Nixon's Dead, I Smell a Road Trip!
It is always crazy days like today when I recall getting a phone call from my buddy Chuck Farnham
who uttered those very words, “Nixon’s dead, I smell a road trip”. Now Chuck and I had been doing the “road trip” thing for years, going from oddity to bizarre location all over the United States. A majority of the time the places that we went were famous locations in which a star had been killed or committed suicide. This time it was different. Former President Richard Nixon had passed and Chuck thought it would be a great idea to put on a bit for the radio station Live 105
, a local San Francisco radio station.
So, there we go, April 1994. Chuck and I in our standard Hertz rental car. A new (1994) Cadillac El Dorado, white with leather interior. I always drove, chuck always handled the food, music, mapping and creating the “Super Dew”
. Which, for those of you who don’t know what “Super Dew” is, just add powdered Fruit Punch Cool-Aid to a 2 liter of Mountain Dew (for a good time add Gin whilst not driving!). It is enough to make a meth addict cry, you ain’t fallin’ asleep for a good couple days after some “Super Dew”. Anyway, back to the high jinks. So we head south, destination, Yorba Linda. Home of the Richard M. Nixon Memorial Birthplace and Library
(also, at the time, soon to be resting place).
We arrived late the night before the burial, so we decided to get some much needed rest. Find a hotel? Ha, we scoff at hotels when we are in the Caddy, Chucks in back and I am in front for some much needed sleep. We awoke to the hustle and bustle of people pouring in from miles around, invading casa de Hertz, which we parked next to the library.
Grab some breakfast and stand in line, for hours we just stood in line, waiting to see the casket of the dead president. Around noon time, as our stomachs begin to grumble, we have an epiphany. What would any good conservative entrepreneurs do? If we’re hungry, I bet most of these people in line are hungry. Chuck and I have a brief pow-wow and convince the people standing in line around us that for the cost of a sandwich would they hold our spot. “No problem”, was there response and off to the super market we went. Between Chuck and I we had about $100. Which we bought sodas and sandwiches. Next stop, the front of the line. I deployed all the way to the front of the line selling “Commerative Richard M. Nixon Sandwiches and Sodas”. We spent $100 and for that $100 we got $450 in return and a ton of comments about what an enterprising bunch of guys we were, Tricky Dick would’ve been proud.
“Stay right here” Chuck says to me. It was radio time and Chuck wanted to get in a better position to be live on the air. He had worked his way all the way into where the casket would be placed in a mere hour. Subverting bomb dogs and Secret Service Agents, Chuckie made it to the astro-turf area in which Nixon’s casket would be placed to call in and do the show. The very next thing I remember is Chuckie, running with the cell phone to his ear, a chunk of astro-turf in his hand and a look like, “dude, we need to get the hell out of here!”
Chuckie, the crafty veteran of souvenirs managed to score a piece of the final resting place for Nixon’s casket prior to being put in the ground. I still have that piece of astro-turf and I know Chuckie still has his. Needless to say, we didn’t stick around much after the “astro-turf” incident, but what a great time.