The day was another long one but we got a break because there were two service stops today at the same location, which meant we could get there on time, set up and have some downtime in between servicing cars.
After service Rene, Bimbo and I were able to make it to the town square in time to do a little bit of gift shopping before the racecars arrived. Rudi, a former coworker, had headed to the Queretaro Autodromo (racetrack) to watch the final speed stage so I knew he'd be by a little bit later.
Geezer's friends Juan and Alma arrived with giant smiles to help us celebrate the end of another successful day and throngs of people swarming the cars and drivers. I had met them about 10 years ago when Juan and Geezer worked together at the Modelo aluminum can plant Geezer built in Zacatecas and it was fun to see them again.
Alma, Geezer and Juan - old friends from Zacatecas.
My brother had insisted that Rene and I help him sign endless autographs for the children and by the time Rudi and his lovely friend arrived we were getting silly and night had fallen and we were running out of postcards to hand out.
K and Rene signing autographs.
Rudi ended up talking to a fellow Dutch countryman who was driving a sweet little Mercedes SL convertible. Next thing I know Rudi and his friend Leydi Carina had jumped on the back of the car and were driving through the crowded town square like the prom king and queen to escort the Mercedes guys to a shop where they could buy motor oil. Small world! (I later met the Dutch pilot's wife, Tjiske, in a bakery in Aguascalientes and explained my connection to Rudi).
Rudi and friend riding in the Dutch Mercedes.
I joined Geezer, Stewie, Rene, Bimbo at Vips for dinner, along with Geezer's friends Juan and Alma. Stewie's system always gets a little upset in Mexico so he appreciates the consistency of Vips (think Perkins in the U.S.) and a solid meal that doesn't come from a street vendor. I'm the opposite, eating anything that wafts in the open air and has elements of fresh corn tortillas and a well-seasoned cooking surface.
Stewie happily eating at Vips.
Juan and Alma offered Geezer and I a ride back to the hotel, which may sound like a small offering, but it seemed HUGE to ride in someone's cushy sedan and not a raucous race car or bumpy dually diesel truck and trailer with windows down and weeks of stale gear and dirty tools in the cab - though clearly I love those things too.
As I got in the backseat I was first hit with what I perceived to be the extreme cleanliness and emptiness of the car - understand here that my perception had been twisted by the last 2 weeks of dirty road tripping and very limited contact with my fellow homegirls and anything remotely feminine.
Then in a second wave I got hit with the smell of gasoline wafting from my dad's race suit. I tried to make my imprint small and wished I had been sitting on plastic covers like my grandma had on her couch. I squeezed my brain tight in the hopes of somehow keeping mine and my dad's personal motor-aromas from hitting the air and offending Juan and Alma and soiling their pretty car. Everything gets so twisted in La Carrera - this is just a small example. I was so appreciative of the quiet and almost sterile cocoon of that car ride....mmmmmmm.
Back at the Holiday Inn I stopped and reflected on one year ago that day - when at midnight in the covered parking garage in 2007 I had sat on the curb next to Todd while he worked on Richard's brakes. We had what I considered a "real" conversation - discussing life instead of asking how the other's race car was doing. And I did not know it then but we allowed events to unfold before us in the subsequent days, months and now a year.....and it truly is magic.
But back to 2008....I found Todd a block from the hotel, underneath the Gypsy Wind in the trailer addressing the split oil sump. He was filthy and laughed when he saw me crouch in the trailer to say hello and could not wait to tell me a story. Fernando had brought him a Coke Light in a bottle and set it on the trailer floor where he was working. Later Todd reached for the Coke, took a giant slug and as time almost stood still, realized he had just consumed dirty brake fluid! He was still laughing, but still pretty sure his breath hadn't improved from either the Coke or the brake fluid.
Todd in position under the Gypsy Wind, and the "new" shirt he put on after giving his Currie Rearends shirt to Rudi.
Rudi came to the hotel after helping out the Dutch guys and after chatting with Todd for a while, we had drinks in the bar and got caught up on 6 months of not seeing each other. Back at the trailer I asked Todd if he had any extra Currie Rearends team shirts for Rudi - he did not - so instead he literally took the shirt off his back and handed it to Rudi, filthy and well loved, as well as a dirty Dallas Mustangs workshirt he found on the floor. Rudi was beaming and now part of the team - dirt and sweat and tears and all of it included.
Pictures from the day:
Marc from Belgium showing his trophies from the day before.
My sweet and handsome Swedish friend, Anders, working hard on the Studebakers he spends all year building.
The ever-darling Linda Robertson, two days before the terrible crash that totalled her car but not her spirit.
Tomas y Jorge, back on the road after crashing on Day 1.
Coop, looking every ounce of the famous artist that he is. Check out http://www.coopstuff.com/.
La Pena de Bernal on the way to Queretaro.
From the truck window I shared a smile with this young man carrying a guitar on his bicycle.
Bimbo in the backseat of our Lincoln Towncar limo - a regular taxi ride to the zocolo was $3.50 USD so we spent an extra buck and went for the limo!
The beautiful Querataro San Francis chuch.
My friends Dyana Marlett and Sam Burg arrive in the Queretaro zocolo.
El Jefe arrives to a throng of fans.
K and her new Queretaro city worker girlfriends.
Happy Geezer. Memories to last a lifetime.
K hanging on to her brothers.
Rene waiting for Stewie to plant a kiss......and waiting.....
Stewie, K and Bimbo.
Rudi and his friend Leydi Carina from Queretaro.
K, Rudi and Leydi Carina in Queretaro.
Rudi and his new Dutch friend. According to Gerie Bledsoe: "Roel Mulder (Netherlands), and his navigator Marcus van Tol (Belgium) finished 31st in their Mercedes 230 SL. Roel, it should be noted, is the European and German Formula V Champion, and has been waiting for years to drive the Pan Am."