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ode to Valentine One

I road raced toy cars as a rug rat. I pushed brake-less wooden coasters to hilltops and drove them hard through corners on the way down. I was the same with my bicycles. Throughout my motorized years, superior cars or bikes disappear from from my mirrors every time curves are involved. I LOVE the art, science and skillset of driving. From two wheels to eighteen, I have always paid attention to driving machines and environment like nobody else I know. I observe my ten-and-two hold on the steering wheel in maybe one out of a hundred drivers. I see lounge-chair seating positions, one-hand at the bottom of the wheel, double-arm hug, fast food in one hand, driver focused on back […]

storage unit on wheels

The Missus bought a fixer-upper 80s Ford F350 van nose attached to a humongous (for it) 24-foot Leprechaun motor home a year ago. This project is NOT on my list. She finally found a shop to make it functional (plumbing works, but no water heater), but I had not been able to get excited about it. “Just think, Honey, the forest fires come ripping down our canyon, we throw what we can into the Leprechaun and can park in safety somewhere.” …. or whatever Bugout motivator you come up with. Crumb! I am neck-deep in getting this homestead where I want it after a year of working steadily at it. Bugout plans are NOT on my agenda. Besides, where would […]

freshly bathed CRX

I spent over 20 years with a ’56 Porsche Speedster as my main ride. I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. But I sold that to finance my escape from The People’s Republic of California. About 16 years later I got a little runabout that scratches the same itch. Today I gave it a bath. It is very un-pretty. The Speedster highly rewarded washing and waxing. The CRX does not. I probably have not washed it in a year. It may be subtle, but I did notice and appreciate the cleaner look. It would be a treat to drive them one after another at Sears Point, Laguna Seca or over the Lost Trail Pass. That, of course, is […]

DUI vs drunk on power

Literally half a lifetime ago, I read a great essay in either Car & Driver, or Road & Track (I used to subscribe to both) about alcohol-impaired driving. It was a thoughtful, honest appraisal developed with real world field testing. Different people react differently to consumption of beer, wine and liquor. Some at .08 had distinct reduction in driving competence. Others could out-drive them at double that. If you have spent any time around such people, YOU KNOW THAT. But the assumption of prohibitionist legislators is that drink is BAD… any and all. The only limit to what rules they can lay on drinkers is what the legislatures can get away with… almost no limits at all in Utah. In […]

special airplane

The world’s largest airplane just rolled out of its hanger. This is the most ridiculous looking aircraft I have ever seen. It begs for treatment by The Onion. You may want to check with them occasionally to see what the professionals came up with. Meanwhile, I’ll give it a shot, and them some food for thought. Boeing rolls out transporter for clans who don’t get along, but are forced to travel together. FAA rules force airliners to accommodate gender-gymnasts and homophobes on future flights. Airbus halves the time spent loading and unloading passengers with four-door airliner. Cessna, Superglue and JB-Weld partnership develops very special airplane. Billionaire Paul Allen turns Boy Scouts balsa-wood project from his youth into full scale […]

get a grip

I found this post and graphic, but have a much simpler view of it. Number 4, called the 10 and 2 o’clock position, taught in driver’s training, is the correct one for street use. While reasonably relaxed, you can make instantaneous steering changes while retaining complete control of your vehicle. In intense driving situations, such as racing, when you are demanding 100% from man and machine, 9 and 3 are better for control and recovery. They are just more tiring to hold. The only other choice is to remain parked until you are ready to drive. All of the rest are non-driving positions, ready for nothing. It was unavoidable… Accidents happen… If you are lounging in the driver’s seat, you […]

impaired driving

These clips from a news article hardly need an introduction… business as usual for the politicians, the lobbyists and the industrialists. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), citing federal statistics, last week issued an update of a comprehensive 2015 report saying that 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, higher than the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol. MADD officials also questioned the methodology of the research in the report, noting that there is no scientifically agreed level of impairment with drugs such as marijuana. There is also no uniform test, roadside or otherwise, to determine such a level. To some, the report smacked of an […]

Weekend of a Champion

Last night we enjoyed a 2013 movie, most of which was made by Roman Polanski during three days he spent with Jackie Stewart in 1971, leading up to and including Jackie’s drive in the Monaco Grand Prix. Ya’all ought to know I am A CAR GUY. I have been a dedicated car guy, and in particular, road-racing car guy since I was five years old, or so. Anything that involves high-performance driving turning right as well as left has my interest. I subscribed to Road & Track and Car & Driver in the 70’s, watching Jackie via those pages during his peak. I also found autocross and began legitimate sports car performance competition about that time. I differentiate that from […]