Monthly Archives: July 2016


I’ve been doing this for ten years.



This is post 477.  Counting Obi’s posts, it’s post 513. Some of them were even read! By people!

It blows my mind; I really don’t know what to say.I wish I’d written more. I hope I captured at least some of the important things that happened. I know I’ve written damn near a million things in my head that never made it to the screen. (Maybe I should use the voice recorder on my phone. Maybe that the difference between good writers and the rest of it – they write down their moments of brilliance while the rest of us just forget them.)


Confessions of a First Time Rallye Driver

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Kick Off Rallye was last Saturday. It was a combination TSD and GTA road rallye. Google that, if need be. I’ll wait.

It was my first time as a driver for any auto-themed event. I don’t know why I waited so long to get involved, as it was big fun. I recommend that anyone remotely interested in it to have a go.

I had three goals for this event:

One, complete the rallye. Simple, sure, but a couple in the confines of a Mini Cooper for hours, both of whom are used to being in charge, and it may become more challenging than initially thought. We typically work well as a team, but when we fail, we fail spectacularly.

Two, no fighting. Maybe this should be number one point five, since it’s similar to the above. On the day before the rallye, a close friend said to me, “You’re gonna fight so much, you know that, right?”

(Sidebar: Prague, several years ago. Mister Pack at the Last Minute forgot the EU map set for the sat nav and didn’t realize it until it was too late. While tired, hungry, and not-fluent in Czech, we relied on a petrol station purchased paper map, taking hours to cross the city by matching very long Czech road names on signs to ridiculously abbreviated names on the map. I’m skipping some details; it was not one of our finer moments.)

Three (or two, depending on how you’re counting), do not stall at the start line. Seriously, this would’ve been terrible. This probably should have been my number one, but having fun generally trumps embarrassment.  I’m nowhere near a novice with a clutch, having many years of experience, but… things happen. Your foot slips just a bit, or your concentration breaks for a second, or YOU’RE TRYING TOO HARD. Which I have never been known to do in my life. At all. Ever.

It felt like a very long minute waiting at the starting line. Our names had already been announced and forgotten. We heard “thirty seconds” and everything stilled. The count from ten brought an eerie internal calmness that disappeared at “five, four, three…”  We were off!

I opted for a smooth and controlled start, but in retrospect, I should’ve gone for more flair and made adjustments to my timing later on, out of view of the crowd. I’ve never been cool, though, so why start now.

Initially, my navigator was too slow in calling out route instructions. He quickly learned that he had to relay the information to me in useful segments and not necessarily line-by-line, as it was written. It is much more productive to hear that I need to make an “immediate left after this right” than it is to hear “turn right”, continue driving while waiting for the next instruction, and then hear, “the left was back there.”

We finished 14th out of a starting field of 63. I’m surprised and pleased with that. I’m proud to say that I zeroed a checkpoint. I missed two others by 0.6 seconds and 2.4 seconds, and cocked up one, missing it by 7.8 seconds. We missed eight trivia questions.

Oh, and I didn’t stall at the start line, either.


Visit the official site here: PVGP Rallye