Camped at Skagit

I'm back, I finally got motivated to write a blog and catch everybody up on my travels since I left Minot, ND. Right now it is Saturday afternoon and I'm camped at Skagit Speedway watching NASCAR qualifying. The weather looks like it is going to be a good night for racing. Today I was up around 9am and I went to breakfast with Walt Carmichael, we had a good breakfast in Burlington, WA at the Blueberry Cafe, even if Walt had to pay .75 cents for salsa on his omlette, and all he got was a little tiny dish (the size of a ketchup cup at Mcdonalds), thats ok, we took it out of the waitress' tip. After we got back to the track, the sun was out so I finally washed Woody, when I say finally I mean the last time I washed Woody was after Minot. Hopefully Steve Beitler won't mind that I left a little bit of Edmonton & Cottage Grove at his track. Well, I guess its time to see what I was up to for the past 12 days.

Tuesday Aug. 24th, I was up around 9am and on the road by 10am. I stopped at the Schatz Crossroads Truckstop and contributed to the Schatz family fortune by purchasing $150 worth of Diesel. That put me on the road around 11am to the border town of Portal, ND. It definitely was a shitty day to drive, I bucked a steady 40mph headwind on HWY 52 to Portal. 40mph is bad enough, but the 60mph gust really sucked. I had to drive in 5th gear, 6th gear wouldn't maintain 60mph without bouncing back and forth between 5th & 6th. I made it to the border around 12:30pm there wasn't any line, so I took my shot and hoped I wouldn't get harassed. I cleared immigration without any issues and then went to customs and they wanted to inspect the MH & Trailer. I just hoped they wouldn't make a big deal about my t-shirts & diecasts that I carry. They inspected my trailer and then spent about 30 minutes inspecting my MH, I mean they looked in every cabinet, they kept asking me where my guns were, I kept saying I didn't have one or own one. They didn't believe me because I was a military veteran and they thought every veteran carried a gun. After they finished my MH, they gave me the green light and let me continue on my way to Edmonton. The further north I traveled the slower the winds got, and by the time I got to Moose Jaw, the winds had died down to about 10mph. I spent the night in Moose Jaw at the WalMart, during the night I was awoken by a noise I hadn't heard in a while, my propane heaters came on, my thermostats are set at 50 degrees. It has been a longtime since I had heard the heaters. But I did sleep good in the cool weather.

Wednesday I wanted to be on the road by 8:30am, however I didn't wake up until 9:30am, oh well such is the life when you don't have to be somewhere at an exact time. I was on the road around 10:30am and on my way to Edmonton. Saskatchawan (probably misspelled, Canadiens, please don't cruisfy me), is a pretty boring drive through the plains, and the bugs are horendus (honey bees, butterflies, and grass hoppers, big ones), it was a hot day with light winds, I ran the motorhome pretty hard for me, I set the cruise for 68mph and hoped the tranny would do ok. Did ok it did, the temp never got over 195 and everytime I stopped, it didn't shutter like the converter was staying engaged. Needless to say, I was very happy and relieved. Also, with it being a hot sunny day, it was a good test for my frig, it warmed up a little bit, but not as warm as it had been getting. So, it appears those two problem might be fixed. It was a 500 mile drive to the Castrol Raceway, I arrived at the track around 6pm and met up with Jim & Luci, Frank & Cathy, Bill & Lynda, and Eloy, so everyone made it into Canada without any issues, Yeah. That night I parked in the back by the drag strip over by Greg and his group and hung out with them by there Dutch Elm (inside joke for Greg) fire pit. Greg owns the Goodyear Fountain Tire there by the track in Nisku, AB. After that long drive, I could barley see out the window due to the bugs, man it was bad, it took me about 1 hour to clean the front of my RV, there was bug juice everywhere. Scientists might be saying that the honey bee population is dying off, well I can assure them that they are pretty damn healthy in Saskatchawan, Canada.

Thursday I was up around 9am and moved over to behind the drag strip start line in the staging area, with the possibility of rain all weekend, it was nice to be camped on pavement. Greg let me barrow his Goodyear decaled Ford F150 all day so i could go to West Edmonton's Mall (billed as the largest mall in the world). Greg reads my blogs and knew I wanted to do that, so thank you Greg. I talked Starla into going with me, so we ditched Gene (so he had to wash the truck & trailer and restock the trailer by himself), wasn't that nice of me to take Starla away from him for a few hours. Starla and I walked around the whole mall, if it isn't the largest mall, it is definitely close to it, besides it having over 300 clothing stores, it has a full size ice skating rink, full size water park, bowling alley, shooting range, movie theater complex, minature golf course, kid playland, sea lion aquarium (complete with show every 2 hours), and much much more. We were definietly pooped when we left. We got back to the track around 5pm and picked up Gene to go out to dinner. When we left for dinner the tempature outside was around 80 degrees, when we got to the resturaunt, the temp had dropped to around 55 degrees, when they say a cold front is coming in Edmonton, they mean it. I don't think I have ever experienced a drop of over 25 degrees in a 15 minute span, crazy, well in Canada it was only a 5 degree drop (cellcius that is, you do the math to figure it out). We had a great dinner and even better conversation and then headed back to the track. I dropped the truck back off to Greg and made it back to my RV before the rain started. I had a good day just relaxing and not worrying about my transmission or frig, a stress free day for me, it has been a while since I had one of those. However for Bill & Lynda, it wasn't so stress free, Bill felt his chest tightening after walking over to the track and didn't feel so good, so Frank took them to the hospital where Bill was eventually seen by the doctors. The doctor thought Bill was experiencing blockages in his arteries and wanted to do a angieogram, well since Bill thought he did have any insurance coverage in Canada, he checked himself out and came back to their motorhome. I went over there when I saw them get back, I tried to convince them to leave that night and head back to the USA to be seen there where he has insurance.

Friday, I woke up to blue skies and cool temps, but a good day for racing. I saw Eloy hooking back up to his scoreboard and I knew he, Bill & Lynda where heading for Seatlle where Bill made an appointment with a doctor. We all were very concerned about Bill and were hoping everything would go good and they would make it to Seatlle without anymore complications. After all that, I was going to relax in my RV until it was time to go to work, when I checked the servicing levels on my generator, I noticed the fuel pump was still running and the hour meter was running without the generator on. Now I had to troubleshoot it, not my specialty, after pulling all the relay's one at a time, I still couldn't get the fuel pump to quit, so I finally just cut the wire and put some ends on it so I could still use it. In the process of troubleshooting, I shorted out the start relay, so now to start my generator, I have to go outside connect the fuel pump wire, install the relay for the hour meter and then add a jumper wire for the start switch to work, but on the bright side, the generator does run. After all that, I was late for work, but I didn't miss much, the wind was blowing about 25mph so the decision was made not to put up the balloons, so there wasn't much to set up. Also, I found out Justin wasn't going to make it, because he had a sinus infection and when he flew from Pensacola to Houston, he started to bleed out of his ear, so he rented a car and headed back to P'cola to rest and get his sinus' looked at. I think all he wanted a to spend more time with Alisha back at their apartment. 26 cars showed up, not bad for being that far north where they don't race any 410's ever, except for when we are there. It was good to see Tim Gee again (he didn't race) and Jason Solwold. The racing at Castrol Raceway is normally been really good, it is a racy little track, long straights with sharp turns and the straights are kinda narrow. The main event was a good race with some unusual things that you don't normally see happen. Jason Meyers was easily the fastest car out there, you could just tell he was fast, Steve jumped out to a good lead but Jason was coming fast, after a restart, Jason got a run on Steve in 3 & 4 and slid Steve, causing Steve to have to get on the brakes hard which caused Steve to spinout by himself, well everything was going to be ok until Joey had no where to go and plowed right into Steve, braking his RR pretty good and popping Steve's LR. I got Joey's car to the work area, but his crew was unable to fix all the damage in the 2 minutes afforded him, so he lost quite a bit of his point lead on Steve (who made it back to 9th I think) and Jason. Schatz came from kinda deep in the field and finished in the top 5 and gained a bunch of points also. It was Jason's first win without DJ Lindsey, who left the team after Knoxville, so it was good for Jason, Brian & Glen. It got pretty damn cold, when I went to bed, the temp was around 45 degrees, for christ sake, it is August, I shouldn't have to wear a jacket.

Saturday, the forecast was for cold temps and rain, well they got the cold part right, the rain was really spotty, it basically depended on what cloud came over the track, it rained a little bit on and off all day, but not enough to cause any type of delay. We started qualifying and there was one cloud that definitely had rain in it and you could see it coming, I was just praying we would get qualifying in before it hit us. Well, we did get qualifying in and the cloud just skirted us and we barely got any rain, just a heavy mist. The rest of the night, it was just damn cold, I had to put thermals on under my pants and I had my jacket on since 5pm, crazy shit for August. The race was again a good one, the track was dryer, but it had two grooves (right on the bottom & right on the fence), Sam Hefertepe Jr was fast and started on the pole, he jumped out to a big lead and it looked like he might finally get a his well deserved first win. Sam survived a couple restarts and had a good lead until his car started to get a little loose and Donny caught him in lapped traffic and poked his nose under Sam, but Sam picked up the pace and kept his lead, then Joey caught him and passed him, but Sam fought right back and got the lead back and put two lapped cars between them, with 5 laps to go I was rooting hard for Sam, but in one lap Joey was right back on his bumper and passed him the next lap and Joey went on to win his 12th of the year and gain a few points back on Steve & Jason. Donny finished 2nd I think with Sam getting 3rd, Donny continued his top 5 assault, don't look now, but I think Donny doesn't want to give up his championship just yet. Even though the tempature was very cold, the fans that came back to the pits all had smiles on their faces and kept asking if we were coming back next year. So I know they had a good time, which makes it worth it to travel that far north. I knew I had to get up early the next morning, so I loaded up Woody and tried to get to bed somewhat early, my head hit my pillow around 1am.

Sunday, I was up around 7am hoping that Frank & Jim wasn't waiting on me to leave, because they did say they wanted to leave at 8am, well Frank's 8am normally means 7:30am. Well, we were on the road at 7:45am, our goal for the day was to reach Kamloops, BC, it was about 500 miles of driving through some of Gods most beautiful mountain valleys in the world. The drive was gorgous except when we hit rain for a bunch of it, the tempature was still cold outside around 47 degrees, so my transmission was liking that. We drove 500 miles and only stopped once, when your traveling with Frank, you either travel at his pace or get left behind. I got left behind on a couple of the climbs, but they did kinda wait up for me, except for the last 100 miles, I got stuck behind a slow travel trailer and couldn't ever get a good shot at passing, so i fell about 20 miles behind them. But, we all did meet up at the WalMart in Kamloops, they already had cocktails in their hands by the time I arrived. I was really proud of my motorhome, it drove flawlessly all day. We all ate dinner at the steakhouse by WalMart, watching Cathy eat all you can eat ribs was amazing, I would have never guessed she could eat that much meat, my hats off to you Cathy. After dinner we all headed for our own RV's and called it a night and agreed 8:30am would be our target take off time in the morning. I knew that for Frank, that meant 8am. I watch Big Brother and a little bit of the Emmy's and called it a night around 11pm.

Well, it is getting close to race time here at Skagit, so I'm going to end this for now and i will continue it Sunday night.

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"