Friday, June 24, 2005

SpeedWorld on sale!

Check out your local bookstore (the big ones like Barnes & Noble) for SpeedWorld Magazine with Jimmie Johnson's #48 on the cover. Inside you will find driver interviews and articles about your favorite teams. And most the SpeedRead section you will find an article "How NASCAR Saved Us $$" by S.D. Grady. That's me!I had to toot my horn and hope that you will give the magazine a shot. I'm already winding up to submit another article for the next issue due out in September.Catch ya'll later (after qualifying) ...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Want to see more?

A few more photos of our weekend at Pocono and more NASCAR related entries are located @

Carl Edwards- the Winner!- during Practice Posted by Hello

Sunday June 12, 2005


Don’t go to the pits on Sunday at Pocono. We didn’t see anything. We stood nose to back with thousands of other fans trying to walk on pit lane. Rich and I shortly gave up trying to take photos of pit boxes, etc. and returned to the RV for lunch. I felt sorry for anybody on a guided tour, they wouldn’t have seen anything, either.

The race:

Our seats were at the entrance to pit road about five rows down from the Terrace Club. Not bad. We could see a decent amount of the track and the Nextel Vision definitely assisted us in watching the action. The benches are narrow with no backs. You can rent a cushioned seat with a back for $7.00. I dunno $80 and I need to spend more to sit marginally comfy? Gimme a break.

Carl Edwards! I got to watch him do a backflip! He definitely had the dominant car. He worked his way from the rear of the field, slowly eating up the competition. The other leaders, notably Vickers and Waltrip, drove away from the field. Edwards was the only one that actually caught the leader- three times over.

Maybe the new gear rules required some rookie mentality to figure it all out. Edwards was told repeatedly by his spotter to just stand on the pedal. That worked. When Vickers saw Edwards coming for the second time, he cried over the radio “How many times could I shift every lap and not hurt the engine?”

He was told, “Zero.”

There was a pause…he despondently replied, “Oh.”

The end of it all was staring him in the rear view mirror. This was Carl’s day.

Bad days…there were a few. Lil E’- had three tires go flat on him. His radio was awful silent after the first one caused him to lose the lead lap.

Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Ricky Rudd, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Scott Riggs all suffered various tire and engine maladies. Bobby Labonte’s Lap 199 crash was beyond cruel. Jason Leffler as well- none of that was anyone’s fault. Good video from the wreck, though.

Jeff Gordon. A 9th place finish was a hard day’s work. Impressive in its refusal to give up. Hendrick in general had a great day: Vickers 2nd, Busch 5th, Johnson 7th, Gordon 9th and even Terry Labonte 12th. If that isn’t dominance, I don’t know what is.

Vickers, Busch and Johnson had cars that were simply as good as where they finished. The entire day was spent generally in the same spot.

Biffle! How could I forget! His engine! Jimmie gets to keep his lead.

Tires…Goodyear said the cars were running too far down and the rumble strips were chewing up the front lefts. That’s supposedly why we say so many dramatic blow-outs. I guess we’ll see what happens when the Cup series returns to Pocono in a few more weeks.

Well, I guess that’s about it. Burgers are cooking and the traffic jam is on.

My ultimate decision: Pocono is well worth visiting. Watching the race here is no better or worse than other facilities I’ve visited. If you want up-close action, then visit a local track. But if you want to see the big boys, enjoy yourself in the Pocono mountains. say the least

Yesterday, after setting up, cooking supper and generally looking forward to the rest of the weekend, Mother Nature stuck her nose into the mix, again.In the form of a severe thunderstorm.

The clouds built for hours, looking black but skirting us to the south- away behind the Grandstands. Then it came. High winds, steady rain. We pulled down the awning (the pair of newlyweds down the way already had theirs blow over the top of the RV, bending parts and shattering a roof vent.) We generally secured the site. Then sat down.

Rich asked, “Do you think I should take down the flags?”Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. We agreed that now would not be a good time to do that. Water came down in sideways sheets (again), wind howled and the skies flickered. We lost sight of the grandstands. If you take a look at the attached photo, that’s pretty significant. We sat on our dinette listening to the torrents. Then a flash of light, a bang that reverberated in our skulls and a strange tingling sensation remained on my tongue.We looked at each other. Did we? Nah…we didn’t. Did we?

When the skies let up we poked our heads out of the trailer and about 5 neighbors were running over to us. Yes, apparently we did get hit.Our flag pole served nicely as the point of entry. Our trailer, I believe, served as an insulated cage for us, but the refrigerator propane ignition system and the AC/DC converter died. We found the ground of the bolt at the base of the DirecTV dish. The truck has an assortment of idiot lights on as well. I guess we’ll find out how crucial they are on Monday, on our way home. The neighbor’s air conditioning fried, as well.

Meanwhile, we are grateful, once again, for our little generator. It is keeping our food at least reasonably cold. We probably won’t be keeping up with racing stuff on the TV, though. *sigh* And we’ll be going to bed early, unless I manage a cheerful campfire for entertainment. Yep, I think we are really camping.

Pocono also has this silly idea that once you are in the infield, you stay for the weekend. They have a saying, “The only way out is in the back of an ambulance or a police cruiser.” It’s OK. We have enough gas to keep the generator running for a good deal of the time and I have books with me.

This morning, Mother Nature continued to tease us with fog. Again, the grandstands were nowhere to be seen. We doubted that practice would arrive. Jet dryers were deployed even as sprinkles continued to rain down. But the racing gods were here to cooperate today.

Seeing a race at Pocono:The grandstand is humungous! It runs almost the entire length of the straightaway. You will definitely need binoculars to see anything anywhere else on the track. You need binoculars just to see the other end of the front stretch!Watching the race from the infield: While it’s a neat idea, you won’t see much unless you have a platform on top of your RV. And even then, you’ll be following little ants in a circle for the majority of the day. However, for somebody who has never actually watched a race from the infield, it’s entertaining and unique. And you’ll be paying as much for infield access (or more) than if you bought the family grandstand tickets.

Pit/Paddock Access:OK. I have done this at Watkins Glen and Atlanta. It’s cool. Pay $30 and you’re allowed behind pit wall on pit lane while the cars practice. This is awesome! And Pocono has the Paddock Areas. These are wonderfully conceived in a manner that encourages fan access. The fenced Paddock areas are facing the Cup garages. You get to watch your favorite driver’s team get their car ready. Then there is the Paddock Alley. A perfect vantage from which to watch the cars come and go during practice and qualifying. Though I prefer pit road for qualifying.

Today, after returning from first Cup practice, an ARCA car smashed into the wall at the exit to Turn 3. Repairs had to be made to the wall. I found it amusing that we used to get out torches and lengths of guardrail when repairing the wall was needed. Today we toss large bits of pink Styrofoam around and off we go. Progress.

We’ll be watching the ARCA race tomorrow from our campsite. It’s plenty loud. Later!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tadpoles and Sunshine

We went driving down the scenic roads of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. At a picnic stop we climbed down to the river to see what would be seen. Tadpoles! By the thousands in the slow shallows. And some deer tracks. The air was heavy and hot. Shortly we climbed back in the truck and set out for some "park approved" overlooks.

This was disappointing. On Rte. 611 all the overlooks are now overgrown. Trees block any view of the river and the cliffs that form the Gap. It looks like the only way to see it is from the water. This is fine, its better for the river. But the overlooks should be taken off the tourist maps.

Tonight, sit by the pool and do some final grocery shopping for the track. Catch ya'll next week!
Delaware River near Delaware River Gap Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Camelback Mountain

As usual, Richard left the daily planning to me. I read about Camelback Mountain. There's an auto road that loops around the summit and a restaurant. We went. And as usual I wanted to do a little bit of hiking.

Now, I have this tendancy for choosing nearly vertical or extensive hikes. And considering that neither of us is in good shape, it normally results in a lot of moaning. Yesterday I did well with the waterfalls. Some stairs and climbing, but no backwoods adventures. I ran out of luck today.

The hike on the state park map indicated it was a 1.3 mile loop suitable for biking. It didn't say anything about ups and downs, except not to take the RED trail. This was the orange trail. I figured it couldn't be too bad. However, as the descent continued downward for more than fifteen minutes, I started to worry. Then there were the rocks, large boulders really. And the moss covered, leaf covered slopes. We weren't complaining until we reached the bottom of the loop and started back up.... I suppose I've never mountain biked, so I just don't understand how that was a bike path.

Besides all that, the view was well worth it, if hazy. The Pocono Mountains lay beneath us in all directions in a dense green carpet. White fluffy clouds slowly crossed the sky, earning our forgiveness for the intense thunderstorms of last night. Birds and chipmunks skittered nearby. Fairly bucolic.

And finally. The mountain laurel is nearly blooming everywhere. Next week it will be a bright infusion of pink and white amidst the green scrub oaks.

Ants- everywhere there were ants. We stopped at one anthill to watch the army trying to shove a thick white grub down the hill. The grub didn't want to go. A tortuous death for sure.

After the hike, we were ready for lunch. Except the summit restaurant was closed...we ended up getting some pizza in town. Great Stuff. Look for Amici's Pizza when in Tannersville.
Mountain Laurel on top of Camelback Mountain 06/07/05 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Moss Covered Ravine

Today, with thunderstorms threatening for the late afternoon, we set out for something fun and short to do. We found Bushkill Falls. As you can see, beautiful. We chose the moderate trail and the stairs were plenty challenging.

The deep ravine is covered in rhododendron, moss, lichen, ferns and Spruce. It reminded us of walking through those "tropical islands" in some of the larger zoos. The roar of the falls was broken only by the purr of a generator. Repairs were being made on the many man-made bridges and stairways that make this point of interest accessible to the usual tourist.

For the stout hiker, there is a path that leads up to another set of falls. We didn't take the challenge.

With temps in the high 80's and thick humidity, we were puffing after two hours of exploration. We wanted to find lunch. We stopped at a local "diner". It was really nothing more than a bar. A few regulars were taking a liquid lunch while we munched on our sandwiches.

The rains arrived. Lots of wind and sideways sheets of water. The lights flickered repeatedly. The bartender lady got a call her house had lost power. We figured the campground would be in similar straights. That's OK. We brought the Lord of the Rings and a generator for rainy day entertainment.

We saw another live deer today. That's 2. I hope we balance the sheet by the end of the week.
Bushkill Falls, PA Posted by Hello

An afterthought

A little bit later…

There was this strange boom. Maybe somebody shot the bagpipe player…

Another boom. That must be the bagpipes.

Mount Vista Campground- Poconos

The sun has set over the woods of the Pocono Mountains and one of our RV neighbors is playing the Flintstones on his bagpipes…need I say more?

This has been the first true weekend of the Summer; meaning the sun was actually shining and the temperature climbed into the 80’s. Surely a good omen for our vacation. We left Haverhill about 10:30 this morning and headed west. The still new Chevy Silverado Duramax Diesel handled the Appalachian Mountains and Pocono Mountains without a thought. Why we ever thought that the little Dodge Dakota could pull a trailer…I guess we were wishing.

Oh deer…

As the miles flew by we saw more roadkill than ever before. By the time we turned onto Rte. 402 in Pennsylvania we counted 6 dead deer on the side of the road. In my experience, a dead deer is usually no more than an ugly puddle of blood in the road. These poor creatures had all been flung to the breakdown lane in one piece. I was thinking it must be a population explosion to see this many expired deer.

Finally we turned into the campground and saw a live deer nibbling on the edge of the woods. I guess this is a good place. The deer are alive.

Our cell phone doesn’t work out here. It’s 40 miles to the interstate and the town is so small it boasts one of those General Store/Hunting License/Post Office/Luncheonette/Propane and Gifts stores. I’m looking forward to poking my nose into it. The bullfrogs are making noise in the pond and they apparently share it with several koi “THIS BIG”. I saw a wild turkey. We’re waiting for the stars to come out.

We keep looking for things to do around here…but we’ve almost settled on doing not much of anything for the next couple days. We lost the radio broadcast of the race running in Dover somewhere in New York and finally lost all radio in the Delaware State Forest. The frogs make for good background noise, though.

Richard discovered some Lemon Diet Coke at the local grocer…maybe this is the last of it in the area. The flavor was discontinued in Massachusetts.

More updates tomorrow! With photos, I’m sure. On the agenda for Monday: Find a propane distributor that doesn’t do the tank exchange. Other than that, a dip in the pool and staring at some trees…nothing too demanding.