Fresh Photos of the Day (sort of car-related)

Central Oregon Sky.

Today was a long day at work – I’m a little past halfway through a major project. It completely consumes two days of every week – where I’m deep within the datacenter, no idea of what the weather is like outside and 100% of my concentration on the task at hand.

Today I wrapped up the final loose ends of the day’s work around 8 PM and hit the road home. Above is a shot of what the sky looked like outside my car as I left Prineville towards home. That is straight off the CCD in the camera – no color correcting or image manipulation performed to boost saturation. It really was that color!

I occasionally carpool with a friend, but not today (good thing for him as I was so late getting out!) and he posted a photo on his Facebook page last week of this same road, with a caption: “Central Oregon commute on a busy Friday afternoon” and I commented that he needed more motion blur to convey what it was like to make this drive. So I had to take this shot tonight…

I love my commute!

A Nice Sunday Drive


I managed to find, or more accurately “get found” by a group of sports car enthusiasts here in Bend who gather for informal drives. We attended our first of these the weekend after the Monte Shelton NW Classic. Chris & I brought the Mercedes, as the 65E was still disassembled at the time. The group met at the NE corner of Bend, and drove out to Prineville via one of my normal commute routes (so I let Christopher drive, allowing me to soak up the scenery!) We then descended the Crooked River Canyon, which is an awesome route, through town, by my workplace, then to Brasada Ranch for lunch. The photo above shows the cars all parked at Brasada. Can you name all the cars?

Here is the amazing view westward from the deck at Brasada:

Looking west towards the Cascades from Brasada Ranch.

2011 Monte Shelton NW Classic Rally: Final Results

As is tradition, Sunday morning brings the Awards Brunch, where we find out how we placed, both overall and in class.

Unlike yesterday’s buffet, this one is a sit-down thing where food is brought out, much to Dad’s dismay. (Nothing pleases Dad more than a breakfast buffet!) We did get some good news however: Next year’s NW Classic Rally will take place in my new/adopted hometown of Bend, Oregon. That makes travel and accommodations easy!

Next year the NW Classic will be in central Oregon!

We eat our scrambled eggs and chat with our table-mates about last night guest presentations concerning other forms of rallying. I forgot to mention but we hear from other rally participants about their adventures doing all-out stage rallying, insane frozen Alaskan long-distance endurance rallying, and a particularly humorous telling of running the La Carrera Panamerica. Eventually the moment(s) we’ve all been waiting for arrives and rally chairman Reid Trummel takes to the lectern. After thanking the volunteers and sponsors, without which the event would not exist, he turns to the results…

Reid Trummel speaks before the awards.

They read the results in reverse order. We know we did pretty good, so we wait patiently. We did not however expect to do as well as we apparently did…

We hear the bronze (finishing between 21st & 50th), silver (finishing between 11th & 20th) and on into the top ten finishers. When #8 is announced to be the Second Place Finisher in the Vintage Class, we’re astounded to know that we’ve won the class, as we are the last remaining un-annouced Vintage Class participant.

Reid calls off the seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth place finishers, all in Standard Class.

I know there is no possible way that we could finish this well, running Vintage Class and basically winging it without a calculator or speed tables. Sure enough Third Overall is announced and a photo of our car is up on the screen…

My screenshot as we accepted our award.

Reid praises our accomplishment, finishing this high in the overall standings in Vintage class, as Dad & I stand to accept our trophies. As we’re having our pictures taken I turn around and snap off the shot above, showing how we fared.

I’m beaming because I’m so proud of my Dad, who is really the whole reason we’re here. He’s the car guy who raised me around sports cars and rallying. The guy who stirred my passion for this stuff again 30-some years after we had stopped doing car stuff. My father, who in his first serious TSD event (This rally back in 1998, which he did with my little sister) finished dead last. He kept at it, and now at 76 years old, is finally getting it right. 😉

I just drove where and how fast he told me.

Our trophy atop the Mercedes.

It feels great to arrive home. We bask in the glow of victory, sunset, and a nice round of drinks on the deck.

Almost done…

almost done

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been fighting with the 65E’s right rear axle on and off for several weeks. I’m happy to report that over the past couple of days I’ve finally come out on top of this epic wrestling match. The new u-joints are in, and the axle has been reassembled. It is nice and solid, unlike the distinct wobble it had before.

I finally finished the lubrication job I started about 3 weeks ago when I found this mess, and all I have to do now is put some new tires on the car and we’re good to go!

I have to say it is immensely satisfying to turn that last wrench on a tough job and look at the finished product. =)

2011 Monte Shelton NW Classic Rally: Day One. (For real this time!)

The Start of the 2011 NW Classic.

I’ve always felt that my father & I could win this rally – this, even though we’ve finished:
18th with 563 penalty points in 2007,
9th with 240 penalty points in 2008,
19th with 1151 penalty points in 2009.

Plus years of similar results in similar TSD rallies. Why do I think we can win? Because when we’re “on” we are really good. It is only when we go off-course that we kill our chances. For example, in the 2009 event, we did better on day two than any other car save the overall winner. We stayed on-course and dad kept us on-time. We racked up only 53 of our penalty points out of our total of 1151 on the rally’s second day. If we could put TWO of those days together, we could win. Course-following is a shared responsibility and I feel like I’ve honed my course-following abilities quite a bit since we started running TSDs a decade ago. I can make the required observations and more importantly, the descending order route decisions (onto/toward, protection, centerline, straightest) on the fly far better than I ever could. I know that Dad’s navigation skills have improved as well. We’re good at what we do, we just have to be CONSISTENT (for once!)

I come to this event mentally prepared to do as well as possible. You dear reader will suffer for this a bit, as I’ve left most of my camera equipment behind. I’ll only shoot pics when I have the time, and forego photography for concentration on consistent performance of my driving duties. Sorry!

This year the NW Classic divided into two classes. Not based on car, but on rallying style. Standard Class cars were running under the same rules all of us lived by in the past (non-programmable calculators, speed tables, slide rules, rally clocks, etc allowed.) This year they added a “Vintage Class” which was limited to only original-equipment odometer & speedometers, and non-programmable stop watches or clocks. NO calculators or speed tables allowed. Dad wants to run in Vintage, as we’ve always been “seat of the pants” rallyists anyway. He’s used a calculator before, but he feels like he can do just as well without a calculator. I’m just the driver, so I’m OK with whatever he wants to do.

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2011 Monte Shelton Northwest Classic, Arrival and Scrutineering.

The Start-Finish banner.

On Thursday afternoon Dad & I drive up to Portland from Bend for the rally check in and scrutineering for the 2011 Monte Shelton NW Classic. Unlike past years we are not in “the 65E” – my 1965 E-type Jaguar. As I was prepping the car for the rally I discovered a failed u-joint in the rear axle, which had trashed my tires pretty bad. I’ve been so busy at work that time to work on the Jaguar has been severely limited – so the backup car was brought to bear: “The Cruise Missile”, otherwise known as my parent’s 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450sl. Nowhere near as visceral as the Jaguar, the 450sl does make long-distance driving a joy, so our trip through the Cascades and down to the confluence of the Columbia & Willamette Rivers is relaxing and enjoyable. We cross the Columbia on I-205 and take SR 14 into downtown Vancouver, Washington, where we’ll spend the night. We check-in to our hotel, grab some self-service gasoline, and head south to Monte Shelton Jaguar in Downtown Portland for the evening’s events.

Rally Cars Awaiting Scrutineering

We’re directed to a spot where our car’s vitals are checked: turn signals, horn, battery secured, etc. The Benz passes with flying colors (unlike the Jaguar where I hand-signal in time with the turn signals and keep a marine safety horn around just in case!) We then have to go sign disclaimers/waivers/our lives away before securing our car number, which this year is 28. I find an orange cone behind the Benz and place it on the roof like a dunce cap, and wander off to shoot photos.

Dad puts the sticker on the passenger side

Of course, there is a array of Alfas, and a passel of Porsches, and a few unique machines as well…

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