Saturday, September 16, 2017

A return to normal – the end of the move is in sight!

A sense of normality is finally descending on the Holen-Buckle household. Boxes have been unpacked and cut down to a size where they can be carted off to the recycling center. Packing paper has been stuffed into bags so that our trash collectors will recycle for us and yes, all the miscellaneous stuff that you see finding its way to the floor is all compressed into the available trash can. Yes, the air is finally loosing that dusty appearance that becomes visible whenever sunlight streams across the room. Little particles just floating with no further role to play in the big move!

The three car garage with room for a motorcycle now has two cars parked in the slots allocated to them. The third is still a bit of a mess as the last remnants of the move are still visible but with just a couple more days of dedicated organizing, the final slot for the third car will be ready, We will be left with one vehicle parked on the driveway but with the construction going on all around us, we don’t think anyone is going to complain to the home owners’ association, but we will be cautiously watching what develops – every other house has at least one truck or SUV out on a driveway. 

Furniture continues to arrive. Today was a day we had been looking forward to for some time as our dining room sideboard arrived which led to Margo’s latest flurry of activity involving yet more boxes being unpacked. Now the crockery she treasures so much has a home and later tonight I expect to be able to walk into the dining room to see her treasures visible behind the glass doors of the sideboard. One thing always leads to another and so we have ordered the final two pieces we wanted for the dining room and hopefully they will arrive early next month.

The home is also our office and we went to some lengths to assure ourselves the flow of the main floor would not be disrupted with an office in sight of the kitchen. We finished the office with French doors and when they are closed, we both are finding our office space more than accommodating of both of us as we continue to be engaged in projects for Pyalla Technologies – Margo, as managing editor of the new digital publication NonStop Insider, just finalized issue number 12 that wrapped up an interesting year in this respect. Putting out any form of media is never an easy undertaking but with help, she has managed twelve issues and is looking forward now to publishing an anniversary edition in four weeks’ time. If you are interested in seeing this publication, check out

The office space was always a priority, as we wanted to be able to keep working during the transition and we are almost there – we picked up our new office chairs this week and that had been something we had looked forward to after having had to work from footstools ever since we moved in. And our backs? Ouch! But again, it all comes down to priorities and we wanted seats that would suit the rest of the main floor of the house as they will be visible from almost every vantage point. As for the picture of me hunched over my tablet, already this is an old picture as just after the photo was snapped, we arranged the office furniture yet again and now I am behind a better functioning L-shaped table grouping. 

At first we were very sad to see pretty much all the furniture we had acquired for our former home in Boulder included in the sale of the house. In reality, however, what worked well in our former home and was scaled to suit the room sizes just wouldn’t have worked in the new home. In a way, it’s been fun to essentially start over but it has been challenging all the same. We have gone for an open floor plan encompassing an eat-beside kitchen, a morning coffee settee with table and then a lounge area with a large sectional.

The big item for us was getting our pictures hung and we contracted with a small company specializing in such a task. Of our seventy plus paintings (at last count) that we kept, I think we have about thirty already hanging from the walls and it’s a bit like the old saying that you can’t go wrong with mixing different woods, then you really can’t go wrong with paintings no matter how big they may be. And we have some pretty sizeable pieces that we have found work perfectly for our new home. The art work has been grouped with our dining room having a distinctly Italian / Venetian theme going for it whereas the guest bedroom is all Sydney. The main area well, it’s all musical with instruments of all types featured in almost all the paintings.

As for our other home of the past three months, the company commend center, well we finally took delivery of it a short time ago and this weekend it will be heading for our new home for a thorough cleaning and a restock. I am still lobbying to take it to High Plains Raceway as part of a shakedown trial along with an opportunity of course to get back on track with the Corvette, but we will just have to see.

Here in Colorado the leaves have started to turn and the mountains are at their most beautiful and somehow we are going to have to work in a day’s outing just to take a look. Each fall we have spent a couple of days out at the Wine Country Inn in Palisades, just outside Grand Junction, and we may just have to find the time to keep that tradition intact. On the other hand both Margo and I need seat time in the Corvette and since moving into the home, she has as yet not enjoyed a single instance behind the wheel of the Z06.

It is very late in the season to be thinking about going onto the track but fall driving has always been a time we have thoroughly enjoyed. With temperatures backed way off their highs which around here have been in the high 90s, it is a lot more enjoyable and grilling a couple of stakes while enjoying a martini even as our companions are all working furiously on their cars well, there’s not much that can top the occasion. It’s hard to imagine that our Corvette is fifteen years young but it’s still extremely competitive and there are few who can argue that on club tracks, anything more than 400 horsepower (and 400 foot pounds of torque) is a waste in the hands of amateurs like Margo and me. It will do just fine!

As for just how much work was done on the RV this summer I am going to leave that until we have wrapped up the season and the RV has been winterized and parked in storage. However, we were very fortunate that insurance came to our rescue in one instance and then again, replacing all six tires was something we had been planning on doing but then again it has proved to be our costliest year ever. On the bright side, as Margo keeps reminding me, we have a new RV with everything that has been done to the chassis and drivetrain. In the six summers we have had the RV we have driven it some 60,000 miles and attended events on both coasts. Could we have stayed in the Ritz for about the same amount? Yes, we could have, but there’s something to be said about simply having your own home wherever your travels take you.

Our travels these past few months brought us into contact with the Kennys, our good friends in Simi Valley, California, and the family that so kindly opened their doors to us for the duration of our troubles with the RV. We have known the Kennys for a very long time now and have had the good fortune to join them on many vacations but clearly we haven’t been able to spend as much time together as either of us would like due to the distance between Colorado and California. Well, surprise? That is now all in the past – the Kenny family just bought a Cessna 180 and they flew it all the way from Mississippi back to California where it has a home on the grounds of Van Nuys general aviation airport. And with that we are anticipating seeing a lot more of them and our new home’s guest room is getting a lot of attention. 

Much as we like to write about the Kenny family it would still be remiss of me not to close with a couple of sentences about grandson, Colton Herta. Earlier in the year I wrote quite a lot about Colton who, as a rookie to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition, tasted success very early in the program. After the first two weekends with two firsts and a second, he had jumped into the lead and attracted considerable press coverage in doing so. At the tender age of 16 he was pulling away from far more senior drivers and with a scholarship of $1million this was a very serious affair – the $1million guaranteeing the recipient a run in the senior league, the Indy Cars, for the Indy 500 (in May) as well as two other events.

Well the year didn’t quite pan out the way I had initially imagined and it is so easy to say well, that’s racing. But at one point, as she watched Colton recovering from an on-track incident that left him at the back of the field. But ultimately, Colton recorded seven (out of sixteen) pole positions – way more than anyone else he faced all year and only one behind his dad, Bryan Herta, when Bryan won the Indy Lights equivalent program a decade or so ago. He also scored numerous fastest laps and when it came to running on the big oval at Indy, was the only Indy Lights driver to complete a lap over 200mph. Yes, what other seventeen year old can candidly chat about the time they lapped a major track at 200mph!

When it came to the last race of the year run this year at Watkins Glen, Colton landed the pole – yes, his seventh – but come race day it was pretty much all bets were off as the rain bucketed down. Only a few of the drivers had experienced such miserable conditions and as the NBC commentary team (oh yes, most of these races are now nationally televised) reported, “When all the drivers tell you that they love racing in the rain – they lie!” Not even the support of dad, Bryan, could really change the outcome of the race as going into this last race, all the series points leader had to do was record one lap and he would be declared the winner.

But in the rain, anything could happen – would the point’s leader crash out on the first corner? Could Colton pull away and score enough points to impact the outcome? Even through the lens of the television camera is was clear to everyone that conditions would favor those out front given so much spray being thrown up by the cars and while the first three laps were thrilling affairs with multiple lead swaps including a short period where Colton led the field, the race settled down to just three cars our front and the rest following. 

The race Colton was having was for outright third place in this race as well as outright third place in the series which would confirm his big win as “Rookie of the Year” that would more or less guarantee his return to Indy Lights next year for a more realistic tilt at the overall championship. Maybe he can get more poles than his father and maybe, just maybe, he can win the series as his father had done all those years ago. But it is racing after all and just a few laps shy of the end, a full course yellow backed all the cars up behind a pace car with the restart every driver’s chance to improve and the driver just behind Colton was his competitor for the Rookie of the Year prize. After a few heart-in-mouth moments, Colton pulled away and recorded third place overall, third place for the series and yes, Rookie of the Year. Congratulations to Colton, to his Mom and Dad and yes, to his grandparents as well. And thanks go to the Indy Lights web site as well as to Racer magazine for some of these photos - thank you!

Makes any plans Margo and I are making to run our Corvette at High Plains Raceway seem all rather trivial by comparison. And yet, for us with absolutely no plans whatsoever to move into any of the really competitive categories - a moot point. It’s solely a fun outing for us and a time when we can open up the big Z06 without worrying who is coming towards us or who may be checking our speed. No more random, “You a**hole – you could have killed us!” moments as has happened in the mountains on occasion but only when Margo is behind the wheel! Perhaps more importantly, a time away from the office and the desk and the keyboard with nothing else on our minds other than where is the brake point and oh, who moved the apex! Then again, it may all be put to one side as we opt for something a little more normal; quietly and sedately driving in the mountains and looking at the colors of fall.