Turf Paradise, Phoenix, AZ, Jan 17, 2004

This is It: The End of An Era. Probably.

After many years of living in Phoenix, McChump #2 is hitting the trail. Sold his business, put all his junk in storage, and will be living out of the groovy red 'Bird in a grand Tour of America for the foreseeable future, till he decides on a new place to settle.

Naturally this revoltin' development of no free place to crash in Phoenix whenever I felt like it, for who knows how long, required one last emergency getaway, one last free winter crashpad weekend on the Marge Memorial Mattress, and one last outing to Turf Paradise. Not to mention helping McChump #2 put all that junk in storage. That was fun.

But it's okay, I guess. Phoenix isn't what is used to be anyhow.

Too many new faces and kids (!) at The Monastery. No simulcasting anymore at the 40th Street Grille or whatever they are calling it this week. Not enough lard these days in the Mexican food at the TeePee - God there is there anything worse than heart-healthy Mex food? And all of McChump #2's entertaining friends gone domestic. No more drunken weekends in Prescott, I suspect. Too many freeways, too much sprawl, and too many of the old places torn down to make room for plastic-signed strip malls and chain Mex restaurants. Not to mention this was the last weekend forever for Long Wong's in Tempe. RIP, old friend.


But Turf Paradise is still about the same as it was when the McChump Tour officially kicked off, 9 years and 10-1/2 months ago. Except for way more expensive houses on the hill behind it, some better food in the stands, and more TV racing inside. Same beautiful warm winter days on the apron, same pretty infield, same cheap horses, same sort of characters haunting the same parts of the track, good cheap beer, and some of the same people still working there. Maybe I'll get back occasionally.

I'll miss you, all you old friends.