Race Start - A "Real" Video clip courtesy of KIEM TV
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Race Finish - A "Real" Video clip courtesy of KIEM TV
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Day One - - NEW!!!
Day Two - - New!!!
Day Three - - NEW!!!
Six times the USS Yellow Submarine has rolled onto Arcata Plaza to face
the grueling 40 mile test that lay ahead. This year, backed against the
noon whistle, we were ushered through the safety check by our dear friends
the "Teddy Bear Lady" and "Mr. Happy". Hastily they moved us forward with
the simple comment, "Chuck, are you safe?"
This I would answer in the affirmative although my thoughts were on the
#1 drive system which broke as we entered the lineup for the safety check.
A pedestrian darted out in front of the Sub as we began the downhill decent
which initiates the brake test. To this the Sub shuttered to a noisy yet
abrupt halt. Yes, we were safe, and away we went with two "horsepower".
Tantalizing the crowd with the four wheel steering it was discovered that
the steering was not quite secure. I looked down to see "Bad" Lt. Paul and
Faust struggling to vise grip the collars and secure the steering.
Soon the chaos in the Sub was overcome with the chaos of the noon
whistle. Crafts darted around the Sub as we began underweigh.... staying
close to the exit of the plaza we finally broke free and hit the course.
"Bad" Lt. Paul and Cpl. Faust cranked away on the pedals as we charged down
course. Their determination was admirable but once we reached the end of
8th street and the crowds diminished, we pulled the Sub into the Kinetic Lab
and awaited Lt. Richard with the Pit vehicle.
It was some wait for the pit crew to return from Eureka but with
excellent efficiency they returned with the Rescue Truck, the welder, and a
full tank of fuel. In minimal time the Sub was repaired and again was ready
to roll. The #1 drive would remain in low gear for the rest of the race
but she was road worthy.
This gave cause for the first bout of creative course manipulation were
the sub was ushered to just outside of the Manilla dunes entry. Here we
hooked up the harnesses and in record time conquered the sand, killer hill,
and a very treacherous version of Dead Man's Drop.
The Rock and Roll Burly Man was not in his usual perch atop Dead Man's.
He has sold out to 105.5 fm and is now the Oldies Burly Man Dana Hall. He
still has his stencil but his zeal for the duel of the stencils has left him
and what is left is a shell of his former self.
As we left the dunes Mr. Happy approached us with the suggestion of
promoting Hansen's beverages who was there handing out beverages and
considering full sponsorship of the race. In honor of our current sponsors
I refused to give Hansen's top billing on the front of the Sub but allowed a
sticker to be placed on the back on the coning tower as a measure of good
faith. With the sand and Mr. Happy behind us we headed for the Samoa
As in years past it was a slow and arduous journey to the top of each
hump. The front brake disc was dragging which left us with expending much
of our available energy just to overcome the friction. Even the downhill of
the humps was a difficult go. Eventually we reached the Bayshore Mall in
just under 6 hours where Hometown buffet treated the entire crew (including
Team Chaos) to dinner.
Back to Mom's house we borrowed the Jacob's School front door as a
carport and executed some needed repairs. As few of us had any sleep after
driving from Sacramento the night before many hit the rack but a few.... the
determined few... made the traditional journey to BC's.
Zoom past the drive through of Mc Donalds and down the road to Field's
Landing. The drive system was much smoother and we made good time making it
to the water entry. The water course was different this year in the
interests of protecting the Snowy Plover bird from extinction. The machines
entered the water, turned left, went around a buoy and turned around, past
in front of the crowd again to another buoy and then to shore. The Sub,
much more water worthy than ever before, actually got past the end of the
dock which is a most glorious moment for all. We then turned broadsides on
"Nightmare of the Iguana" and proceeded to hose them with a barrage of water
coming from conventional weaponry of Lt. Tony, from the coning tower secret
hidden squirter and from the new Lt. "god" Richard 100psi on-board water
delivery system. Having retained our pride it was to the shore and the
bravest of the crew sloshed through the stinky mud to pull the Sub up to dry
Creative Course Manipulation was again executed. The Sub and all crew
members were disguised (great photo op) and we stealthfully found our way
into Fortuna where the Sub was washed free of salt water and then we
stealthfully cruised into the Loleta checkpoint the wrong way.
This was fairly easy to explain as it was clearly Team Chaos who had
deceived us into going the wrong way and the officials were certainly bribed
sufficiently into believing that. Clearing the checkpoint we began the
fastest downhill slope ever in Sub history. Lt. Tony and Lt. Stacey bravely
held their positions as the sub careened down the hill in excess of 30 mph.
With one overlay missing it was only a matter of time before another one
went. At this speed it would certainly result in disaster but she held
together and once we reached the bottom of the hill we were again able to
breathe. It was a long flat ride to Crab Park but one we made under our own
power... let the party begin!
The most relaxing of all night two parties proceeded with the usual
potato gun firing, light bars flashing, and the immortal call of "Fun-Guy"!
Lt. Stacey presented awards that evening to those who had traveled the
farthest, (Ens. Abram and Ens. Ky), to those who had displayed exceptional
valor (Lt. Tony), and to those who were just stepping up to the plate to
become part of the crew (LT. Richard, Ens. Rick, Ens. Glenn, and Ens. Scott
to name a few). Cpl. Chris was recognized for his exceptional talent and
accomplishment in securing sponsorship and taking care of many of the race
details for this year's journey.
It was an early evening for the fatigued Captain Chuck but not until the
duct-tape-in-the-portable-toilet attempt on "Fun-Guy".
For years day three has held mystery, triumph, chaos, and
passion. This year was no exception. The plan for Creative Course
Manipulation began with the Sub moving ahead of the pack under the guise of
repair. 10 minutes before the course was opened we were on our way. More
significantly, however, Lt. Richard and the crew were positioning for the
grandest example of bribery and synchronized operation ever. The officials
had been bribed by the crew and by surrogate Sub Bimbo "Tika" with sun
screen, root beer, and back massages. There was a motor home in position to
block the view of the officials, racers, and fans as the Sub was quietly
loaded onto the trailer and the plan was flawless. The only thing that
could alter such perfection.... the Captain.
Yet it was not the whim of the Captain that pushed aside the planning...
For as I looked into the eyes of Lt. Tony and "Bad" Lt. Paul I saw
determination... desire... They were not ready to quit.... there was a
race to be raced and while they would go with whatever was decided they
could not mask their passion, their thirst for the gritty mud of slimy
slope. Another glance about to the crew gave cause to think of the recent
additions to the crew and how they had never witnessed the intensity of the
journey to Slimey Slope. Then, the decision was obvious. Lt. Richard was
commanded to remove the Sub from the trailer, Ens. Scott began refilling the
tires of the sub and Lt. Tony began forming a tow harness out of the unused
overlays and spare tie-downs.
Proudly the crew charged forth through the mud to the Eel River passing
many crafts along the way. Fording the river the Sub emerged on the other
side just in time for word to reach back that Team Chaos had just entered
the mud and was having great difficulties. The harnesses were ordered
removed from the Sub and 12 faithful USS Yellow Submarine Crewmembers
sloshed their way up to the Chaos craft and hooked on. The crowd looked on
as Chaos and Yellow Sub together charged Slimey Slope with a drive and
determination that is unequalled. Led by Lt. Tony and Captain Chuck in the
forward two positions of the harness the slope was conquered leaving cuts,
bruises, a broken Chaos craft, and crowd in awe.
Returning to the mud both team Chaos and team Yellow Sub hooked on in
front of the Sub and, taking a short cut through the woods that led to the
crowd chanting "cheaters... cheaters..." the Sub quickly overcame the
slope. The Chaos craft was damaged to the point that it could not proceed
under her own power. Ropes were tied from the Sub to the Chaos machine as
the harness was reconfigured stretching out in front of the Sub some 10
persons long. As one large procession we continued to the finish line
together in what Cpl. "Princess" Erika coined as "Yellow Chaos".
At the finish line was a screaming crowd and glorious recognition for
the challenge that had just been overcome. Stencils were painted, hands
were shook, and interviews were performed. Then came the time of
recognizing Hansen's beverages for helping out with the race which met with
great enthusiasm from race officials as well as Rob (the marketing
representative from Hansen's). This would later be referred to as "selling
out" by the famed Duane Flatmo which was a quote taken with the utmost of
respect and appreciation.
Heading home to clean up into dress uniforms before the awards banquet,
Lt. Tony and Captain Chuck trailered the Sub back toward Mom Schuler's. As
they talked about the day of racing and all the events that had transpired,
fate reared its ugly head. Looking in the rear-view mirror the Sub and
trailer were seen swaying wildly. The hitch had come off the ball! All
that held the Sub to the truck was the safety chain which quickly snapped as
the tongue of the trailer dug into the asphalt and effectively pole-vaulted
Sub and trailer into the air. The last contact with the Rescue Truck was
the tearing open of the tailgate as the steel end of the ramps performed as
a can opener in tearing away at the sheet metal. Looking back to the road
for a safe way to bring the truck to a halt, the Sub was not seen again
until Lt. Tony and Captain Chuck ran back up the freeway to assess the
The Sub was nearly upside down on the right side with the trailer still
partially attached. The wooden planks of the trailer were strewn about the
highway as was every wrench, bribe, nut and bolt that was contained within
the Sub. A hacksaw was all that could be located as a cutting device to
remove the straps that bound the Sub to the trailer but it accomplished the
goal. Together the two were able to push the trailer off the Sub and even
to right the Sub. The shattered steering did not allow the Sub to be rolled
more than a few feet so the Rescue Truck was brought back to that side of
the freeway, the trailer flipped over and placed on the ball, and the ramps
set out. This is when the CHP showed up and after talking with Lt. Tony
proceeded to direct traffic as the Sub was dragged back upon the trailer.
Team Chaos, on their way back to the awards ceremony, saw the scene and
stopped to help. It was their assistance that helped us put the Sub back
on the trailer and it was their escort back to Eureka that allowed us to
arrive safely at a speed of 32mph.
With little time to reflect on the carnage of the wreck the crew
returned to Ferndale to attend the ceremony. Here we proudly and
enthusiastically applauded all those who had won recognition for speed, art,
engineering, etc. Ironically, the Sub was recognized not by the officials
but by Hansen;s beverage company who awarded the race's only cash prize
(more irony) of $50 for demonstrating the spirit of the race and promoting
the greatness of Hansen's beverages. That was our moment of glory. After
a few words from Hansen's and Captain Chuck Ens. Abram took the microphone.
He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to participate with all the
great people that make up the Kinetic Sculpture Race and if no one else in
the room was moved, I was.
I wish that I had time to thank each and every one of you for your
contribution to the race. From those who worked on the web away from the
entire event, to those who kept us warm and fed, to those who trudged
through the mud... thank you. The spirit that I witnessed and the teamwork
that was perfectly executed is a great statement of the strength of the
crew. When people approach me within minutes of seeing the crew in
operation and say, "That is great teamwork" I am instantly proud of every
moment, every dollar, and every ounce of effort that has went into putting
that 750 Gallon septic tank on the course. I sincerely hope that you all
take from the race the sense of camaraderie and spirit that drives me to
continue to call myself Captain of craft we call, "The USS Yellow Submarine"
USS Yellow Submarine