Barber Trip 0: Déjà Vu

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Yogi Berra

Last spring, I headed to Georgia to run laps at Road Atlanta and Barber Motorsports Park. It was an unsuccessful trip, though, with electrical gremlins that caused me to run only 13 laps at Road Atlanta and to cancel Barber entirely. Barber was my main target, and RA was a target of opportunity. It was a disappointing trip, to state the obvious.

So this spring I set off for Barber once again. I couldn’t fit another track in the schedule, so it was Barber or bust.

The plan was to leave very early on Thursday, violate Rule #1 all morning to take a late morning wander through the Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene, KS. Spend the night somewhere in Missouri, and another long day to Birmingham. After my two-day event at Barber, I’d visit their museum on Monday morning, and then drive to Atlanta. Then the plan gets vague: one or two nights in Atlanta and I’d plan the return trip on my rest day.

In the lead-up to my departure, I’m generally filled with a keen sense of anticipation. This time, though, I was feeling … flat. I wasn’t keyed up at all. I didn’t have to put a lot of effort into the plan, because I had unexecuted plans from last year. That usual keen sense of anticipation was dulled by the year’s delay.

Generals fight the last war

I don’t expect last year’s electrical issues to return, but they could. The root cause is the motor mounts, and because I haven’t fixed the root cause it could recur. I think any competent Toyota mechanic should be able to fix it if they have the proper wiring diagram. So I put the wiring diagram, service manual, and parts catalog on a thumb drive on my keychain. I also carry a lot more spare fuses than I used to.

My other recent lost war was brake pads. I bought OEM pads instead of my usual CL RC5+. I had run many track days on those pads years ago. The fronts were gone, down to the backing plates after two sessions. I don’t have a good explanation for this. The car is now running on CLs. I have a spare front CL set and spare rear OEM set and all the tools I need to change the pads except for a jack.

By being prepared to fight the last war, I won’t have to fight it again. He said with confidence!

My planned departure date was Thursday. A week before departure, the forecast for Thursday was a 30% chance of precipitation. I looked at the forecasts for cities along my route and as I went east, the forecast temperature was higher, as was the chance of rain. As the days passed, the forecast worsened. By Monday, the weather wonks were predicting the worst winter storm in Denver in the last several years. So I left a day early.

Frankly, that should have been my plan from the start. Instead of two miserable days with far too many Interstate miles, I’d have three shorter days, mostly on back roads. And I could add the Clinton Museum to the itinerary as a bonus.

Enough prologue. Let’s hit the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *