Friday, August 2, 2013

Six Days on the Road

Believe it or not, this is episode six. To follow the story up until now, you'll want to check out 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

July 24, 2013. North Platte, NE. I barely remembered getting into town the night before. The trip east is always worse than the trip west, partly because of the time zones, and partly because I'm leaving the event site. While the latter disappointment was counteracted by the fact that I was going to another ProSolo, most of the problem was giving back another hour. It's great to "gain" time while heading west, but when Father Time comes calling for that debt... yeah, it sucks.

Add to it the building humidity.
Fog, anyone?
Yeah, the first hour or so on I-80 was a little interesting with the lack of visibility. Eventually, the mists cleared, and we were back at speed, just in time for me to come upon Cozad.

At the rest area, I'd seen an historical marker saying there were three Pony Express stations still in existence nearby. One was on private land, one was in Gothenburg, and the last was in Cozad. Well, I figured Cozad was small enough that I could find it, so when the exit came up, I went searching.

It didn't take long.

Through one of the windows
Like the Granger Station, it was locked, but through the windows, you could see there was period furniture inside. I was disappointed to not be able to go inside, but it was still cool to see.

Back to I-80, the vibration was getting more noticeable. It still wouldn't do anything during a lane change, but it was starting to manifest above 70mph instead of higher. I was being very careful with any kind of right hand turns to minimize the vibration while trying to see exactly what would trigger it.

As I approached Lincoln, I figured maybe I'd stop for lunch, just to give the car a break in case the vibration was an axle that was fatigued. Since I wasn't sure I'd be able to make Holly's birthday bonanza at Lazlo's, that's where I stopped.
Mmmmm. IPA....
Despite some friends claiming terrible service the last few times they were there, I had no problems and got my sandwich and drinks in a timely fashion. Of course, it was the tail end of the regular lunch hour, and probably not nearly as crowded as during the school year and Nationals week....

Back to the road, Iowa was next on the list of states to get through. I made one stop in Kellogg, where there were some kind of neat antique farm implements, but nothing else of significance.

Illinois netted nothing of note but a John Deere 18-wheeler that evoked images of Corvettes in grass, then I was in Indiana before I knew it.
C'mon. This was an easy joke for anyone who's put four off, especially at Peru. Like Matthew Braun.
It's amazing how the scale of things changes drastically as you cross Nebraska. Suddenly, the time between cities goes to minutes versus hours. The time to cross a state is 2-3 hours versus 5-7. So, I found myself in Toledo before I knew it. I checked in, cleared some things out of the car (since I'd be in town for a few days), and set the alarm before hitting the sack for the night.

Next morning, PURE Tuning was an easy drive from my hotel. Their website said they were open at 9AM, and I had had to switch my appointment from 7/24 to 7/25 so I couldn't remember if I was still supposed to show up at 10AM. I left at 9:15, arrived at 9:30, and Robert Chrismas greeted me. Yeah, SCCA autocross folks, that Robert Chrismas; he works at PURE now. While he and the other PURE guys moved cars around, I also saw XP Evo driver Kevin Lewis pull up with his truck and trailer.
Kevin needed a tune!
Well, Robert hadn't had my WRX on the lift for more than five or so minutes when I heard the dreaded, "You have to come and look at this." Now, for those new to the saga, last year on the way home from Packwood, I had a hose come off the air filter, resulting in a damaged turbo. The year before, I had a timing belt tensioner failing, so the timing belt was hitting the inside of the cover. I wasn't sure what I was about to see, but I could imagine it was going to be one of those, "You just avoided a serious catastrophe" moments.

As I walked out into the bay, and Robert shined his light on the undercarriage, the first thing I noticed is that he was looking at the driver side. Hmmm. That could be why I didn't notice anything when I pulled the passenger wheel in Evanston. Secondly, there was a bolt sticking more than halfway out of the lower control arm!!!. Damn. Just.... damn. I've had a control arm come apart there on the Camaro (broken welds), and it's not good. I guess the bad luck I experienced at the blackjack tables and the blood sacrifice at the car wash paid off to get through this one. :\
There isn't a whole lot that can be said about this except... Damn.
I think the best response I got to this photo was McCance texting me, "You and those f---ing control arms." What else can be said?

Robert was able to reuse the bolt, find a nut to work with it and get everything back together. Once the oil was changed, I was out and went over to Tony Packo's on Front Street for lunch then back to the hotel. I did laundry, took a nap, and was otherwise bored until Friday morning. 
Crossing the Maumee River

ECHL Outdoor Classic in 2014, between the Walleye and....???
It was a glorious thing to sleep in on Friday. Once I woke up and showered, I decided to go to the Toledo Museum of Art for a few hours before heading to the event site.

As always, there were incredible works on display, some I hadn't seen before. I ended up spending more time that I anticipated at the Museum, and finally left around 4:30 to head over to the airport. 
The Crommelynck Gate With Tools, Jim Dine, 1983.
Two Wings from the So-Called Salamanca Triptych, Jan Gossart (Mabuse), 1521. These are paintings!
Fear (La Crainte), Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, 1769.
Dress Impression with Train, Karen LaMonte, cast 2007.

The Council of War, John Rogers, 1868
. It's funny that I almost left, then decided to turn around and found this. Tad Lincoln said it was the most lifelike rendition of his father that he'd ever seen.
I finally headed over the the airport to check in and get my car teched, and Pat was there! He and Eric Kriemelmeyer had decided on a whim to come out and see if they could get in, and they did. While Pat had a few vehicles to choose from (including Newman's AS FRC Corvette and Learic's CS 370Z), Eric had brought his NA Solstice. I told Pat he should drive the 370Z since it was like an FS Camaro with better brakes, and that's what he ended up in.

Meanwhile, I got registered and teched (in paddock! Thanks, Brian!), then walked each course once. They looked worlds better than last years courses, if for nothing else than the finish wasn't a contorted mess. As site closure approached, Pat and I headed out to get cleaned up and then go over to Loma Linda's for Danny's birthday party, which was kinda blah, what with the mini-margaritas and the lack-luster participation in the birthday song. 
Danny got a sweet hat... but had to give it back
Let's not go there....

This '79 Bobcat was in the parking lot when we went to leave. We all drooled over it while the owner told us everything. And it had a huge nitrous bottle in the back!
We headed back to the hotel, ready for battle in the morning.

Next up : Toledo ProSolo!

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