Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Better Late Than Never: World of Speed 2012

So I got WAY off track with my posts at the end of last year... I finished up the 2012 Meet report and then dropped into a wormhole of work.  I skipped some stuff.

The biggest thing I skipped was a whirlwind trip to World of Speed at Bonneville.

When my friend Davide was first planning his trip over from Europe I had suggested that he book the trip in August to coincide with Speed Week at Bonneville.  He was incredulous that such a thing was even an option, but I told him that if he could come all the way from England, I could get him to Utah.  In the end, August didn't work for him... but I noticed that World of Speed, a slightly less crazy landspeed event held at Bonneville, was slated for the early fall timeslot that Davide and his wife Karin were shooting for.  Everything was lining up perfectly until World of Speed announced their dates - with the exact same start date as the Crosley Meet.

A promise is a promise.  Obviously I couldn't miss the Crosley Meet, but there was really no reason we couldn't head for Utah the second the meet was over, right?  And that's how it went.   I headed home after the Sunday brunch and had the wagon off the trailer and back into its spot by lunchtime.  Davide, Karin and I gathered our camping stuff, I found them suitably cheesy straw hats, filled the cooler with snacks and kissed Liv goodbye (she had to work) and we were driving east by late afternoon.
The only bummer (or not, as it turned out) was that I'd had to scrap the plan to drive my '62 Savoy.  Davide was stoked on the idea of taking a genuine Mopar classic on a trip to the Mecca of hotrodding and I really wanted to get some pics of the car on that iconic salt.  I was confident that it would make the trip with no trouble, but there were two problems: it only has two seatbelts, meaning that someone would always be without, and the driver's side windshield wiper had broken a spring and I hadn't had a chance to fix it... so if it rained heavily we'd be screwed.  In the end I chose safe over sorry and we piled into Liv's '99 Toyota pickup.

The plan was to drive all the way to Bonneville on Sunday and get there around midnite so we could make the most of the one day we could spend there.  We made great time up to Nevada, but once we hit what should have been easy street - I80 in the middle of nowhere - we were screwed. Roadwork, everywhere.  Even when we could have made good time, reduced speed signs kept us slow going.   By  about 2AM I was cooked.   I pulled into a truck stop in Wells, about 60 miles short of Bonneville and we set up "camp" - I put them in the camper shell and I curled up in my sleeping bag under the back of the truck, out of the glare of parking lot lights.
My alarm went off at 8AM and I was glad I'd slept under the truck - a light rain had misted the whole area.  Suddenly I was worried, not about windshield wipers, but about World of Speed being rained out.  We gassed up and got a quick breakfast at McDonalds - Davide stopped a family from driving off with their (empty) baby stroller hooked to the back of their car.  I laughed.  We headed east.

The sky was dark to the south - really dark for September.  As we drove we passed spots that were soaked.  I tried not to appear concerned, but I was pretty worried that I'd be taking them all this way to show them an empty, swampy mess.  To their credit, they were both enjoying the trip for what it was - the desert, the crappy road food, the ridiculousness of driving to Utah after we'd already driven halfway around California the week before.  There's a reason I really love these people.

We passed over the state line into Utah.  It was dry, more or less.  We turned off for the salt flats and wound around to the check in.  World of Speed is a smaller event than Speed Week, but I'll hand it to them - they are organized.  We got programs and stickers and directions where to go.  When Liv and  I went to Speed Week a few years ago we paid our $$ and they let us loose... it was a bit more freeform than this.  I asked the lady if it had rained.

"Yesterday it rained right up to this spot but it never got to the track.  The salt's good," she said.  "But we're watching that," she said, pointing to the dark clouds that circled us in nearly every direction...
to be continued....

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