Yesterday was ground hog Day. Any desert rat, where I was the past few days 10 miles North of Quartzsite, would have said it will be a late spring this year since the high the past two days was 38 degrees. However, just North in Parker Az, where I moved today it's a balmy 68 degrees. What a difference a day makes, or 25 miles?
First, I did some grocery shopping. I had intended to do my washing first but the laundromat we usually stop at in the Safeway shopping center was gone. After shopping I headed downtown to another laundromat. With clean clothes, I stopped and restocked the LPG tank and the fuel tank. Then I parked downtown and looked around at all the racers that will be in the race.
There are many classes of vehicles in the Parker 425 race.
Some look somewhat normal, some not.
A good opportunity to look at the vehicles and talk with the drivers and crews.
Red seems to be a popular color.
There was only one bug in the race and it won it's class. Surprise. It did finish with no damage unlike most of the other vehicles. The older car on the right was there but not sure why. It certainly couldn't make it far on the course.
Above are some Jeep Cherokee's something like our Grand Cherokee. They've done few mods to theirs.
Unfortunately my lunch, an Indian fry bread taco, looked too good so I had eaten much of it before I took this picture.
There was a nice little street fair as well. The jeep club piles their jeeps on top of each other to put on a good display.
Interesting machines. Might be more capable in the desert than our Jeep?
Above is a video of the racers departing downtown.
Lou has started her return trip and is in Bakersfield for the night.
I moved out to the Blue Water Casino where the race vehicles are spending the night. The vehicles will be staging in the parking lot here at the casino at 6:15am and leave here for the start line downtown at 7:00am for the race to start downtown at 7:15am. The finish line as at the casino 425 miles later. I guess I'll be a morning person Saturday. I understand that access out to the desert race course will be closed at 5am until the race is finished. That puts a crimp in my plan to see the start and finish and a lap of the race. May not get to see a lap.
I had the buffet dinner in the casino, joined the players club and won my dinner with their $10 Thursday old timers free play.
Friday: (02/04) I fixed a ham Don McMuffin for breakfast. There was a lot of deep throated rumbling as some of the racers parked nearby started their engines and move out into the inspection line. The rumble is mightier than a big rig truck or Harley but fortunately doesn't really bother me or my sleep. I sauntered out and took some photos of the racers in line for their vehicle inspections. It was a long day for those at the end of the line. Started at 9am and was still going at 6pm. I also walked through the show and inspection area. Some people must have a lot of extra cash? These aren't your mother's VW dune buggy. I spoke to one of the mechanics and he said the trophy trucks get about 2 mpg. Finally a vehicle that makes our RV and Jeep look economical!
The race will be about 425 miles consisting of three laps of 140 miles with a few odd miles getting from downtown to the desert course after the start and back to the casino for the finish. The trucks carry about 75 gallons of gas which, I was told, barely makes a lap. I should say fuel. It probably isn't cheap regular gas. There are lots of racing fuel trucks around the lot here at the casino.
They do all sorts of inspections, Features, safety equipment and they mark all the tires so they will know who littered if they find one left on the course.
I really liked the one on the left. it was the only one like that and looked a little like a mustang on steroids. A nice sunset that night.
Lunch was a slice of pizza at the casino.
About 2pm I took a walk out to the other side of the Parker Airport. That's where the main pit area is and I was curious to know if there would be a good spot to see the the racers pass. Lots of fancy pit crew camps but it didn't look like it would be anything but dusty. Above is one of the big contingents chase fleet. No shortage of money by this group.
I ended up Southeast of the town when Lou called and said she had arrived so she picked me up. I showed her around the the car craft fair. Shock absorbers, helmets, fire suits on display. Pretty crafty. Dinner was baked potatoes, a green salad and chicken.
Saturday: (02/05) Up at 6am with the sounds of deep throated engines roaring. Not much interesting where they were collecting for the escort downtown so we headed downtown for the start of the race.
Ready to start the race. They let one vehicle go about every minute.
Kind of a noisy place with their engines revving. Lots of advertising everywhere.
They closed down Highway 95 through town where the race started. a few blocks later they make this turn onto the actual race course.
After the last one, the only little VW bug, was off we drove out Shea Road to watch them pass.
Our first stop gave you a nice close view but every passing racer raised such a cloud of dust that you couldn't see anything, even the departing racer. There were lots of people seeing the arrival of each racer and not the departure. We headed on out the road to an area on a bluff over a wash. Much nicer viewing. After a while we had seen enough so we headed back to the casino for the finish.
Out on Shae Road the race course parallels the road at several locations. Some were very dusty. The above right is at a location where you observe from a bluff. It's also in a rocky river wash so little dust.
The finish line was up the beach a ways North of the casino. There was a real finish line where there were almost no spectators and a photo and interview area up by the casino where each racer was interviewed. At the real finish line there was a nice hill the racers had to climb (above left) as they started each successive lap.
This is the casino snackbar where we get some wonderful pizza. We had chicken soup and pizza for dinner.
I ventured back down to the finish line at 8pm and vehicles were still limping in. There were still an awful lot out trying to finish and an awful lot permanently out of the race waiting out there somewhere to be picked up. I was the only spectator down at the real finish line. Up at the interview area the only spectators were crew members and family of each racer, a small ever changing crowd.
Sometime about 8pm they stopped allowing racers to start another lap. You did have to come in before 1am or wouldn't be interviewed. It took nearly three hours for all the vehicles to be started since each one started a minute or so apart. Each racer was racing the clock so it was difficult to know who won just by when they crossed the finish line. There were also lots of classes of vehicles so they weren't racing all the other vehicles only those in their own class. All a little confusing for a normally non racing fans like ourselves.