Thursday, June 28, 2007
Award Night of the Annual
Brady ended up taking a 2nd place trophy in his class. Brady is in the "Boys Class", which also competes for a prestigous award known as the Dirk Harbor Trophy. Dirk Harbor was a member many years ago, long before I joined the D.O.M. club. Dirk loved riding motorcycles, but tragically passed away from cancer when he was still a boy. His spirit lives on in our hearts today with this perpetual trophy in his memory.
Here's my daughter Nina with the one ribbon she won. It was for 3rd place in Slalom race.
Nina had a lot of fun this year, which was her first as a particapant in the race events. Hopefully next year she will do even better and win more ribbons, or maybe even a trophy.
After all the awards were handed out, the last order of business was to name the new King and Queen. Well there isn't a new royal couple - the same couple (Dan and Leslie McGee) are going for a second lap.
Okay, there's only one more part to my Annual store: the ride home. I'll have that post for you in a day or two.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Days Two and Three of the Annual
Here's another picture taken during some of the races while Nina and Brady watched others compete as they waited for their turn.
Here's Brady at the start of his scrambles race. This race was held on the big track, and in his class there were only two others. They were on motorcycles. I didn't get to watch this race from the start / finish line. As a matter of fact, I didn't get to watch any of the races on the big track: I was on the race course with a warning flag keeping other people off the track.
More to follow . . .
Day One of the Annual
This was a relatively short drive, as the two cities are only about 15 miles away from each other. However, the part of Cal City we camp at is called Camp C, and is about 20 miles deeper into the desert. Half of that is hard packed dirt road; the bumpy and sometimes washboard type that is nearly impossible to sleep through.
It was exactly 6:30 a.m. when I finally reached the bottom of the hill and rolled into Camp C. To my surprise there was hardly anyone there. I recognized the Weir's trailer (traditionally the first arrivals), the Woldridge's trailer, the McGee's trailer (our club King and Queen), the Wonnell's motorhome, and the Perez's diesel pusher. I would have thought a few more people would have arrived by now. Oh well, I made it and still had all day long to be with my family and friends, ride my quad, drink my beer, and not deal with work.
So I began to unpack the quads and equipment while Laura and the kids slept. Nina eventually woke up to "help". After all the work was finally done - it was time to play. Time to go on a family ride; a putt-putt as I call it, because a real ride would have been a much longer trip covering a lot more distance, usually with a destination to reach (and then return from). So Laura, Nina and I went on a little ride. I don't remember why Brady didn't join us, maybe he wanted to hang with some friends who had since arrived.
So finally, without further delay, some pictures. Let me point out that I was not in charge of photography this year. Last year Laura had to stay at home due to work, and I took many pictures with our old Minolta that used a four-letter word: film. This year we had a digital camera that Laura and I bought each other for our anniversary? Or was it for Christmas? Hell, I don't remember; I never get to use it. The neat thing about it is that it also takes video, which I can't show you here. So you get a handful of pictures to look at.First up is me and Laura, taken by Laura herself. (It only took about four attempts to get this shot, as the first three chopped my forehead in half)
Now when I hold the camera and take the picture - we're in the center of the frame. One attempt; one successful shot. That's right, one time baby. One time!
Looking closely at the above picture, it seems that Nina is wearing her goggles over her mouth and not her eyes. The dust pattern looks like it covers her upper cheeks, and that it's clean over her mouth. With me it's the other way around. I end up looking like a raccoon.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
A Picture Of Me And Nina
The Journey To The Annual
Laura was spending a lot of time preparing for Nina's softball awards banquet. As team mom, Laura had many duties including organizing the banquet. She was also preparing for Brady's middle school graduation party, which was set for the Saturday after Memorial Day Weekend. So these efforts were cutting into the time needed to prepare for the ride.
Back to the journey. With Brady in school that Thurs., we decided to keep Nina in school too. Laura decided to work that day, and I spent the day getting ready for the ride. I had just filled the many spare gas tanks we bring along in order to fuel our quads, and finished filling the truck up with diesel fuel when the first problem occurred. I backed up from the fuel pumps at the gas station and positioned the truck next to the air pump in order to air up my tires. Having done this successfully, I got ready to drive back home - when the truck wouldn't start.
To this day I have no idea why, but the truck would not start. I tried again and again, but it wouldn't start. It was clearly not a battery problem; everything the battery powered was working. The truck just wouldn't start. Did I mention this is a new truck? Purchased in Oct. '06, and only used by Laura to drive to and from work (about a total of 4 miles per day), and by me to tow our trailer on rides - it had about 4,000 miles on it by this point in time. Hardly enough time for the battery to die.
So I called Triple A. Lucky for me, the local tow truck company was based nearby and arrived right away. They couldn't get it started either. The truck that came to help was too small to tow our pick up, so they had to dispatch a second one; a flat bed. Lucky for me, the dealer we bought the truck from was located nearby, so I was there right away. The salesperson I bought it from was beside himself and made sure I was given priority service. A few hours later, after they checked everything thoroughly, they couldn't explain why the truck wouldn't start for me. It started fine for them - over and over again, even when I came to pick it up. Go figure. At least there was no charge by the dealer (or AAA).
Back to the journey. because of that major inconvenience I was now several hours behind schedule. There was no way I would be able to leave when Laura got home from work, which was the new target time for departure. That was just as well because traffic would have been a nightmare. So I (and later the kids and Laura) continued getting ready by loading the food and provisions into the trailer. We even ate dinner.
With traffic no longer a factor that evening, we departed at 8:00 p.m. It takes about 4 to 4 1/2 hours to get to California City from La Habra (without traffic), so I figured I would pull in at around midnight. I was up for it! After all, I would be riding my quad in the morning. The feeling of anticipation is akin to a gambler willing to drive to Las Vegas after working all day long, and then knowing that he'd be up all night gambling.
Back to the journey. So we're driving along with no traffic on the 5 freeway through the San Fernando Valley. That's when the second problem occurred. I saw one of those freeway message boards warning of an accident ahead with two lanes blocked. At first I didn't think it would cause too much of a delay - that is until I saw the break lights about 4 miles before the location of the accident. Do you have any idea how screwed up traffic is in Los Angeles when 2 lanes are blocked on a major freeway? We reached the accident site at 9:00 p.m. just as they were clearing the overturned big rig.
Back to the journey. So now we resumed driving along at full speed and reached the other end of the Valley. We headed north on the 14 freeway towards Palmdale / Lancaster. Everything seemed fine until the third problem occurred. All of a sudden we heard that all-too-familiar sound of a tire blowing. A trailer tire blowing - just like 4 other times before! Lucky for us we were at the beginning of an exit from the freeway. I pulled off the freeway safely and found myself in the middle of nowhere. Dark, alone (as far as other vehicles) and not having a clue as to where I was.
Lucky for me Brady saw the sign on the freeway exit: Agua Dulce. Sweet! (no pun intended) I was half way to Palmdale from Santa Clarita. I really was in the middle of nowhere! The people at Triple A were very caring and professional, and I was really impressed about how they helped find a roadside service to come out to help. It only took an hour and a half for them to get there and help put my spare tire on my trailer. That was not bad considering the time of night the distance they were traveling to get to me.
It was a quiet and uneventful wait; no cars stopped to help, no creepy people or zombies walked by, and no animals attacked us. We did see several people exit the freeway, but most of them turned to the opposite side of the freeway from where we were parked. A few passed us without stopping. So the guys from Town and Country Tire fixed me up and so the journey continued.
It was now 11:30 p.m., and I knew it would be really late by the time I reached Cal City. I pushed on and made it to Mojave without further incident. It was about 1:00 a.m. when I pulled in to the Carl's Jr. There I was greeted by a construction worker who was waving me off to tell me the restaurant was closed. I waived back and mouthed we're just parking. Laura and the kids had fallen asleep awhile back, and I was getting tired. We agreed to spend the night there.
Now this posed a small problem. Our cargo area is also the bedroom area for the kids. This was off limits as there were 4 quads, a lot of equipment, and assorted supplies stored there. That left our bed (that is, the one Laura and I sleep in). So Laura, Brady and Nina slept there - safe inside the trailer. I slept in the passenger seat of the truck. At least I tried to sleep. Between the trains that roared by (accross the main street from Carl's), the construction going on all night at Carl's, and the creepy people and zombies that were walking the streets of Mojave; I didn't get much sleep.
Things get better, but you'll have to stay tuned.