Brave little tomatoes set out on a cross country journey to the Promised Land, seeking fame and fortune at The Racetracks of Our Land along the way. What will be their fate? Where will they travel? What wonders will they see, if any? Will they survive? Will they find true love? Will they actually bear, you know, tomatoes?
Read the chronicle of their amazing adventure in this award-winning photo gallery/journal that's been painstakingly recreated from the original more-or-less on-the-spot reports to the bewildered readers of a certain Internet horse racing forum. I'm willing to wager the little tomatoes visited more racetracks than you that Spring!
Warning: Kind of a long image gallery. But such an exciting story!
The Astounding Adventures of The Little Tomatoes
Click large image to start full screen slideshow with any captions
The little tomatoes get the gamblin' fever, and visit some of The Racetracks of Our Land
Day 0. April 7, 2008
The little tomatoes (and their pepper friends) in a Chicago area window, a few days after the Illinois Derby. It was also White Sox opening day.
Day 1. April 9, 2008
The little tomatoes settle into their traveling home, right next to the little box with the collector's item Hawthorne coffee sippy cup, and whatever else junk is in the little box. I really hope there's some GPS batteries in there, as they weren't in my overnight bag like I thought.
Nothing exciting happened today, and no one dropped anything on the little tomatoes.
Up tomorrow: The little tomatoes get water, and change position.
Day 2. April 10, 2008
Nope. No GPS batteries in the little box. So the little tomatoes enjoy the view of the Branson, MO, Walmart, a regular treasure trove of batteries, as it turns out.
Also Day 2 (a little later), April 10, 2008
The little tomatoes enjoy the view of the cheesy Branson main drag from the Phillips 66. They suggested a better grade of gas might solve the uneven performance of the Chumpmobile yesterday, and they were right. $3.34.9 for midgrade.
Whew, what a day for the little tomatoes!
P.S. They didn't need water today after all. Maybe tomorrow.
Also day 2 (even yet later). April 10, 2008
The little tomatoes pull into the parking lot at Oaklawn in preparation for a weekend of fun and frolic.
That's Oaklawn back there behind those trucks. And trees,
Day 4. April 12, 2008
Wow! Would you look at that snazzy view of historic downtown Hot Springs? The little tomatoes thought it was tops.
They also thought they were going along to the Arkansas Derby. They thought wrong.
Day 5. April 13, 2008
The little tomatoes make a quick swing by Blue Ribbon Downs to pull in and just to see what it looks like now that it got turned into a racino. Looks more tired and worse than ever, actually. Dint go in.
Day 5 (later), April 13, 2008
The little tomatoes pull in to Remington Park for an exciting evening of quarter horse racing. It was not so exciting, it turned out. The casino was busy and smoky, but on the horse racing side it was mostly just horsemen, and deadly dull. The place still looks nice, and Magna has finally cleaned things up a little from last time I visited, before slots.
Day 6. April 14, 2008
The little tomatoes arrive at Will Rogers Downs for an afternoon of fun and frolic. They loved the bright sunshine and balmy weather.
Day 7. April 15, 2008
The little tomatoes stop by Zia Park for a peek, even though they're not running this time of year. It has a real nice casino with many Mermaid-themed games but hardly any players, a candidate for possibly the new ugliest infield in all racing, and maybe 20 people playing simulcasts. The little tomatoes hate Hobbs, too. What a pit.
Day 8. April 16, 2008
The little tomatoes were snoozin' when the Tour arrived at Carlsbad Caverns, so they stayed in the car and didn't get to see the cave.
The little tomatoes must have liked the still day in the heat and sun, though, because they all jumped up about an inch.
Day 9. April 17, 2008
The little tomatoes were involved in some serious driving today, with a 2nd trip to Carlsbad Caverns, and then a long jog back south and east to Big Bend National Park.
Day 10. April 18, 2008
Here's an update picture on the entire box of little tomatoes. They are spending a warm, quiet day in the motel parking lot, as I spend a cool quiet day in my ultra-fabulous El Paso motel room catching up on sleep, work, bills, laundry, etc.
Day 11. April 19, 2008
The little tomatoes -- actually, one of the little peppers starring today -- arrive at yet another racetrack parking lot for an exciting afternoon, this time Sunland Park.
Met up with longtime Friends of The Tour Stu S. working as a placing judge, and announcer Luke Kruytbosch. Fun day.
Day 12. April 20, 2008
A little pepper takes a peek at the Geronimo Surrenders memorial at Apache, Arizona.
Day 12 (later), April 20, 2008
The parking situation didn't allow for a picture featuring any little tomatoes, but here's where they spent the day. What a blast, not to mention good racing, good betting, cheap beer, good cheap food, and non-stop groovy Mexican music!
Day 12 (latest). April 20, 2008
The little tomatoes spent the night in a parking lot outside the historic Copper Queen hotel in Bisbee, Arizona
Day 13. April 21, 2008
The little tomatoes insisted on stopping to view the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona
Day 13 (later). April 21, 2008
The little tomatoes enjoyed the beautiful scenery at Saguaro National Park (East) outside Tucson.
Day 13 (even later). April 21, 2008
The little tomatoes stop by to take a look at Rillito Park, even though it's not running now.
Who knows how much longer it will be there?
Day 13 (later yet). April 21, 2008
The little tomatoes enjoy their view of Camelback Mountain from McChump #2's fabulous temporary digs in Scottsdale. They are pretty sure some Internet desk jockies are jealous.
Day 13 (latest). April 21, 2008
The little tomatoes are fixin' to check the email from their many Internet fans. Look how much they have gown in less than two weeks!
Day 14. April 22, 2008
One of the little tomatoes visits Turf Paradise, a much more beautiful track overall than a certain self-proclaimed "most beautiful track" in NW suburban Chicagoland, if you ask me.
Check the groovy mini-Cards helmet on McChump #2's fuzzy dashboard carpet.
Meet the Little Tomatoes! (Part 1)
- Fred Fourth of July. Close friends call him Firecracker.
- Ellen Early Girl. Turn ons: Moonlight walks. Turn offs: Mustaches, especially on short guys with hats. And back hair.
- Tomas' tomatillo. A seedy, husky character.
- Torey Tormande. Likes snowboarding, and smooth jazz.
- Bobby Bloody Butcher. Throws left, bats right.
Meet the Little Tomatoes! (Part 2)
- Chief Yellow Pear. Clings to the ways of the ancestors.
- The Peppers - Petey, Pauly, and Patty. Their dream is to have a kids' song and dance act.
- The Cherries - Jackpot and Tilt. Unlucky at gambling; lucky in love.
And that's it! All the little traveling tomatoes. Give 'em a hand, the brave little guys. (And gals.)
Day 15. April 23, 2008
The little tomatoes know when you see those San Francisco Peaks in the distance, it's Flagstaff time.
Day 15 (later). April 23, 2008
The little tomatoes visit Monument Valley. Unfortunately a windy dusty day, not at all conducive to taking good pix. :-(
Day 16. April 24, 2008
The little tomatoes check in at Canyonlands National Park.
Day 16 also.
The little tomatoes enjoy some of that fine Canyonlands scenery.
More Day 16, April 24, 2008
The little tomatoes at the Windows in Arches National Park.
Still Day 16, April 24, 2008
As it turned out, the little tomatoes did not accompany me on the hike up
the hill to see this particular arch. They were complaining how tired they
were, and fighting, and crying to be carried ... so they had to wait in the car.
Late Day 16, April 24, 2008
The little tomatoes enjoy one last sunset look at the Arches scenery.
Day 17, April 25, 2008
The little tomatoes enjoy more Canyonlands National Park scenery, this time at the north end of the park.
More day 17, April 25. 2008
And more of the north section of Canyonlands.
Little tomato disaster!
Dateline: Utah. April 25, 2008.
An Illinois tomato was seriously injured in a one vehicle incident on I-70 near Green River today.
Tomas' Tomatillo, formerly of the Chicago area, was riding in a vehicle driven by a middle-aged white man when he was struck by a falling object, specifically an Etrex Legend GPS unit. Senor Tomatillo was dangling his limbs over the edge of his container when the GPS fell from above, instantly severing three of his four limbs against the sharp edge of the container. Tomatillo is in serious but stable condition in a local flat of little tomatoes. He is expected to survive, but will live out his life a triple amputee.
Excessive speed around a corner was cited as the cause of the incident. Alcohol is not suspected as a contributing factor. Tomatillo was not wearing his seatbelt.
Stll day 17, April 26, 2008
The little tomatoes are fixin' to cross the Rockies. They aren't too sure about that snow.
Little tomatoes don't like snow.
More day 17, April 25, 2008
The little tomatoes finally arrive in Salt Lake City. "This is the place!"
Well, actually no, it isn't.
Day 18, April 26, 2008
The little tomatoes prepare to cross the Columbia. Bet you weren't expectin' that!
Still Day 18, April 26, 2008
The little tomatoes pull in at Sun Downs in Kennewick, WA, for a sunny lazy afternoon in the parking lot.
They are glad it is sunny and warm. Someone forgot to bring them into the motel last night at Boise,
and it was 28 this morning. A couple little tomatoes got some droopy leaves, but got better during
the drive. Honest.
Day 19, April 27, 2008
Here's where the little tomatoes spent today in a parking lot - Gem County horse
racing, Emmett, Idaho. It was a beautiful day, and the little tomatoes got a lot of sun.
Day 20, April 28, 2008
The little tomatoes finally make it to Montana.
Later on day 20, April 28, 2008
The little tomatoes catch a glimpse of their future permanent home, through a very buggy windshield. No more sleazing around racetracks and national parks for the little tomatoes! It's time to go to work! Well, it will be time, once it warms up a bit around here. Total trip: 6006 miles.
May 5, 2008.
The little tomatoes stretch toward the bright sun out the south window, and the beckoning garden beyond. "Let us out! Let us out!", they cry. Patience, grasshoppers, patience.
My how they have grown.
May 17 or so,
The little tomatoes were up in arms when they heard I was taking a racetrack trip without them. You never heard such a fuss! 11 little tomatoes complaining all at the same time is hard on your nerves. But they're getting just too gosh dang big. The little peppers, on the other hand, are still at a manageable stage, and so a compromise was reached ...
The little pepper prepares to spend an afternoon in the parking lot at Laurel Brown Racetrack, South Jordan, Utah.
May 17 or so, 2008
The little pepper enjoys a view of the Great Salt Lake.
~ May 18, 2008
Things did not work out for attending an evening of racing at Les Bois Park this trip, since they carded their Saturday in the afternoon to coincide with the Preakness. But what the heck. I've been there before, several times. Just curious what changes Capitol Racing might have made. The little tomatoes, however, really wanted to see it, so me and the little pepper stopped by for a photo op.
If anything, the trees out front are bigger, and .... yes! There's a Capitol Racing sign! Things have really changed!
Yet, other tracks we drove right by today, and not a peep: Eastern Oregon Livestock Show (Union), Walla Walla, and Dayton. Fickle, these little tomatoes.
~May 18, 2008
"Days of Real Sport", Waitsburg, Washington. Kind of a crappy view, but what does one expect from a parking lot?
Oh NO! The little pepper got a bit droopy sitting out in the car on a 95 degree day! (While you were freezing your butts off.) But he perked right up when I gave him some bottled water ($1), I swear!
Possibly May 19, 2008
The little pepper stops to enjoy a view of the Clearwater River in Nez Perce country, Idaho. It's also famous as the river Lewis and Clark used to go west and east from the Missouri to the Columbia. US 12 from Lewiston to Missoula is very pretty, if you're not in any real hurry. On the bright side, when you're only driving 55 or less, the mileage is fabulous.
Also probably May 19, 2008
The little pepper stops at Heart of the Monster, East Kamiah, ID, mythical birthplace of the Nez Perce. Coyote killed the monster from inside and then cut the monster up and tossed all the parts far and wide to create the various tribes. From the heart, at this spot, came the Nez Perce. The heart itself is out behind those restrooms.
~ May 19, 2008
The little pepper stops at Ft. Fizzle, real close to the Idaho-Montana border south and west of Missoula. Here a few army regulars and a bunch of volunteers set up a hastily built fort to stop the escape of the Nez Perce. Just north of here, the Nez Perce simply skirted the fort and headed up the Bitterroot valley.
May 21, 2008
Wow, they aren't so little anymore! In the ground next week definitely, cool weather or no.
June 11, 2008
Oh fer craps' sake. Snow on June 11. Brrrrr! Keep warm under there, little tomatoes!
The little tomatoes are now (in the words every horse owner knows by heart) officially "comin' around"! Most of them are comin' around, anyway. Here's the latest:
Tomas' Tomillo is just too tough to die. Petey and Patty are just sitting there doing nothing (Pauly went to live at someone else's house). Fred Fourth of July is going to be guilty of serious false advertising. Fred was looking very iffy for awhile, but he's comin' around nicely. Ellen Early Girl was looking very, very sad for awhile. A replacement Early Girl was contemplated, but then she started comin' around. Chief Yellow Pear is tall and strong. Torey is the best looking tomato out there, and never really showed the ill effects of all the trials and tribulations that laid the other tomatoes low. Jackpot Cherry also went over to the same house that Pauly Pepper went to, but was eaten by a Britanny Spaniel. Bobby and Tilt both had some serious chemical burn damage, and area tomato doctors had to work night and day. I'm pleased to say both are now comin' around.
Then all the tomatoes and peppers lived happily ever after, producing many little fruits. The end.