On our way to stock up on supplies in Albuquerque, Forrest noticed that the Ford dealership seemed to be hosting some parking lot drifting. Since we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere, we stopped to check it out.

Thunder Mountain Raceway

Forrest loves dirt track racing. When we lived in Oregon, he was pit crew for a friend’s late model team. When we traveled through North Carolina we visited a track and went to a race when we were in Pennsylvania. So when we found ourselves headed to the Mountains instead of back to the desert and Forrest found that it was opening night at Thunder Mountain, we were off.

Thunder Mountain was definitely not the fanciest racetrack we’ve visited but we still had fun. It was the season’s opening night and from what I overheard, the crowds were much smaller than usual. I think the track can probably blame part of the poor turnout on the fact that it was freezing and windy out.

Despite the chilly conditions, it was pretty enjoyable. I

Wedding, Part 5: Wedding Morning

Ready to run
Pumped for a wedding day run

The run was awesome—I glanced down at my watch as we passed the 5K turnaround just before entering the portal and we were making awesome time. Once we entered the canyon though, neither of us were particularly worried about our time and the scenery left nothing to be desired. As we neared the end of the race, I was feeling awesome. With about four blocks to go, Jolleen encouraged me to push on ahead. I crossed the finish line in 54:34 (8:48 min/mi!); a PR for me!.

Entering the portal
Canyon running

After we took some post race pictures, we headed to Danette’s to borrow her truck so we could pick up the tables and chairs. (We also picked up her daughter Robin who was a huge huge help.) A few quick stops later (at the rental company, at a friends for a crockpot, and at the grocery store for bread) we were cruising down the river road ready for a wedding.

While Jolleen and I were running, F, Ezra, Skye, and Jason were out motorcycle riding at Slickrock. F: “Ezra rocked it. Skye hauled ass. Jason beat the crap out of his poor Reflex. It was awesome.”

F, Jason, Skye, and Ezra
Wedding motorcycle ride

Day 26: Asheville, North Carolina to High Point, North Carolina

Waking up, the trees were whipping around and Sprocket hardly got in a sniff and some water before we threw him back in the car to find a less tree debris laden area to get things packed up. We found a viewpoint and watched the clouds roll in. I started to recalculate a possible route if the weather didn’t improve–there isn’t much to do along the parkway if you can’t see the views! We drove up Mt. Mitchell in the fog–at 6,684′ it’s the highest point in North Carolina…and the highest one east of the Mississippi. It was foggy and cold so we just touched the top and ran right back to the car.

Once we got back down the mountain the fog was lifting and it actually turned into a beautiful day! Just as the road was getting really boring Little Switzerland popped up to give us a break. Although the Little Switzerland Cafe doesn’t open until 11, they poured us some coffee and let us check our maps. We decided to continue up the parkway for awhile but to bail and take US 221 if things got really boring.

We saw the North Carolina minerals museum and used their internet connection to research dirt tracks to catch a race. We took US 221 at Linville Falls after hiking out to the falls and traveled up to Linville before we got back on the Parkway to see the Linn Cove Viaduct, a 1,243′ viaduct that was completed in 1983 finally completing the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. We took the first possible exit after the Viaduct because we’d enjoyed going through the smaller towns. We followed 221 all the way up to Blowing Rock where I found some more free internet. I finally located a race track not too far from Chris’s house.

We got right back on the parkway and took it up to US 421, sometimes 45 MPH is the fastest way when you never have to stop for anything! We drove up through Winston-Salem where we made a brief stop at the Food Lion to buy some dinner before going to 311 Fastrack in Pine Hall. Forrest was very happy to go to a race! It was the “Carolina Clash” where the Carolina class circuit came to the 311…yeee haw! They were a lot of fun to watch, “very professional” Forrest noted. Chris and his son Andrew joined us just after the Carolina class qualifying was over. As fun as the big cars were to watch, I think the overall favorite class of the night were the “U”-cars: picture Geo Metros and Dodge Neons racing. Fabulous.


After the racing was over at midnight, we headed back to Chris’s house. We were rather in need of gas, our trip odometer was reading 421 but when we filled up we found that we’d gotten 24 MPG and weren’t even empty. Up and down mountains, cruising at 45MPH my jeep is a happy camper!

Redneck (and red back) Weekend

The last weekend of June brought GORGEOUS weather to the Willamette Valley. I started out my Saturday making some yummy strawberry freezer jam (as I was informed at the Farmers Market I almost missed my strawberry window). I’d forgotten how much stirring it takes to dissolve the sugar but all-in-all I had a pretty good time dancing and singing my way around the kitchen.

Despite needing to do some work around the house I threw on my bathing suit and headed to the backyard with my book. I wasn’t going to be outside all that long and figured I couldn’t get that burnt in an hour so I passed on the sunscreen. Loving the feeling of sun and getting involved in my book I didn’t realize how much sun I was getting. It wasn’t until I pulled on jeans for the ride out to Willamette Speedway for an evening of cars, gas fumes, and general white-trash I realized how burnt the backs of my legs, my butt, and my back were. I’d really gone and done it this time.

I had a much better time at the track this time around–less overwhelming. Forrest still gives me a hard time for not making friends out there but I can’t even fathom where to begin. I know it shouldn’t be hard but I always feel like everyone there is perpetually busy with something racing oriented (only makes sense right?) and that leaves racing talk as the only entry to conversation which I feel entirely unqualified for. It’s a problem I really need to figure out an answer to because between the track and motorcycle gatherings I look to be finding myself in it a lot.

Sunday I was a bit disappointed that Forrest wasn’t in for going hiking as we’d discussed earlier. I understand that he’s tired of being in a car after commuting all week but I’m on the other end of the spectrum and am tired of being in Corvallis/Philomath. Instead we spent the day up on the Hardwick’s property on the Luckimute. We spent some time building a trail to the beach– okay, Thomas, Ezra, and Forrest did most of the work…I tried to throw branches and brandish a shovel where it seemed appropriate–it’s frustrating sometimes not having the experience they do because I CAN be useful but chances are I’m not as efficient and not as strong so someone ends up sweeping in leaving me standing staring.

I did have a bast driving around the makeshift racetrack they’ve built for a couple junker cars. I agreed to do it in the sprit of trying something new but I’ll admit to a feeling of resignation as I pulled on the ski googles behind the wheel of the windshield-less S10. A few turns into it–after I at least understood that there was no powersteering and my brakes were suspect–I found myself having a really great time. I was pretty suprised and I think Forrest was almost shocked. We did some more work, did some swimming, and I actually rode a motorcycle. Funny how much I enjoyed it when I was TERRIFIED every second I was on the bike last fall (I maintain I was so scared then because motorcycles seemed so foreign.)

All in all it was a good weekend–even if it means I’ll spend the week with scratched up legs and slathering myself with aloe and lotion.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.