I’d like to claim amazing success with tremendous ease. I can’t.
It’s exciting day when a dream comes true, even if it’s a small one. This day has been a long time coming, I finally got a GoPro. To be specific, a Hero4 Black with a handful of accessories. Taking it to Pole Position, our local indoor karting track, was one of the first things I did with it.
Funky to use
From my perspective, the GoPro is a little funky to use. I’m glad I got the LCD BacPac because the standard display is nearly microscopic. My second point of contention is the fact that I can’t import the video files directly into Adobe Premiere Pro, like I can with footage from my Canon DSLR or my Vixia G20. It’s kind of irritating that I have to take the extra time and trouble to use GoPro Studio to export the file to a friendly format. I can, of course, edit and finalize within GoPro Studio. But its editing capabilities are very limited.
Ever long for simpler times? I know I sometimes do.
I recently received this wonderful model truck as a gift. Based on a 1940 Ford pickup, it’s actually a piggy bank commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Lennox Furnace Company.
It reminds me of days long ago and simpler times. To me, life often seems more complex with all the modern devices I rely on. But I love the great convenience they offer. Don’t you? We didn’t have a microwave when I was a kid, but I’m sure glad I have one now. And I’d much rather use my iPhone to find the stuff I want instead of the Yellow Pages. Maybe the “good old days” weren’t all we dream them to be.
Wheels. For most people they’re just a piece of the machinery that helps them get to work and the grocery store. Car guys see them in a much different light.
Wheels make a statement. Often the first thing customized on a car, they turn the machine into a form of personal expression. Think jewelry.
Even straight from the factory, they elicit powerful emotion. The Lamborghini’s wheels inspire awe. Nostalgia oozes from the hubcaps on the ’59 Mercedes. I grin with profound appreciation for what the Lotus is wearing.
But it’s not just the wheels. Related hardware like brake rotors and calipers become the object my gaze. I’m strangely attracted to the center bolt on a Porsche GT3 and admire the tasteful addition capping the lowly valve stem on a Ferrari.
Wheels define the car and its owner. “Impeccable taste!” cries one set of forged beauties. The absence of curb rash is proof positive of the owner’s adoring care. Detailed calipers broadcast to the world that this enthusiast truly cares. And this I now know… only those who bother with careful inspection will notice.
Today my lens takes notice of things my eyes failed to detect. And I appreciate even more the thoughtful application of the cleaning brush, Q-Tip and drying towel. I whisper, “Thank you, car guy, whoever you are.”
Next time I hang out at Cars & Coffee, you know I’ll pay closer attention to the details.
Here’s a great tool tip I figured out several years ago while working underneath my car.
It wasn’t hard to figure out the importance of protecting my eyes from dirt and grit. With a car that’s several years old the dirt, grit and rust pose a real danger. Nearly dropping a wrench on m eyeball was my wakeup call.
I didn’t want to risk scratching my normal glasses and I found that my vision was blurry with standard safety glasses.
The solution is a set of bifocal safety glasses. They allow me to see clearly when I’m getting up close and personal when turning wrenches while laying on my back. They’ve saved my eyes more than once.
Bifocal safety glasses have a section of the lens with a magnifier. The glasses come in different styles with magnifiers available in different strengths.
It’s pretty easy to find them on Amazon.com and other online sources. A Google search will reveal a pretty wide variety. Mine have rubber nose pieces and rubber bits in the temples for comfort. They are similar to these made by Uvex.
They’re a great way to keep your eyes safe and actually see what you’re doing.
Sharon and I generally don’t take our 1997 M3 for long highway trips. The whole point for our M3 is miles with smiles.
Consequently, I’ve never taken it on a week-long vacation. It has been our mode of transportation to races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and to Road Atlanta in Braselton Georgia. In those cases the destinations, complete with BMW CCA corral, make it worthwhile.
This vacation was different. We returned to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We also incorporated more twisty roads, the BMW Zentrum in Greer, SC and other points of interest.
The drive didn’t get interesting for several hours. Then it changed. As Interstate 40 turns south in Tennessee and then into North Carolina, the mountains begin to loom beautifully ahead. And the highway transforms itself from boring to a winding ribbon through hills and tunnels. A great preview of the beautiful part of the world we’re about to enter.
TWISTIES IN THE NIGHT
Then things got REALLY interesting. Driving Highway 276 from Waynesville, NC to Brevard, NC was a blast. A stunningly twisty section had plenty of slow speed second gear turns, many marked 15 mph. One twist after the other presented itself, some bordered by sheer mountain walls. Without bright lights on it would have been a nightmare after 8 hours of highway driving. My concentration level rose like the surrounding mountain peaks. We arrived in the wonderful town of Brevard and were greeted by the friendly staff at Hampton Inn.
The 2013 ALMS weekend was bittersweet for me. And, no doubt, for many others.
A trip to Road America is ALWAYS a treat, but this would by my last ALMS race as the series discontinues at the end of this season. In truth, the American LeMans Series is “merging” with the Grand-Am. Some have said that it’s more like a buy-out. My camera spent most of its time giving attention to the ALMS side of things. Here are the first 3 of my favorite shots.
The BMW Car Club of America got special access to the work areas of Bimmerworld, Turner Motorsport and RLL work areas. And then there are the rest of the shots.
Why was this day so great? What made the difference? I chalk it up to a great student and my own commitment to improving my skills as an instructor. My first time instructing in an SUV was eye opening. I discovered that a Denali handles like a large boat. (I’ll reserve “battleship” status for a school bus.)
What Makes a Great Student?
Every Street Survival student is different in their experience, demeanor and eagerness to learn. Willingness to communicate is a big bonus. On this occasion, my student, Natalie, had all that going for her, plus a dad who obviously cares. She only had her permit, but her father had already taught Natalie a few things.Continue reading