Another Road Adventure
by Eddie Buck
That time again to come up with something worth reading. A couple things come to mind.
Firsts... Youth in the hobby... Road adventures, good and bad. Hmmmm. I was supposed to have this in to Rob a few days ago. Better get my ass in gear and get this done. See if any of these topics make it to the end.
Bowling Green was a week ago. I was supposed to take the whole family. The drill was supposed to be as last year. Hit the doings at the track, wander and see people, then schlep off to the amusement park with the kids. A few days before, my wife got sick and decided not to go. My youngest didn't really want to go either. So, it was my 13 year old son, Kody, and myself. I warned him ahead of time: no amusement park. Also, I let him know I was going to visit, walk around and wasn't sure how long we'd stay. I figured the odds on him going were slim. He surprised me when he said he was game.
After doing this car thing as long as I can remember, and the years of taking girlfriends, wives, kids, nieces, nephews, friends, etc., I know full well it can be five minutes on the ground and they are ready to split. I've conditioned myself to this and try to caution them. It's much better to miss their company for a day than to let said company be miserable and ruin an otherwise good weekend show. I'm also the kind of person who, when I am done... I'm done. That's why when we go anywhere as a group, inevitably someone makes the suggestion, “Hey, let's rent a car together. We can split the cost and ride to the track together!”
My reply? ”Yeah, right after I dig my eyes out of their sockets with a spoon. No thanks.” I don't like being at someone else’s mercy.
Kody's enthusiasm surprised me, as he asked questions for the week prior, curiously interested in what we were going to do in the absence of Mom and Spencer. Who would we see, what would be there, etc. After a pretty busy week, we hopped in the Yuke Saturday morning, before the sun's rise. Heading out at 4 a.m. on the way to an event or to travel to pick up a new find/stray is a calming thing for me. Some people get all twisted if the itinerary isn't planned to a “T.” The proper snacks, support materials and all that other crap that takes up too much space. It can be bought at a convenience store on the way, but “if we take it with us we can save money....”
Screw that! I work my ass off for the money I make. Spending 27 cents more on a bottle of water is the last thing I want to worry about. Me?... I make sure my pants are zipped and the GPS is set to driving directions. I can live without zipping up, but that GPS stuff..... Once, in Philly, I had the setting on walking directions, instead of driving directions. Talk about a feeling of useless and ignorant. I had to call Joe to get me where I was going, via his laptop. Two days later, I figured out what was wrong.
Hang around; the GPS factor will rear its ugly head….
Back to the story. 4 a.m., we're on the road. Plan is to make Mt. Vernon, Illinois about 6 and stop for some grub before heading south. Mission accomplished; we have breakfast, fill up on fuel.... I had put the full tune and a new tranny in the Yuke a couple weeks earlier....checked mileage and gained a couple mpg's even at 80-plus cruise speed. Trip's getting better. GPS is telling us where to go. I've made the trip a couple times before, but my memory sucks when it comes to driving. The kid, being a newly-minted teenager, has that affliction they all have – they sleep all the time, so I had the peace and quiet of the road and my XM. With that, everything is running smoothly. About 20 minutes from Beech Bend, I see Brian Fox with his Zorba's Ghost headed back towards St. Louis. I was hoping to get a good look at it, since I never had the chance when it's 10 minutes away... on any other day of the year. We arrive about 10:30 a.m. and sit in the familiar jam of traffic getting in. I think it's a state law that if you are a woman with no teeth, you have to smoke while you drive. The cigarette should be dangling from the side of your mouth closest to the slightly lowered window in the truck.
Having the kid with me, I'm acutely aware that in order to keep him interested and engaged, I have to feed him enough info to keep his interest piqued, but not bore him either. Provide him with enough information that leads to, hopefully, another question. We parked and started making our way through the crowd and I suddenly realized something was missing.... a lack of youth. There was a fair amount of kids; most were probably there with their families, by choice or not. What I noticed was a great lack of young adults. They call these reunions for a reason, I reminded myself. It's about seasoned racers reliving old memories, history, all mixed with some nostalgia class racing. The car show, one would think would be a draw...maybe. Hell, as kids we lived for the car shows. But, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize the crop of participants in this thing will dwindle considerably in a decade or two. That is, unless there are new participants to fill the voids of those who depart. In other words, who's gonna fill their shoes? We sat in the stands to watch Bob Rosetty's cars and a couple of the nitro guys who are friends, make their runs. No one in the stands is under 30 – literally - except Kody. I'd say average age was about 40-45. Where are they? Is this “old stuff “ of no interest? Have they been priced out of it? Is it a case of the availability of so many other things? Wish I knew the answer. Maybe it's as simple as taking a kid to a car show or race to let them experience it. Maybe it's something more complex. All I know is, we need more youth… Period!
Continued on next page...
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