Last weekend was LOG 35. What’s that, you say?
Lotus Ltd is the national Lotus owners club. Every year they have a national meet – the Lotus Owners Gathering, or LOG. This year is LOG 35. People come from all over the country, some driving their classic cars, others flying in. Activities include a concours d’ elegance, banquets, and scenic drives. There’s always a panoramic group picture of the cars. There may be a track day or an autocross as well.
Lotus Ltd handles various administrative tasks, but the majority of the work is done by volunteers, usually members of the local chapter that is hosting the event. This year Lotus Colorado hosted it in Colorado Springs.
These are major events. We basically took over a Marriott hotel and overflowed to another hotel nearby. We used all the hotel’s conference space – ballrooms, meeting rooms, a tent pavilion outside, and, obviously, the parking lot. We had a store on the premises. They even let us take down all the art they had in the common areas and display our own. The portrait of JW Marriott himself was about the only thing of theirs we left up.
To make one of these work, pretty much everybody in the club has to contribute. I volunteered (or was selected, it’s all a bit fuzzy) to be the autocross event chair. I think I had the easiest of the jobs. On the more difficult side you had people working with the hotel, obtaining sponsors, finding guest speakers, making trophies, making signs, running the concours, running the drivers school, and the list goes on.
As I said, I had one of the easier jobs. SCCA actually put on our event, all I had to do was liaise with them and make sure the entrants filled out the right paperwork. That said, when I took on the task I had never even attended an autocross.
I knew that an autocross is a competitive, timed event. A course is laid out on a parking lot using traffic cones. Cars run the course one at a time. Competitors are divided into classes based on size, horsepower, tires, and other factors. That was about all I knew. I fixed that by attending my first autocross back in March.
So that’s the background.
Friday, August 21
Let’s actually start Thursday evening. I flew in from Albuquerque, arriving at about seven. I didn’t have a window seat (I prefer the aisle) and the guy next to me kept the blind closed for the entire flight. I was surprised, then, to find that smoke from the wildfires in California and the Pacific northwest filled the air. Visibility was only about five miles and the sun was a dull red disk. When I got home, I pulled the dirty clothes out of the suitcase and repacked it with clean.
Friday morning Michael and I mounted the track tires on the car as I was doing both the autocross and the track day. I needed to wash the car as well, but there wasn’t time for that. The track wheels were clean, though, which went a long way to making the car presentable. When I backed the car out of the driveway the tires were rubbing something awful. Somehow we’d managed to mount the left rear wheel on the front. I’ll blame Michael, but it was silly of me not to see it right away. That remedied, I ran off to the barber to get myself presentable.
We packed all our stuff in Genae’s car. We had far too much to carry in the Lotus, but the real reason to take two cars was so she wouldn’t be stranded. I left the house a few minutes before she did. I mentioned to her that I’d avoid the interstate but didn’t think to mention how much longer my route might take. I w
ent through Sedalia and Palmer Lake; a much more scenic and relaxed drive than I-25.
By the time I got to the hotel, Genae had checked us in to our room. We made two or three trips carrying stuff from the car and when that was done we registered for LOG. It’s much like registering for a conference – go from table to table, signing forms, collecting a goody bag, getting a name tag. We even got signs for the parking lot so we’d be in the same spot all weekend.
We arranged to have people park by type of car. To get into Lotus parking you had to do the “Lotus limbo” – drive under a horizontal pole. This kept the riffraff out. The more rare classic cars were closer to the festivities, the newest and most common cars (Elises, natch) were the farthest away. Conveniently, though, the car wash we set up was in our area so I took advantage and had her bathed – she was cleaner than she’d been for two years.
Genae is a big fan of Godfathers Pizza. They make a taco pizza that’s her favorite. We’ve tried making them at home but haven’t come close. A bit of research told her there was a Godfathers on the Air Force Academy, so after the car was washed we headed that way.
Civilians and visitors have to use the north entrance. It used to be that you could just drive in, but now I’m guessing its SOP to stop every vehicle. When we pulled up we were about eighth in line. Some got waved right through, some took a bit longer. When we pulled up, the sentry asked for my ID and I gave it to him. He also said “I’m gonna have to ask you to pop the trunk.”
There’s no “popping the trunk”. I shut it off, got out, opened the boot. Nobody else had to open their trunk. “What’s a car like this cost?”
Our GPS wanted us to take Parade Loop, but a sign indicated it was closed. I asked the sentry how to get to Godfathers and he said just to stay on this road. So we did. The road took us around the north side of the campus complex, past the practice fields and to a guest parking lot. No restaurant in sight.
The next turn on the road revealed the visitor center, so we stopped in there and asked for directions. “Drive your vehicle to the guest lot. There’s a glass front building there, that’s where you’re going.” These are not the best directions: all the buildings are glass front. Genae phoned Godfathers for about the fourth time and was told they were in Arnold Hall. (This, presumably, is named for General Hap Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces in WW II.)
We joked that this pizza better be worth all the effort it took to get here. The restaurant is part of a small food court along with a Subway and a wings place. It’s now the last Godfathers in Colorado.
The evening was spent socializing – drinks in the hotel bar, wandering around the parking lot seeing who drove which car from where, and then dinner in the pavilion. We had our choice of turkey or roast beef followed by a choice of desserts. After dark we even had a short laser light show back in the pavilion followed by announcements of the next days activities and schedule.