- Part IV
In September of 1999, after planning for almost a year and a half and saving pop bottles for near a decade, Spud finally broke the bank and bought his plane ticket to South America for his greatest adventure to date. His trip would find him in the most remote place on earth visiting his ancestors on Easter Island, battling the world's largest snake (the anaconda) in the amazon basin in Bolivia and following the steps of one of the most remarkable empires in history, the Inca, to the lost city of Machu Picchu, Peru. 24 days of fun in third world countries! Surprisingly enough, the novelty of eating roasted guinea pig, using toilets without seats and being woken to the pleasant sound of throat clearing, quickly wore off and Spud was happy to get home!
In November of 1999, Spud celebrated his 10000th hit on his website by doing something really adventurous: parachuting from a 737 enroute to Montreal. Our beloved potato is a seasoned skydiver with almost 150 freefalls to his credit (albeit most from a Cessna 182), so the jump wouldn't be a problem ... getting out of a fully loaded passenger plane at altitude would be the obstacle!
He managed to sneak aboard disguising himself as part of an entree for passengers in business class. Once aboard, he ducked into the bathroom and hid in the toilet paper dispenser. He racked his brain trying to determine the best method of exiting the plane without causing depressurization and sending it plummeting to earth.
Just when it was looking hopeless, Spud realized the perfect escape (albeit a messy one!). With his rig all packed, altimeter checked and helmet in place he jumped into the toilet bowl and flushed himself out the bowel of the plane and into the wild blue yonder! Aaah the things we do for fun!
With the release of Toy Story 2, another royalty cheque came through Spud's mail slot and helped to replenish the tater's travel fund. Just in time too, for December of 1999 brought news that Spud was to receive an honourary degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His hard work in Applied Agriculture had finally paid off by getting worldwide recognition. He wasted no time in grabbing a flight to pick up his certificate.
The end of that month brought a close to the 20th century and Spud had to do something to celebrate! A bit wary of the Y2K bug, he was not apt for taking a flight anywhere, so he decided he would bring in 2000 the old fashioned way - by getting pie-eyed drunk! Things did not turn out quite as planned...
February of 2000 found the Potato traveling back to the Valley of the Sun in Arizona in search of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. Spud didn't return rich, but he had a pretty good sun tan!
March 2000 turned out to be a lesson that Spud will never forget: Mini Bars and Tourists DO NOT Mix! A night on Hollywood Boulevard got him alot more than he bargained for!
That night in Hollywood would come back to plague our buddy on his next trip when he traveled back to New York City! Spud's quest from individualism was coming to a crossroads!
A call from an old racing buddy later that month brought some welcome relief to Spud as he traveled back to Georgia where tattoos and headbands are a way of life. He headed down south for a spell and even managed to avoid being thrown in the big house!
June and July of 2000 found Spud returning to the mountains to attempt his next summit - the regal peak of Mount Rainier in Washington state. One can not travel to a state as beautiful as Washington and not take in some of it's other treasures and that's exactly what he did beginning in Seattle, and then through the rest of the state.
July also found the editors of National Geographic Traveler contacting Spud to review his site in their magazine. Soon after the article was published, the tuber was contacted by the New York Times and London's Guardian newspaper who both wanted to feature a story. Spud was quick to cash in on his popularity and took a few gigs on the talk show circuit to supplement future trips.
The end of July had Spud traveling to the Canadian prairie in search of unraveling the mystery behind the cryptic crop circles that permeate the wheat fields of North America's heartland. What he found out would dispel the mystery forever! The trip also included some time for a little R&R, so he managed to squeeze in a side trip down to South Dakota to see a couple of famous rock stars and a sojourn to North Dakota to discover its secret treasures!
Just when you thought that July couldn't get any busier, Spud found himself abducted by aliens and taken into the deserted back country of Wyoming! Abduction could have had its advantages - just think of all the groovy new places to see...then again, the idea of being poked and prodded didn't seem too a-peeling!
August would prove to be a monumental month for Spud as it marked a landmark victory in an ongoing litigation suit against the discrimination of potatoes in participating in nationally syndicated stock car races. Spud had long since been battling for his right to drive in a NASCAR Winston Cup race and he finally got his chance in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was a time of highs and lows, and would leave him forever changed.
The month also found Spud in the Garden State of New Jersey where he was to be featured in a prime time boxing match broadcast on pay per view for the Food Channel against the violent veggie Ervine the Eggplant. It was a battle like never before and the final outcome shocked everyone!
Later that month, Spud bravely ventured back to New York City, but this time, he would be more discrete in his quest for excitement. Looking for a massage parlour, Spud unfortunately followed the advice of a local and wound up getting something much different than he was expecting!
October was a monumental
occasion for our hero when he reached the 25000 hit plateau for his website!
He celebrated by watching David Lynch movies and gorging on cheetos!
Thank god there are so many people out there with so much time on their
hands!! The month included a sojourn to Huntington
Beach, California to try and rid himself of the Toy Story typecasting
and land himself a plum role on the silicone-laden megahit BAYWATCH!
Spud closed the year out with a return trip to Paris, France where he was finally able to dodge the paparazzi, but not always able to dodge the doggy doo that pepper the French capital's streets. His trip also entailed a return to Italy in search of the perfect pizza!