So when Northwest Leatherboy Dan asked me to come down to Portland for the April LURE, I naturally said “Sure”.
(I’m writing this on May 27, which means I’m now down to one free Saturday until the end of summer. Ugh.)
While the ride up to Vancouver three weeks before had been a little too chilly, a few more weeks of spring made it a dandy ride down. I left about 1 pm, rode I-5 all the way down, and got to the hotel (Courtyard by Marriott on Wasco; one of our former Northwest Leatherboy titleholders works there) which Dan had arranged in good time. After a short nap, we went out to a nearby restaurant for dinner, came back and changed to go out to the Portland Eagle. LURE (Leather Uniform Rubber Etc.) is the Eagle’s 4th Friday leather event, typically hosted by the current Mr. Oregon State Leather (Tarsus, in this case). They usually have themes attached, and this was the annual Battle of the Village People night, which included a Village People costume contest. Andy Mangels started this Village People event during his title year, as I recall.
What to wear for the contest? Hmm. Ah, of course: Western attire as the cowboy — brown cowboy boots, brown chaps, brown vest, bandana around the neck, and brown cowboy hat. The brown vest is actually my Mr. Northwest Cub vest from last year, which meant I didn’t wear my current title vest out to the event, although I did wear it as motorcycle colors on the trip down.
(Hmm, as I write this, International Mr. Leather has probably just finished. Looks like Washington State Mr. Leather was in the top 20, and Oregon State Bootblack Nick won the International Mr. Bootblack competition. You go, Nick! I wasn’t at IML because the International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs convention was in New Orleans this weekend. More on that in a future post.)
I ended up winning the costume contest, and the prize was a small original oil painting by Tarsus, of a harnessed leatherman. A very nice prize, and just the right size to fit in the bike trunk.
After the contest, I connected with a couple guys from Beaverton (a Portland suburb) for a play session, getting back to the hotel late.
And Back Again
Dan and I went out to breakfast at The Roxy Diner in the morning, before I left for home. We had the chance to talk about ideas for the contest fantasy and demo, although I had bad info about the demo and have since had to start replanning it. Sigh.
On the trip north, I decided to take the (longer) scenic route: first out to the town of St. Helens and across the Columbia at Longview, and later leaving I-5 north of Centralia and going around the east side of Olympia, Joint Base Lewis/McChord, and Tacoma, coming up through Spanaway and up 167 to the south end of Seattle. I ended up with absolutely killer gas mileage doing this — 58 or so going down, but over 74 mpg coming back!
Unfortunately, “killer” has its downside, I guess. I was either too tired from the night before or spent too long on the bike in not quite warm enough weather, and when I got home, I had a major case of the chills. I turned up the heat in the house and literally sat on the heater vent for 15 minutes.
Of course I knew what this meant: my bronchitis was going to come back. (Or “bronchitis”, anyway. One doctor didn’t think it was actually that, but some other recurring bacterial lung infection. Close enough.) I used to get this one to four times a year since the early 1990s, usually when I got stupid: tired and overheated and dealt with weather too cool for what I was wearing — usually brought on in spring or fall by leaving the dance bar in a heavy sweat, or sleeping with the window open and having a temperature drop over night.
Sure enough, in the next few days, I started to cough and hack up phlegm and all the stuff you don’t want to read about here. After two rounds of my homemade antibiotics (onion-infused honey, nasty stuff but it works as well as a Z-Pak), it seems to have finally cleared in the last few days. Wasn’t as hard of a cough as I’ve had before — only felt like being hit in the chest by a plastic baseball bat, not a wooden one — but a bummer because this was my first bout of it in maybe two years. I was beginning to think maybe I had cleared it from my system. Apparently not, although I’ll point to the scooter as likely reducing it in general by improving my posture and exposing me better to outdoor temperatures year round.