Friday, July 18, 2008

The Wee Little Beastie

...is back on the road again



...in all it's low rider glory.



Oh man, the Fast n' Furious import geeks are jealous. Baggy-panted backwards-hatters stare at it everywhere it goes.

This car has probably spent more time on jackstands than on the ground since I bought it last year. Things are looking up though. I upgraded shocks, springs, rear anti-sway bar, and a quick ratio manual steering rack. Several parts were on backorder and I was short on time to work on it but the wait was well worth it.


(Here's what the shocks and springs look like. Yes, one is missing.)

Annie and I raced the car last weekend (sorry, no action shots). I was the fastest non-go-kart of the event until one car beat me in the last heat. Still, 2nd place out of 45 cars is dang quick. Annie was in over her head and never got comfortable driving it fast. In her defense she had driven the car for the first time just the day before. She's also new to autocrossing and the level of aggression needed to sling this thing around the course was completely foreign to her. I rode with her for every run and we trampled many cones because she underestimated how easily the it can change directions. She was pretty flabbergasted and tired by the last run. I think she may have kissed her blue Protege5 on the drive home from her parents that day.

We raced at the Sunflower Aerodrome in Yoder, which used to be Hutchinson Naval Air Base. The old abandoned tower is still there.



It's an unbelievably neat place and I really get a sense of WWII history there. It used to have two 7000 ft runways, which is very long even by today's standards. Some big iron used to fly in and out of there. One runway and several taxiways remain. The surface is starting to break up quite a bit though, and weeds and vegetation are everywhere. Nature is attempting to reclaim this mostly abandoned ground. The whole area is privately owned except for a stretch of taxiway the Highway Patrol uses for driver training and offices. The site has a long history of sports car road racing which took place their as recently as 1993 on some of the curvy taxiways that are no longer there. I got to drive on one stretch of it on our way across the site to the paddock and could picture how fun it must have been.

The place is still an active general aviation airport but with very few services. It's mostly used as a glider launch site (aka 'the Sunflower Aerodrome'). When we were racing last Sunday we were interrupted a dozen times by an old Cessna towing a glider into the air. They flew right over us at maybe 75 ft.



The Honda will have to serve as our main family car for several days. While patching a tire on the P5 (the Protege5 wagon) tonight I discovered that the inside edges of the front tires were destroyed and the tires were on chords. New tires are on order but until Wednesday of next week we'll shuttle around in the Honda. It's sort of loud and it rides hard but hardly anyone noticed around here. The kids have grown up in cars like this and Annie is used to it. We're a racing family for sure.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Bat is Back


(Peeka-Boo! Our Brown Bat buddy in his window ledge perch.)

Five years and counting. That's how long we've lived in this house and that's the number of consecutive years this little brown bat has migrated back to his summer home on a ledge above our living room window. I posted about him last September (scroll down about 3/4 to Sept 14th)

I'm kinda worried if he's going to be a liability when we put this house on the market. Not everyone wants this kind of critter on the front porch. For now I'm content with being able to say I have a bat and the fact the he eats his body weight in mosquitoes every few days or something along those lines.