The entire month of January has been consumed by work. I have been working up to a hundred hours a week to design, manufacture and deliver some new high power servo controller systems. It's a microprocessor-based design capable of providing up to 20 amps at 32 volts to power a DC motor in a servo actuator. The R/C input pulses are opto-isolated and the servo pot is filtered and sampled with a 12 bit A/D converter.
It has a lot of options, like regenerative or freewheeling braking, adjustable current limiting, optional analog input rather than R/C pulses, and selectable motion acceleration limiting for more lifelike acceleration.
I haven't been racing, I haven't been diving, I've just been working and working and working.
Sad, but true.
Completed the high power servo drivers, got paid for that work (at about $3 per hour) and took off for a week in the sun on Maui with my friend Irene.
Rental condos where we stayed for a very fine week... a week was just all too short for visiting such a paradise.
The picture below is of two whales cruising off of the southern Maui coast.
My big project for March was surgery. Yuk. The surgery wasn't really too painful, it was the effects of the general anesthesia that were the worst for me. My friend Irene came over from Carbondale to help me get through the surgery and the worst of the discomfort.
I seem to be recovering fine from the surgery a couple of weeks ago, so now I'm heading off to a race in Phoenix April 10-11 at PIR.
Well, that race was a fiasco. On Saturday, the throttle cable broke and I had to pull off the track and watch all the other cars drive by. That was no fun.
Then, on Sunday, the engine vapor locked and I lost a lap while it recovered. Oh well, that's racing.
As a consolation prize, I headed down to Puerto Penasco for a change of scenery, some fresh fish and way too much beer. I saw this Bimbo delivery truck on the highway to Puerto Penasco in Mexico... hmmm, I wonder if they're cheaper in Mexico...
The Pikes Peak race at the end of May went pretty good for me, I finally managed to get some National points and the car ran flawlessly all weekend. I need to push a bit harder if I want to run up front, but I know now that I can do it.
The racing is going pretty good. I finally got my first trophy for a second place finish and ran well all weekend at Pueblo. I think I am catching on to this racing stuff. On the pole Saturday, on the outside pole Sunday.
Very hot racing at Pueblo, with temps near 100 deg both days. I got some grass in the radiator while avoiding a spinning car, the engine overheated and blew the head gasket. A very expensive weekend.
Two weeks later, again at Pueblo, driving a rented car, I hit a car that had spun in a high-speed corner and wrecked the rented car pretty badly, and even worse, injured my left foot too badly to race the entire weekend.
The race at Pikes Peak International Raceway on August 21-22 was my last race. The transmission blew up on Saturday and the engine just quit on Sunday. I am totally fed up with racing. My race car is up for sale.
It's not much better than pissing away the money in a slot machine, or just flushing it down the toilet.. It was great fun for a while... then it just became a great waste of time and money. I guess its time to move on to other adventures. But, I don't know what they are, yet.
After the ill-fated races, I headed over to Orvis Hot Springs near Ridgeway Colorado. It was wonderful to see some of my old friends over there. I spent a week with my friend Penny, and she gave me a lot of new ideas about the direction of my life. She introduced me to T'ai Chi and her friend Jeffery introduced me to Chi Kung. We went to the Dances of Universal Peace in Montrose and I had a wonderful time. My life began to change very quickly.
My dad and his friend Iva drove out from Kansas City this week to visit.
The picture below, from left to right: my cousin-in-law Bob, me, my cousin Nancy and my Dad. Bob and Nancy live in Fort Collins, CO.
Ray LaRue bought my race car... so, my racing adventures have come to an end.
At the end of September I started going to the Dances of Universal Peace in Fort Collins and Boulder. I met a lot of very interesting people at the dances.
I started writing some poetry and also a few songs. A very wonderful month.
I realize that racing taught me a couple of very important lessons that apply not only to racing, but to many other aspects of life as well:
First, in order to excel, you must participate totally, not as an observer chatting with yourself and analyzing during the activity, but with total focus and concentration solely on the task at hand, literally becoming at one with the activity.
Second, in order to excel, you must push yourself beyond comfort, into the region of challenge, staying within your limits of competent performance, but pushing the envelope as far as it will go, as far beyond comfort as you can withstand without recklessness.
I drove my friend Andrea down to Albuquerque for a seminar. While she was in her seminar, I went to Petroglyph National Monument and wandered around for the day.
I took a class in drumming, using the African djembe drum, and while I had great fun, I sure bruised my hands.
The whole month was a bit odd, with temperatures in the mid 70's and very little sign that winter is approaching.
This has been a really strange, but wonderful month. Changes, changes and more changes. Sometimes I try to fight reality... but it always seems to win in the end.
The picture at the left is the view out my bedroom window on Nov 23. It looks like winter has finally arrived.
For my birthday, Andrea and I went to the Dances of Universal Peace in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Wow. What a wonderful trip. The dances were wonderful, the little town was beautiful and my birthday celebration was beyond my wildest imagination.
In mid-month, Andrea and I went to the vapor caves in Glenwood Springs, to the Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, the Dances in Montrose led by Bernie Heideman, and then back to the pool in Glenwood Springs. Ohhh, what a wonderful weekend.
I bought a little bitty amateur radio transceiver, the Yaseu VX-5R. It is an amazing piece of technology. It transmits on the 6 meter, 2 meter and 70 cm ham bands with 5 watts and receives almost any frequency from 550 KHz through 1 GHz.
On Dec 20 I bought myself a djembe drum. A drummer in Fort Collins, Gregory Long, has these drums custom built and they are truly beauty-ful drums. My drum body is Siberian Elm with a goatskin drum head and nylon lacing. It is a work of art.
I drove down to Puerto Penasco for a few days around Christmas, but the gringos were being very noisy and obnoxious, so I didn't really have as much fun as I hoped. The gringos were constantly driving very noisy dune buggies and ATVs at speeds probably in excess of 50 mph all over the beach, often within a few feet of people walking or tanning on the beach. It's a wonder that nobody got killed. It was the loud noise that bothered me the most, I could rarely hear the waves on the shoreline at my ocean-front motel due to their noise. But the sunset was very pretty.