March 2, 2011

In and Out of the Quad Cities

Gail-and-Toni-baby-JesusContributed by Gail McPike and Toni Hall

Hello Quad-Citians, your 50+ Lifestyles action reporter team Gail and Toni here; we’re doing 2011 in review. The
rundown: New Year’s Eve, snow, cold snow, white fluffy snow, frostbite flavored snow, record breaking snow, Martin Luther King Day snow, freezing dry snow, wet slushy snow, Valentine’s Day cards – dropped into the snow. But then… something happened.

Mother Nature’s mighty Mojo of meteorological mayhem finally came to a screeching halt. Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil’s purplish shadow pushed Momma Nature out of her funk. Similar voodoo-science theories catapult the fuzzy caterpillar from fall front and center. We take a dim view of this type of junk science. After days and weeks of critically acclaimed journalistic exploration, we can categorically claim – we created the weather change. Think we’re kidding? Read on.

A bunch of our ever skeptical readers are thinking, “What bunk! We believe shifts in the Earth’s axis gives rise to a swirling motion in the largely aquatic surface of the planet. And weather results….” Well don’t get too smug with your sixth-grade pseudo-science project. We can prove our claim.

To demonstrate the dedication, the sacrifice and the mental toughness required to be action reporters on this QCA beat, we decided to become human guinea pigs in quest for scientific truth.

Have you ever heard a friend say – they traveled to Sunny California for a winter break, and the weather turned out sultry in Silvis, decalescent in Davenport, mild in Moline and Arctic in Anaheim? We’ve heard it more times than old Doc Carter’s actual weight in little liver pills.

We don’t want to change the subject or anything but…. Did you know those age old pills we heard so much about as kids are now marketed as Carter’s Little Pills – because the FDA didn’t like the mention of “liver.” Gail on the other hand doesn’t like the mention or the smell of liver – fried, broiled or broasted, it doesn’t matter. She won’t even eat liverwurst. And as we sit here working on this article, we are starting to wonder where a couple of hard-boiled investigators like us could find a pickled egg for lunch. We better get back to our story – so we can have lunch.

Where were we now? … oh yeah, warm in the Quad-Cities and cold someplace where it’s supposed to be hot. To probe the subject we made arrangements to visit traditionally warm Sacramento, California. It’s the capitol of California – home to palm trees. Pomegranate plants literally spring from cracks in sidewalks. It’s the land of swimming pools, movie stars and The Governator. Goll-darnit, if there is a single place on the planet where warm temps should abide it’s got to be the Golden State.

Our discovery: we head to warm weather and a great global shift occurs. Weather patterns switch. We spent most of our California trip searching for a sale on trapdoor long johns. Our Current Trophy Husbands (CTH) stayed home. Each morning when we phoned in to make sure the CTHs had remembered to put on new socks and brush their teeth, we heard the same thing. Shirt sleeves were the uniform of the day in Davenport. The logical conclusion: we caused the warmth. How scientific is that?

Now because we know good reporters always have a follow-up story. Ours is a brand new car experience. Somewhere between snows and sleets, gasoline prices shot up to over three dollars a gallon. So what does all this have to do with the QCA and our In and Out’s? Getting around, having fun and making trips to friend’s houses instead of the gas station. In our quest for the perfect vehicle, we test drove the Bajaj.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with Bajaj Automobile Company – it’s one of India’s major vehicle manufacturers. The Bajaj we test drove sports a 60+ mpg rating and carries a new car sticker price of $2,500. Sound good so far? Well stay tuned.

The Bajaj is best described as a luxury motor driven rickshaw. The front seat comfortably carries the driver and the backseat will hold three adults. Instead of a simulated leather steering wheel, the Bajaj comes standard with motorcycle-style handle bars. And, it’s a convertible.

For our test drive, we carefully selected some of the scenic back-roads of Mexico. As we weaved our way through barrios, business districts and marketplaces, we were the envy of every little boy and the laughing stock of taxi drivers. Just like stalwart reporters everywhere, we brought along a photographer to capture our likeness and the copious fresh air inside the Bajaj. With that thought in mind, we would like to thank the publisher of this fine magazine for switching to the new format – which is far less likely to be used to line parakeet palaces.

Time Marches, Shamrocks bloom and Saint Paddy smiles on the QCA. Our good friend Brutus wants us to join him on the 15th – he said something about bringing back silverware.