I only get one day a week off work, and I spent it picking up a free race car.
It was dark when I collected my Big Effin' Van from my shop in south Oklahoma City. I had prepped BEV the night before for the 15 hour drive she was facing, mostly by cleaning the loose crap out of the back and hanging the trailer on her. Like many teams that thrive in The 24 Hours of LeMons, I operate on a very shoestring budget. My towpig of choice is a 2006 Dodge Sprinter long wheelbase hightop that had over a quarter of a million miles on it when I bought it. It offers reasonable fuel ecomony, good enough towing capacity, and enough inside space to function as an all weather workshop, camping facility, and a Paddock-In-A-Box (tm) when race duty calls.
After collecting BEV, I swung back by my humble abode to collect my lovely fiancee, since she'd decided to accompany me on this foolhardy quest. This required negotiating a 22 foot long van pulling a 22 foot long trailer through the narrow streets of a 1930s historic neighborhood on OKCs near north side. To add to the complication, OKC's Memorial Marathon runs down my street, a first quarter mile marker lives in my yard. Though the race wasn't scheduled to start for another half hour, I had to try to attempt to not run over the eager beavers who had evidently started their running two hours early. They were randomly spaced across the entire 20 foot width of the street, and my 8 and a half foot wide trailer kinda caught a couple of them off guard even with the clatter of a diesel engine idling down the street behind them. So much for an official schedule of street closings. I finally wormed my way out of the Marathon by driving through the 21st mile to get to the interstate.
Once on the open road, BEV stretched out and ran a fairly solid 75 mph for 6 hours into a bit of a headwind averaging 15.5 miles per gallon, she even pulled most of the hills in southwest Missouri without dropping too much speed or getting hot. After covering 400 miles or so, we found ourselves in the Lowe's parking lot in Rolla, Missouri. We were scheduled to meet NMF racing at 1:00 after their successful K-Car showing at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Since we had a couple minutes to spare, we stepped inside to collect some bits and pieces I'd need for the Eagles Canyon race. Of course, by leaving the van, we caused Albert to appear with the K-Car. Had we sat in the van waiting, I'm sure he would have had some sort of trouble that would have put him behind five hours or something.
We hastily made our purchases and ventured out to see my new car.
I might have the honor of being the first K-racer that's actually seen the car before taking possession of it. NSF racing debuted it at the 2012 season ender at ECR last December. It was fairly terrible then, and it's oddly differently terrible now. Albert unloaded it from his U-Haul trailer, and we parked it and got some pictures of the key handoff for posterity. I've signed titles, I've handwritten bills of sale on a receipt in the rain, but I've never bought a car merely by accepting a single key living on a black zip tie.
We loaded the K up on my trailer, strapped it down, and set off for home.
We stopped in Springfield, Missouri because the iPhone thinks there is a Dairy Queen downtown. Like DQs in Oklahoma, there used to be one there, but it's gone now. We did find a decent little pizza place, so we stopped there to eat. Only one problem, where to park this rolling circus? It took some doing, but I managed to find a couple street side parallel parking spaces i could cram over 40 feet of LeMons rig into, lengthwise, at least....
i'm sure the BMW owner was happy to see this about a foot and a half from their bumper when they attempted to leave.
With our bellies full (there is a new DQ further south), we once again hit the open road. Dragging a ton of American Majesty was a little more taxing on BEV, but she just raised her temps a bit, and dropped her mileage down to 15 mpg to show her disapproval. We did have one more photo stop to make, because you can't NOT take a picture here when the opportunity arises.
See the USA, in a Reliant K.
The drive home was uneventful. We stowed the rig at my shop, and got back to the house fourteen hours after we left.. Today after work, I'll unload it and figure what needs to be done (and what can be done) between now and friday morning when we load it all back up and head off to ECR.
Thanks again to NSF racing for making this whole thing possible, and the NMF racing for getting it this far. Hope to see you guys again somewhere down the road!