19 December 2006

2006: Killer Videos

Check out this killer video on YouTube:

In 5 minutes of watching you can amp up on the adrenaline of La Carrera Panamericana!
At 2:59 in the video there is a still shot of Geezer downing a Go Fast energy drink.
At 3:50 you see El Jefe ripping around a corner in the jungle near Jalcomulco.

Watch the Mini roll and drive off afterwards!

This is a good vid too:

And you have to watch this one - 38 sec film of Rusty Ward sliding his policia Studebaker off a bridge and into a river:

06 December 2006

2006: More La Carrera Blogs

Update - I'm posting a huge heap of more pictures and enlarging the existing pics so check back often. If it takes forever to load, send me an email and when I'm done I will send you a pdf file of the blog so you can view it offline.

Please check out these stellar 2006 La Carrera websites:

Bret Haller's:

Check out this blog from George Sullivan and Tom Boes racing the #283 Volvo in 2006:

Chris (COOP) Cooper's:

Ted and Michael of Lucha Libre Racing:

2006: Day 7 – Zacatecas to Monterrey - The Big Finish! (16-Nov-06)

Last night was a late night and when my dad let me in the house he told me that Rene and I were driving in the morning. I wasn’t sure if that was such a good idea since we were the two who were out very late! I never did hook up with Rene last night but figured he was out partying with his hometown friends. I couldn't get him on the cell phone and I was bummed not to be celebrating our 3rd place in Zacatecas but que será, será.

It was a very short night and I awoke in the morning to puppy lickies and couldn’t help but smile. Geezer, Stewie and I drove across Guadalupe to the TumbaBurros shop where the car slept for the night.

TBZ Racing in front of the TumbaBurros de Zacatecas shop

We had to get a decent start because we had to drive the race car across Guadalupe and halfway across Zacatecas in rush hour to the start line, where we finished yesterday. The car was ready to go so I dressed in my suit and wondered where Rene was. I hoped he wasn’t still out partying, knowing that this morning we had our last run up La Bufa. Everyone talks about Mil Cumbres being the defining speed stage of La Carrera, but I think La Bufa is more challenging and more dangerous.

Rene showed up in a dust storm in front of the TBZ shop, getting out of the little taxi with a smile on his face. He pulled me aside, said good morning and pulled something out of his pocket to show me. Remembering that yesterday George had teased me about the young fans on the road chopping off his fingertips, Rene brought two rubber fingertips to give to George. I don’t know who randomly has fake fingertips at their house, but it was great to start the day off with such a laugh. We couldn’t wait to find George and Tom on the road and present his new fingertips.

Trying out the rubber fingertips

Rene and I were off, heading down the road, supercharged for our last day of racing. He told me he was out late last night with his friends and looking everywhere for me. He was totally shocked to hear that we got 3rd place yesterday and was smiling ear to ear. We stopped at a nearby gas station, filled up and when he fired up the car to leave, it backfired like a mother! The car is loud on its own and when it backfires it startles everyone on the block. Rene looked at me with a puzzled look and we pulled the car out of the way and popped the hood.

While I was calling Geezer to tell him to pick up a new set of points when the auto parts store opened, Rene was timing the car by ear and before I knew it, we were on the road again. We had a great ride across town, especially because I could enjoy the view and not worry about navigating since Rene was in his hood. We arrived downtown near the cathedral at the start line and the vibe was relaxed and joyful. I am sure that other racers felt a similar mix of excitement to be finishing today, but also sadness that the race would soon be over.

Shining up the Oldsmobile at the start line of the last day's run

We mingled with our fellow racers, enjoyed the beautiful morning light in one of the most beautiful town centers in Mexico (yes, I am biased) and soon we were on the road on a quick transit back to the exact same starting spot on the La Bufa from yesterday.

We were calm and organized at the start and I chuckled, thinking that it took us 6 days of racing to get the hang of it. We said our pre-race blessing to be safe and fast, sang a little more Bob Marley and the green flag waved.

Yesterday on La Bufa I lost my place navigating, but was able to get myself back on track. There are so many fast turns that it is something that can happen pretty easily. Sometimes the only way to get back on track is to spot a mile marker, but even that can be difficult. Today I lost my place about halfway through and was unable to find it again. Luckily we had run the same course before and I don’t know what Rene was thinking to hear silence from me instead of my normal incessant shouting of the severity of the next turn. At one point he shouted, “WHAT TURN IS THIS?” and I felt terrible telling him I didn’t know.

I tried to help out by shouting, “GAS GAS GAS!!!” in a Spanish accent (goss goss goss), which is what my brother would do to anyone driving with him to get them to go faster. It became a joke with our crew along with saying, “Smokie smokie” whenever my dad would light up a cigarette, and saying, “Shhhst shhhst” with an aerosol spray motion to show that we needed to do a quick repair to the car, like spraying the slipping clutch with the magic spray. We joked that while some other teams were switching out their trannies, we would do a little “Shhhst shhhst” and be back on the road.

Rene must have switched to full instinct mode on La Bufa because I seriously felt like he was racing it faster than yesterday. You might think that because he drove it yesterday he’d remember the course, but when you are racing it is such a blur and so I didn’t count on the familiarity of the course. Just like the washout on Mil Cumbres – we drove right by it and had no idea it was there.

There was always a lot of laughing and Woo Hooing at the end of speed stages, and then a slow dissipation of the adrenaline. What a rush! We laughed and I felt a sense of accomplishment because ahead of us was a 240 km easy transit, then a switch of driver and navigator at the service stop, which meant that Rene and I were pretty much done.

We got into our groove on the highway and pointed El Jefe north. We settled into a convoy with a bunch of other race cars and kept an eye out for Tom and fingertipless George in the Volvo. We saw them behind us and thought we’d let them pass and wave a hand out the window with the rubber fingertips but the opportunity didn’t present itself, so we decided to wait to see them at the service stop.

We ran out of GO FAST and had to drink Red Bull

It was a beautiful day and I was fascinated by the endless scenery of desert mountains and miles and miles of yucca. Many scenes reminded me of the north end of Death Valley with the only difference being the power lines here. The ribbon of highway wound its way north and we could see for miles.

The high desert landscape

The service station was full of school children asking for autographs, race cars jockeying for position to get gas and get back on the road, and two mangy dogs fighting to the death that were luckily broken apart by a couple of guys, one with an orange construction cone. I was disturbed by the fight because I love dogs and it looked for sure like one of them would be mortally wounded. The underdog struggled while the bully dog had him by the throat. One guy got a hold of a tail and pulled backwards while the other guy pushed the dogs apart with the cone.

Rene grabbed me and took me over to where Tom and George were gassing up the Volvo. I got my camera ready and when George got a break from signing autographs Rene told him he had a gift for him and presented the rubber fingertips. George was laughing so hard, Rene was doubled over and Tom came over to see what was going on. It was hysterical! George wanted to know where he could get two more!

Rene presents the rubber fingertips to George

Peace, baby!

(photo courtesy of George Sullivan)

We sent Geezer and Stewie off for the final leg of La Carrera Panamericana, 3 speed stages and almost 300 km of transit which would bring them into Monterrey. Rene and I followed in the service truck, enjoying the high mountain desert and listening over and over to our one album of Bob Marley.

Kristin y su hermanito, finished for the day

We transitioned from following the flat desert floor to climbing up into the mountains. We crossed a small pass and were in the thick of the towering mountains on the outskirts of Monterrey. We talked about stopping for lunch, as again another day had passed without a meal, but decided to continue on. We did make a quick stop for ice, beer and snacks and were on our way again quickly.

Descending the mountain pass, Monterrey sat spread out before us in a thick cloud of smog. The landscape reminded me of Phoenix, with more dramatic mountains dotted through the city. The smog was oppressive in this highly industrial town and obscured our view of the nearby mountains once we were in the city limits.

The cell phone rang and it was Geezer telling us that they were at the tollbooth in Monterrey and the car wouldn’t start. Luckily Rene and I were within minutes where they were. They told us that the last speed stage at the race track outside of Monterrey had been cancelled so all that was left was a transit to the heart of town and the grand finale of La Carrera Panamericana. All the race cars were lined up outside of the tollbooth, under the backdrop of magnificent mountains.

A break on the outskirts of Monterrey before the final transit and race finish

Dale and I, letting our hair down

As we arrived the cars were getting ready to roll but El Jefe wouldn’t start. Rene jumped out and immediately went to work, pinpointing that we had lost 3 of the 4 nuts holding the carburetor on, and the gasket was shot. He quickly used some silicone glue to repair the gasket and we searched for 5/8” nuts from the interior of the car to bolt it back down. With a flash of his hands and some more magic, El Jefe was running again. All the other race cars had left but the Federales had waited and said they’d give us a personal escort into Monterrey.

Rene, the Miracle Mechanic

El Jefe under the backdrop of a Monterrey mountain

Geezer put the pedal to the medal and we assumed the car was running well again, but about 5 miles later as we exited the highway and got on a busy main artery through town, El Jefe broke down. It was about 3:30 pm on a Friday and it didn’t seem like it would be rush hour yet, but the traffic was unimaginable, and the Mexico City traffic we encountered didn’t even come close.

Our personal Federale escort

By now I was used to standing in the road with cars and trucks whizzing by and not worrying about my mortality. We put out the orange safety triangles, which you don’t often see in Mexico and even though we were completely blocking the right lane, Rene got to work. Again, within 10 minutes we were off and running again. Back in the truck we followed El Jefe as close as possible through the snare of traffic and Stewie called when a turn was coming. I think it took us over an hour to go 3 or 4 miles. Rene and I cracked a beer and began to wind down, knowing that we were going to make it and the finish was just ahead.

Finally, after an afternoon that seemed to last forever, El Jefe rolled through the red arch marking the end of La Carrera Panamericana. Receiving their finish medals for the day we grabbed the beer from the back of the truck and began to celebrate.

Geezer and Stewie finish Day 7 and......La Carrera is over!

TBZ Racing's triumphant finish!

An informal ceremony began and we learned that the official overall winners were Gabriel Perez and Angelica Fuentes of the 1952 Ford! The car was displayed high on a rack and the winners celebrated with huge smiles and sprays of champagne. I loved that a Ford, and especially a model like ours, won the race. I also loved seeing a woman on the podium. I had met Angelica in the restroom at the service stop at Querétaro and she was a real sweetheart. She asked me how many times I had run and I was thoroughly impressed to hear this was her 13th run.

Sprays of champagne for the 2006 La Carrera Panamericana winners!

A fantastic overall win for the 1952 Ford, #1

Big smiles on the faces of finishers Jorge and Juan in their LT

Rene being attacked by the Lucha Libre Racing crazies

Kristin and Christian of the original PanAm Lincoln (one of my favorite cars)

Jorge dumps Juan for a new co-piloto!

One last smokie smokie

This car went exactly as far as it needed to!

Team Mini from Cancun rocks!

The party was fun and we stayed pretty late, sharing beers, posing for photos and congratulating all of our new friends. When it was time to think about getting to the hotel for a shower, hopefully dinner and then the final ceremony, we fired up El Jefe and he sounded terrible. We laughed knowing that it didn’t matter that we had limped to the finish this afternoon, but that we had finished La Carrera! Geezer drove up the ramps to the trailer and Rene asked me to record the sound because it sounded awful and we knew it wasn’t running on all cylinders.

We cleaned up the Excursion, got El Jefe strapped in and once again got in the thick of Monterrey traffic, but this time in the dark. Again I think it took us another hour to go 4 miles and Geezer fell asleep in the back seat and I smiled knowing that the exhaustion he was feeling was a result of all the joy we had experienced in the last two weeks.

At the hotel we sat down to what I am pretty sure was the 4th meal of the last 10 days. I’m not talking about the 4th sit down meal, but the 4th actual meal! I dreamt about real Mexican food while I inhaled a steak sandwich with fries and we took a taxi to another hotel for the closing ceremony.

After a quick drink in the hotel bar we made our way upstairs to the chaos of the closing ceremony. A band played in the corner and we sat down to rest our exhausted bodies. The ceremony was fairly short, even after thanking and acknowledging all of the support staff, medical crew, federales and everyone who helped the race run as well as it did. I stood in front when they asked all women drivers and navigators to come forward and be honored. Out of 88 starting cars I counted 13 women drivers and/or navigators.

Women drivers and navigators

To our complete surprise, once again we were on the podium for being 3rd in our class today! We all jumped up and there was a bit of confusion about who would go to the podium, and in the end Stewie stayed in the crowd taking pictures while Rene, Geezer and I shared the limelight. I was ecstatic as the only time I was on the podium was when my team was back at the shop fixing the car, so this was the first night that we were all there to share in the joy. We were presented with our plates and we couldn’t have been happier.

On the podium for our 3rd place in class finish for Day 7

After the ceremony the final results were handed out and were were ecstatic to see we were 20th overall for the combined Turismo Mayor and Turismo Producion classes. Not bad for a rookie finish!

I’m writing this last entry two weeks after the official finish. In the week following my return home, I woke up a number of times in the middle of the night in a bit of a panic, thinking I was still in the race, wondering where the race car was and thinking that I had somehow messed up our logistics. Right now I feel I am still riding the high of all of the joy I experienced.

The value of the race to me was the time spent with my dad. Following my own dreams is rewarding and fulfilling, but supporting my dad in his own quest was just as joyful. I seriously think that my dad had the best time of his life. We will be on the starting line again next year and I won’t look to top this year’s experience. I know they will all be fantastic.

I have dear friends from Ohio who have been coming to Colorado for 10 years to ski with me 2 or 3 times each winter. We make such unbelievable memories and the ski days are epic no matter the weather, and we always say, “We’ll never top this trip!” But the next time they return, we do it again. I believe that is the beauty of living in the moment and understanding that it’s not about the racing or the skiing, but rather the relationships we have and build and the memories we make. The best time we can have together is the time we are having at the present.

My mom said to me last night that she couldn’t believe all the pictures and stories of people I met along the journey and was wondering how I remembered all their names. Well, it helps to have nametags on our suits and numbers on our race cars but after 8 straight days of racing, all the faces are friendly and the names don’t matter as much as the handshake, hug or stories shared.

We’ll be back on the starting line with El Jefe next year, a little smarter, a little older, with our foot on the GAS GAS GAS and ready to roll!

21 November 2006

2006: Day 6 – Aguascalientes to Zacatecas - 3rd in Class (15-Nov-06)

Today was a big day with a finish in Geezer and Rene’s hometown Zacatecas (so... long post and lots of pics). We were blessed with a noon start from the tent in Aguascalientes which was a nice break. I took a brisk swim in the hotel pool in the morning and took my sweet time getting ready. We needed the time because when I arrived at the tent Rene had the back wheel off and said the brake pads were getting thin. Geezer did his famous, “Ach! Don’t worry about it!” so we cleaned the grease up and put it back together.

Talking to Ralph and Bill that morning I learned that their seats had worn out andthe springs were poking into their asses. I offered the two foam cushions I had purchased to give me some extra height while driving and they were totally appreciative, saying I had "saved their asses."

How I saved Ralph and Bill's asses

Rene and I were in the car this morning and we were both excited to hit the Zacatecas area around noon. We had three speed stages to tackle and about 160 km of transit in country that was familiar to me and incredibly beautiful. Our last speed stage before switching drivers at noon was La Bufa in Zacatecas. From the tent in Aguascalientes we drove a short distance to the start in the town square. We had somet time to hobnob with fellow racers and enjoy the beautiful downtown and the huge clock whose face opened on the hour to show a bullfighter and bull do their dance.

Rene and Kristin ready for the sprint to Zacatecas

Rene at the start with Rachel Larrat (AKA La Chica Loca) of the 2003 Lotus, part of the Unlimited Class

Eduardo Leon, the race director, gives us the green flag at the start

Zacatecas has a high desert climate with moderate temperatures and clear blue skies. Once I came here in the early 90s I could understand why my dad stayed. It gets cold at night because it sits at 8,200 feet with mountains all around, but the days are sunny and warm. Zacatecas topography reminds me a lot of Golden, Colorado and I have always loved it. The downtown is very European feeling, there are not many tourists and it is very clean. This colonial city is known for its silver mine established in the 1500s, the stone masonry made of native pink sandstone, a 16th century stone aqueduct, the oldest bull ring in America (which is now a luxury hotel), and an impressive mask museum.

The beautiful village of Guadalupe, outside of Zacatecas

La Bufa towers over the city of 200,000 with a chapel on top and a statue of Pancho Villa, commemorating his big win over 12,000 of General Huerta's soldiers. We were to race up the hairpin curves of La Bufa twice today and we decided the two Zacatecas residents would do the driving (Rene and Geezer).

As we approached the land where he was born and raised, Rene was getting increasingly more excited and I’m sure, proud to be racing through his hometown. I was stoked as well because I knew the area too and Rene’s family would be there cheering us on. We hit the outskirts of Zacatecas - the village of Guadalupe where both Geezer and Rene live and also have their shops. We drove right by the TumbaBurros de Zacatecas shop, with Rene’s shop next door and I too felt like we were home!

More enthusiastic fans!

Passing the TBZ shop proudly in the race car

We had completed the first two speed stages successfully and made our way through Zacatecas to the base of La Bufa and our last speed stage of the morning. We strapped in, sang some Bob Marley, I told Rene to be careful and we were off. We roared off with the flag and headed up the mountain. We heard a loud horrible noise and I knew instantly we had dropped the exhaust again. Oh well! We quickly got up to speed and in between directions I glanced up and saw 4 or 5 people jumping up and down like popcorn on the side of the road and I knew it was Rene’s family and it made me smile.

There was no time to talk about the exhaust and nothing to do about it anyway so I continued to bark out the corners to Rene and there were a lot of cliffs and hairpin turns and Rene nailed them. I was a little nervous, knowing what a dangerous road this was, and hearing firsthand last year the story of a Porsche not just going wide on a turn up here, but completely missing the turn and launching off the side. They were lucky enough to hit a rock to stop their progress, but chatting with a guy in a huge neck and chest brace was unnerving.

The dropped exhaust pipe dragged on the ground and made us louder than normal. I imagined the sparks must look fantastic. There were lots of spectators on La Bufa and we roared by them and I prayed Rene would keep us on the road. We came around a corner and to my horror, a man was walking across the road. On the right there were two smaller people and it was only by the grace of God that they decided not to follow their friend, as if they had, we would have hit and surely killed them both.

It was an exhilarating run and I later admitted to the team that it was the first time on La Carrera I was truly scared. No offense to Rene as he did a fine job racing his heart out and keeping us safe, but I told him he was hitting the “4” corners like they were “2s” and I was hanging on for dear life! For me it was a trickier speed section to navigate than Mil Cumbres and I lost my place once but was able to quickly find it again without Rene knowing.

Immediately following the speed stage we stopped and jumped out to wire the exhaust back up and get down the road to the service station. Rene’s family was there and they were such enthusiastic, smiling people and I loved their energy! His sisters were so proud of him and were still jumping up and down. What beautiful people. Rene was beaming.

Rene's sisters and their kids - our #1 fans!

Geezer and Stewie were taking over for the afternoon and I was excited for Geezer to be racing La Bufa. I knew that Rene and I had placed well in the morning and knew that Geezer would keep it up.

Geezer gets ready for his run up La Bufa in Zacatecas

At the service station George and Tom with the Volvo were hanging out. George said to me, “You know how you slap the hands of the kids from the car window when you go through the villages? And sometimes it kind of hurts your hands?”

I nodded my head in agreement and he went on to exclaim, “Those little buggers stole my fingers!” and he showed me his hand and my eyes couldn’t focus on what I was seeing because he was missing the fingertips on his hand! I looked at that hand and my brain tried to figure out if it was fake but it was real. I started to laugh, George was already laughing and we could not stop. He told me that he lost the tips in an ATV accident when he was 31 and I told him it was like a bad horror film because I thought for sure it must be a joke but it wasn’t.

Later I told Rene the story and he said, “I’ve got something at my house for George! I’ll grab it tonight, don’t let me forget.” Rene loves a laugh, so I couldn’t wait to see what he had for George.

Rene and I packed the truck back up and headed for the TBZ shop. Another crew member in a truck and trailer was going to follow up and park there since the parking downtown Zacatecas is so limited. We got to the shop, parked the truck and trailer inside, greeted the guys and they got right to work rewelding the rails on the trailer since a few of them had cracked. We ran next door and met his parents, who were lovely people, and it was easy to see where Rene got his smiling disposition. We grabbed a taxi downtown to catch the finish for the day, knowing we were already late.

Rene and his parents in Guadalupe

The traffic downtown was terrible (rush hour) and so we jumped out of the taxi and hustled the last 6 blocks or so. Downtown was jammed with people and race cars and a very festive air. The pink sandstone cathedral was brilliant in the late afternoon light and we weaved our way through the crowd to find El Jefe. One race crew member was in a 2nd floor balcony throwing tshirts out the window to a cheering crowd.

The beautiful sandstone cathedral in Zacatecas

Kristin y amigo Antonio de la Mini

When we arrived at El Jefe, Geezer’s stepdaughter, Claudia was there with her two kids and husband, Norberto. I hadn’t seen the kids, Bernie and AnaLuisa in a year and they are so darling. Rene’s family arrived and everyone was partying. My Mini buddy, Antonio brought over some Modelo and everybody was laughing. George was in a 2nd floor balcony of a bar and “showed his tits” New Orleans style. What a wild child!

George the wild child, flashes from the balcony

Claudia and AnaLuisa

Geezer and Kristin with Rene's wild sisters

Geezer and his hija

The race cars were going to be parked here overnight but Rene and I needed to get the car to the TBZ shop for some minor repairs. We were blocked in so a handful of guys “bounced” two different cars out of the way so we could get out. Good thing most cars in Mexico are small!

At the shop the crew hustled to reweld the exhaust and fix some steering stabilizer chingadero on the front end. Geezer presented finish medals to the TBZ crew, telling them that their work was integral to us doing so well in the race and they were the reason for our success. A couple of Rene’s buddies were there as well, getting their hands dirty and helping to fix the car.

The TBZ crew - the behind the scenes secret to our success

A little before 9pm Geezer asked his good friend Mario if he could drive me down to the Quinta Real for the driver’s meeting. I met Mario last year at his fried chicken restaurant and he’s a great guy. The Quinta Real is a 5-star hotel in an ancient bullring and it is the coolest hotel I’ve ever been in. The party was in the actual bullring and when we were here as spectators last year, it looked fantastic. I was excited to get out of the shop and drink a few beers and also I hadn’t eaten all day so I was starving.

On the way there Mario expressed to me how important this race is to my dad, and especially having his two kids there to support him. Mario gets it. I know why I came and it's not to race a car across Mexico. Sure, I love the adventure and I'm always up for a challenge. But more importantly, I have never seen my dad follow a dream, outside of his career success. He grew up with Depression Era parents who saved pennies and didn't waste money on luxuries.

My dad's dad died in his early 50s, and though I never met my grandpa I have always known that my dad got his adventurous spirit from him. I don't think they had much money, but they lived well and my grandpa always had a cool job - either running the Ford dealership or running the local rural airport. My dad tells stories of his dad taking him up in a biplane and flying upside down. So when I heard my dad was getting serious about running this race I was 100% behind him. I could think of nothing better than to be a part of this adventure with my dad, to have this beautiful experience and share it with him. So far the experience has been everything I could have imagined, and more. I don't spend much time with my parents anymore as we all live so far away from each other, and I love that this week we are making memories of a lifetime.

At the bullring I found the Hot Rod Lincoln racers right away and ate some frijoles in corn tortillas to put a little something in my stomach before I had another beer. We were laughing and joking around and Stefan from Sweden was admiring Bill’s “Jaguar Racing” tshirt. It was pretty cold that night and Stefan, even though he’s from Scandinavia, was cold in his shorts and tshirt. So he told Bill he would give him his “Vikingo” tshirt if Bill would give him the long sleeved Jaguar shirt. Laughing, they both stripped off their shirts and a bunch of people seated in the bullring started hooting and hollering and laughing.

Stefan and Bill strip.....and trade shirts

The awards ceremony was brief tonight and the mood was festive as we all knew we had one more day of racing to go. Out of the blue I heard over the speaker, “VANCE STEWART AND KRISTIN STEWART.” I was totally in shock, and handed my camera to Ralph and said, “I’m on the podium; can you get a picture?!” Damn, I was excited and didn’t even know what place they had announced, but assumed it must be 3rd. How incredible to have placed on the day we finished in Zacatecas! I could not wait to tell my team! Getting 3rd place in Puebla was unbelievable but this was over the top! Standing on the podium was surreal and also pretty kick ass.

On the podium in the bullring for our 3rd place finish in the Turismo Producion class

Afterwards a bunch of us walked to the hotel downtown where the cars were parked and had drinks in the bar and mellowed out. I called Geezer with the good news and he kept repeating back what I told him…….what? we got 3rd place? What???? I called Rene was not able to get through, and was really bummed to not share the celebration with him in his hometown.

I was fatigued and so was everyone else and I wanted to have this night last forever but I knew I needed sleep. I caught a cab home to Guadalupe, which was about 15 minutes away, and was proud of myself for holding a conversation in Spanish with the cab driver for most of the way.

When I got to Geezer’s house, I got through the front gate but the front door was locked. I dreaded waking someone up by knocking and then his two dogs started barking. Ugh! Geezer was sleepy and opened the door and he had been crashed out in the livingroom on my pullout bed until I got home. I was really glad I came home that night! I felt a bit like a teenager and also thought it very sweet that even though he was napping, he had waited up for me.

I was happy happy happy because I was getting lickies lickies lickies from Cinder the black lab and Malva the white boxer. They are the sweetest dogs and I love them to death. I lost my black lab to cancer a year ago and it has been really hard to not have a dog but I am on the move too much right now to get another one. The night was going to be short, but I knew I would fall asleep right away and tomorrow as our last day of racing.

Happiness is a warm puppy! Malva and Cinder