Almost to Pevely

See, I can keep my word, sometimes. As promised, the rest of the story. Selena and I are camped at the huge Village Square Mall in Effingham, IL. When I say huge, it is massively small, it should be called a 6 store strip mall, but hey it does have a JC Penny, we came here because it has the only movie theater in town, I didn't realize Effingham was such a small town. We did go see the movie "Grown Ups" with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, & David Spade. It was pretty funny, I'm glad the tickets only cost $6.25. Our other choice was "Dinner with Schmucks", please don't tell me it was a funnier movie. So, we are camped at this huge Mall for the night. I will leave around 8am and hopefully arrive at I-55 around 11am. Well, lets get on with last weeks trials & tribulations.

I left off yesterday's blog ending on Monday night on my way to Quebec, Canada. Tuesday morning I was up by 7am so I could fill Woody up with fuel and find a place to dump my tanks and fill up with fresh water. I called Bill and found out I could do that at the campground they stayed at, so I headed that way. After filling up with water, it was off to the border, which we got to about 30 minutes behind Bill & Lynda, and Eloy, when I got up to cross, I could see their motorhome in the inspection area and just hoped that I wouldn't have any issues getting across. When it was my turn to enter Canada, I really didn't have any problems, but I did get grilled on if Selena's mother knew that she was coming into Canada, she asked me if I had a certified letter from Selena's mother (my wife Donna) stating I had permission to, which I didn't have (and hadn't needed the past 4 years). Then she asked me a bunch more questions about our family life and finally let us across the border. So, if you are bringing your child across the border by yourself, you will have way less trouble if you have a certified letter from the other parent. After we got into Canada, I stopped at the first rest area (about 2 miles in) and waited to see if Bill, Lynda, & Eloy would make it across. After about an hour wait, they drove on by and we headed to Drummondville, Quebec. Everything on the motorhome even the tranny was running great and I was hoping everything was fixed, well not so fast, about 40 miles from Drummondville, the tranny temp started creeping up and I knew it was starting to screw up again, and sure enough when I got off the hwy and came to a stop the tranny vibrated like it had in the past. So, I guess i will just drive it till it fails. We got to the track around noon and when I went to get Woody off the trailer, I realized I never turned the fuel pump off (over 40 hours), so the battery was deader than dead. Thank god Frank & Cathy Carr came over from Vancouver, BC to join up with us through the Gold Cup, because Frank brought his car over to jump Woody, but Woody's battery was so dead, Woody wouldn't even turn over. So, I got out my battery charger and turned it on to the 75amp setting and along with Frank's car, Woody finally turned over and fired right up. Hopefully I won't forget to turn the fuel pump off again. Man those crazy French Canadians showed up in droves, SLS was promoting the race and (get ready to hold on to your socks) charged $65 for pit passes and $60 for reserved seating and $55 for general admission, so for everyone in the USA that bitches about ticket prices, be thankful you don't live in Quebec. The pits must of had 2,000 fans and the grandstand was full with around 5,000 people, all of them having a good time all night long. The craziest thing I have ever seen was the beer & liquer sales concession stand in the pits with a sign that said, "2 drink maximum for drivers". I think it was a first to give the drivers a breathalizer test when they came across the scales after the A-Main. As for the track, it was a nice facility, but the track lighting was horrible, turns 1 & 2 were very dark with just a few lights about every 40 ft. Lets just say turn 3 & 4 at Calistoga would look bright comparatively. They had a 15 minute fireworks display before an elaborate driver introduction using a spot light, I thought it was great, I think we need more of that to get the fans more involved during driver into's. As for the race, Steve was the class of the field with the two Kahne cars in tow. All in all, it was a great night of racing, the fans had a good time and we put on a great show with only 20 cars. I'm glad that we didn't have any bad accidents, because the ambulance & tow truck drivers didn't speak much english, that might have been an issue, but I'm sure everything would have worked out.

Wednesday morning I was up around 10am and had planned to drive to one of my sponsors (Outhouse Image & Designs) shop, they are in Canada and I thought they were located between Toronto & Ohsweken, but when I plugged their address in the Garmin, I found out they were closer to Detroit than they were to Ohsweken, so I had to call and cancel going to their shop and make new plans. I decided to make Thursday a day for Selena, since this year we hadn't done anything fun for her. So I stopped at an information place and gave her, her choice of either going to the Toronto Zoo and Harry Potter Exhibition or go to Canada's largest amusement park "Canada's Wonderland" basically like King's Island in Cincinnatti. However, before we could do that on Thursday, we needed to do laundry, so we drove to Oshawa, Ont (20 miles east of Toronto) and found a laundramat, maybe not the best area in Canada, but we survived the laundry and spent the night at a WalMart in the nicer part of Oshawa.

Thursday we were up by 8am and off to Canada's Wonderland, we arrived at the park around 9:30am got parked and bought our tickets, I have to thank the nice gal who was at the ticket window, I asked if they would honor my US Military ID card for a discount (fully expecting her to say no), but to my surprise, she did and saved me $50. We had a great time, the weather was perfect, the temp was around 75-80 degrees, no hunidity, and a light breeze, the park was only about 1/2 full, so we were able to ride every roller coaster with the longest wait being 35 minutes, we couldn't of asked for a better day. We left the park around 7pm and headed for Ohsweken Speedway, we arrived at the track arount 10:30pm and we couldn't park in the camping area because it was still too soft from the 4 inches of rain they got on Wednesday, so I parked in the pits on the rock road for the night. Hoping that we would have good weather for Friday & Saturday, Ohsweken Speedway could use good weather for the WoO races, since we haven't had that yet in the 4 years we have been going up there.

Friday morning I was up around 9am, off loaded Woody and washed him, finally getting all the Williams Grove, Lebanon Valley, & Drummondville dirt off of him, man did he need a good washing. I got the motorhome parked in the camping area and everything was looking great for the weekend. I got Eloy's scoreboard placed and helped put up the inflatables before relaxing for a couple hours before the driver's meeting. The weather was great and we had a great night of racing, Jason Sides has the golden horse shoe shoved up his ass everytime we are there, he drew a good qualifying pill, and the dash draw invert put him on the front row for the dash, which he won. Jason shot into the lead and just put a good ol fashioned ass whoop'n on the field, for his third win at the track. Which, he should have won both races last year if he hadn't cut his RR when leading. I know his luck was good, but there was no doubt he was the class of the field all night.

Saturday morning I was up at 7am to go to breakfast with Dean & Jimmy (from Outhouse Image & Design) and Ken & Cheryl Pelkie from the track in Brantford. We had a great breakfast & conversation and as we were leaving, I noticed the sky getting darker & darker, I asked Ken & Cheryl what the forecast was and if it was going to rain, they said we shouldn't have any rain issues. Well, just as we walked out of the restourant, it started spiting on us, as we drove back to the track, it stopped raining but you could see it following us. Sure enough, the rains came around 11am and rained for over an hour, heavy at times, just what we didn't need, but it wouldn't be Ohsweken without the wet stuff to make it a total mess. It stopped raining long enough to get all the teams in the pits and have the drivers meeting, then the rains came again for about 30 minutes, so we delayed and just as they got the track back and the pits usable, the rains came again, canceling the night of racing and postponing it to Sunday night. However, where most of the haulers parked, most of them had to be pulled out by tractors, making it for a miserable time for everyone. Glenn Styers and his track staff just can't ever catch a break, they have a great facility, great personnel, and great fans.

Sunday I woke to a beautiful day, blue skies and warm weather, a perfect day to get ready for a race. The sun shined all day and dried the pits enough to park the rigs without the risk of them getting stuck again. I really didn't do too much all day, just kinda relaxed and walked around the camping area, I watched some of the Pocono race on TV up until I headed to work. Jason Side's golden horse shoe finally fell out of his ass, he didn't draw a good pill and then just missed the dash draw invert by one spot, so he started the dash in the 9th spot. However, he was still fast and in the A-Main, he moved up to a top 5 finish. Donny Schatz finally showed his form from the past 4 years, you could just tell he was fast from the drop of the green flag. He worked his way to top spot and then drove away from the field. Maybe this win will get him going and he can make it a four way fight for the championship. Well, it was an OK crowd for the rain date, but they sure could use a good bunch of great weather for next years races. After the races, I knew my motorhome was stuck in the mud, so I got Eloy to move his motorhome so I could get the tractor to pull me out by hooking up to my trailer and pulling me backwards to dryer ground. After getting unstuck, I parked back down in the pits and had a good nights sleep.

Monday morning I woke up around 9am and washed Woody, it took me about 2 hours to get Woody clean and loaded up on his trailer. So, Selena and I were off to Niagara Falls to cross back into the good ol USA at the Rainbow Bridge. Everytime I cross that bridge, it is simply amazing how beautiful the Falls are, definitely worth while as the distinction as one of the "7 Wonders of the World". It took us about 45 minutes to get across the bridge and across the border into the USA, and then it was off to Fulton Speedway in Fulton, NY. I decided to drive north to HWY 104 and drive across northern NY instead of taking the Thruway, it saved a bunch of money and is a way more scenic drive. As I drove into Lewiston, NY (20 miles north of the Falls) I passed by the border crossing and saw Frank & Cathy and Bill, Lynda & Eloy, they had left Ohsweken about 2 hours ahead of me, so i made the right choice in border crossings, thankfully something finally went right for me. The three of us finally hooked up and we all traveled together to Rochester, NY where we stopped for dinner at Applebee's. After a good dinner, we headed to the WalMart for some much needed resupply of food. After completing my shopping, I noticed a laundramat right across the street, so I decided to spend the night there at the WalMart and do some laundry, so now I can make it to Oskaloosa on clean clothes, I won't have to do laundry prior to I-55 when I will also be driving 900 miles in two days, or have to get up early on Saturday either.

Tuesday, I was up around 9am and off to Fulton Speedway, I highly recommend HWY 104 as a must drive across northern NY, the road was smooth, clean, and the scenery was beautiful, the old farms mixed with the new farms and 90% of them where all well maintained and looking great. We arrived at the track around 11am and I unloaded Woody and waited for everyone to arrive. The weather was blue skies and warm and humid, looking at the forecast there was a small storm heading right for us, with an arrival time around 6pm. Well, after helping get everything set up, I went back to my RV to eat dinner and get my uniform on, just as I was ready to get in Woody and drive to the pits, it started raining, it rained for about 15 minutes and not to hard, but hard enough to make the pit area a mess. It could have been worse, but just as the storm approached the area it broke up into just a small rain shower. After about a 2hr delay, we finally warmed up the engines and was getting ready for hotlaps when a second rain shower came by, again delaying everything for another hour and making the pits a muddy muddy mess. After this shower, the weather was clear and it was time to go racing. For the weather and it being on a Tuesday, I couldn't believe the crowd that showed up, I'd say the stands were about 2/3 full. The track was fast and was perfect for the main event, there was two grooves and room for slide jobs. Doug Esh ran out to a big lead and looked like he might get his 2nd win in the R19 in 10 days, somewhere around lap 20 Steve chased Doug down in lapped traffic and passed him, Doug tried to keep pace, but Steve wasn't going to give the lead back. The battle between Esh, Dollansky, Kraig Kinser, & Saldana for 2nd through 5th was amazing to watch when they were in lapped traffic, then around lap 25 Sides started picking them off one by one using the bottom groove until he was in second and realing Steve in quickly. Then Jason got the break he needed, Lasoski spun in turn 4 to bring a yellow out with 3 laps to go. On the double file restart, Sides killed Steve in turns 1 & 2 and was past Steve into thurn 3, after the field had cleared turn 1, the flagman was the only one to see Doug Esh had crashed in turn 1. I found out later that Dollansky basically put Doug into the wall on the restart. Well, with Esh crashing, that meant a new restart and still 3 laps to go, well WoO states that id there is a crash on a double file restart, the next subsequent restart will be single file with the cone, well that is what Steve needed to keep Jason at bay and he went on to win with Sides 2nd and Dollansky 3rd. After all the rain delay's, it ended up being a great night of racing. Meyers blew a U-Joint on his one qualifying lap and decided to change cars, which by rule meant he had to start every race he qualified for from the last spot, he made it to 5th in his heat race and finished 8th in the feature after starting 24th. Salvaging a decent night after a disastorous start in qualifying.

Yesterday I woke up around 9am and washed Woody, man was he a mess. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to get Woody clean and ready to travel. After loading him up on the his trailer, we were off on our 900 mile trek to I-55 Speedway for the 2nd Annual Ironman 55. This time I took the Thruway to Buffalo and then to Erie, PA. We stopped at the last service area on the Thruway to eat and when we got back to the motorhome, a couple parked their 5th wheel next to us and was trying to remove a flat tire on the trailer. He was having a pretty tough time using the primative tools he had, so I broke out my tools and helped him get it off. It took us about 20 minutes to get the piece of tire that had wrapped itself around the axel, but we managed to get it clear and then I used my motorhome's air to fill up his other tire up about 15psi, so he could limp home on one tire on the driver's side of the trailer. So, I did my good deed for the day, hopefully when my tranny starts to go bad, carma will come around and work in my favor. Well, Selena and I ended up in Madison, OH for the night.

Today was just a long day of driving, we made it to Effingham, IL by 6pm, which gave us time to eat and catch a movie. After the movie, we watched the results show for "So You Think You Can Dance", and as I predicted, Kent, Loren, and Robert will be dancing for the title next week. I think Kent will win, and that will be quite amazing for a farm boy from Wapakoneta, OH, but I am rooting for Loren, she can dance her ass off. Well, it is way later than I had planned to stay up, so I'd better end this blog and get some needed sleep for tomorrow. Now you are all caught up with what Selena & I have been up to and hopefully I will have time to write my next blog after the Nationals.

One last note, I want to welcome Aggressive Hydraulics for coming onboard Woody for the rest of the year, and welcome Engler Machine & Tool and BOSMA Poultry, Inc. for coming onboard Woody's wing panels for Terry McCarl's races at Oskaloosa and the 50th Knoxville Nationals. I can't thank Paul Johnson, Tim Engler, and Loren Bosma enough for their support of me and Woody. If any of you are coming to the Nationals, please come by and say hi, if its after the races, stop by and have a beer with me. Looking forward to a great Nationals.

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"