Archive for March, 2011
This being my second visit to Reno in 12 months, I have got to know a few of the local geocachers. When they heard I was heading back to town, Jeditrekr put on a traditional geocaching pizza event to mark the occasion.
Prior to the event I headed out with Jeditrekr to do some caching and one of the memorable ones was You Sunk my Battleship!!, where you had to play Battleship online first to find out the final coordinates then there was an imaginative cache container when you got there.
It was a huge turnout with 50+ local geocachers and families. The pizza and company was great with the biggest surprise being the price of a pint of beer – $2.29 with tax .
I dropped off a few Travelbugs but came away with a lot more to bring back to Australia. I also made sure that everyone had one of my new Reno Pathtags. It was a good night out. Thanks Richard for putting on the event.
We walked around Downtown doing as many geocaches as we could find then it was off to sample some of Reno’s World Famous cuisine.
The choice for the night was the Awful Awful Burger at the Little Nugget Diner. You walk into the hole in the wall Diner through the smoke and pokies to find a kitchen out the back. There is plenty on the menu but this place is famous for the Awful Awful Burger.
It wasnt a bad feed on a huge bed of fries – even I couldnt eat it all (that is saying something). Time to walk it off with some more geocaching and the obligatory photo under the Reno Arch.
The day started early at 6:30 am with some last minute packing. A see you later to Jenny and Bradley (Rachael was on a Scout Camp) then drive into Adelaide Fire Station to drop off the company car. Hopefully it gets repaired while I am away.
Taxi to the airport. Checked in and they charged me for 3kg overweight baggage (26kg + 11 kg). In for an early morning coffee at Hudsons and met up with someone from work whose daughter was on my plane to Sydney and the US as well as someone from Rally.
Even though we loaded on time, it was 1/2 an hour before we took off. This was a sign of things to come. All went well for the transfer from the Domestic terminal to the International terminal in Sydney (even saw my baggage going in the right direction). Again we loaded on time but it was 3/4 of an hour taking off late this time.
The flight across the Pacific was not too bad but any turbulance was felt hard in Premium Economy as it is in the upper tail. Only managed about 3 hours of broken sleep in the 13 hour flight.
We arrived on time in Los Angeles. Into the Immigration Hall and it was packed with 4 planes that had landed at the same time. It took 1 1/2 hours to clear Immigration, Customs and re-check my baggage for the Reno flight. I am told that it was a quick trip through.
It was now 11:30 am and my next flight was 18:30 so what to do for 7 hours??
I had a couple of IT things to sort out with reactivating my US phone and data card. A quick walk to Radio Shack in Westchester to achieve this. On the way I came across Ladder 11 and Engine 211 of Los Angeles Fire Department at the In-N-Out Burger for their lunch.
Stopped off at Starbucks for a caffiene fix and some free Wifi to check emails. Still had hours to use up so decided to do some geocaches through Westchester and Inglewood. It took 4 hours and I walked 17 kms to find 7 geocaches.
Got back to LAX around 16:30 with some blisters and some new muscles. A bit of line up at the Security and I didnt even get back scattered.
And to get the trifecta, another delayed flight. At this stage, I was getting very weary and was struggling to stay awake. The flight to Reno finally got off the ground at 19:15 (3/4 of an hour late).
Now the quandry – unpack or go to bed. After 32 hours from Adelaide to Reno – it is good night ………
The Final Day for the Clipsal 500 is normally a laid back sort of day compared to the other three. There a couple of races in the morning to fill in the time til the pomp and ceremony of the Driver’s Parade, a V8 Ute Race then the final 250 kms of the Clipsal 500 to finish off the day.
This morning wasn’t all that different to other final days except that there was a hint of rain on the way. Not a little bit of rain but tropical rain from the north. After yesterday’s perfect conditions, it was going to make today’s racing interesting.
The rain kept holding off but we had an eye on the radar. We got through the first races with no issues, then a Driver’s Parade with 200 Harley Davidson’s then the Driver Photo.
It was then time for the V8 Ute Race and the heavens opened up. Perfect timing with the utes just on the grid. This was going to be fun as they have little control in the dry.
The utes behaved themselves until the last lap then they let loose. I am not sure how many were in the field at the start of the race but I had 11 broken utes to organise recoveries with only 9 tow trucks (we thought that would be enough) and the big race to come.
We cleaned up th track with time to spare and it was time for Race 2 of the Clipsal 500. The track was still damp and the cars were running wet tyres. After around 25 laps, the track started to dry and crews starting to change to slick tyres and it wasn’t long before we had more rain and then cars starting hitting concrete barriers. We had one recovery out of that downpour with the others limping back to Pits.
Wet tyres were put back on and of course the track started to dry again. Sicks started to go back on which resulted in the rain coming down which brought out another Safety Car for another recovery. The race did finally finish but I am unsure of what tyres were on at the time.
It was a matter of seconds after the last car crossed the Finish Line before the track invasion began. How no one was cleaned up, I am not sure.
Our final task in Race Control was to fair well the Chief Medical Officer, Roger Capps, who was retiring after this year. It was then on to the Thankyou BBQ, not before having a couple of beverages at the A Team in the rain.
Another good year is complete …..
You never know what the day will bring. It was another start in the dark but we finished with sunlight.
First thing up, I had another 10 fire marshals to distribute around the track (nearly at our maximum number). After sorting out some that went to the wrong spots, we were ready for the day.
It was a great day for the racing, it was warm and dry and the crowd numbers were large (2nd biggest Saturday Crowd).
How quick things change. Race 1 for the V8 Supercars was going well until a few of them decided to become intimate with the concrete barriers.
A few Safety Cars while we recovered the wrecks and it became a 5 lap sprint to the finish.
The last race of the day was the Formula Fords. They had a definite affinity for concrete. We had 11 recoveries in 3 laps which took out about half the field and we ended up using every tow truck to pick them up.
What started out a quiet morning, certainly ended in a bang.
There is talk of rain for Day 4 so it will be interesting to see what happens then ….
There is one constant with the Clipsal 500 – we get to the track in the dark and we leave the track in the dark with a small window in between to grab a few hours shut eye.
Today was no different. In fact, we had another twilight race which ran later than last night. It was a one hour Australian GT Championship Race but after half an hour we weren’t sure whether the race would last that long.
In the first half hour about half of the field was out of the race, leaving 13 cars to compete into the dark and the flaming pyrotechnics at the completion of the race.
Being the second day, I had another 20 fire fighters at my disposal which made the “chess game” of positioning fire marshals a lot easier.
Bring on Day 3 …..
The first day of the 2011 Clipsal 500 had arrived. Preparations have gone well.
Numbers are down slightly on previous years with the Fire Marshals and there is the usual changes of days that can be worked and not worked by them.
We still had enough to do the job and with some last minute massaging of the dispersals, it was time to hit print.
An early morning start at the Sign On tent and of course, more massaging of the dispersal with a few more non starters for the day.
Headed up to Race Control with the usual heart starter Cappuccino to take on the onslaught of equipment issues that need to be dealt with on the first morning.
It was then time to get some cars circulating on the track.
The morning started out well with a few recoveries, mainly for breakdowns. No fires or crashes of note. That was until the Aussie Racing Cars had their first race.
This was followed with some more flurry in the V8 Utes, The day finished with the Australian GT Championship which was supposed to be a twilight event but with the cloud cover ended up being a night finish.
Total recoveries for the day was 33 – a little down on previous years which is probably a good thing.
The final duty for the day was the Seniors Briefing (with the obligatory beverage), then home to get ready for Day 2.
Doesn’t time fly – here it is again another 12th of the month.
Having had a Japanese Student (Yukari from Morioka), the happenings in Japan over the last 24 hours were of interest. Yukari was heading home to Japan today and with the Airports in Tokyo closed, it was unsure whether she would get home. We have had no contact with her parents since the Earthquake but this is more than likely because of no phones at the moment.
This weekend being the Adelaide Cup Long Weekend, is also the Family Camp for the Blackwood Scout Group at Roonka. It is a great weekend away but I am also on call so Jenny took the kids while I stayed home with the dog (Molly) and budgie (Henry). Molly was hoping to go away as well and waited at the door expectantly while the car was packed.
Jenny’s travels up to the campsite were tracked with our Spot Messenger – unfortunately there is no phone coverage up at Roonka so I cant get here to turn it off now ……
With regard to on-call, I have been to 4 calls so far, so staying home has not been quiet although I have a lot of paperwork still to complete before next weeks, Clipsal 500 Motor Race.
There was a package waiting for me at the Post Office from overseas – it was my new pathtags to take with me on the Reno trip in 2 weeks.
Today is one of two Geocaching 12 of 12′s for the year, so I headed out this afternoon to grab a few caches: