Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ouray Day Trip with Race Friends

After a long race weekend in Olathe Colorado we all smooshed into cars, leaving the rig at the rv resort and headed down to Ouray. It was such a blast hanging with our friends, seeing God’s gorgeous country and relaxing. This city is one of Colorado’s secret spots. It was absolutely amazing!! Everywhere you looked there were breathtaking views. The town was completely surrounded by mountains and wonders.

Our adventures started early when Justin was driving Michael-Ann’s car. We had only gone two streets when a cop pulled us over. J had not even hit the speed limit yet so we were confused. But the lady cop asked us if we left a drug container on the roof of the car. Michael got all wide-eyed about her vitamin box because she always realized where she left them. So it had flown off and shattered in the middle of their main street. The cop asked us to turn around and go pick it up. They even blocked traffic with 2 cars and 4 cops while MA and Justin picked it up. This is a safe town guys!

Lucky for us we had our wonderful Tour Guide Jenni. She loves this town and visits it every year so she knew all the sweet spots. She took us to see Box Canyon Falls which was too amazing for words. We hiked down into this crack in the mountain, rounded the corner and then viewed a spectacular waterfall. It was so roaring loud that it was hard to hear each other. There was a metal bridge that strung along the side of the canyon and took us deep into the walls of the earth. These photos do not even come close to showing the depth and layers of the rock we were in. Incredible!!

The bridge ended up turning into something out of Jurassic Park. I totally expected a pterodactyl to come flying at us.

The stairs led down to the bottom of the waterfall.

Dennis and Rob.

Me and Karla balancing on a slippery rock out in the waterfall’s base. Believe it or not, one bad move and we would have been swimming in the flowing river.

Me and my bestest friend Michael-Ann.

The sides of the cliff were covered grass and even had this tree growing out in the middle of nothing but rock.

We then took a drive up the Million Dollar Highway where our walkie-talkies came in handy. This stretch of road was gorgeous!! We got out and took photos along a blasting river. This river was flowing like crazy. The roar was so loud and powerful that the ground shook and it all came out of this hole in the side of them mountain which ran under the main road. Crazy! Karla and I were dubbed mountain goat and cliff jumper.
Dennis And Justin

Our pal Dennis shows us his impressive climbing skills...or not. :o)

J and I being silly throwing the ‘W’olf sign.

We also went to a wonderful hot springs spa that had amazing vapor caves. The water was so hot that only Justin and a few others were able to get in. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. It was such a wonderful time spent with wonderful people. Here is a group shot which I left big for printing. Check out the mountains in the background. Wow!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Olathe Race Weekend

Friday it took us about 6 hours to get to the RV Resort that we were staying at. We were thrilled to be on our way after years of planning and preparing for this season of life. It was a gorgeous drive over Monarch pass. You can see the resort and ski runs and snow on the mountain still. Blue Mesa reservoir was…gorgeous!

Tazzer hanging out his back window. He spends most of the rides like this. :o)

On Saturday we arrived at the track early to start setting up. We were so blessed to have 15 of our closest friends come to the races and start us off right. They split up with some in the stands and some joining us in the pits.

We soon discovered that this track was one of the worst around and many other drivers were upset to be there. They overwatered the track and when Justin came in after hot laps his car was dripping in mud. Thank goodness for our friends and the help they provided for us with scraping mud, airing tires and such. When the main event started the sun had gone down and we were horrified to find that one end of the track was not lit up very well. There were already two wrecks and the third caused a jumble of cars on the corner that Justin would have smacked into if his angels had not been watching out for him. He dodged the pile up at the last second and after sitting on the track and waiting for them to clear it he decided that it was not worth the risk to stay out there. Driving off the track that night gained him a ton of respect from the other drivers.
Thankfully the next day was a day race which Justin completed with no problem. This weekend he chose to start at the back of the pack in each heat and main event to learn and get familiar with the car. This makes it difficult to pass other drivers and you get no passing points but he was able to gain confidence in himself and get to know the other driving styles.
Justin's dad getting ready to push him out onto the track.
A professional photo of Justin ripping up the dirt track!
All finished, packed and ready to go home. Tight fit! I am sporting my 05 shirt and am exhausted. So is Tazzer. Let's go home.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Racing Terms…defined by April

I put together a list of terms that I am finally beginning to understand. It has taken me awhile to get the lingo down but after spending the first few races learning the track language, I thought others reading our blog may be interested.
Remember, I am still a rookie at these!

  • Sprint car: are high-powered race cars designed primarily for the purpose of running on short oval or circular dirt or paved tracks.
  • ASCS Racing: American Sprint Car Series
    Our region is the Rocky Mountain Regional.
  • Hot Laps = practice laps to warm the car and help pack the dirt/mud. Messy!
  • Pulling a Pill =drawing a bingo type number which places you in a spot for your qualifying heat.
  • Qualifying Heat =Small groups of drivers in a qualifying race of about 5-10 laps which defines your spot in your main event. The more cars, the more amounts of heats and main events.
  • Main Event =The big race which defines your winning place and points. Sometimes there are two main events if there are a lot of drivers. They will take the top 4 drivers from the ‘B’ Main race and place them at the back of the pack in the ‘A’ Main for another chance.
  • Points =If a driver is signed on for the regional series they will rack up points from every race. Points are given for passing, placement in heats, and standing in main events. This defines the overall winners at the very end of the season.
  • Line Up =List of all cars racing. There are always other versions of race cars in between each set of heats/mains. The sprint cars are the big dogs that everyone comes to see and the locals race their stock cars, modified, minis and other groups in between us.
  • Safety Equipment = Thanks to Justin’s brother Nick, J wears the latest in racing fashion. From his fireproof underwear, Nomex suit and his Hans Device plus lots of prayers, Justin is one of the safest guys on the track.
  • Silver & The Rig = The Silverado Chevy Duamax which carries our home away from home on wheels. This truck rocks and is such a blessings as we travel the country. The rig is a 36 foot trailer with our living quarters in front and the shop in back. The shop houses the race car, wing, tools, and more.
  • Billy Bob Angel = Justin’s personally assigned angel who is committed to keeping him and his car safe, skilled, and on track. He is also insists on seeing the sites so we tend to get occasionally lost on our adventures.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fort Morgan Practice

Justin and his dad drove the rig to Denver to the engine builder. Part of their warranty is that we fire up the engine on their site, connected up to their machines. The engine fired up the very first try!! Justin called me and all I could hear was the overpowering deep chug-chug of the sprint car.

That weekend they went to Fort Morgan to practice. Justin said that the torque of the engine is so powerful that he actually popped a wheelie first time on the track. So glad he practiced!! The required racing numbers were going to cost us $180 which is ridiculous for something that’s going to get beat up. So J’s dad painted them on and they look sweet and so unique! He had such a blast ripping around the track.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trick the Trailer

We met a bunch of friends at the shop for a day of working on the race trailer. 7 of our dear friends plus Justin and I worked almost all day. So much was accomplished! Karla and I climbed under the trailer and finished the wiring and were covered in dead grass. LOL! We then finished painting the living area while the guys installed the carpet and then the linoleum. They even trimmed everything and installed the cabinet parts. The only thing we won’t have done the first two races will be the bathroom because we can’t afford it right now. We’ll be getting the hitch this Friday and Justin has a few more things to do to the car but then we’ll be ready to practice. Eee!!We are so blessed by this group of friends and would not be where we are at without their help and prayers.

Karla and watching Dennis install cabinets.

The guys installing the linoleum in the hallway.

Working on the wiring. The guys had trouble moving under the trailer so this soon became my job with Karla joining me later. Boy did we have bruises from that fun!

Jim cutting a doorframe in the shop.

Dennis and Brandon showing how serious this stuff is.

To give you an idea of how much work we’ve done. The entire inside was one open box room. They added the walls, bathroom, paint, lights...everything to make it a home away from home. The kids in this photo are Justin’s nephews.

Shop Before and After...

Thanks so much to everyone for all of their help, love and support!!