Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Historic Race Festival at Lime Rock Park 8/29 - 9/2 2013

I am a huge fan of vintage cars in general, but I really love the road racing cars from the 50's, 60's and 70's

Every year for the last 31 years, Lime Rock Park in northwestern Connecticut hosts 250 - 300 historic racing cars and runs them at speed on the racing circuit. It is just great to see these classic cars in their element, racing through the twists and turns of the famous Lime Rock track.

They are grouped in to different classes, and despite some of them being incredibly rare, the owners / drivers run them hard the way they were meant to be run.. it is awesome.

Lime Rock is like no other track in the States.. there are no grandstands, luxury boxes, no jumbo-trons and no off limits garage area.

The track is nestled in the hills and offers fantastic views of the racing from many places. You just walk around, find a spot to spread a blanket or place a chair and enjoy the beautiful scenery and racing action on the track below.

You can take a stroll along the track perimeter and check out the racing as you go along.. The circuit is just a mile and half around, so it's not a hard task to experience every vantage point.

This year, the historic 1966 - 1972 Trans-Am series cars returned for the first time since 2006. These are by far my favorites.. Boss Mustangs, Camaros, Javelins, Cougars and even local legend Sam Posey's Dodge Challenger were all in attendance.. 25+ cars from that amazing series. Drivers like Mark Donahue, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Peter Revson, Swede Savage and others were all well known stars of that era and their now restored race cars are American muscle car icons.. Seeing them on track was the highlight of this years event for me.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and set up camp..
You can see how close the track is behind the camper.

The view in the other direction looks out over the skid pad and towards the midway..

There was no racing on Thursday, so after setting up we took the bikes out for a ride around the track. Track officials open up the circuit to bikes and pedestrians every night at 6pm.. really fun to ride around and see everything from the drivers perspective.

It's a relatively easy ride but the uphill on the back straight will wipe a kid out in no time :)

Friday morning we headed down in to the paddock.. Another great part of the Lime Rock experience is the full access to the pit area and the vintage race cars. Every owner is more than happy to talk, show off thier cars, and answer questions about the car and its history. Many will let the kids (and even some excited adults like me) climb in to check out the car..

Then we walked back up to the camper and settled in for some racing action on the track.. When the Trans Am series came out for thier first practice session I snapped some shots of them on the track at speed.

My oldest boy got a treat when we met the owner of a 1953 Indy 500 car on another stroll through the pit area. The driver called us over and let Carter sit in the car..He went over the gauges and what they meant, the operation of the transmission and what different components were. It was really cool..

I'm already looking forward to next years trip.. I'll close with a few random shots from the weekend.


(if you look right above this car, you'll see our camper)

What replaced the Shasta?

While it may not have the vintage charm, our new camper is better suited to our family needs.
It is a 2001 Coleman Caravan made by Fleetwood. Great layout and design that was only built from 2001 through 2004. Unfortunately, these units were plagued with water leak issues that rotted the floors. Ours went back to the manufacturer in 2006 for a rebuild under warranty so this one has the updated edge trim, newer style seals, and the entire floor was replaced and wrapped in a protective sheeting.

I bought it up in northern NH for a very fair price.. mostly due to the exterior not looking pristine.
All the factory graphics were faded, cracked and peeling. The interior is beautiful and all the systems were in good working order. I knew I could make the outside look presentable again so I was happy to get it for exactly the same price I sold the Shasta for.

Here's what it looked like the day I towed it home:

It took about 8 hours of labor time with a heat gun and residue remover to get all the old stickers off the camper. Once all the old graphics were gone I gave it a good wash and started applying some new generic vinyl stickers. A burgandy racing stripe, some 'Coleman Caravan' letters and a 2 foot long 'scene' on each side were placed over a week long period working a little but at a time.

End result may not be fancy, but it looks better than it did:

We just got back from our first camping trip with the Caravan and we love it. Nice to have hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, heat, AC, a large fridge with seperate freezer and more floor space. The queen bed that slides out the front really opens up the interior!

Next post will have pictures from the trip to Lime Rock Park in CT where we attended the Historic Racing Festival~

Friday, August 9, 2013

A bit of closure to this blog

As you can see, once the major part of the work was done, I didn't really update this blog too much. We've been enjoying the Shasta and making more improvements over time. I've added an AC / Dehumidifier unit, added city water hookups, built a new kitchen counter and laminated that (and the dining table) with a Formica anniversary product with a great retro red look.
In mid July we took the camper to the Mystic CT area and had a great time camping for 5 days down there, but we realized that with 2 growing boys and a trip coming up where there would be no hookups, that we might want to consider selling the Shasta in favor of a larger more self contained unit. So when we returned I listed the camper for sale on TCT and Craigslist.. The response was immediate and surprising. I had many inquiries and people trying to make arrangements to 'get here first' but by the time the first 24 hours was up I had agreed to sell to a very nice woman from Massachusetts who will use it to enjoy peaceful nights with her canine companions.
My family and I will miss the warm amber glow of the interior at night, and the vintage camper feel, but the replacement camper will suit us better, especially when we are 'off the grid' camping. Our new camper is a Coleman Caravan..considerably larger but not huge. It's self contained and has ducted heat and AC, running water, a hot water heater, a full bath with shower, lots of storage, bunk beds for the kids, and a front slide out queen bed for my wife and I. It will take it's first trip at the end of this month when we go to Lakeville CT for the vintage racing festival at Lime Rock Park.
I've had a great time working on the Shasta and know the new owner will enjoy it as well. I most likely will not update this blog again, but will leave it up for reference. Hopefully it will help someone at some point~ Here are some recent pictures to wrap things up... Kev