To Molly Wherever I May Find Her

It seems I've been remiss with respect to my reading audience. Yesterday, I received a plaintive message from Molly the cat who said she really only reads to see the luscious hunka mancat meat that often makes an appearance. I'm here to remedy that right now.

It's easy to see why Molly would be smitten with him, isn't it? Just look at those paws of steel and those gorgeous green bedroom eyes. He's a gentleman too. He's completely ceded his former territory to Miss Sadie. As for Miss Sadie, she has a blanket there for softness, but she prefers to scrunch in behind it so that only her ears show.

There seems to be a problem of paw dominance cubby conundrum when Smitty tries climbing up on the right side of the slide-out. Instead, he climbs up on the left side and then walks across. (We removed the wall of separation several days ago.)

Yesterday evening, he was able to get outside for a short walk. It's a scary place, however, with lots of people and cars driving by. We waited until the place had mostly shut down for the night, but he was still nervous and stayed pretty much in among the date palms.

When Sadie came to the door to watch, he decided he'd rather be inside with her.

Sadie, open the door, woudja?

As for the driving part of the day, it was my day to do a ride-along with one of Mike's instructors. After lunch, we headed over to the classroom.

These are just some of the C7 Corvettes parked outside.

This was Mike's car for the morning. He switched to the blue car #28 later in the afternoon when I did my ride-along. 

And what a wild ride that was! The students go out in groups of four or five with an instructor in the lead, and so I was out with them when they did their laps, doing all the things they did at the speeds they were doing them. This is Paul, the instructor I rode with. He was young and cute, and I was tempted to ask him if his mother knew where he was.

Despite his youth, I felt completely comfortable in the car with him, figuring he'd rounded the track a zillion times or more. When I was strapped into the passenger seat, this is what I could see.

Here's the console. For the passenger's comfort, there are hand-holds on both sides of the car. I've indicated the one for the left hand with a red arrow, and there was another on the door for my right hand. I hung on for dear life because that those speeds, the g-force causes one to be thrown around the car's interior. Also, I was wearing a helmet, and so I had my head resting against the seat back to keep my neck comfortable.

Here's a map of the course. If you look in the upper left corner, you'll see it's color coded to tell the students how to negotiate the turns using throttle vs. breaking vs. balance.

This is Ron Fellows, the race car driver I mentioned earlier. Mike said he isn't always there, and so it was something of a privilege to get to meet him and hear him talk about racing. Mike asked him which race he was most proud of winning, and he replied it was the 2001 Daytona 24-hour race. Apparently they'd lost the 24-hour race the year before by just 30 seconds, and so the win a year later was all the sweeter. For that win, he was awarded a Rolex watch, and he pulled up his sleeve to show it.

He is considered a racing legend, and Mike said he was a very nice and humble man.

For those of you interested in this sort of thing (and if you understand the terminology), the cars have a 460 HP V-8 engine with a 7-speed manual transaxle in the rear. Mike tells me their performance is on par with race cars of ten years ago. 

As for the ride, it was great fun and quite a thrill. I enjoyed seeing what Mike was seeing. When I could relax my eyeballs enough to take them off the road, I could look at the speedometer. We were traveling at 101 mph in the straightaways and between 45-65 in the curves, depending on where we were on the track. Also, I could look in my side mirror and see Mike following behind us. Occasionally, I heard some knocking in the rear of the car. Going around turns so fast, the rear end would break loose a little bit (planned and encouraged). When that happened, the tires would throw off "marbles" of rubber. The students are warned to stay on the road and not venture off into the "marbles" because they cause the car to slip as if one were driving on marbles. 

After my ride, I walked back to the RV. Mike still had hours of class left. Along the way, I calmed myself by taking pictures of every blooming thing. Remember the creosote bushes I mentioned in my last post? Here is an actual creosote bush, nearly bloomed out.

They're easy to recognize by their "snakeskin" bark.

With so much excitement during the ride-along, a nap was in order. 

This seems as good a time as any to talk about the suggested footwear for this activity. Mike is wearing driving shoes. He says they are comfortable. They have a stiff sole for the ball of the foot and they are designed to make heel-toe downshifting possible. Also the pad on the side makes it possible to also hit the throttle. Why one would want to do all three things at the same time is beyond me, but so I'm told. 
This morning when we got up, we saw a couple of vehicles rounding the track...this is essentially the "Zamboni" that cleans up the marbles left on the track from the day before.

As I'm writing this, Mike has gone for his third and final day of driving. We will be staying here overnight and leaving in the morning. In the meantime, I'll be doing some more laundry and cleaning the place up a little bit. We need to do some grocery shopping this evening and then in the morning, Mike wants to get the batteries checked on the fifth wheel. They were very low on water when we left home, and he's concerned they may need to be replaced. We're heading off to the Valley of Fire State Park next, and there's a possibility we'll be dry camping while we're there. We want to be sure our batteries are in good shape.

I didn't get any more sewing done yesterday. Having the ride-along in the middle of the day meant I spent the day being pretty lazy...and that was a good way to spend it too. I was kind of tired. Today I'll have all day, and so I'll get more sewing done. The next Solstice Challenge block is out. It's a large block, and it's going to work great with the fabric I brought along. After that, I'll get back to work on my quilt-along quilt, sandwiching it and doing some quilting for "stablizing" the quilt. That's not something I generally do when I quilt, and so I'll be learning something new.

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lee Ann L. said...

I'm going to ask a stupid question in a few. we are going camping in a couple of weeks and taking our cats along for the ride as I don't want to board either one of them. Gracie is a special needs tripod cat with severe allergies and honestly, I don't trust anyone else than us. Both cats are harness trained and frequently go outside leashed. Anyway, My question is where do you put the litterbox? I haven't decided here the best place would be and this is frustrating me because I really want it to be in an optimized place. I'm thinking about taking off one of the doors to a lower cabinet and placing the box inside there. Not sure yet. But, I was wondering what you do.

works4me said...

That's not a stupid question at all Lee Ann. I have wondered as well. :)

Thank you so much for the kitty pictures Barbara. We need our kitty fix even if there is a lot else going on, as there is right now.

I have been on those ride alongs and it is great that you get to see what Mike is doing all day. All day is exhausting. I'll bet Mike sleeps well.

I have received emails from the Ron Fellows school and hesitated, not knowing anything about it. Nice to know someone who has done the course. Maybe I will treat hubby one day.

gpc said...

I bet Molly is eating her heart out at that hunka hunka burning Smitty. And that Sadie is rolling her eyes. How fun that you got to do the ride along, I can definitely imagine that it would get ones heart pumping. Ah, the Solstice block . . . I am many, many blocks behind, but I've obediently printed it and put is aside for when I get caught up. I haven't done a single April/Green block yet, either. You are putting me to shame.

Sally Trude said...

MEEEOW! I prefer people pillows but sometimes they are hard to tame. I will have to try the leash and harness idea.



DeeDee said...

Holy crap, you are so brave getting in the car and going for a ride! I'm not sure I'd have the guts. Your vacation is so much fun!!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Awesome post -- what an experience!

Dana Gaffney said...

Poor Smitty being seen as a piece of meatcat, I guess he just takes it in stride.
Special shoes for driving made me laugh, then I thought of course they exist.
Sometimes I wonder if animals are left or right sided, Smitty going up the other side reinforces that, Maya can only get in my car on the passenger side, it's weird.

piecefulwendy said...

Another great post, and one I'm going to show to my son. He's watched car racing for years, so I think he would be interested to read about the course and Ron Fellows. Might even be something he'll put on his bucket list. Aside from that, I was again laughing out loud while I read your post. I love the way you word things, since I can totally relate! "When I could relax my eyeballs . . ." Hahaha -- that would totally be me! I have to admit a bit of jealousy though, as I think it would be fun to ride along. And of course they have driving shoes, who knew?? Thanks so much for the fun read once again! Smitty certainly struck a handsome pose, and Sadie is just cute, period. Enjoy your day!

Susan said...

With the tires spitting rubber marbles, I can see why they need to replace the tires every two classes. What a thrill ride you had--better than a roller coaster! It would make me want to get out there and drive it myself. I wonder what the cats would think about riding in a race car.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Smitty you have been missed. Meow from Billie's Miss Elly...😺

SJSM said...

Well, that sure is interesting. Driving shoes, marbles and hunky cats sure makes a day. Glad to see Mike enjoying being a free man and creating memories to retell for the rest of his life. Yes, do tell about that litter box. We don't have a trailer but are thinking of the idea and traveling with our cats. Whenever we leave we pay a pet sitter and the kitties do not like the fact we left them. Stella is rarely around when the pet sitter comes for the visit. As such, pictures of her are rare. Lana waits for her as she knows food is coming. It would be nicer to have them with us.

Enjoy your trip!

kc said...

Well, he is one hunka hunka purrfection, for sure...and Sweet Sadie, so tolerant of his highness. I mean hijinx...

I can so relate to your ride-along - I was taught to drive a car by a semi-pro race car driver, and it bugs hubby to death that I brake left-footed. And I'll never forget the day they left the gates to the speedway open, and I decided to ride my little Toyota Corolla around the track. Puppy could go, but not nearly as fast as my 428 Interceptor that I used to (street) drag race. Yes, yes, I may have been a bit of a wild child myself.

Bet those special shoes were a pricey pair - will he get to wear them again?

Can't wait to see where we go next!! Drive safe, on & off the track!

Brown Family said...

Molly is not the only kitty that enjoys seeing your Mancat! The boys also enjoy seeing Miss Sadie!

How exciting to get to do a ride along! Maybe a little scary, but exciting!

Very interesting shoes!

Kate said...

Sounds like you are both having a great vacation. How fun that you got to ride along and see what it's like. (Probably good you didn't ride with Mike).

quiltzyx said...

Oh yes, Smitty is being his handsome, charming self in the cubby! Did Sadie make him wait before opening the door to let him back in from the scary outside?

It's been a very long time since I've been in a car going over 100mph. And that was with my Dad driving, towing a boat back from the Colorado river! Yikes! I think I may have gotten my HHR up to nearly 90 when I was on my roadtrip a while back... The map was interesting with the colored 'directions' for the drivers. And Mike's new shoes are very cool!! You'll know to watch out for speeding along if he puts those on during the rest of the trip!