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Showing posts from 2014

Nothing sidelined us in 2014 – track time was down but road time was very much up!

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As I wrapped up the last post for 2013 I made the observation that with the onset of winter we were limited to just one car, that being the Jeep, summer tires and all! I also made reference to how our thoughts were already turning to spring and for 2014 to be a time for further exploring of the Americas. How little did I know and how central to our plans the Jeep became. Contrary to what some of you thought, this red Jeep of ours has been the go-to vehicle for most of our travels and oh yes, if I were to sum up 2014, it was a year where we explored the Americas “to the extreme”! However, before we dig into that a little further, we have celebrated Thanksgiving and are preparing for Christmas. The snow has already made its presence felt and by all accounts, the ski fields in the mountains to the west are going to provide a splendid playground for all those so inclined and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw a few more visitors drop by than in previous years. While the hous

The A, B, Zs of Fall!

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Autumn leaves, Bermuda waters and Zion park – all in the month of October. Racking up the miles, on our return from Western Colorado (last post) we drove the Jeep to the east coast, hopped aboard a cruise ship to Bermuda, became leaf-peepers on a northern drive up the Hudson River Valley before stopping by Montreal and Toronto, and then on our return to Boulder swapped the SUV for the RV and headed to Zion National Park. For many readers, this has all the appearance of a normal month for the Buckle family, but even by our standards, it was a tad extreme. However, the opportunity presented itself and we took full advantage of the circumstances and in the process, covered a good portion of the planet in the process. When it comes to the fall here in North America, a very strong case can be made that it is the most picturesque time of the year and in our travels we came up with more than ample evidence to concur. Fall is colorful and fall is just a great time to hit the highways (a

It's HPR again and I've got time on my hands ...

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This month it was back to enjoying track sessions at High Plains Raceway (HPR), outside Denver, Colorado. Even though the previous month had provided us with the opportunity to enjoy the delights of the Road Atlanta course, it was behind the wheel of other peoples cars and that never quite cuts it when it comes to really enjoying time on track. Throw in the awful weather Atlanta provided, a bunch of nose-heavy high-output vehicles (for the most part), and while it provided moments of fun, overall it was less than fulfilling. HPR has become our home track and in many ways it is a lot more fun turning up for the open lapping days than participating in organized events. That’s not to say National Auto Sports Association (NASA) doesn’t do a great job of putting on a full-on track weekend, but rather, where Margo and I are at competence wise, getting the opportunity for essentially unlimited time on track for less than $200 is well worth it. NASA has been very good to us through th

Round and around in the Georgia rain!

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To break with tradition, and as an opportunity to try something completely different, we signed on to the Dodge SRT program for a track outing. The opportunity to lay down laps at Atlanta’s famous and stunningly beautiful Road Atlanta track was too hard to let pass by, so last month we actually caught a plane to try our hand on an unfamiliar track in cars we knew little about. Arriving in Atlanta very early on a Friday morning we had time to check in, eat breakfast and catch a few Z’s as the Saturday would be a very full day. Our steads for the day would be a selection of Dodge SRT 392 “Hemis”, and as can be expected, they were present in every color imaginable. Margo and I have been circulating tracks around the world now for several years. It’s always been a part of the plan to visit as many locations as we could and readers will recall our adventures have extended to include time on track for both of us in Germany (on the world famous Nordschleife, or North Loop, of the  Nürbur

Familiarity breeds contempt? Well, kind of …

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A major reason for moving up to higher level within the National Auto Sports Association (NASA) HPDE program is to get away from the “trains” that often form behind drivers new to the program or to the track. Having been a participant at NASA events for six years, and having worked my way up to HPDE3, I was very familiar with the expectations of all who drove in this group and yet, returning to Willow Springs International Raceway (WSIR), it was as if I was starting from the very bottom – yes, I had a lot on my mind that weekend but there was little excuse for me to hold up other, more experienced drivers. It had only been a short time before making the trip to the western edge of the Mojave Desert that I had been behind the wheel of our C5 Z06 Corvette driving lap after lap around Colorado’s High Plains Raceway (HPR). In the years I have spent at HPR, I have accumulated more than 500 laps – possibly as many as 1,000 laps –pretty much every surface crack is now a familiar lan

Down to some serious business …

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Following numerous references of late to smiles, it was all business this month. After an absence from the track of nearly six months, it was a case of picking up where we had left off last year. With the balmy days of late spring displacing the final throws of winter, it was good to be able to load up the company command center, hitch up the trailer, and load the track car. Once again, for 2014 track days, it would be the 2003 C5 Z06 Corvette providing all the excitement. The Vette was starting its third year as the go-to track car and it’s proving to be a very good choice. Of any Vette you could choose, this one is the easiest to drive, the simplest to maintain, and the least difficult to clean and prepare. During the winter months, the ten years plus battery elected to literally explode and being a complete novice when it comes to replacing batteries after such a terminal occurrence, when I first went to investigate the problem, I swept aside all the water with my bare hands.

It’s great to be greeted with smiles …

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The arrival of spring is in evidence everywhere I look. The trees have all their leaves, there are birds everywhere and the pool covers are off, so it has to be spring. The photo above was hastily snapped early this morning as the task of clearing the last reminders of the long winter continue. It was a very long and hard winter, with temperatures as low as I can recall, so just being outside enjoying the warmth of spring makes a big difference. Saturday and Sunday evenings were spent around the BBQ and helped set the stage for more entertaining to come. However, the inclusion of this photo is also a reminder that the house is up for sale with the real work beginning this week. Repairs and maintenance have been aggressively pursued since early December and just this last week, further landscaping was completed. The fountains are working and we have an icemaker! The home looks as good as it ever has and this week there will be a formal open house, arranged by our realtor, for a g