pilot Ray for a back to back, coast to coast flight that was to take 5 old (er) men on a perhaps “last chance” RCT geezer blowout that was to top anything I have encountered in this strange half-truth universe called RCT yet! This huge favor was given from Scoops boss and CEO of several plants that Scoop helps look after in his “real” time job.

When not busy being an IT Manager or flying all over the place doing nothing, Scoop relaxes at his Virginia home with his wife and two sons, watching Monster Garage, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or his favorite sport; basketball. When he can slip away, this RCT Space Network webmaster packs his computerized Winnebago with coffee, Sprite, camping gear, carving equipment, classic rock CD's and hits the open road. Cruising the highways, Scoop searches parks for the ultimate Woody, stopping only for steak n' taters. Rounding out the trip, he often finds himself in his favorite park, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.

Fear not though, the silver haired Scoopster can still tend to his webmaster duties in his Winnebago, using the mobile satellite uplink I got him for the Amazing Earl interview. I truly shutter to think what Scoop had to do for this plane. I don’t think any of us wants to really know that. But I do know that even though we all had to pitch in for the fuel (small fortune that!) it was a little matter compared to the adventure and downright pure fun I was going to have with these six characters right out of a Charles Dickens Novel.

I couldn’t believe we were actually pulling this off! I have been accused of getting excited easily, that being true you can imagine how my personal excitement level was just flat off the charts! Let me spell out the reason why… H-E-A-V-E-N… I was at the gates of heaven and about to pass through at any moment now. Wouldn’t you be excited too? Seven of us old RCT die hards from all over the States were all getting together for a week-end to remember for the rest of our lives, whatever life we had left. Scoop, Old Red, Sambo, Gray Dragon and I headed for two old friends theme park in sunny Florida. Five senior citizens, (although Sambo refused the whole time to call himself one, said he was along for chaperone and health care giver reasons, we all know better though) Five colorful, well aged, RCT characters being left alone to their own devices complete with private jet, freedom, an entire week-end of time reserved AND… a personal invitation to a world class amusement park and resort called “The NASCAR Experience”, by a very good friend of ours called RCTNorthwest and RW Adams, his big shot partner in the RCT amusement Park business! Also, being the die hard NASCAR fan that he is, RCTNorthwest had made some calls and called in some favors and by selling his house, wife and a few of the older children, had done the unthinkable and landed us a mean eight pack +1 of Daytona 500 box seats with a pit row pass for all, NASCAR’s finest event. Even Brad and Ray were smiling as they had garnered tickets too.

Man, it just doesn’t get any better then this! RCTNW and RW Adams were extending to us five undeserving old RCT warriors an all expense paid trip to his famous Park and resort! Not only all expenses paid, but was giving us a row of his best suites in the Five Star rated Hotel at the Park. He had also promised to greet us at the corporate airport terminal and be our personal escort for a couple days of fun. A grand day’s adventure in a personal friend’s theme park! Then the grand finale…The Daytona 500! I almost giggled drool on myself as the full impact of the combined experience of The NASCAR Experience and The Daytona 500 settled down around me like a checkered flag.

It was on! Game on! Gentlemen start your engines. Scoop had just called from the plane and said that they had fueled and stocked the plane with snacks and drinks and enough Play Station games and NASCAR magazines to keep RCTNorthwest occupied during the long flight. Brad the pilot, had filed his flight plan and they were taxiing out to the runway, revving up the engines, headed for the deep blue of the early morning sky and the first leg of the outbound journey.

I was a wreck; my whole family had deserted me and left for Mrs. Boomer’s mother’s house, who can blame them? I was beyond thinking about anything else but Florida by this time and was pretty much comatose and worthless, more or less camping out by the phone and waiting for Scoops next call. Finally it came.

“Omaha? What the heck are you doing in Omaha Scoop?” After Scoop assured me that they were just there to refuel and use the bathroom I relaxed a little as he filled me in on the next leg of this RCT Odyssey. “We’ll be taking off in a few minutes Boomer and heading straight for Seattle Washington. I just talked to RCTNorthwest and he’s ready and waiting and about to wet his pants at the thought of us all getting together to tell tall tales to let him show off his Park in real life, after all this time. Brad’s had his coffee and I’ve had my… water.” I ecstatically mumbled something incoherently into the phone but Scoop cut me off. “Got to go old-timer, take your blood pressure medication and be ready when we get there!”

A trail of vapor as white as snow followed Scoops plane into the blue horizon. Both it and the sleek Gulfstream jet grew smaller and smaller and then became a tiny dot that disappeared into the white sun of the Great Plains. In the Distance rose the purple, snow capped, Majestic Rocky Mountains, raising up towards the sun as if grand granite sentinels, guarding the West from the East. And somewhere beyond the glare of the sun and the rippling walls of the Rockies, three very excited and impatient and very happy men waited with baited breath and anticipation.

--- To Be Continued ---