taz_39 (taz_39) wrote,

Circus Xtreme Oakland, CA - Slick's 49th and "the train's on fire"

It was an eight hour drive from San Diego to Oakland. We drove about halfway and got a hotel, then drove the rest of the way the next day. We didn't do anything special, partly because I still wasn't feeling great and partly because we had a lot of ground to cover.

Meanwhile the train was taking one of the most scenic routes we encounter on our travels, right along the Pacific Ocean. Nikki (train crew) took this epic video so you can experience some of the perks of riding the circus train :)

Once in Oakland we got word that the train would be late, so we decided to run some errands while we waited. Got Jameson's car cleaned up, mailed a few things, and found dinner at a cool place called The Original Red Onion. Great food, everything was made fresh. I had an avocado melt: avocado, swiss cheese, tomato, and egg (I also added bacon) on grilled Texas toast. It was delicious!

Our server gave us an extra-special treat: dessert on the house! A rich chocolate truffle mini-cake. Yum!

We got some groceries at Target and around that time found out that the train was spotted. We found the yard, unpacked, and called it a day.

The next day was a dark day. I did absolutely nothing but rest and eat the other half of my Red Onion sandwich, trying to recover from my tummy issue. But! It was Slick's birthday! And we were in Oakland, Home of Chicken and Waffles!

Two years ago we went there with Slick. It was maybe his second week back from cancer treatment, and we were all thrilled to spend time with him (pictured all the way on the right).

(photo courtesy Melissa A.)

This would have been Slick's 49th birthday, and we celebrated the best way we knew how: martinis, the best chicken and waffles in Oakland, and a big pile of friends sharing memories and having a great time :)

After our meal we migrated over to Jack London's Rendezvous for a drink in honor of Slick. Ironically neither the waffle house nor the bar had the ingredients to make some of Slick's favorite drinks :P but we made do with what was available. It was a great hang and a great memory.

During the festivities Jameson and I took time to be nerds and play Ingress. This waterfront being a popular spot, there were lots of portals and lots of people actively playing. We made some fields only to have them immediately attacked by a group of four (Jameson spotted them across the street), but we quickly thwarted their attack. As we were re-fielding, another group approached us and introduced themselves as local players on the Resistance side (our team), and we had a nice chat. This game has been great for meeting cool people :D

I got lucky with a portal hack and ended up with a SoftBank Ultra Link, a nifty new sponsored item that allows more outgoing links. Whatever, you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you :P

The next day was opening day. We had a normal rehearsal and the show went well, nothing exceptional except the everyday-exceptional! I got a wonderful surprise in the mail, the JapanCrate that Jameson got me as a dating anniversary gift! First of all, the box is adorable. Secondly, the treats inside look amazing and weird. We tried some fizzy soda candy and a weird banana flavored marshmallow (it was actually pretty good!). I'm looking forward to some of the savory treats, like "BBQ scones" and soy sauce pretzels. I'm especially excited about a can of creamy melon soda included in the box. Can't wait to try it all out!!!

The next day we only had one show. I desperately needed to do laundry and catch up on chores (being sick will do that to you) so spent the day on that. In the early afternoon I noticed a lot of hammering going on underneath the train and went outside to see what was happening.

Apparently on this last train run there was some sort of malfunction, resulting in the brakes on our car locking up. In particular, the set of brakes directly underneath my room. Clouds of black smoke and excessive sparks soon tipped off the engineer, who made an emergency stop. Bill (trumpet) posted this pic as events unfolded.

Fortunately the train was able to continue on its way, but the brakes were of course damaged. Hence the hammering on Friday morning as a member of train crew removed all of the damaged pads. He arranged them in a line on the ground and said, "Take pics. I know you want to." Darn tootin'!

Saturday was a normal three show day. Probably the most exciting event (for us) was this diaper that someone left in the middle of the arena floor after preshow. Wow...Oakland sure is a classy place...

(photo courtesy Jameson)

On Sunday we found out that the train will be parked in a different yard for the duration of the San Jose/San Francisco shows. The yard we stayed in two years ago was right next to a park and a mall. We're probably in a new yard because it's more convenient for transport. But when it comes to the ever-important Stuff To Do Around The Train factor, the new yard is a step down. Oh well. Maybe there will still be a few things nearby...

We have one more show on Monday night, then it's off to San Jose :)

Other stuff:

Some of our clowns participating in a BART PR. Featuring oblivious commuters on their phones.

(photo courtesy Chris S.)
Tags: barnum & bailey, barnum and bailey, circus, clowns, exploring: restaurants & businesses, holidays, ingress, local foods, overland, ringling, ringling bros, ringling brothers, shows, state: california
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