May 17, 2019
Because I’m keeping Portland weird.
I used to ride my bike to this very spot from Grandma’s house in the summertime when I was 7 years old. I’d ride here to watch airplanes land, because the ones I watched from my backyard approaching runway 3 over Dekum’s blue were too high to view. So, I rode to 82nd avenue to be right next to runway 28 L at PDX airport.
It took me a while to get there. Each obstacle along the way being a turnaround point of the journey. But until I swallowed enough fear to be the lonesome black boy riding along back roads, onward I rode.
First an overpass, then a 5-lane highway to cross, followed by the military base, and finally a busy road along a golf course.
After swallowing my fear of heights, and possibly being hit by a car, I got there and did exactly what I said I was going to do. I found a spot to park my bike, then I got off to wait for the next airliner to approach 28 L. Meanwhile ignoring drivers off 82nd likely wondering, “where’s that little black boy’s parents?”
Mom was at work, and so was dad. I don’t recall being told to stay around or close to Grandma’s house. She lived next to a park, a middle school track, and plenty of dirt roads. And the airport; so I went there too. Grandma’ never said stay close to home, she only told me to stay out the streets.
The overpass running over NE Lombard street was high. I remember the easiest thing to do was ride my bike on 42nd’s 2-way street, but following Grandma’s rules meant riding through my fear. I turned around at least twice at this point, just to avoid the view off my right shoulder. The railing was as high as my bike. The overpass sidewalk was about a foot off the concrete. I knew I’d have to get off and pick up my bike to ride it on the sidewalk to the other side.
For what seemed like an eternity, 30 seconds, I had to avoid looking off to my right over the overpass railing. Scary, but I was on the sidewalk following Grandma’s rules.
The first time I crossed the overpass, I couldn’t handle the adrenaline from the ride so I went back.
The next week, I rode back to Grandma’s ready to succeed. No one knew what this little black boy was up to. I remember picking up my bike, and riding over with no hesitation. Columbia BLVD was the next crossroad. By then I think I remember walking my bike across to look educated to the people on my street safety knowledge. Every roadblock that turned me around was because of the exposure. And fear of having to be in the streets.
By the following summer when I turned 8, I was riding near the military base, exploring creeks, and plane spotting on 82nd near what now is the cell phone waiting area at PDX.
Often traveling back and forth to PDX as family flew in and out over the summers, PDX airport was the gateway to all the other crap going on out there. The day I told my Grandma’ I wanted to be a pilot, “boy I ain’t gettin’ on no plane with a black man captain,” I remember just watching her words fuel my curiosity. I wanted to see why.
The most I could do was study the aeronautical section in my dad’s World Book Encyclopedia Collection. The “A” book was my favorite. Girthy. Eventually I’d read about Antarctica, Ants, Astrophysics, because MS-DOS was boring. Internet wasn’t really a thing.
The AVGEEK in me came as natural as facing the fears it took to watch my dreams take off from here at 28 L. Approaching from the gateways of society, and today I shake off the weight of fear. They told me only I can tell this story, so I’ll start from where the fears ended. And do exactly what the little boy did 25 years ago.
Wheels down, I’m here sharing my dream in a different way. 25 years later the I205 bike path led me straight here. And it kept me out the streets.
Dare to think different, dare to dream different. But only the brave succeed, because they don’t care if they look different. I’m so Portland for this. But today the difference is in why I’m here.
Writing away fears; riding back to how my story started there. Soon – I’ll be taking off like I dreamed when I first rode here. All the little boy wanted to do was fly, and grab his luggage at baggage claim one.
Fortunately today, book one is done.
Finally, a black aviator who gets it done.
Grandma’, I ain’t a pilot yet but guess what?
These people will get Budd’s write experience.
I mean, Budd’s fight experience.
Writing back to you, this is Budd’s flight experience.
Follow me back to the places I had fright experiences.
Today, it’s creativity on the run.
Fucking with expectations is fun.
Riding my bike and writing for funds.
Riding with love, I finally got a release date.
Writing different for Portland’s hipster take.
And, it’s a great way to stay in shape.
I once thought long & hard about the challenges we give ourselves daily, of finding an eternal feeling of joy and abundance. Through inspirational explorations of my past, I've digested each experience with gratitude. Here on @vehicledigest.net you'll see what allows me to display my enthusiastic lifestyle. Allowing the words to be my vehicle through creativity, elegance, and wit.