Monthly Archives: April 2012

Knoxville

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The new display at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum of the Big Al Murie modified stock car that ran in Kansas City in 1960-61.
Note the faux grain woodwork done with a standard 2″ brush. It’s an impressive display.

It was a fun night at Knoxville with some good racing. I always enjoy coming back to Knoxville to catch up with some very good friends and hopefully take in a race.
Sammy Swindell passed Brian Brown on lap 15 and held on for his 48th career win at Knoxville Raceway.


World of Outlaws

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The World of Outlaws comes to Knoxville Raceway tonight.

Sorry Matt.


55mph Sunset

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Moving across Kansas.


Prairie States

After doing the pre-run check on The Rover prior to leaving The Puddle in Kansas, the host paid me a visit. I guess the camping around “The Racetrack” was free, and the host encouraged me to stay 4-5 days to “enjoy the place”. He was genuinely disappointed to hear I would be driving off within minutes. Nice guy, somewhere in his 80’s, and I sort of felt bad dissing his park, but it went away as I tried to check the rear diff fluid level and not get stuck by broken glass.

When I started up again, it was still 88 degs and by the time I hit Stockton, KS it had dropped down to 77, but The Rover ran well.

I met up with two whitetails on Hwy 183 with a death wish. I should have nailed one with each wing, but the high beams allowed me to stop in time and the deer simply blinked at me in the bright lights. I kept going until I approached Kearney and I-80, where I pulled over for the rest of the night.

The trek across Nebraska & Iowa went easily in the drastically cooler air. I did hit a cross-headwind in NE that kept me from being able to use the overdrive which drove my mileage down to 11. In general however, it varied from 12-14, which is what it did the previous year. Still… Disappointing & not what I’m looking for.

West of Des Moines, I man came up to me while getting gas and asked where in Alaska I was from. When I told him, he said he had lived in Valdez. Then he went on to ask me if I knew several people up in Alaska, and was taken aback when I claimed to know none of them. I then confessed that “I was a bit misanthropic,” which only confused him further, but he continued to talk to me.


In The Heart of Ethanol

In Knoxville.
More later.
No mas.


Podunk, Kansas

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I was on the road early, but the ninety degree weather was on us by 11:30am.
Plan B was to bail into any state park that showed itself when the heat became unbearable, which happened around 1:30, and the Rover and I were parked under a shady tree by 2pm.

It’s a strange park, and I don’t even want to name it. There is a puddle of a pond, which is no doubt stocked with some small fish, with a dirt road running along its shore. It kind of looks like a gravel racetrack with a pond in its center. People have been driving around & around slinging gravel since I arrived. It’s either a cruise destination or a drug drop off point. I have not decided which, and the characters seem to be running 50/50 in favor of each I hate to disparage the place, in case it is beloved by the local community, but it really is a bit of a dump.

I’ll eat dinner shortly, then crawl under the truck to check all fluids, while trying to avoid the broken glass scattered about. Afterwards, I will venture further north, although things have not cooled down yet. I’ll get to I-70 for sure tonight and may try for I-80 or beyond depending on how I feel. The votes are even, and I will cast the deciding vote when the time comes. Isn’t democracy a wonderful thing?

The Rover was running just fine this morning and I shut things down before the temps became too nasty. Besides, my feet were really hot today, which just may become the deciding factor in the future. I figure that right now I am 12 Rover hours from Knoxville.


Back on The Road

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Great Plains State Park
Oklahoma

Well, we rattled our way up across the Oklahoma line from the extreme comfort of San Antonio. Overall, The Rover ran well and cruised along at 55-60 mph without a hitch until around 2pm.

It really was a beautiful day, with the skies a clear, cloud-free blue and the Texas countryside a bright green. Then the thermometer rose into the upper 80’s and the temperature gauge started to show initial signs of red.

By 2pm, it was 90. When I entered Frederick, OK it was 94, and the temp gauge was hitting 210-215 degrees. Not at all what I was hoping to see. I stopped in some Podunk town here in OK for gas, and not even the electric fuel pump could overcome the vapor lock, so I coasted into a Dollar General parking lot to cool off the motor. Leaving the electric fan running solo, I was good to go within 20 minutes. Then the throttle came loose, causing it to stick and rev the engine, but with some elaborate footwork I managed to work around that since I was only 20 miles from a cold beer and a camping spot. Not torching the fact that the engine was as hot as Hades.

The good news of the day: I filled up three times, and the mileage went up from 14.64, 15.55, and finally to 17.03 mpg. At the moment, I am dubious of the final number, but moderately encouraged none the less.

Upon arrival, I basically pulled into the first open site away from all people that I found, even though I knew this was an RV site. The host showed up to collect the fine when I was working on tightening the throttle bolt that came loose. Why does the damn thing have to be under the steering box housing? At any rate, I pleaded ignorance about being in an RV site, and the guy allowed me to stay for the tent site price. Nice guy, and he liked the Rover, although he initially thought I was from Australia. He also had a great time fishing Alaska, and that may have helped out too. He said the lake I’m camped next to has walleye, and that got my attention, but I’ll be leaving early in the a.m. to try to beat some of the heat. 100 degs
is more than likely for the next two days. Oddly enough, The Rover handles -40 much better than +100.

All the fluids have been checked, dinner has been grilled, and I’ve finished my second beer. Time to attempt to post this and then climb up into the tent to look at the maps.

Cheers