Another Road Trip…only it’s longer
you race and travel to and from races on a regular basis or a semi-regular
basis you will probably relate to this series of stories I am going to
send in and see if Jeff is brave enough to publish them.
I won’t try to make it humorous but it looks like it might end up that way (to some of you that have had similar “road trips”. It is early in our little adventure. We are leaving the rapidly cooling climate of Iowa for the warmer climate of Florida for a few months. We are planning on doing some bracket racing on the way and then display the Trailer Toad hitch assembly at the PRI Show in Orlando. If you have not attended a PRI Show and you are a true gear-head, you owe it to yourself to buy a cheap airline ticket to Orlando for the December 11-13 show. Every possible race part, manufacturer, sanctioning body and machinery is on display. It is a great show that doesn’t include the chrome wheels and fancy trim the SEMA Show is turning into.
The trip started by trying to plan what we needed to take so we could live in the motor home for several months. Well, to put it mildly, all the “stuff” didn’t fit. If you have left for racing trips or even family vacations you know where I am coming from. I did the normal tow vehicle and trailer maintenance. Oil changes, new fuel filters, check brakes, tires, etc, etc. Actually checking all that stuff never ends. It just changes from doing it in your driveway to doing maintenance in Wal-Mart parking lots and Rest Areas.
When we finally got the trailer loaded with display stuff for the PRI Show, one dragster, two bicycles, Barb’s Nissan Altima, two Trailer Toads and as many spare parts and tools that would fit. It was actually pretty interesting getting it all to fit. Then reality hit and I started unloading some extra stuff to save weight. When we watched the forecast for the next night that included upper 20 degree temperatures and snow it was decision time. We made the decision and left the next morning.
I hate towing our 72’ in 15 to 30 mph crosswinds but the wind looked better than snow and ice. The biggest positive for the start of the trip is $2.96 diesel fuel. Far from cheap but much better than the $4.17 I paid in August. We made some changes to the motor home to help get the wind over the front of the trailer and we also installed Air-Tabs on the rear edges of the trailer. These really helped mileage and stability when a truck comes up on your rear corner. I will be writing a detailed tech feature on the Air-Tabs this week. Interesting what I found out to say the least.
Back to the trip, now that you know I am all about streamlining this rig. Pretty much uneventful the first 10 hours and then we got our first surprise. Pulled out of a fuel stop and headed down the on-ramp and could not reach 40 mph. What the heck was going on. About 10 seconds later the STOP ENGINE! Warning came across my dash screen and the red Engine light was blinking…UH-OH! Not good. I had good oil pressure and water temp was OK so I limped along until I could get off I-55. When we did I turned the engine off and called the Cummins Customer Service Hotline.
They found an authorized Cummins Dealer about 15 miles away and I called them. They had me restart the engine and there was no warning light on. They said I could limp my way to their shop and it should not be a problem. That is what we did and 5 hours later they had us fixed up and ready to go. The Charge Air hose was loose due to a broken clamp (which to us non-diesel mechanics means NO BOOST-NO POWER). The warning light came on because I was using so much throttle to try to get it going and it send a code to the ECM. They upgraded the entire ECM with the latest Cummins programming and it included an improved program for the 2150 Allison transmission. Thank goodness that was a warranty repair, probably saved me hundreds of dollars. Mid-South Cummins in Cape Giradeau, MO got us in and out and I couldn’t have asked for better treatment.
The next goal was to reach South Georgia Motorsports Park for the Motorvation 5-Day Bracket Championships. We got there Sunday evening and were surprised to see the pit area jam-packed with motor homes and trailers. I thought we were last to arrive! Wrong, they had an AMA-sanctioned motorcycle race going on and with 587 entries it was a busy weekend. I must have watched 20 guys make 200 mph passes and the Top Fuel motor cycles………………just seems there has to be something wrong with someone who sits on a blown nitro engine, no roll bar, no seat belts and runs in the 5-second range at over 225 mph!!!!!
We are posting results on the 5-Day race from SGMP. The racing is awesome and very fast. I watched a couple cars line up yesterday with dial-ins of 6.89 and 6.95 (YES, it was quarter-mile). I would guess that half the field is dialed-in at 7.55 and faster. With about 180 cars in the pit area the economy looks fine from this angle.
We got the Back-2-Basics S&W Chassis dragster out of the trailer for one of their 1/8 mile races on Wednesday. It is the first time I have raced that car in over a year. We got to the fourth round where a .001 and .011 over by my opponent, Steve Mikus, put us in the trailer. He went on to win the $7500.00 so that is a little consolation, at least we lost to the event winner.
We will keep on travelling and racing for the next several weeks and will keep you posted on results and strange happenings, if there are any.