11 July 2007

As Steve McQueen said in the movie Le Mans: “For those who do it well, racing is life. Everything else is just waiting. ” I don’t know about the “do it well” part, but we’re sure waiting for the Pittsburg Vintage Grand Prix.

We’re still at the Lake Arthur Family Campground. Pretty much the only people here. There are lots of “seasonal” trailers (I suspect people leave them here for years–cheaper than a vacation home). We see one other couple on occasion and sometimes a flock of kids suddenly appears on bikes, but it’s otherwise completely silent except for birds.

We’re finding it oddly enjoyable, once I stopped being so frantic.

Sam thinks this place is Disneyland. He gets to run like a wild dog and chase rabbits. The big field behind the trailer has bunnies and groundhogs. Diane thought I was being cruel to the rabbits at first, but I know those are professional rabbits, and Sam is an amateur dog. He’s more likely to start quoting Shakespeare than he is to catch a bunny. He’s hysterically funny to watch–he dashes at them, they cut through the hedge and out the other side. He loses track of them and wanders around trying to pick up scent while the rabbits watch, bemused, from fifty feet away. Occasionally he’ll randomly catch sight of them and tear off in their direction, only to be outmaneuvered effortlessly once again.

Nero is turning out to be simply a great rig. We thoroughly enjoy our time in it. Last night we had cocktails outside with Boz Skags playing, I made a greek salad and pasta with pesto, some extra fresh basil chopped in, and had a nice Australian Chardonnay. Chilled fruit salad and iced cherries for dessert.

After dinner, I had a nice Pinar Cigar, some PSB brandy, and we watched an episode of Nero Wolfe projected against the side of the trailer. Pretty damned idyllic.

Everything fits into the trailer nicely. The kitchen is wonderfully efficient. The couch is firm enough to sit comfortably on, but when we turn it into a bed the inch of Tempurpedic foam on top of the standard seat foam makes the bed supremely comfortable. The foam guy who made the cushion foam for us in Portland sure knew what he was doing. I haven’t had a backache since we started sleeping on it. In contrast, when we stayed at the William Penn Hotel and the Chateau Frontenac in their nice soft beds I was crippled every morning.

I’ve made an appointment to get Nero repaired and a few things upgraded at the Airstream factory on the Monday after the PVGP. Jackson Center, Ohio looks to be about four hours away and it’s more or less on the way to Road America. The big repair is the drain tanks–they were struck by a chunk of tire carcass on the way to VIR. The grey water tank is leaking and the handles of both cutoff valves were knocked off. I can still operate the valves, but I need to use pliers to do it.

The same chunk of tire also ripped off one of the electric brake wires on the left front wheel. It tore the wire right out of the coil, so it needs replacement, not repair. Of course, the trailer has five more wheels with operable brakes, but I want it fixed. I’ll have them check all the other wheels and replace the shocks at the same time. I’m also going to have them replace the air conditioner unless they can just supply a new control cover. I made a replacement cover from aluminum because the original cover was badly yellowed and looked awful. My aluminum cover doesn’t direct the airflow as well as the stock one did and it makes the unit inefficient. I should have just painted the plastic. Might be nice to have a more modern one anyway–this one draws a lot of juice.

In the meantime, we’re hangin’ in Nero, enjoying the downtime. FedEx is supposed to bring a fin (actually two) for my new Stand Up Paddleboard today. If it gets here I’ll go paddle and sail on the lake. The new board is excellent–it’s a Starboard 12’6″ woody that’s extraordinarily light, fairly stable, and glides beautifully even without a fin. I took it out yesterday and amazed the bass fisherman “Whut th’ heck is that?”

Lake Arthur is big. I understand it’s reclaimed strip mines. Doesn’t seem to be any private homes on it, just a big church. Seems strange that it doesn’t get a lot more use, being only fifty miles from sweltering Pittsburg.� I suspect they limit the size of the outboard motors–even the big pontoon boats have little ten HP kickers.