08.14.2001 (Tuesday), 10:17 PM

Bandera Day

Driving on ca-4 and listening to a top seven of something grating, grinding and metalish...

"You're such a nut", Jan says as I'm driving back from the town of Martinez. Martinez is the gateway to gasoline production in Northern California. It's near a town called Pinole (or Pinhole, as my friend Steve says) and it all smells like oil and gas and industrial waste.

The day started out moderate until the dope from Home Depot called. "No sir, I can't get that for you unless you pay full price and shipping." Arrgh. Others have done it so why can't I? So I'm on the horn to the Home Depot customer service 1-800 number where I'm told, "nope, that how much it costs...we realize that we carry their products but not that one...sorry. Let us take your phone number and we'll try to find something for you." OK, so I decide to drown my sorrows in a pearl milk tea at this new place in downtown Palo Alto. Then my phone starts ringing off the hook. It's one of the people who was on the phone when I was talking to Home Depot. Only she doesn't work for them--she works for the New Braunfels company as a distributor. "I found one' she says, "no make that I found 13 of them..."

This kind person (who shall remain nameless as I'm sure she broke some sorta ethical rules just for ME) pointed me in the direction of an honest-to-God New Braunfels Bandera smoker/barbecue. This is the one that is just one step away from the type you tow behind a truck. It turns out marvelous ribs, chicken, sausage, brisket, pork butt, whathaveyou. I know because Tom has had one or about two years now and I have eaten plenty from its plentiful smoke chamber.

So I thank this person and contemplate the weekend. Yes, I believe that I'll...shit...Beyond The Pale festival and Les is staying over for three days of music, and conspicuous consumption. Damn. OK, Martinez is an hour away and the store closes at 9. The Bandera is a huge and heavy piece of cooking equipment. No matter...the truck is mine and we're now headed North for a rendezvous with smoker heaven.

So at 11:30 pm, I'm unpacking the behemoth into discreet pieces and putting them into my garage. A bit of assembly, a few mods and a six hour seasoning session and I enter the weekend warrior battleground. After all, it is Bandera Day.

Posted by wjc