Yeah, hung out with their crew this evening in LaPaz while we were replacing a power steering pump. Almost burned my face off lighting fire works. Very cool group of guys. Of course they are bummed but going to the finish, that is NORRA spirit
Kevin Smith & Johnny Kaiser (El Monte friends, who were friends w/Robby Gordon) raced a '85 Chenowth. Kevin helped me with gas $$, so off I went to NORRA 1000..!
[ Johnny was Robby Gordon's NASCAR crew chief (?), his sister was Robby's GF at the time of '99 Indycar Califronia 500 (where Greg Moore tragically lost his life). She was interviewed on TV. Johnny's Dad had a Class 8 team, with Don MacCracken (sp? former Class 4 racer) as driver. Johnny, Robby, Kevin all "grew up together" in Desert Racing & MTEG back in late 80's ]
My 1st one ever, had a blast on Day 1. Had some drama..leaking 5 gallon gas can *inside* car -- fuel everywhere! Had to use paper to absorb most of it, then dumped dirt on it to "neutralize" fire risk
Got into Ensenada LATE Fri evening. missed all of Contingency. Got the bikes/cars leaving start in Ensenada (in front of Riviera Convention Ctr). The starter girl (beaming smile & jumping as the car left), was a star in her own right. Video interview of her in San Felipe Malecon (destination of Day 1) is uploading
Below are some pics from Ensenada & San Felipe. Am in La Morena restaurant (San Felipe, Malecon) doing the same -- 20 count steamed clams & Pescado combo (Abo fish). Ran into the Parkhouse Tire group, they had 3 cars in the race. They were having tacos in front of "Ana's Place" .. Ana being good friends with Pete Sohren. They claim this place has the best deal in Tacos, with thumbs up for the shrimp tacos. I called up Ana, she will be in tomorrow morning as the cars leave SF/Malecon
Check the crazy beautiful sunrise at Loreto, that preceded the motorbike staging. I remember seeing this last year at home (LIVE webcast), so now I experienced it myself.
Yes, I'm "all in" on NORRA as many of the participants are (racers, volunteers, chase crew, etc)
Here at NORRA headquarters in San Jose Del Cabo, had breakfast with NORRA principals -- Mike Pearlman, business-manager Eliseo, flag-girl Lisa, (female) Autoweek freelancer
[ she's the one wrapping her arms around Lisa's neck in the San Felipe finish-line video..they're good buddies. They are off "shopping" (a girl thing) before the 6pm awards tonight. ]
Met a couple of cool guys
[ at Robby Gordon's Hwy 1 pit at Ciudad Insurgentes, hanging out with Robby's crew. They were waiting for Max/Robby Gordon, their UTV lost a water-pump impeller ]
doing Sweep & Recovery -- 1 guy from AZ & NY friend. Their Dodge full-size 4x4 sports a blow-up doll..it wasn't only #737 that had a blow-up doll as 3rd-rider. I pointed out
"great minds think alike"
Me, I've had this vision of a 10 ft tall autonomous-driving toilet (yes, you read that right!!) with chimpanzees embedded in a pile of blow-up dolls. All for the purpose of doing Autonomous Car technology tests at Offroad races (SCORE, BITD, NORRA, etc).
[ ^^^ Indycar introduced Honda autonomous mini-carts (?) at last year's Indy 500, to help with parking (usually handled by humans .. the yellow shirts) ]
It's all in the spirit of Human-Interest ala "Wacked Out", which Offroad Racing is famous for. Characters like you wouldn't believe -- Pistol Pete realized this & started building his "brand" (mullet, cool rap, etc) I believe NORRA has hit-the-nail-on-the-head with the hybrid model:
Entertainment "wrapper" on top of Motorsports
Note that NASCAR has the "Soap Opera on 4-wheels" (to complement the successful Business-Model of "Billboard on 4-wheels"), which focuses on
which is PUMPED into the media, the week after a weekend race. They allow "fighting" (on the track), where things get "evened up" (zero sum game) to solve tensions. Hockey has this model, with "goons" evening it up for both teams
Teams are chilling out, enjoying themselves at this "gringo-ized" resort town -- walking, shopping, partying, etc. Oh man, the pool party at Tropicana with NORRA staff!! Lots of well-deserved "blowing off steam", my day ended at 1:30 am with an all-out "verbal spaghetti" to Mike Pearlman's son. We want to get some Technology Partners hooked up with NORRA, just like I'm doing with Indycar/IMSA:
I fed some of it to Mike Pearlman this morning at breakfast, we will sit down & plan something
To Offroad Racing junkies/homies:
Tell us what YOU want to see in an Offroad Race
1) LIVE delivery to the Web
it's being worked on in "stealth"..LIVE in-car video, I met the guy at XXX). I've got my own angle on this. I would basically "hand it over to" RDC founders (Klaus & Curtis),as part of the RDC evolution in LIVE casts. The previously did the LIVE Weatherman streaming, with start/finish line video later on
2) Technical automotive formulas
Electric, Hybrid, Hydrogen fuel-cell, Autonomous Cars (incl semi-Autonomous driving aids). See how Formula 1 went out & designed the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) as a formula, which leveraged Hybrid Regenerative Braking. 24 Hrs of Lemans also has the elite LMP1 class, where Audi has a hybrid propulsion system (Tdi rear power, electric in front?)
^^^ It will attract Manufacturer interest & investment ($$), where competitors want IN. Do Real World Testing, in the end racers get to play with COOL Technology, which gets passed back to Mfr. Then, consumers benefit with latest/greatest race-proven Tech. E.g., paddle-shifters in Acura/Honda NSX ($150K sportscar) which has origins in F1
3) Disruptive Automotive
Autonomous Cars, Connected Cars, Electric/Hybrid
^^^ This NEEDS a major re-structuring of current Offroad Race orgs -- Vice-President of Technology, which goes out & seeks latest/greatest Tech. Requires someone on-salary, on-staff in a brick-and-mortar. Above Tech companies have in the past asked me
[ after my Concept involving Offroad Racing was approved 10 YEARS AGO in 2009, e.g. Caltech/NASA/JPL Division of Communications & Public Outreach ]
"Are there "suits" (phony bureaucrats/administrators, paper-pushers, etc) in a brick-and-mortar, where us suits (e.g. NASA/JPL..US Govt waste/inefficiency) can come in & NEGOTIATE A DEAL?"
Of course, the answer is NO! Look at the end of the Mint 400 race, in the background you see the solar arrays (I believe Portuguese sourced companies). They are "playing the game" -- "suits" (foreigners) negotiating with other "suits" (US politicians who have SOLD OUT to $$).
"Strangers in our own Land"
-- Hawaii Five-O episode, about how "howlees" (slang for foreigners) come in & screw up Hawaii
It's ALL about the fans
They want to see a good race, but at the same time be ENTERTAINED. Indycar racers often mention about "putting on a good show", e.g. Indy 500. SCORE used to have a similar marquee event .. the Riverside World Championships. Old-school Class 3 racer Don Adams, called it a "spectacle"
NORRA is getting "legs", they are getting to the point of being a "spectacle". THey are expanding, doing a NORRA 500 race in October, just prior to SCORE Baja 1000 (in November)
I came down to Baja ONCE AGAIN, in tribute to Pistol Pete. He realized the Entertainment Model for Offroad Racing, where he had the TV gig on History Channel (?). BTW, in the above link is a video-interview with Bill Hernquist (big conflict with Pistol, about some deal that went awry). Bill H reminds me of Scott Steinberger, full of energy & likes to rap. He even could be a successor to Pistol Pete -- seriously..the Irony is STUNNING!
"Driving like an IDIOT!"
-- Kreg Donahoe
Re: if you approach the limits of Success/Disaster, you have become an IDIOT
"If you're 2 yrs ahead of the curve, you're a Genius. If 10 yrs, YOU'RE AN IDIOT!"
-- HS teacher demoing electrified Nissan at Vehicle Technology pavilion, 2009 SEMA
Here are some foodie pics for the connisseurs of fine cuisine. I was doing cold cuts & sandwiches until La Paz, due to pressures of "low $$". Plus, I wanted to deplete those cold cuts. Finally, I got a nice meal at a nice 24/7 restaurant (just before finish-line). Everywhere else was closed, & expensive. That stuffed potato was like $6. Next morning, I had a combo Rancho steak -- WOW, what a value for $8. Last night, I had a shish kabob beef/shrimp for like TWICE the price. I imported/edited/exported the above videos, but restarant closed before I had time to upload. I met some racers, who were also at the same restaurant. 1 of them is building a 3000 lb race-car ("We're not F****G AROUND"), he showed us build pics. They went off to Shooters bar (to meet up with friends who texted them), I followed them, but ran into those 2 Sweep & Recovery guys (wearing green shirts) at Tropicana Inn (headquarters for NORRA). I ended up hanging with them until 2 am, pool party, talking S***T at the parking lot, etc. The rowdiness increased due to effects of Margaritas. I ended it with a massive "word spaghetti" to son of Mike Pearlman, about my Technology Partnership initiative for Motorsports 2.0. We both were up since 5am, so we had to call it a day!
I ended up waking up at 5:30am to do sunrise shots at the San Jose Del Cabo beach. It's now 1:18pm, after computer work.
Fantastic Awards/Party last night, I never experienced something like that! Marty Fiolka did a terrific job emceeing, the whole thing went down very smoothly. The fireworks at the end was superlative. Lots of good vibe, dancing to the rock music.
Before that, there was a relaxed atmosphere of hanging out, eating great food, meeting old friends. I parked my bike, & there was the Wilson Motorsports group. In walked Sal Fish, where Frank DeAngleo/BFG was already talking to the Wilson group. Then, Dave Cole #4454 came by:
Had breakfast with NORRA staff (incl Mike Pearlman) this morning, I blew in at 7am at Tropicana Inn outdoor restaurant at 7am (after shooting sunrise on the beach, I woke at 4:14am) Sure enough, Mike Pearlman was there bright & early
Here's another video from Awards/Party, the Currie Racing group (3 vehicles supported):
See pics, there are some foodie pics from yesterday -- lunch truck with fresh seafood (shrimp/octopus cocktail & freshly caught sea bass). I'm focusing on sea food this trip. Other pic is from today, shrimp omellete
^^^ WOW..the fireworks show was sweet! I ran into Johnny Kaiser
[ out in NC when he was Robby Gordon's NASCAR crew chief, he used to live near me in Temple city along with Kevin Smith..they both went to HS together. They were friends with Robby, & raced SCORE together..this was back in late 80's. Kevin & Johnny raced #211 (1985 Chenowth DR2) at this NORRA. I got a nice donation from Kevin (to cover some of the fuel costs), plus some others..incl Tony Tellier ("The Cheese"). THAT'S the only reason I made it down here..thanks again!! ]
who got an award, along with another award-winner -- Roger Mears (he & his wife live in Bay of LA)
The celebration had some nice rock music, there was a lot of good cheer & dancing going on. See above video.
I met Mike Pearlman & Lisa Charbonneau (flag-girl w/brilliant smile) late afternoon in front of Tropicana Inn (NORRA headquarters), they were about to bug out back home. I got some nice video of a (professional) Mariachi band at Tropicana Inn, will post it soon.
My 1st NORRA -- what a BLAST!!
All inspired by the persistent Pistol Pete memoriam tour. I'm focusing on Human-Interest at NORRA -- characters, personalities, etc.
More pics, chilling out walking the side-streets looking for Baja culture
About to goto dinner, want that "sea bass" dinner..see yesterday's pic of restaurant owner with freshly caught fish. BTW, he was fishing last night & saw the fireworks show from ocean. I showed him the fireworks video I uploaded.
I'm at El Herradero restaurant, near Tropicana Inn (NORRA headquarters), just finished a breakfast buffet. Incredible selection, reminds me of USA (variety & portion sizes) See pics.
See attached pics for some beach shots. Lots of interesting action -- waves, joggers, plane, birds, etc
Last 3 shots were from my digital SLR, I wasn't able to download to my laptop. So a cellphone pic off the viewfinder will do temporarily
Baja delivers again -- thanks NORRA! Big shout out to the people who supported me, esp the Class 11 #1121 team (placed 2nd in class). The driver (Dennis Hollenbeck) & co-driver (Wes Smith, musician) ponied up some pesos (Ciudad Insurgentes, pit stop on Hwy 1 towards La Paz), to help me with gas costs..La Familia in action. See last 2 pics, that's Dennis (& his co-driver wife) & Wes at Awards
I got to a REALLY late start yesterday (Sunday), trying to take care of business at home..Indycar project. Left like 3pm from San Jose Del Cabo. Decided to take the beach route, crawling north up to La Paz. OMG, it's mostly dirt roads..mostly beach houses of wealthy ('rich stupid people"). I found a surfing place (Playa Punta Gorda), some locals & some westerners.
Swung into the village late, 1 restaurant closed. The other one was just closing, but was nice enough to serve me Quesadillas (3 for $5). I ran into a guy from Spain, living here for 1 year. He is a diving/scuba instructor. The owner is a woman (Mom founded i in '94), who grew up there. Her son went to local school, then studied in USA. He is currently a pilot out of Newport Beach/CA, who flies periodically to Baja. See foodie pics
I wandered into a house complex, met an American woman (cinematographer) & her daughter. She is a double-major at UBC (University British Columbia) -- Math & Computer Science. Mom own a Tesla Model S back in USA, I mentioned to her my former U of Illinois Electrical Eng grad-school office-mate (Martin Eberhard), co-founded Tesla Motors. We exchanged contact info.
I went to a spot on the beach populated by a few RVs, & shacks. Woke up at 1am, with the Milky Way blazing away in a dark sky..spectacular! I should have broken out my astrophoto gear, but ended up going back to sleep. Woke around 4am, & decided to do a 360 VR (Virtual Reality) panorama. Shot it, but morning twilight was coming on, so the shot wasn't a dark-sky Milky Way -- combo cobalt-blue twilight & (diminishing) Milky Way. I definitely am "gunning" for a dark sky Milky Way 360 VR panorama, next change I get.
this one wth Web/internet (blazing fast it turns out!) Pricey at $10, but it had nice bar with nice panoramic view (2nd floor). See pic. Had nice bathroom (for spoiled Westerner like me), also a pool. I imported/edited/exported/uploaded a morning sunrise video:
1st pic is of the waitress & head-waiter at El Herradero restaurant (San Jose Del Cabo), it was the 1st place I went to for food in SJDC. I returned twice, it has great ambience. The Sunday buffet was crazy good (see previous post). 2nd pic is the restaurant on Sun night at Cabo Pulmo, owned by the woman (whose Mom founded it, her son is a private pilot out of Newport Beach/CA). The other foodie pics are from today (Mon morning, Preventa restaurant)
The other pics are of some places in Cabo Pulmo
Last 2 pics are cellphone grabs off my Canon 5D II digital SLR (800mm lens). Can't import them from my CF card, my travelling laptop is 10 yrs old..for some reason my CF card reader isn't working..??!! There were low clouds hugging the east horizon, but it made for "dramatic" sunrise
Surfing pics from Playa Punta Gorda, there was a large group there -- native Mexicans (families, see above video) & visiting westerners. Some surfer asked me for duct tape, naturally I was well prepared ("tongue firmly in cheek") & had it at hand -- gave it to him. He put it back on my roof, after he was finished. There was a Caucasian couple that came in, & I followed them with my cameras.
Sunset pics from Cabo Pulmo, looking west towards the jagged peaks. Like I said above, the western horizon looked on "fire", crazy bright reds like I've never seen before.. Fill flash pics of foreground cactus, with blazing horizon & jagged peaks. OMG, just killer.. See above video.
Stuck here messing w/Internet (instead of exploring Baja) at 2:13pm... Doesn't matter, waiting for important email. MIGHT be going to Indy "Month of May" -- Indy GP (Grand Prix) & Indy 500. All part of the "out of control" Motorsports Tour..my Motorsports 2.0 initiative
which got "kicked into gear" due to Pistol Pete tragic passing. Likely, there is something BIG coming down the pipe. Would like to get some qualified Offroad Racing people (business-types, dedicated racing demographic) involved in a Disruptive Motorsports business-entity.
See pics also. LOTS of saguaro cactus near the beach, there are some nice pullouts to the beach (touristy)..with saguaro cactus all over. I found a "wild Saguaro cactus forest" on a dicey dirt road off the Hwy. It got washed out midway, so further exploration requires foot. I'm going there for tomorrow's sunrise..can't wait!!
Had to go back to La Paz (where I'm typing this) for supplies (plus check work email), decided to try to go to Loreto, by hugging the Sea of Cortez coastline (thus bypassing Ciudad Insurgentes). Could get slow, after highway ends..we'll see. I'm certainly getting my "fix" for sunrises & Sea of Cortez.
I'm trying to find my old eclipse site for 1991 solar eclipse
where I wandered into a wash that fed into Sea of Cortez, then found a sandy hill with a huge saguaro cactus at the top. See 2nd pic. I buried a glass bottle of Corona beer at it's base. A 28 year old time-capsule.
I also want to find that old beach site south of Loreto, see atached pic. I took a dirt road from Hwy 1, with all sorts of shrubbery blocking the way. Found myself into a Giligan's Island type of cove. See 1st pic
Other pics are from this morniing, I lucked into this Rancho at night. It was located in front of a fishing net, the local fisherman set it up. I couldn't believe I got this shot of the rising sun, with him in the foreground. Also, see above sunrise video, he is boating in front of me
Took a break while typing above, got some sunset pics on Malecon. See pics. That statue is right across from Applebee's (Gringo'ized presence on Malecon), I feel like S****T having "sold out". I wanted the "real" Baja -- food, beaches, shops, etc. But, the other restaurant (24/7 authentic Mexican food) WiFi wasn't working. As it turned out, it worked out..since some prime shooting was right across the street. See pics, the bar+table pic is from Applebee's (where I'm typing this). The other 2 foodie pics are from the traditional Mexican restaurant -- Pescado dish ($7 USD) & Guacamole ($3.50). I've eaten this combo like THREE times, I don't have time to cruise for other cool Mexican eateries. Have to jam out, waiting for 1 LAST upload -- morning twilight video:
Had to extend my trip -- get insurance, additional supplies (mostly food). Those 2 buddies of mine (NORRA Sweep & Recovery) jammed back to the border, with a quick stop at Gonzaga Bay. I'm taking my time working my way back north, I want to get my "fix" for Sea of Cortez. Want to make it to Loreto, by hugging the beach all the way up -- bypassing Ciudad Insurgentes.
Been up since 2am, shooting Milky Way astrophoto pics -- 360 panorama (on fixed tripod) & star-tracking mount. Then, morning twilight hit at 4:45am, & hustled to do sunrise photos/videos. Mistakes were made, so that's why I'm going back to another spot close to that Rancho on-the-beach.
Baja or Bust -- all of it Pistol Pete tribute at NORRA 1000. Should have some incredible spinoffs for my Motorsports 2.0 project (Indycar, IMSA, Formula 1, Offroad Racing), again..inspiration by Pistol Pete.