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Missing the Fun, Take 2!
OK, so spring is finally here. Sort of. And that's a nice thing after the most relentless, remorseless and endlessly reoccurring Midwestern winter in living memory. To celebrate, I took a nice, long bicycle ride the other day, and today (Sunday) long-suffering wife Carol and I took Buddy the eternally wired wire-haired Fox Terrier on our favorite local hike through the Fullersburg Woods. You park by the old, restored Graue Mill (a restored colonial-style brick mill with a working water wheel outside, quaint as all get-out, etc.) and it's a nice, woodsy, 3-mile+ trek along either side of Salt Creek.

Although it was overcast, temps were poking into the low 70s as we started out, there were lots of other dogs for Buddy to sniff in inappropriate areas and it was great to see all the starved-for-the-outdoors types (like us, for example) walking and biking and pushing their baby strollers and to happily note all the green stuff and even a few flowers starting to bud out of the dead ground here and there:

I even took a selfie of Carol and me (our first and possibly last, since I didn't give her a chance to spruce herself up) but I think she looks great anyway. Even so, she'll kill me if she sees this.

And then, about two-thirds of the way around, the wind changed directions so it was suddenly blowing hard out of the north and we had an instantaneous temperature drop of some 17 degrees. I am not making this up. And then it started to spit cold rain for good measure. Phooey. We got back to the car before it really came down, but I gotta tell you: I've about had it with this Chicago weather. And particularly since most of my racing buddies are down doing the VDCA's Wild Hare Run at Virginia International Raceway (about my all-time favorite racetrack when it comes to the pure pleasure of driving) this very minute and probably enjoying the hell out of themselves and each other. Lucky bastards.

But it's my own fault, I suppose, since I promised all you folks that I wuz gonna crawl into my hole and stay there, relentlessly pounding away on the old computer keys until the new book is finished. And we're getting there, honest. Just ask my friend Bill Siegfriedt, who gets first look at the chapters so he can scan them for historical (not to mention grammatical) errors. But the point is I'm flirting with going back on my most recent official conceptual pronouncements (lo, these many months ago) and switching back from two "Steamroller" books to a trilogy again. I can hear your moans and groas right through my wi-fi hookup.
Problem is that there's just too much time, too many stories and a serious oversupply of deserving moments/events/plot developments for just two volumes. Plus I've come to realize that there's a tremendously worthy (not to mention handy) break point that just naturally seems to separate the middle of the story (Book 2) from the last part.
So I think it's gonna be three books again and I'm sorry for feeding you so much bullcrap, but that's the way it works sometimes. By way of explanation, I always tell people that writing a book is like carving a sculpture out of a chunk of granite, and what it's ultimately going to look like is forever changing and evolving even as you chip away at it. Which, to be honest, sounds a lot better than simply admitting that you're stumbling around in the effing dark....
Okay, I know I promised just a couple paragraphs ago that I wuz gonna finish the new book before I do much of anything except eat, sleep and pee, but I have a couple commitments coming up that I just GOTTA do (besides, they sound like fun!) and so I'm hoping some of you can join me at/on:


This is truly one of the premiere fun motorsports events on the season schedule, and my good friends from the "other" major vintage magazine (Classic Motorsports) have done one hell of a job promoting it and turning it into an even bigger free-for-all car race/car show/car party than it was back in ze olt dayz. The Mitty is always good fun, and I recommend it highly if you happen to be in the area.
In any case, I'll be mooching a few rides, schmoozing until I'm hoarse and hawking books with my friends Amy and Frank in the PEOPLE KARS tent up on the vendor midway above the pro pits. Sadly, an unexpected phone call from my racing pal George Wright about a half-hour ago informed me that I would NOT be co-driving his nifty Datsun Z-car in the enduro as we had planned. 

Seems George and the Z were down at VIR this weekend (see paragraph 4 up in the blue part above) and a clearance problem with an errant piece of underneath sheet metal rubbing through a rear brake line fitting caused George to exit the track at high speed (and pretty much brake-less) going into VIR's Turn One. I understand he would have made it all the way to the horizon only there was a wee barrier in the way at about half-distance. Damage wasn't too horrendous but, as George put it, "the front-end looks kinda like a dirt-track modified" and the car needs a little down time to make it pretty again and execute a wee re-think on the braking system.
Although I'm surely disappointed, I'm sure as hell glad it wasn't me in the car when the brake pedal went to the floor.
Been there.
Done that.
Threw away the underwear....
So, as of about 45 minutes ago, I'm looking for alternate enduro ride opportunities at Road Atlanta. Possible magazine stories included.
And, yes, I'm totally shameless.

SUNDAY, MAY 4, GILMORE CAR MUSEUM, HICKORY CORNERS, MI. 3PM: I'll once again be shooting my mouth off & hawking books afterwards as guest speaker in the Heritage Theater at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan (just outside Kalamazoo and about halfway between Chicago and Detroit off I94)

If you've never been, the Gilmore Museum is really something special. Set in pastoral Michigan farmland, the museum is an entire campus featuring 14 individual buildings and attractions. Plenty of neat old cars on display, a steam barn, a dedicated Pierce-Arrow collection (what magnificent machines!), a re-created 1930s Shell station, a fifties-era diner (above), an old Ford dealership chock full of Model As etc. etc. Great place to wander and wonder around and guaranteed to put a gleam in your eyes! Here's a link to their website:
As for the presentation, I'll most likely be doing a lightly modified encore of the power point show I did at the Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen last December. It's mostly about the books and me and my dumb adolescent car adventures and half-assed racing career. It got quite a few laughs in upstate New York (and the wine wasn't served until afterwards!) and even wife Carol said it wasn't too hateful and didn't run on too long. So join us if you can.
MONDAY, MAY 5th, INSTRUCTING for HOOKED on DRIVING at AUTOBAHN MOTORSPORTS COUNTRY CLUB, JOLIET, IL.: Yeah, it looks like I'll be climbing into that wrong-side seat again so I can try to tell people who are already scaring the living crap out of me to go even faster. Is this any kind of job for a nice Jewish boy from the suburbs? Seriously, I enjoy the instructing a lot. When you get a good student, it's almost as good as doing it yourself, and you get to see that wonderful light coming up in their eyes as the day goes on.
When you get a bad student, on the other hand, it's the worst day on planet earth!
But HoD runs a good program and I've always had fun and enjoyed it. Especially when somebody with a really, really neat car says: "would you mind showing me how?" See my reaction below:

Bye for now...more soon


Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: