Relaxing in Beaver Dam, WI

Welcome back, or should I say welcome back to myself, I'm finally getting off my lazy butt and catching up with my blog. Right now it is Monday night July 5th at 10:22pm and I'm watching "Last Comic Standing" on NBC and I'm camped at Derge Park right on Beaver Dam Lake, it is a small quiet campground with 30amp electricity for $18 a night. We are all here, Eloy, Bill & Lynda, Jim & Luci, & Justin and Alisha (my oldest daughter), we are all just finally relaxing after racing and driving a bunch over the past two weeks. I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and celebrated our great nations birthday. I spent the 4th driving on the worst (roughest) freeway so far this year, I-94/I-694 through Minneapolis, my god somebody needs to teach the MNDOT how to maintain a freeway, I'm pretty sure 5th graders could do a better job. MNDOT needs to hire the engineers from Missouri or Kansas. Back to what I did on the 4th, I drove from Brainerd, MN to the Ho-Chunk Casino near the Wisconsin Dells. I arrived at the casino around 5pm and spent the rest of the night with good friends, Eloy, Bill & Lynda, Jim & Luci, and Justin & Alisha. If your driving through the Dells area and you need diesel fuel, go by the Ho-Chunk Casino (exit 92 on I-90), their price was $2.81/gal. Now that you know where I'm camped, if you live in this area, I will be here until Thursday morning when I take off for La Salle, IL, now lets catch you up on the past few weeks, after reading my last blog, I last left you after we got rained out in Sedalia, MO back in June.

After getting rained out in Sedalia on Wednesday night, we had to drive up to Grand Forks and be there by Friday afternoon, only over 700 miles in less than 48 hours. My goal was to make it to the North Dakota/South Dakota border by 7pm. I was still having altenator issues and I was just hoping it would last for two more long drives before my friends in Deming, NM ship out a new one. Selena and I were up by 7am and I washed Woody (not great but clean enough) topped the motorhome off with water and was on the road by 8am. I stopped at the Flying J in Kansas City to fill up on diesel and then it was off to Grand Forks on I-29. Once you leave Missouri, it seems like I-29 turns into a one-lane highway all the way, hopefully by the time they finish all that construction, I-29 will be an awesome highway to cruise on. With Selena as my co-pilot, I'm surprised I can drive as long as I do without getting tired, because she is almost always curled up sleeping in the co-pilot seat, that is the inspiration she gives me to stay awake. I had to stop at the Camping World in Council Bluffs, IA to get a new water pump for my RV, thankfully it was a quick stop and I was on my north. After driving on more one-lane highway, my altenator started acting up again and stopped working, I had to keep plugging along, hoping that when I stopped for the night I could get it fixed. As I was driving through Sioux Falls, SD I came up on Gene & Starla driving about 15 mph in the WoO Souvenir trailer on the shoulder. I slowed down and called Gene to see what was up, he was stuck in 3rd gear and was trying to limp it to the Frieghtliner place. I drove head to Frieghtliner and let them know that Gene would be there soon, since I was going to wait for Gene & Starla to arrive and see if they could get fixed, I looked at my altenator. I found my problem, the switch I installed to keep it from draining my batteries, the wires melted together and fried the switch. After fixing the wires & replacing the switch, Gene & Starla arrived safely, so I was back on the road still trying to reach my goal. I called Bill & Lynda and they were parked at the WalMart in Watertown, SD and that sounded like a good place to stop for the night. Selena & I arrived at the WalMart around 9pm and camped for the night.

Friday morning I was up around 7:30am and on the road by 8am, the wind picked up overnight and changed from a tailwind to a 30-40mph crosswind, what fun that was driving 200 miles again on mostly a one-lane highway, you gotta love it when the semi's coming the other direction pass you, a couple times I thought I was going to end up off in a corn field. I toughed it out and pulled into River Cities Raceway in Grand Forks, ND around noon. The weather was ok until about 5pm, then it started drizzling and didn't let up, with the pits being really soft from prior rains during the week, all the haulers pulled out of the pits and parked on harder ground. The call was made around 9pm to cancel and use the Sunday rain date. It was a good call, because when it stopped raining around 9:30pm, it would have taken 2-3 hours to get the pits & track ready to race on, you can't start the racing night at 11:30 - midnight. With the rainout, I did get a chance to mingle with the fans that were camped out (I'd say over 50% of the campers were from Canada, mostly from Winnipeg. I ended up having 1 too many beers with a group of Canadian fans arounf their camp fire and their Betty Boop car.

Saturday, was overcast but a beautiful day with no rain in the forecast, SLS Promotions put on one of their pit parties with hot dogs & drinks and they gave out posters with all the traveling WoO cars on them, and to my surprise, SLS included Work'N Woody on this years poster. I have to give a big thank you to Larry Hilerud for including me on the poster and to SLS for making the posters. The fans loved them and I must have signed over 200 of them during the weekend. The pit party was a huge success, we should do them at all the races when we can. The track was fast and pretty smooth, I really like the track, high banks and a 1/4 mile, my favorite type of track. During the A-Main, Kerry Madsen was lightening fast, he was by far the best car, he had a huge lead and looked like he was going to win a WoO race for his new Aussie car owner Brian Halls, until two cars he was going to lap spun infront of him and he drilled them. He kept it running but tore off the left front shock & shock tower and caused a bunch of front end damage. He tried to restart the race, but it was way too damaged and he spun to a stop in turn 3 after almost causing a huge pileup off of turn 2. With Kerry out, it became a Hall of Fame finish, Steve Kinser 1st, Jac 2nd, and Sammy 3rd (not too many other forms of racing or sports can say their top 3 finishers are all current Hall of Famers), pretty dam amazing.

Sunday, they tried to start the racing program 2 hours early for the Sunday program, but with the sun beating down and it being 90 degrees, the track couldn't handle it and crusted over during qualifying and took rubber in the heats. Which meant Don Mack and his track crew ended up working the track twice for about one hour each time, so we really didn't gain anything by starting early. Hey they tried, but next time I hope we just start on the normal time. The race was a good one, again Madsen was fast and was moving to the front when he and Meyers got together and flipped pretty hard into the turn 4 fence, at the same time the 21K flew off of turn 3 and smaked the J-Barriers below the advertising boards pretty dam hard. When I got to him, he was moving slowly in the car and when I asked him if he was OK, he said he needed the ambulance because he thought he was unconscience for a little bit. With the medics working with him for a while, it allowed Meyers to get to the work area and for his crew the time to piece his car together. Just as the cars lined up double file for the re-start and with the yellow light on, the official in the work area called that the 14 car was ready. I had to come from the infield to the work area to push him off, that caused 3 more yellow flag laps, I didn't think they would get that car fixed in time, DJ and his crew plus a few other teams crews got it done. The race was another good short track race with Joey coming out on top.

Monday, I was up around 9am and after washing Woody, I was on my way to spend a couple days in Madison, SD at my friends (Glen & Jill) place. Madison, SD is where Bonzi grew up and in 2006 he invited me & Randy up there to hangout and I like it so much there and Glen & Jill and Fran (Bonzi's brother) treat me and my girls like family. Selena & I arrived Monday evening around 7pm and we had dinner with Glen & Jill. I promised Selena we would go out on the lake if I got Woody and the RV fixed and running good (that never happened).

Tuesday, I worked on Woody all day, I have been having a issue with Woody since Charlotte, Woody started cutting out at higher rpms when I was using more than half throttle. I kept thinking it was a fuel related problem, so I had changed all the filters, the pump and it still was acting up. So, I decided to change all the fuel lines (thinking I had a fuel line collapsing at high demand), that didn't fix it either, but I still gave Woody a tune up and changed his oil filter. My new altenator arrived for the RV, so I changed it, but after hooking up the wires, it was doing the same thing as the one on the RV, so I kept the switch I had installed and hoped it would work. So, a lot of work with no accomplishment. But, Selena & I did spend a good evening hanging out with Glen & Jill.

Wednesday, Fran was off of work and he is a good mechanic, so I was hoping he could help me get Woody running right. After watching the USA win an exciting soccer game at the World Cup to win their group and move on to the knockout rounds, I walked to Fran's shop where Woody spent the night. I took Fran for a ride to show him what Woody was doing, and wouldn't you know it, Woody didn't act up, typical Woody always trying to make me look foolish. I did still need Fran to weld up Woody's water tank, it had cracked on a prior weld, so after Fran welded it up and I re-installed it, I took Woody out for a drive around town, when I got to the otherside of town, he started acting up again, so I drove him back to Fran's shop. Fran & I determined it wasn't a fuel problem so he suggested it could be the coil or module in the distributer. After changing those, it still didn't fix him, Fran had left, so I drove him back to Glen's and we worked on him there. After some more thought, I thought maybe the wire harness to the computer had a bad wire, so I pulled the computer out and played with the wires and actually was able to find the bad wire. Glen & I could find where the wire was bad, so after playing with it for a while, Glen shoved the wire into the connector and hooked it back up. Well, that must have been it, because he started running good again throught out the whole power band. I could finally drive Woody at full throttle again. The only good thing out of this whole ordeal was, Woody can do everything he needs to at the race track only using half throttle or less, because that is how I had to drive him since Charlotte on May 29th. Thanks WESMAR, you built a great motor 9 yrs ago. Glen grilled some great hamburgers for dinner and I did laundry all night.

Thursday, Selena & I were on the road to McCool Junction, NE. I can't thank Glen, Jill, and Fran for all the great hospitality and help during the 3 days I was there. I'm sorry we never made it out to the lake and now I owe Selena, I have to give her credit, she never complained about not going to the lake or being bored while I worked on everything. It was about a 400 mile drive to the WalMart in York, NE (10 miles from the track). We drove on HWY 83 all the way from Madison, SD to York, NE, it was a nice drive and all the small towns you drive through are pretty cool. It was hot & humid, the motorhome doesn't like that type of weather and the tranny always runs really warm and makes me nervous, but we made it with no further problems.

Friday, I was really looking forward to tonights race at Junction Speedway, the first time ever for the WoO at this track. I have driven by it about 8 times in the last 5 years and always wondered why we weren't racing there. It is a first class facility (except for the pit area surface, can you say dusty, my god it was horrible in the pits), as for the track, two grooves you can't ask for anything better than that. Two push trucks from Eagle came over Bruce & Mike to help out, I'm glad they came, they helped make the show come off better. The racing in the feature was great, watching Brooke Tatnell pull off the perfect slide job on Schatz was classic. It was a great run for Brooke, he put another whooping on the Outlaws. Man what a turnout of fans, I talked to the owner before the main event, he told me that this by far was the largest crowd ever, he said it easily doubled his previous largest crowd. It was a packed house, and all the fans that came down to the pits (a ton) had a great night and really enjoyed the race. Man was it hot, the heat index was 104 degrees during the afternoon and it only cooled off to about 85 degrees during the night, man was it miserable.

Saturday, I was up by 7:30am and on the road to Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City. Only a 270 mile drive, I was on the road by 8am and the temperature was already 90 degrees. I took I-80 to Lincoln, NE and cut across HWY 77 to HWY 2 to I-29. Then it was back driving on I-29 again, I'm starting to not like I-29, but I still have over 600 miles of driving on it in the next week. I arrived at Lakeside Speedway around noon and parked back in the pit area. Man was it a hot miserable humid day, today's heat index was up to 108 degrees, you just don't feel like doing anything in that type of heat. My Mom & Dad warned me about the train tracks you have to cross to get into the track, they told me the trains like to park on the tracks for up to hours sometimes, so they told me to plan on camping out overnight. They were right, a train did park on the track for about an hour after the race, causing a huge back up since there was only one exit from the track. For the 2nd night, it was a standing room only crowd, all the fans enjoyed the race and were glad to see the return of the Outlaws to Lakeside. The race was a pretty good one, Joey dominated early until his engine started running on 7 cylinders, then Steve & Jac caught up with him but couldn't get by. On a restart, both Steve & Jac got by Joey and they put on a great race as Joey hung on in third as the engine started to eat itself as the laps rans down. With 4 laps left Joey's engine finally failed in a big ball of fire, Joey drove the car to the backstraight where he knew I was parked and stopped right near me and I was able to put the fire out with my little fire bottle I carry, thank goodness for Cold Fire. With Joey falling out, the checkered flag waved on another Hall of Fame finish, Steve, Jac, Sammy. About an hour after the races, I went back to my RV to grab a beer when I noticed water running out of the compartment where the hot water heater and water pump is located. Upon further inspection, the water line burst that goes to the hot water heater, thank god I carry extra water lines and I was able to replace the line and I still had enough water for everyone to take a shower, because we definitely needed to take one. Later that night I walked out to talk with Gene & Starla, when I found out that Gene had just found out about a family emergancy back in New Mexico, after letting Gene know if he needed anything, I would be there to help, Selena, Payton (Dollansky's daughter stayed with us for the night) and I walked back to the RV. After the girls took there showers, I went to take my shower when no water came out when I turned it on. After assuming that Selena used all the water and getting a little upset with her, I heard the water pump screaming again, yep the line I replaced came off again (I guess I didn't get it on right the first time). I still had a little bit of water left and I was able to take the quickest shower I think I have ever taken, but at least I was clean. We spent the night in the stifiling heat again. You just gotta love Kansas & Nebraska during the summer, yuk.

Well, it's getting late (it is 1:30am) and I'm getting tired of thinking of things to write about. Look for another blog entry tomorrow, and then I will finally get this blog back into current times.

Again, I want to thank all the fans for supporting me and Work 'N Woody and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. So, until my next blog, stay safe and keep all four wheels on the ground.

Work 'N Woody,
"Just Push'n Off"