Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jim Dutra's Dispatch - Days 10 & 11

Day 10
Am sitting under a tree in a park in the middle of Fort Collins as Joe the Plumber is speaking. Over 500 are listening intently. Really. You can hear a pin drop as Joe the Plumber encourages everyone to stay involved, stay informed and stay connected to the Tea Party movement. And tell the politicians.

Joe joined us this morning for the rally in Cheyenne on the steps of the Wyoming State Capitol. And he will be speaking this evening in Denver.

This is no exaggeration. It is beautiful weather here in Ft Collins. When we arrived last nite in Cheyenne it was really cold so when we all woke up we all did the same thing: looked out our windows. And we all dressed really warm.

By mid rally time in Cheyenne, with the sun shining rays of warmth upon us, we were all peeling off our layers. We have had a remarkable run of good weather since Fallon, NV.

At our 9 AM state Capitol rally we had about 300 in attendance. Joe the plumber was picked up by Gary Dunn, one of our ace support vehicles, at the airport and arrived to speak right on time at 11 AM.

Now the bad news. The blue bus is continuing to have the same mechanical problems with its generator belt slipping as first happened in Hawthorne, NV. Last nite the blue bus had to stop twice. The second time took over 2 hours. Consequently that bus arrived well after midnite to the Cheyenne hotel. Hey I was already asleep. The Red Reagan bus remains steady as she goes !
Mark Williams, Tea Party Express co-vice chair, is peeling off tonite in Denver to do the Chris Matthews show on MSNBC. Mark also did the same while we were in Montana when he went to the local studio to do the Anderson Cooper show on CNN. Hopefully you already saw it but watch tonite on Chris Matthews show.

Made the first big re-stock of the Reagan bus with sandwiches, etc. Found a Safeway two blocks from the Capitol and had 15 minutes to fulfill our list of needs. Reminds me of that TV show years ago when u had ten minutes racing thru the grocery aisles to grab all. Asked a stocking clerk for help in an unfamiliar store. At first he demurred but kindly relented and walked us around the store to find everything. Did it in 14 minutes!

P.S. Ft Collins is the site of Balloon Boy of last month. But as I look up to see the crowd it has now swelled to fill the park. Lots of signs and homemade posters flying in the warm wind.
Day 11
Just past Russell Kansas on I-70. And we just reached the 4,000 miles mark on our 17 day journey to 38 cities. It's a clear blue sky and flat road as we travel to our next rally in Wichita, KS.

Last nite in Denver was exhilarating.

First we arrived at 5 pm and the height of rush hour. Difficult when in a passenger car but two big buses? The rally was held in the downtown outdoor Greek Theatre, about 2 blocks from the Colorado state Capitol.

There was a driveway behind the stage for the two buses but it was very small. We had to back up and close off the commuter street to traffic. No law enforcement to help so it was dicey. As I guided our Reagan bus many horns honking and one driver yelled out some choice words. Ah but our crew got it done.

The venue was magical at dusk. There were over 2,500 in the amphitheatre area. And we were so lucky. It was still shirt weather at dusk though there were still mounds of snow in the middle area.

Our second protest group of the tour showed up. (First was at LA's Griffith Park last week.). I happened to be standing right next to the protesters in the back of the scene. They chanted Pe-lo-si. Within a couple of minutes the whole crowd turned around from the stage and drowned the protesters with the chant U-S-A. Right out of our victory over the Soviet hockey team in 1980.

But the protesters got their equal time on camera for the local news. That may be what regular folk dislike the most about the "mainstream media" -- providing equal time to a group of 15 versus a crowd of 2,500 - and only when the 15 are from the "Left" of the political spectrum and the 2,500 are from the "Right." You would never see this happen in reverse.

Well I have another bus repair update.

Before you say enough of the buses, remember they are the stars as well as the priority. We continue to get drivers on the road honking and giving thumbs up. When we stop for fuel or a stretch break virtually every time we see someone approach with their camera to take a photo.
The blue bus threw another belt. Being in Denver a mechanic came to us but it took well over two hours of repair. While our Reagan red bus arrived at our overnite motel in Colby, Kansas at 12:45 while the blue arrived at 4:15. But we were both wheels rolling at 8:30 this morning.

From Wichita at 1 pm we travel to Oklahoma City at 5 PM today for its rally.

Deborah Johns, Amy Kremer and Lloyd Marcus are peeling off this afternoon to fly to DC for an important news conference at the nation's Capitol led by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann to fight the Obamacare vote in the House this week. The news conference, sure to be carried live on Fox, will be at noon eastern.

Our trio will carry with them thousands of letters opposing Speaker Pelosi's government-run healthcare plan that have been handwritten by attendees at the Tea Party Express rallies since our tour began.

Ah, just got a call from Tiffiny of our sound\staging support vehicle. She has confirmed a motorcycle escort by retired police officers into Wichita....rendevous at exit 14 !

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