9:00 a.m. Bags are packed car is loaded, fellow photographer Justin Nigro and I hop in the Lexus and start to embark on a journey to remember…
This is my first trip to Wendover, Utah. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go shoot for Greg Tracy attempting to set a record with his 1300cc Hayabusa, built by Chad Newman of Area 51 Motorsports. Leaving from Puyallup, Washington checked the weather, noticed chance of thunderstorms and rain in Wendover. “Better seeing rain in a different state than staying home,” I said to Justin.
The roads were clear; we made it over Snoqualmie Pass, and down into Yakima where I met a nice officer, on the side of the road. He told me a long story about how Michael Jordan’s dad owned a Lexus just like mine and was murdered on the interstate. He had quite the conspiracy theory on the subject, then said have a good drive be safe, and sent us on our way. After that it was through the Tri-Cities and into Oregon. As we made our way towards Idaho we came across an abandoned concrete mill, along the old Oregon Trail Highway, great photo opp! Just outside Twin Falls, Idaho we caught up with a lightning storm at a rest area and managed to kill a few tumble weeds along the way.
We rolled into Utah at midnight, checked into the Motel 6 and anxiously awaited to go check out Salt in the morning for tech session. Unfortunately the 2011 World Finals at Bonneville were canceled due to rain, so our journey continued with a slight detour through Vegas and SoCal.
Thursday we packed our bags, headed to the Salt Flats Café with breakfast with the group. We took a few video interviews in front of the Bonneville Salt Flats sign then headed off to the Wendover Airport. This small, little airport was used in the movie Con-Air. The plane is still intact and worth checking out. After the brief movie-set tour we got on the road and headed for Vegas!
Heading down the 93 we made it through the pass, seeing a little snow along the way. Just outside the town of Caliente we happened across a rollover, luckily the by the time we arrived, the police and ambulance had just left. We were told the driver was just fine. As night started to fall, we rolled into the “City of Lights”. A quick 10 hour stay in the Entertainment Capital of the World and it was off to Irwindale for Formula Drift the Title Fight.
Friday and Saturday were spent trackside at Toyota Speedway. After the final battle and a quick trip to In-and-Out Burger, we made the drive to Willow Springs. Oddly enough, if you arrive at 3:30 in the morning, someone will actually meet you at the gate and have you sign the waiver. Who knew people were up that early?… We drove in and found the Crawford Performance Trailer and parked along side it to take a short nap before the morning.
6:00 a.m. the sun rose and the rumble of engines could be heard lingering in the air. The morning was brisk and people could be seen milling about drinking their coffee. It was a fun filled day with Crawford performances Michele Abate and Ariel Crawford as they raced their Scion tC around Button Willow. After the final runs of the day, Justin and I said our goodbyes and looked forward to the final stretch home of 900 miles towards home.
The long stretch of I-5 should have remained uneventful but took a quick turn, as we rolled into a rest area outside of the Sacramento. Justin and I were changing up drivers, and discussing taking a nap or continuing on when we were approached by two stranded motorists heading to Washington. Granted they were 10hrs and nearly 600 miles from home and the SC300 has enough backroom seating for a backpack and bottle of water.
The four of us made the journey stopping in Redding and Vancouver WA where we saw the sunrise, then arrive at Centralia at 8 a.m. where we said goodbye to passengers, and shortly made it home to Puyallup. Road trips are seldom for the destination but more about the journey; and the things you find along the way. What started out as a last minute trip to Bonneville for Land Speed records. We ended up on a 8-day, 2900 mile adventure through 6 states, 3 raceways, hundreds of friends thousands of photos and countless memories.
Stay tuned for my articles on: Formula Drift, Bonneville, and NASA Time Attack with Michele Abbate.
We took a few minutes for interviews. Chad Newman and Rod Falkner of Dumonde Tech