The bright lights, the smell of fried food and the crazy rides can only mean one thing: No, not Friday night at Marcus’s house — I’m talking about the carnival!!! (Or, as we call it in London, the funfair!)
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to the carnival. I love the carnival. (Except the rides that really just make you want to hurl, which is pretty much all of them!) Maybe it’s been the fried food I’ve been enjoying all of these years. There’s nothing better than something — could be anything — covered in batter and then deep-fried. Am I right, or am I right?
Unfortunately for me, this trip to the carnival wasn’t going to be like any of the previous times, because me and old sweet-cheeks were going to be setting up a ride. Not just any ride, but a bloody big throw-your‐guts‐up, scare‐the-living-daylights-outta-ya ride!
London, England is a concrete jungle. The last time someone saw a tree was back in the last millennium, around 1066 A.D. I believe it was King Harold II, just before he was killed by William the Conqueror’s army, who said at the time to his royal aide, “My dear humble servant, what is that thing way over there on the horizon?” The royal aide replied, “That would be what the kids nowadays are calling a tree!”
I would not lie to you, my friends. That is written somewhere in a book that they stopped printing some time ago and that I was once told about in a pub by a drunk guy’s fiancée’s sister.
It has to be true… There aren’t any trees in London. The first tree I ever saw was when me and me old China, Marcus, took up this challenge in Oregon where they grow trees like London grows concrete. Seriously, I have never seen so many trees in one place at one time. What’s even cooler is the fact that for every tree the company we worked with cut down, a new one was automatically planted! Great stuff, eh?
When you think of Las Vegas, you think showgirls, gambling and late nights! One thing you might not think of are 300 horsepower dune buggies that can eat up the Nevada desert quicker than my old mate Marcus can clear his plate at a casino buffet — and believe me he can. I’ve seen him!
That was this week’s challenge… No, not watching my slender buddy stuff his face at a Vegas buffet, but dune buggy racing with the amazing team over at Zero One Odyssey Racing. I honestly thought that this was one challenge me old mate could handle without having to read a manual. But no!!! He honestly wants to take a manual in the car with him. How the bloody hell are you supposed to race a car across the desert with an owner’s manual stuffed in your face? I know there’s a law against driving while holding a cell phone, but is there a law that prohibits a dune buggy driver from reading a manual while doing 70 mph? My goal is to stay in front of old sweet-cheeks, especially when he’s reading his manual!
Ok, friends. When I found out we would be working on trains for this particular challenge, I wasn’t jumping out of me skin with excitement! I mean trains, for crying out loud. Now please understand I don’t have anything personal against trains, it’s just that I’m from London and I spent years of my life stuck on trains — trains that go underground, trains that go over‐ground, trains and trams that travel down the street, and even trains that travel 30 ft above the street! I KNOW TRAINS! Well, I thought I knew trains… That was until me old mucker Marcus and me stumbled upon the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California.
Now, I pride myself on always being on time. So when I knew we had to meet Tom and JR, I didn’t want to be late. However when you’re stuck in a car with Marcus and you’re both too stubborn to ask for directions, you’re gonna be late! And guess what? We were!
While running through the train museum to make up for lost time, I got a true sense of the challenge ahead, especially when you’re head-to-head with these bloody massive pieces of machinery that weigh nearly 300,000 lb. And I knew at some point, we’d be in charge of driving them! Had the owners of the Orange Empire Railway Museum lost their minds? Me and old twinkle toes in charge of locomotives that pull a mile-long line of freight! I feel comfortable in any piece of equipment that you drive, but I’d never been in anything this big. Marcus, on the other hand, looked pretty chill as he bounded through the train yard with his rolled-up locomotive owner’s manual! What he thinks he’s going to find in there to give him an edge still confuses me!
The one thing I knew for sure was that these trains all must have a lever that moves them forwards and backwards. I thought that’s all I’d need to know. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but you can’t exactly turn left and right in a train, can you?