Well hello there! Has it been 364 days already? My, how time flies when you’re not blogging or getting dressed or being productive at all! I found out today a coworker is moving onto greener pastures (like a new job, she’s not dying or anything) and I told her she should consider blogging. And then I was like “wait maybe *I* should consider blogging?” and remembered I had one already. Okay you caught me, I didn’t forget, I feel guilty every single day about having abandoned this place on the internet and you know, every other marginally bad or lazy thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. You probably don’t care about excuses, and more realistically you probably actually forgot I exist at all until this popped up in your inbox or social media feed or whatever. I ain’t mad atcha, and I still reference lyrics of long-dead rappers.
Since last we spoke, Zach has gotten a new job (and then been promoted!), the dogs have been through many bowties, and I have really not done much of anything. Because Zach has been working regular hours like a regular person instead of being on an airplane half of every week, the opportunities for outfit photos and hikes has been severely reduced. We have visited a few new parks and revisited some familiar ones, but not nearly as intensely as last year, and I have had a reeeeal big mental roadblock as far as reporting back here goes. I miss telling you guys about stuff though, and I finally got a new phone so I’m excited about pictures again.
We haven’t visited a new park since my phone upgrade BUT we did go to Monster Jam this past weekend and I feel like monster trucks are as beautiful as nature, really. I was not a fan of either hiking or monster trucks when I lived in Atlanta but here I am, doing all this weird shit I used to hate. Over the summer we visited the county fair and picked the day that the monster trucks were there, on a whim. We got there early enough that we got pit-side seats–close enough that when I removed my bra later that evening, dirt clumps fell out. I have never been into motorsports and in fact, have actively made fun of them, but seeing monster trucks that close was like love at first sight. Like most red-blooded Americans, I have always loved driving, and monster trucks are like the excessive consumption of the US, in automobile format. I might hate Walmart like a good liberal should, but some part of me is like “LET’S WRECK A BUNCH OF CARS WITH THIS OTHER, BIGGER CAR!!!!! YEE HAWWWW!”, as I learned over the summer.
Seeing monster trucks at the fair led to a brief love affair with other motorsports events, and for the rest of the summer months, we made it to every tractor pull and demolition derby we could find. Before every event, I think “this is going to be so stupid, who cares about tractors” and then the fumes fill my nose and the next thing I know, I have a favorite driver and can be seen yelling “FULL PULL!”. I can only attribute this change in my opinions to the freedom of knowing I’m safe in the Pacific NW and not in the Deliverance-y South, but maybe it’s a brain amoeba, who can really say for sure?
It’s tough to get a line on the schedule for the local events as an outsider, but Monster Jam is a huge commercial event and has a website, so I bought tickets for the Portland show back in September as a birthday present for Zach. I even sprang for the pit passes, because only the best for my baby. We spent the interim months watching Jams online and deciding who our favorite drivers and trucks are (Max D is the best [we prefer Tom Meents but Neil Elliott is no slouch and considering he’s married to Monster Mutt Dalmatian
driver athlete Candice Jolly he has excellent taste!], Grave Digger is a classic, Zombie has a special place in my heart because of its driver Bari Musawwwir being one of only a few black drivers athletes, and of course I cheer loudly for every woman who drives, which on this tour was Myranda Cozad in the Scooby Doo truck) so that we’d be prepped for the big day.
FINALLY, March 3 arrived and we hustled to the Moda Center. The Pit Party passes allow you early admission and access to the trucks and drivers. The passes were only $15 a piece and they were completely worth it for early admission alone–the lines we saw forming before the show started were insanely long compared to the two-deep line we had to wait in and it was cold outside (and we were jacketless because I’m an idiot). You can pay like $150 extra for even earlier admission and even more access to the drivers but I’m not trying to go broke on this particular hobby and even being able to see the drivers and trucks up close was pretty cool to me. The lines were still too long (by my standards, which are like “oh another person is here? No thanks!”) to meet the drivers and get autographs so we skipped those and took pictures surreptitiously where possible (for instance, the OTHER side of the truck!). Also as a 36-year-old woman I’m not entirely sure what I would even DO with an autograph from a monster truck driver because while I super enjoyed myself I don’t know that I’m ready to change my decor to match this aspect of my personality, you know?
Since I bought tickets so early, we got amazing seats–front row! For the Jam they block off the first few rows for safety so it wasn’t the actual first row, but it was the first available row and I still ended up with dirt in my bra so…
Monster Jams are structured the same way every time; racing first, then skills (for this event it was driving on two wheels, for others it’s doing donuts), and freestyle for the finale. The Moda Center is relatively small for a Monster Jam meaning fewer trucks drive but the race portion tends to be more dangerous. For this one, the trucks had a tough time making the tight turns and we saw multiple rollovers. Drivers are strapped in with a five-point harness and they wear a ton of safety equipment but I still always yell, “IS HE OKAY?!?!?!” when they roll over. At one point, Zombie rolled over and Bari had to be lifted out by one of the crew and it was such an oddly sweet moment, seeing Bari hold onto the guy’s neck. You’d think this would be ground zero for toxic masculinity but the overarching mood is so collegial and even…tender? Seriously! I know how it sounds but like, at one point some kids got into the pit to race in these tiny go-karts, and they still had an announcer giving the blow-by-blow for what was basically kindergarteners in glorified Power Wheels, and he was saying things like “We’ve got an aggressive driver on our hands!” because one of the tykes ran over his foot. Even I, the largest hater of children, was nearly in tears from laughing so hard.
The skills test and freestyle are the real showstoppers, and the show doesn’t suffer at all from being in a small arena. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I googled “How much does a monster truck cost?”, and I considered driving to Seattle to catch the next one with double the drivers. Max D won it all (duh!) and Colton Eichelberger seemed legitimately thrilled with his win despite having done the same basic thing for two shows the previous day. Despite every preconceived notion I had before attending, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself at Monster Jam. Now someone please sponsor me–I HAVE TO DRIVE ONE OF THESE AT LEAST ONCE.