You Can't Go Home Again
Yep, that's me. Once upon a time I drove a car, took photos, wrote a story and didn't sleep on the Power Tour. And then I got old. After numerous times of falling asleep at the keyboard, and being afraid of falling asleep while driving, I reluctantly turned the reins over to John. Nads, he calls himself. I call him a savior - he saved my health and sanity. Well, you can't really save what I never had. But, he's done yeoman's work, and for that I'm thankful. It also helps that he's a real photographer and knows nouns from pronouns (which I think are better than amateur nouns) and understands those verb thingies. But, I was also jealous - jealous of all the fun he's been having writing . And I missed it. So, I offered a deal. Let me write just one day and those pix of the bright red stiletto heels would disappear into the unknown .
So, while others cleaned their cars in the lot from the late-night storm,
and Shane burbed out the Suburban assault vehicle, we prepared to hit the bricks.
Zach, that crazy Canuck with the bottomless pit of a stomach, seemed to have a little trouble with his roller suitcase.
Then his problem was solved. Time to roll. As we left beautiful Champaign (their motto: Sorry, no caviar) I received a call from home. The big shot from our hotel had called the house looking for me. My first thought: Crud, someone walked off with the flat-screen television from their room. Again. Once is an accident, twice an error in judgement. But 4 days in a row? I'm seeing a pattern here . Just then, e-mail pinged on the phone, and this appeared: From:
June 14, 2017 at 9:23:13 AM CDT To: Subject: Champaign Forrest, You are in so much trouble, I was looking for you so I could say hi. I am so sad I missed you. I wanted to buy you a drink. I bought a new car a few weeks ago and wanted to show it to you. Anyway HI and I hope you had a good stay. Calita Sterling Director of Sales Courtyard by Marriot 1811 Moreland Blvd Champaign, IL 61822 217-355-0411 Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. It was just another fan of mine, and not a problem, even if I were in trouble with another woman. If you get to Champaign (remember the city motto? Sorry, no caviar.), stop and see Calita and the folks there. I promise you'll be treated like a king, platinum status notwithstanding. Breathing again, we hit the gas for Gateway Motorsports Park, just across the river from Saint Louis in Madison, Illinois.
Shane, being the terrific leader he is, routed us through street construction so we could feel just like a local Champaignian. Keith was not impressed.
Jim and Steen weren't too thrilled, either. Between the two of them, 1,600-odd horsepower was chomping at the bit. Giddyup.
Shaking the Champaign dust from our shoes, we drove sanely, using our blinkers at all times and obeying all laws. It was a pleasant experience. Bobby Little Bladder, whose name is suspiciously spelled like Steen's, made it an hour before nature came a-calling. I took the opportunity to meet up with Beaver Cleaver's mom, Barbara Billingsly, and see her terrific full service car wash. Sadly, with only $4 to my name, I had to pass on the hot wax option. Maybe next time. But, there was a sale at the gas station and my $4 didn't go to waste . Shane shook his head in disgust and went looking for something healthy. He left empty-handed.
John evidently awoke from his nap long enough to snap his daily corn field pic, just to remind us that while my jokes may be corny, there's a kernel of truth in them . The drive through Illinois' mid-land was calm, serene and peaceful. Until Steen and Jim succumbed to a small-town burnout box. Steen blamed his poor performance on too much water in the box. I'm thinking Mrs. Steen measured the tread depth before he left, and the now-emasculated Steen has to account for every 32nd of an inch of rear tire tread. Have no fear, Steen. Your secret is safe with me . The ride left us all feeling safe and secure, much like being safely wrapped in someone's all-encompassing hands. Well, maybe just one hand if it's big enough.
Sereneness left when Shane darted across the two-lane and into a field. With the rest of our caravan sliding to a stop, Shane jumped out and yelled, "Did you see that fighter plane?" Yeah, right. Like folks in rural, downstate Illinois keep fighter planes around to maintain the political balance with Cook County. Crud, I hate when Shane's right when it doesn't involve his diet
Yes, boys and girls, that's an F4C Phantom fighter, made by McDonnell-Douglas in Saint Louis in 1964. And I'm still older than it. Seems the now-owner bought it cut up in pieces, and is putting it back together. Reminds me of Elwood and Jake in the Blues Brothers, putting the band back together. Except this thing goes a little faster than their cop-engined, cop-suspensioned Dodge . Had the flight simulator in another room, too, along with a nuclear weapon timer. I'd set it for never, and hope for the best . I guess Illinois does have it all.
I finally found a building as old as me, which was a prime opportunity to showcase my artsy-fartsy photo skills. Black & White rules the day for me.
Which was all swell and good until our own version of Ansel Adams showed how it's done in color . Maybe I should retire now. Over river, through woods we drove in a safe and prudent manner, arriving across from downtown Saint Louis at Gateway Motorsports Park. It's easy to tell when you're there, just look for the giant croquet hoop.
I'd love to tell you I climbed high on the grandstands to take some grand pics, but truth is I'm lazy, and still have another set of red stiletto photos on my phone. So, John climbed the steps and took a gander . That's me sitting inside the air-conditioned lounge in the big rig, suggesting John climb another flight or two of stairs to get a better shot. I'm glad he listens . I did man-up and venture out into the heat and humidity eventually, asking John to snap my pic from the top row of seats in turn one. Those #hashtagsforeli don't grow on trees, you know. Ignore those immature bunny ears from Joe. I'd never act that childish .
I was literally worn out watching John attack the stairmaster, so I suggested he take things easy and take a few pix of Nick explaining to Jim the process of detailing a murdered first gen Camaro, before I headed to the stage.
After prepping for my presentation by reading a travel guide of Power Tour destinations,
credentials in hand, I headed to the big stage and once again slayed the crowd with my encyclopedic knowledge of all things useless.
Witty bantering with emcee Jeff Thisted
left the ginormous crowd wanting more .
I wisely chose to leave the crowd wanting more, because tomorrow night, when we're in Indy, we'll be having our mega-auction to benefit the Susan Komen Foundation.
Some person will be the successful winner of dinner with me. Lucky them.
Whilst I pontificated on stage, John ran around the venue desperately trying to beat the rain. He succeeded in finding the outrageous and unique.
LS motor? 80-whatever mm turbo? In a flat-fender?
One turbo not enough? Just add another. #neverenough
If you're tired of the 60s look,
just go for the 50s.
With rain continuing to threaten, John called it quits . I, on the other hand, continued to work hard - making reservations at Maggie O'Brien's Irish Pub for my posse of peeps. After all, those lucky 13 were counting on me to slake their thirst and vanquish their famine.
Us celebs carry a heavy burden, but it's what we do.
Tomorrow we head for Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Good times await us there. We have the Mothers Driving Experience, which will allow folks to run down the drag strip in a quasi-serious manner. Jim's already looking for dead weight to pull out of the Terlingua, hoping to pick up a few hundreths. The secret inside word is he has a grudge race or two lined up, defending the honor of all things Mothers.
Me? I'll be resting up after this grueling piece of journalistic excellence, reveling in my...
Oh never, mind. This was tough. It's not near as fun as my memory recalls from years ago. All I wanted to do was hear my now-grown daughter Pamela say, "Your stories were funnier than Naderi's" one more time .
I failed. John rocks .
Thank you, kind readers, for reading my failed attempt at one last hurrah. Read John for what he is, a truly talented wordsmith who cranks it day after day . I'll head off into the sunset, knowing that I played one year of big league more than I should have, striking out after homering all those other years.
The torch is passed. #lifeisgood #hashtagsforeli #nadsisdaboss #rememberme
Tomorrow we'll go 234.5 miles to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the meantime, please enjoy our Gallery of Day 04 pics here.
Forrest Tosie for Mothers® Polishes•Waxes•Cleaners facebook.com/mothersusa