|Our party at the Lighthouse was a success. We had plenty of food and superb music run by a professional sound crew (J Matt Wallace helping Otis Coen) and probably 300 to 500 people cruised by throughout the day.
But it was just so cold and windy that those who came by, just didn't stay long enough to form what could be called a crowd. During one brief 15 minute period, the lawn started to fill up and a few people even started to dance, but the frigid weather returned to chase all but a few of the hearty bundled up attendees away. It blew my bikes over time and again as well as the beautiful umbrellas the Apricot King people loaned us until we just put them aside.
As for the music, Prince Lawsha and his friends powered right through the gray overcast morning that greeted them. Still battling jet lag, The Prince had returned from New York City only several hours before where he had attended a funeral for legendary jazz musician Tito Puentes. Even leaving the Big Apple was a struggle for him as many of his old friends had wanted him to stay and jam with them back there for a while. And not only did he come back just for us but the talent he brought with him, Paul Contos on the Sax, John Kennedy on the piano, Daniel Lewis on the bass and Roger Anderson on percussion, complemented him perfectly. The music they produced was clean and pure, flawless from one note to the next. Even our sound technician was kicking himself for not bringing anything to record it. What they produced out there was almost surreal; it seemed inspired from a completely different dimension!
During the break I introduced several of our TransAm riders (about a dozen in all trickled in and out throughout the day). I even interviewed two of them, Ken Hodor and Alex Cabrera, for the audience. Karl Laucher of the Times Newspaper Group then interviewed me and asked those riders who wanted to speak even more questions.
Then Andy Santana and his West Coast Playboys took over. Andy and Kadar Roy and Jimmy Mulleniux and Johnny Kat attacked the cool ocean air with their high energy sound. Andy, as well, had been up late the night before as he took his lady friend to the hospital and had stayed up with her throughout a lot of the early morning house. In Sacramento. So when the two o'clock hour struck not only was he anxious to get back to his home a hundred miles away but most all of our volunteers were ready to get home and jump in a hot bath as well.
Congressman Sam Farr showed up as we were just about all packed up and ready to leave. He told us he was 100 miles away wacking weeds when he remembered where he was supposed to be -- at our event. We were, however, blessed with a visit from outgoing mayor Katherine Beiers who has always stood behind me in my Greenway efforts for many years now
Most people in attendance were impressed with the size and scope of the event as well as with how professionally it appeared to be managed. Patricia Matejcek tells me that we had the perfect amount of volunteers, and that even though she felt cold the whole day and couldn't even get warm once she got home (nor could I) that we did feed at least 250 people. In addition, our raffle paid for the rental of our sound system.
I am happy to say that I learned a lot for both next year and our reception in DC. For starters this one should have run from 12 or 1 till 5 and not 10-2. In Santa Cruz our weather is usually pretty good in the afternoon hours and a later start would not have also put us in competition with the church services that take place during the time we ran our event. The next time we do this, I will also make sure there are no other major events running in town. The AIDS ride arrived in Santa Cruz that day while away from the coast where it was warmer, there was a huge Gay Pride celebration all throughout downtown Santa Cruz.
As far as volunteers, we were blessed. I just dont know where we would have been without J Matt Wallace. He not only brought many many gallons of Odwalla juice (and bars) but he also brought a giant cooler to keep it cold in. He not only worked the sound with Otis but he picked up the equipment we needed and also returned it to Santa Cruz Sound after our event was over. He not only helped Otis get everything set up bat he also supplied junction boxes and extension cords and holy smokes J Matt!
Laurie Smith and Ron Scmid weren't there for very long (Laurie had some races to win at the velordome in San Jose) but they made a strategic ice and string for balloons run for us. Gail Michael documented a lot of what took place on my digital camera and then she used her regular camera when my disk got full to take even more pictures. She also stayed until the very end and drove her car (she came from near Monterey) to help me get a lot of things back home.
Ken Foster was there in his Terra Nova bicycle truck filled with the two six foot folding tables that Jane Fleming loaned us as he also helped us get our food court set up. Patricia Matejcek hugely took charge as she kept everyone busy making signs for the raffle and food items as well as making sure all of our food was displayed correctly. Nor did anything escape the ever watchful eye of Janelle Martin who was busy all day long cutting bread, pouring drinks and offering her cheery heart and bright shiny eyes to all who bought raffle tickets, asked questions about the NBG or needed food.
Katrin Craig a UCSC student also blessed us with her bright smile and spirited demeanor as she pitched in wherever she was needed. As did David Magarian, the Bread Man, who indeed did bring his bread knife and was there at 8 in the morning opening boxes, moving trays and placing table cloths, etc. Not far behind him were two happy faces that kept reassuring me that we were right on track with our effort. Terry Jansen and Freda Bovenberg, two high powered business women who drove over from San Jose to help us, kept finding themselves in my field of vision as I endeavored to juggle the innumerable balls that kept coming before me. And every time, their eyes caught mine, they seemed to be saying 'you're doing a great job'. WOW and did they lend their classy touch to our effort!
Lillia Stemet arrived on her flashy new EZ 1 recumbent bicycle and left no stone unturned. She made sure everyone knew she was available to help and found herself moving between opening and closing the gate to let the musicians and garbage cans come and go and serving food and breaking down cardboard and etc. Besides his excellent interviewing skills, mentioned above, Karl Laucher, the associate editor of the Times Newspaper group over in San Jose also organized several great photo shoots with our riders. Karen Laubhan, my guardian angel, and the woman who was so instrumental in organizing the send off party that I got in 1986 from the end of the wharf when I did my last TransAm was also there taking pictures. And not only did she take pictures but she handed them to me right there on the spot. Whoooaa.
Linda Lewandowski (who also won the Hobees gift certificate that we raffled off) got there with her sister Sandy at noon and put our active crew on notice that they too were ready, able and willing to help. And then there was Michael Hernandez. Big Power. He came and went with even more folding tables, and the stage for the musicians and tray after bowl filled with cheeses and strawberry mountains and chips and fresh melon slices in a myriad of colors. And he asked no questions. He jut kept pouring it on.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel interviewed me although I've yet to see the story and a friend told me she saw me and our event on the nightly TV news. But what do I know. There were so many things going on that I only faintly remember seeing TV cameras there.
But the ride has officially begun! Two and half years after we gave birth to it. The magic continues as we next really cause the fur to fly in the Nation's Capital. DC here we come!!
Fasten your seat belts team. WOW!!