Friday, April 1, 2011

The Dichotomy of Speed and Leisure

Texas Mile is a display of brute speed and power. So why am I so attracted to these events? Guess I'm my father's daughter! Last year I drove down just for the day, but missed out on several facets of this event, including the early morning and after-hours ambience at the facility. This year I rode down with friend Mike in his motorhome, our bicycles tied to the rack on the back. We followed Klaus and his wife Dianne in their P/U with slide-in camper. Andy, a fellow BMW club member, is already there at the airstrip in Goliad, with his 5th Wheeler and trailer containing a borrowed Kawasaki ZX-14.
Last weekend I enjoyed watching cars and motorcycles go very, very fast...!
We spent a great weekend "boondocking" at the Texas Mile! Mike has the perfect RV set-up for this. Again this year there was a wide assortment of very fast cars and motorcycles and the four of us spent a very leisurely two days alternately browsing the vehicles and chatting up their owners, cruising the paddocks by bicycle, buying girl scout cookies and sitting at our campsite chatting and visiting.

When we first arrived, Andy reported to us that the Kawi was smoking and burning oil. He lost a full day's runs on Friday assuming there was something dreadfully wrong with the bike. A quick investigation by Mike and Klaus revealed that it was over-filled with oil. Andy drained the excess, took it out for a little ride, and declared the "problem" fixed. I'm sure he was relieved to learn it was such a simple thing to fix.

That evening I set out some deer sausage I'd brought, along with crackers and cheese. Dianne set out makings for beef and chicken fajitas and I made some cocktail sauce and defrosted the frozen shrimp we'd bought at Walmart. It was a casual finger-food feast, perfect for our first night together.


The next day Andy was queued up in the paddocks early to get as many runs in as he could.

He got one run in and while waiting in line to go a second time, a corvette spun out on the track and there was nearly two hours' delay while they cleared the vehicle and cleaned the track of debris. Mike and I rode our bicycles down to the far end in hopes of getting a better look at the wreck but they'd already cleared it away by the time we got down there. We did discover the Girl Scout cookies, though!

In between Andy's runs, I often went back to the RV and sat in the shade, reading or browsing the internet. When I got hungry, I broke out the cheese and crackers, sliced an apple and had a light nosh. When the views over at the paddocks got interesting, I grabbed my camera and walked over to take photos of bikes and cars.  Photos here:  2011 Texas Mile

Andy had several good runs for the day, with consistent speeds - right at 148 to 149 mph - and good clean starts every time. The owner of the bike - a co-worker of Andy's - arrived with friends and family for the day and after lunch he suited up and made a run on the bike. His top speed on that single run: 170 mph. Why the difference? Familiarity with the bike, since it's his, no doubt played a part. But his size was the single most logical explanation. Andy is a big man, the co-worker not so big. 6" shorter and probably 150-160 lb lighter, with much less girth.


For dinner Saturday night, Mike pulled out the grill and fired up the charcoals. Klaus and Dianne had a large steak, Mike and I had a pair of butterflied pork chops. I made a salad with avocado and shrimp, and sliced the large loaf of French bread. Andy joined us for dinner that night and shared with us his day's experiences on the track. We broke out the Girl Scout cookies and sour cream-frosted brownies for dessert. It was a pleasant evening all 'round.


Andy had his bike in the paddocks early Sunday morning and was one of the first motorcycles down the track to post a 150.2 mph speed in the mile. He did it! His goal after learning the limitations of the bike with him on it was to break 150 and he did it. It earned him the right to purchase a "150 mph" t-shirt and decal, and memories he won't soon forget.

He needed to get home to his wife, who'd just had surgery that previous week, so we all packed up our RV's to head home. As we neared Wharton TX, Mike and I made a quick decision to stop at Heinz's BBQ for lunch. As we pulled up to park the RV, I spotted some horses in a field immediately next to the parking lot. As I got out of the RV, there was a beautiful black horse with white blaze on her forehead and an adorable buff-colored colt scampering about her, never far from her, nuzzling her head against the mom's neck. I climbed back into the RV to grab my camera and took some photos of this adorable scene.

Fun weekend!

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