Monthly Archives: April 2013

Enjoying the Sunrise

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Post & photo courtesy of AJ


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Drawing Board

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We’ve spent a little time over the past couple of days mentally repacking The Rover and reconfiguring the layout in the back. It’s an attempt to keep the weight up on the roof to a minimum, while keeping the back simplified and organized. The only thing more frustrating than not able to get to a item when you really need it, is to not be able to find the item at all.

There’s been a fair amount of: “If you get rid of that, you can replace it with this”; or “Do you really need that? And how many spare parts do you need to take along?”

It’s been fun, although I also have to be on the watch for: “This is just extra weight that you don’t need, let me cut it off”. I’m aware that the tie downs along the sides are not being used, but we are not cutting them from the truck even if they do cause air drag.


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Spring in Minnesota

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In a state of denial, I really had figured that I had seen the last of snow until september at the earliest. Minnesota had other ideas.
A nice wet four inches or so of the white stuff is blanketing The Rover this morning. It is actually nicer in Fairbanks today.
I’ve been told that the record for the ice going out on Lake Minnetonka is May 10. That record is now in jeopardy.
I know I have that snow brush buried in The Rover somewhere.


Travel Day

I had breakfast this morning in Knoxville with Tom and his sister and her husband. It’s been a few years, so it was great seeing them again, and I was glad that I didn’t depart earlier.
Since Knoxville Raceway had called off Saturday’s races, I had a lot of free time on Saturday. In the end I repacked The Rover, then went over all fluid levels. Everything looked good, nothing required a topping off. I’m still getting used to this new concept. Knock on aluminum.

After breakfast, I headed north up I-35 towards Minneapolis. The drive was uneventful other than the standard Rover Gawkers. I thought one kid was going to climb out of the back window of the car and onto The Rover’s wing.

The Rover purred along in the cool air and I found it easy to cruise at 63-65 the entire drive. Several times I looked down to see the speed above 70, and twice it hit 75. I dropped her down even though the engine didn’t feel like it was working hard at all. It was the substantial tailwind; it pushed us up the interstate like we had a large sail attached.


Anderson Speedway

“The World’s Fastest High-Banked Quarter Mile Oval”
Anderson Speedway3

Anderson Speedway

Tony Hunt's #56

On the way back to Iowa from Pittsburgh, we stopped at the Anderson Speedway in Indiana for some non-winged sprint car action. It was the first time I had witnessed a sprint car race on asphalt, as well as a quarter mile track.
As it turned out, it was the first midget race I have seen as well. Spencer Bayston, in his rookie season won the Mel Kenyon Midget series.

We were sitting near Tony Hunt’s crew, and naturally pulling for him to win the “Glen Niebel Classic”. Muncie’s Aaron Pierce won the event,however, with Hunt slipping into third place on the final lap to get a place at the podium.

Little 500

Anderson Speedway is best known for its “Little 500”, which runs on the Saturday of Memorial Weekend, the night prior to the Indianapolis 500. That’s 500 laps around a 1/4 mile track, with the field of 33 cars starting out in 11 rows of 3. That’s got to be insane to watch.

The best quote I found on the Anderson Speedway: “It’s Like racing jet fighters in a gym.” It’s been attributed to noted short track driver Dick Trickle.

Little 500 photo courtesy of Anderson Speedway


Pittsburgh: Logging brews, tracks, and hockey arenas

Heinz Field & PNC Park

Downtown Pittsburgh

The City of Bridges

On Saturday, before the Final, we went to “Fatheads” in the strip district for lunch & to meet with Tom’s neice & family. I had two of “Fatheads” own beers, which I had never tasted before. Quite the place, and well worth a visit if in Pittsburgh.
Two days before, we had hit the “Church Brew Works”, which quickly became one of my favorite all time brew pubs. Founded in 1996, and located in a restored Roman Catholic Church which was originally built in 1902, Church Brew Works offers some delightful beer in a wonderfully quirky setting.

Just prior to the championship game, we swung by the Penn Brewery, which is located in the old E&O Brewery Building. A slightly more traditional brewpub, but the beers were equally good, and I loved architecture of the old building.

Penn Brewery. Pure. Pittsburgh.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pittsburgh, although the traffic would make it difficult for me to mentally survive there. For a visitor, there is no rhyme or reason to the street layout, but with the rivers, hills, and old buildings it all adds to the cities’ charm. Even the walk down 5th Ave, from the hotel to the ice arena had a certain dangerous charm to it. It was obvious early in our walk that we were not in one of the more desireable areas of town. I suppose the half mile of broken auto glass was one of our first clues. Still, the ruins of the old homes, that in their day must have been something to behold, were cool to catch a glimpse of, as the vines and trees reclaimed the hill. And the old 5th Ave School, home of the Archers, that has been rebuilt into lofts… with high security parking… was worth the walk.

A little different hockey experience overall from Pittsburgh. The pre-game events were not well attended. In fact, it was a pre-event, live broadcast from the “Souper Bowl” near the arena that brought on our muggy running of the 5th Ave Gauntlet. Upon arrival, there were maybe a dozen people there, and I’m not convinced that half were hockey fans. We had a Yuengling to lessen our disappointment, then took our lapel pins as trophies and ran the gauntlet a second time.

Even on game day, is was not a problem to walk into the Souper Bowl and immediately find a table for four. I can’t think of any other Frozen Four where one could even get in through the door of a pub so close to the rink.

With all that said, the entire experience from the visits to racetracks… both defunct & active, to the hockey arena tours, Yale’s first title and the company of the travelers, this was one good Frozen Four.

Even though I haven’t come away with the urge to actually log my beers.


Cambria County War Memorial Arena

The Arena

No, Thank You

Home of the Tomahawks

Inside the "Slap Shot Room"

Slap Shot 2

We showed up in Johnstown, a town known for steel, floods, and hockey. We stopped by the Cambria County War Memorial, which was the home of the Charlestown Chiefs in the film “Slap Shot”, with Paul Newman. We started to explore the arena, then the staff took us on a tour, which included the “Slap Shot Room”. The room was full of memorbilia from the film. Overall, a very cool experience for a hockey fan.

Cambria War Memorial, built in 1950, seats 4000 for hockey. It’s been the home of the Johnstown Jets & Chiefs, and now the Junior A Tomahawks. I would have loved to watch a Tomahawks game there, but the ice was already up and the glass down. I’m sure it’s a great arena to catch a hockey game.
Johnstown Jets

The Hanson Bros.


Jennerstown Speedway

Jennerstown Speedway

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Jennertown 2

On Friday, our off day from hockey, we took a drive east on U.S. 30, where we stopped in Latrobe for lunch, as well as to check out the brewery. A little further on, we found the spot where Fred Duesenberg overturned his Duesenberg on the Lincoln Highway, while driving at a “high rate of speed” on 2 July 1932. He was expected to recover from his injuries, but pneumonia set in and Mr Duesenberg died on July 25. Duesenberg was a member of the first class of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1990.

We then stopped by, the now defunct, Jennerstown Speedway. The track was founded as a flat half mile track in the late 1920’s.
“Stanley ‘Piney’ Lasky, now deceased, purchased Jennerstown Speedway in 1967. During the next 31 years, the speedway developed a solid reputation for providing some of the finest local and touring series programs in dirt, and then asphalt, racing in the eastern United States.”
The track was paved in 1987.

The historic track has been closed for several years, and is reportedly for sale.

Quote courtesy of The Tribune-Democrat.

The photo which showed Jennerstown Speedway in better days, was removed at the request of David McCardell.