Saturday, February 25, 2012

Urban Iditarod 2012

This Saturday Emily, Danielle, Jason, Jen and I participated in the Urban Iditarod race in Portland.   Each year (I have no clue when it started) people put on costumes and run amuck through the Streets of Portland pulling shopping carts.  We had no idea what to expect when we got into this!  About a week ago we had “obtained” a shopping cart and decorated it as a Mario Kart complete with turtles and eggs and colorful spray paint.   Jason was Luigi, I was Mario, Jen was Princess Peach, Danielle was Yoshi and Emily was of course Toad.  

Emily and I drove separately up to Portland on Saturday morning as we were planning on skiing some powder on Sunday.  We got to the parking lot where the race would begin just north of the Hawthorne Bridge on the East side of the river around 10pm and our other team mates showed up shortly after.  As soon as we got there we saw that we were not the only Mario themed team in the race, but thanks to weeks of growth I was the only Mario all day with a real Mario Moustache!  We climbed into our outfits and inflated our bellies while tons of other teams started rolling up in the most hilarious costumes ever.  A whole choir showed up with a Pope-Mobile cart complete with a generator and massive speakers on each side.  That cart would serve as the speakers for the guy who directed the whole affair and told us when to run or stop and drink.

We met up with Colin and his Spaceballs Team and with Lauren, Bridget and their team just before the race began at 11pm and there was a stampede of costumed hooligans running down SE Main Street.  It didn’t take us long to get to our first stop at the corner of SE Yamhill and SE Grand Ave.  We found ourselves in a large parking lot off the street where we all could check out the debauchery around us and have a few drinks.  There were tables with a local bar selling beers but we had our shopping cart full so I just took from that.  Colin and a few others bought a few beers to help the event promoters out.  I would have but didn’t have any cash on me.  

I’m not going to go into details about all the amazing teams we saw but some of the highlights were the muppets, Top Gun, The Costa Concordia Cruise Ship (by far the most elaborate cart), carts with put-put golf, The Bluth Brothers Banana Stand, fish racing, skier stripper poles, Giant Jenga, hot tub disco, and on and on... There was even a TSA security group with a car that was a security gate people were ushered through and then thoroughly patted down.... We then found out why Amy Simmons was so curious about our team earlier in the week... yup, they were Mario Kart as well but instead of Luigi they had Wario.  Rob Hatfield was Emily’s counterpart, Amy was Yoshi and Matt Schwarzkopf was Mario.

From that stop we rolled onward towards the Plan B bar on the corner of SE Main and SE 8th Ave.  As we raced down the street we followed a group of birds (Put on Bird on it - Portlandia) and saw that the smurf-mobile had lost a wheel on the side of the road.  I think this second place was where the best dance party of the day was.  The skibunny stripper (hasher name: Slutmachine) was encouraged to take off her top with dollar bills but I was hoping she’d actually keep it on!  The Pope-Mobile and speakers started to really jam out here with techno and Dubstep and a serious dance party ensued.  Next thing we know Kelly is rolling up on us with a freakin’ funnel and beers!  I can definitely say that at this point in the race, about noon, I was thoroughly trashed and having a great time with all the shinanigans around us.  

From Plan B we then had a long leg over the Hawthorne Bridge where we were cheered on by random people on the street who were surprised to see such chaos running by them.  A lot of people were actually running pretty fast over the bridge and I saw a couple of pretty drunk people eat it hard on the pavement.  It didn’t make sense for anyone to be running because the “race” wasn’t really a race as it was so much a fast-paced bar crawl.... 

Our third stop was across the street from Paddy’s Bar in downtown Portland.  The race actually lingered here for quite some time while the Bluth Family hung out of windows and on fire escapes dancing (the never-nude guy was one of the funniest things I’d seen in a while).    Dukes of Hazard, Ghostbusters, Goonies, and more seemily showed up out of nowhere.  A fun game of dodgeball broke out in the middle of the street and the Mario’s all seemed to be on one side so I joined in to help my fellow Nintendo characters while Jen was off playing Pinko for drinks.  This was the first point in the day that I actually saw cops who had basically just turned on their lights at both ends of the street to stop traffic from coming through.  They stayed in their cars and largely let chaos reign down in the street with people forced to pee in alleys because the bar was too packed to make it to the bathroom.  

Our last stop was just outside Embers Bar further downtown.  Again a few cops blocked off the street for us but left us completely alone.  Here we hung out with all our Corvallis friends and checked out the inside dance club of Embers that was packed like a busy Saturday night although it was only 2:30pm in the afternoon.  It was here that we polished off the rest of the beer in our Kart while I got to watch a unique scene of a guy dressed as Steve Jobs playing a giant game of Jenga in the middle of the street.  

I don’t remember anything being announced about heading back to the start of the race but people started exiting the area slowly and we followed.  The whole mass of the Iditarod made the long trek over the North Steel Bridge back to the Eastbank Esplanade and then along the river back to the starting area where the party bus was rockin’.  There we watched the Pope-mobile win the best Kart of the race before Jason drove my truck and Emily drove Jens car back to the Jupiter where we would stay for the night.  

After changing and cleaning up a bit we headed over to the Doug Fir Lounge for some food, drinks and to hang out with all our friends from Corvallis that were also staying there.   Miwa headed off with others to go bowling and we eventually decided to walk down the street in search of some activity, ending up at a great pizza joint where I stuffed myself silly with awesome NY-style pizza.  On the way back to the hotel after Danielle chased me around a bit we parted ways with Colin and Scott to head back to the room to chill because Emily and I were skiing early the next morning.  Believe it or not, Jason, Jen, Danielle, Emily and I were all passed out asleep by 9pm!  What a fantastically fun day! 

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