Saturday, August 22
The first event on the docket for Saturday was the panorama photo. We arranged a location with a view of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. We first time LOG attendees were told that quite a few people want to arrive at the photo location early so they could get a prominent spot up front. So we volunteers had to arrive early; we were to direct people onto the lawn and get them lined up in good order. So I was up before six even though the photo wouldn’t actually happen until 9:30.
I didn’t count but we had something like a dozen folks directing traffic, starting in the street, winding through the parking lot, over the sidewalk, onto the lawn, then around in a large arc to get people lined up in concentric semicircles. Some had asked if we were going to try to arrange the cars by model or to abide by the “Ross Rule” – adjacent cars can’t be the same color. Attempting either of these would be futile and time consuming. Our task was simply to get them lined up.
Volunteering for this task had two nice side effects. First, I got a spot in the front of the photo. Second, and perhaps more interesting, I got a good look at every car as it came in and was able to chat with many of the owners. I never did see an official car count but there were something like 130+ cars there. Of course, I’d seen the cars in the hotel parking lot but generally the owners weren’t there.
Of note, there’s a rare Autumn Gold car with Colorado plates. Only eight of that color were imported to the USA. One was totaled and another went to Norway. I wondered how we had a local car like that and I’d never seen it before but somebody told me he’s from Pagosa Springs, so he’s not really local. Another interesting and rare color was Ice White. I’d never seen one before and asked if it was a custom color. No, just rare. A couple from California have an Isotope Green Elise. It wasn’t the only IG car there, but it was the only IG car with matching fuzzy dice and beanies.
The weather couldn’t have been much better – the morning was cloudless and clear of smoke.
Once we got everybody situated, we just had to wait until the sun was high enough to chase the shadows of all the cars. This allowed plenty of opportunity for folks to take pictures. Some put in more than the usual amount of effort – one guy brought out a drone. We take two pictures – one with people standing by their cars, one without. Each photo is comprised of about eight shots. I ordered a copy of the one with people.
After the shoot we headed back to the hotel. The rest of the morning was a Concours. Two, really – the judged one and the people’s choice. We didn’t enter the judged one, it’s more for the classic cars anyway. And we had no chance of winning the people’s choice for two reasons – first, there were a hulluva lot of great looking cars and second, we weren’t there. Most folks would be doing the road trips after Pikes Peak. I was doing autocross, though, so now was the time to do it.
First I had to try to resolve a dilemma. I was signed up for the track day but because I was out of town all week I didn’t have a chance to get the car inspected. BOE Engineering was a sponsor and had a large presence. So I went to their trailer and asked if they’d be kind enough to take care of it. The guy I talked to said I should return at 3 and they’d take car of me.
Three drives had been mapped out – a short one, a medium one, and a long one. Because we had to be back by three, we had little choice but the short one. Which worked out fine, as that was to Cripple Creek. I’ve lived in Colorado for more than forty years but have never been there. Genae’s never been there either.
US highway 24 headed west from I-25 is always crowded. On a summer weekend, it’s your basic stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper slog. It started loosening up once we passed the turnoff for Pikes Peak, tomorrow morning’s destination. Before long we were in Woodland Park. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been west of Woodland Park on US 24 before.
At Divide, we make a left turn to head south on CO 67. The road was bumpy and crowded but scenic. I say “crowded” but it wasn’t too bad. There were no long strings of cars, and we were even able to pass a few slow ones. It’s a very scenic drive. The route we took had us loop back to US 24 via Teller County Road 1. It carries less traffic and was quite pleasant.
We’d like to go back explore more of the region. The town itself is no longer interesting to us. When limited stakes gambling was first allowed, one of the big selling points was that the revenue would be means for historical preservation. I view it along the lines of the Vietnam war: “we had to destroy the village to save it”. I have no basis of comparison for Cripple Creek, but huge swaths of old buildings were removed and replaced by casinos in Black Hawk and Central City.
We stopped for a bite at Arby’s in Woodland Park and in spite of two navigational errors were back to the hotel a few minutes before three. I went over to the BOE trailer but the guy I had talked to earlier wasn’t there. The BOE guys said I should talk to the Concours Auto guy next door. He said I could show up at their shop Monday morning and get my inspection. Clearly, he wasn’t tuned in to the fact that track day was Monday. I thought I had him talked into doing one there in the parking lot but he decided not to. He said his liability insurance wouldn’t cover him if he did the inspection away from his shop. Does them doing an inspection actually imply liability? I don’t think so, but whatever.
So I went back and cornered one of the BOE guys. He and his colleagues closed up their trailer, then they abandoned him with me. I told him I’ve been throwing lean codes with the new intake. He told me a tune would run me eight hundred bucks. I think I’ll pass on that and just put the stock airbox back on. He also suggested I replace the bullet studs the previous owner installed and use the ones I have on the left rear. I will take that under advisement. He was very friendly and helpful.
Saturday evening was the big banquet. Genae had talked to Ann about the dress code so I planned to get all dressed up. My maximum is a sport coat and a tie. I think it’s the second time I’ve worn a tie in six or seven years.
The banquet starts at seven, with a social hour prelude. Instead of being social, I needed to get set up at a table and try to register my autocross attendees. We gave no notice we were doing this, and I didn’t even get a table until the last minute. Ross told me to share the table with the panorama photographer. He needed the whole table. The other table already there was for Bobby Unser to sign autographs. Finally the banquet staff brought me a table.
I needed to get each entrant to fill out SCCA’s weekend membership form and assign them a class and number. I had printed a bunch of numbers to be taped on the cars. I had a dozen of each digit. So I spread all this out on my table. It was funny watching people trying to figure out what I was selling. Something like 35 people had signed up for autocross but I only managed to get a dozen taken care of.
Not long after I got set up, Bobby Unser and his wife arrived and sat at the table to my left, signing autographs. He had a line of five or six people at one point, but generally there were only ever one or two people at his table. A woman approached me and said, “I understand you’re signing autographs.” I’ve either been mistaken for an 81 year old man or somebody was looking to get an autograph of somebody they know nothing about. I point to Unser and tell her, “You probably want him, but I’d be happy to give you my autograph.”
Later I made the same joke with another woman. She said, “You’re very attractive and all, but…” just as Genae walks up. “She was flirting with you.”
At seven I packed up my numbers and forms and headed to our table. Genae had the beef, I had the chicken. We’d been carrying the dinner coupons on the back of our name tags. Chicken was on yellow paper, salmon on pink, beef on red. When my name tag was showing the wrong side out, it identified me as “Chicken”. After we ate, Bobby Unser got up on stage and told stories of Pikes Peak and Indy, then answered questions. He’s a fairly entertaining fellow.
One question was, “How did the deaths of other drivers affect him?” He says he never feared death, and, as bad as it might sound, was indifferent to the deaths of his competitors. He had to be. He was injured many times; spent a lot of “sheet time” (time in the hospital). He now has difficulty walking and can’t stand for any amount of time.
Festivities wrapped up at ten to end a full day of LOG.