My mother always had a camera in her hand. Whenever we would go to an event, a play, or a big moment in my life, she was there with her camera. They became one of those objects I obsessed over. Some kids wanted dolls or action figures, I wanted a camera.
My earliest memory of having a camera in my hand was in 1st grade. Granted, it was one of those disposable ones you would pick up from Walmart, but it was where it all started. I took photos of everything, like my friend’s at school, leftover balloons from my birthday party, our family dog, or rocks outside. For years, those disposable cameras were my gateway into what would develop into something much more than my first grade self could’ve imagined.
I got my first point and shoot camera when I was 16. The time of film and disposable cameras was gone. I don’t recall everything I used that camera for, but it opened yet another door. The following year, I took my first photography class and upgraded to a DSLR. I had a Nikon D3100. I felt so professional. But as a 17 year old, you could only go so far.
I accomplished a lot with that little Nikon. I won a regional photography award from the NH Institute of Art that came with a scholarship to a summer photography program. I created countless displays at my high school, and had an album of photos. Unfortunately, I do not know what happened to all of the photos I took. They may be on my old hard drive that is sadly missing. I grew with that camera, and it photographed my car show that I run for 5 long years.
I took a hiatus from looking through my lens while I went to college. Being convinced of doing something practical instead of photography, I pursued my Bachelor’s in Accounting and then ultimately my Masters which I completed in the fall of 2021. This past summer, something changed for me. A light came, and it woke me up. I wanted to get back into doing something I thought I had given up.
I created my brand, Adventures of a Car Girl, back in 2018 after my graduation with my Bachelor’s. It was then I decided I wanted to write more and document where and what I was doing. I was branching into s lot of exciting new avenues. I took my old Nikon to events I attended. Those events, trips and other such adventures were captured on that D3100 and posted here on my blog.
This year, I invested in a new camera. After 9 long years, I decided it was time. A whole new world of creativity was opened to me. This camera did much more than my old one did, as it should. The Nikon Z5 has become the centerpiece to my new creative outlet. I have already learned so much in my short time getting back into a passion of mine. But there is still much to learn. Now, each event, trip and adventure I take is another opportunity for me to practice my craft, and make new connections.
I sometimes kick myself for not following in my want to go to college for photography. However, I’ve put myself in a position where I am able to pursue photography and writing and be able to travel to incredible places. It all happens for a reason.
I collect old cameras now. Polaroid, brownies, pinhole, folding cameras, some old Minoltas. Where photography has come and it’s history is also important to remember. We have much more opportunity for that perfect shot than our creative ancestors.
A favorite quote of mine is, “Life happens for you, not to you.” So go out there and make it happen. I’m so thankful for where my adventures have brought me, and am excited to see where I will go next.
Hagerty and Mobil 1 are household names in the car community. When we think Hagerty, protection with the best service for our beloved classic vehicles may come to mine. When we think Mobil 1, quality of gas may come to mind. But these two companies are much more than just insurance and gas.
While at the SEMA convention, I got the chance to speak with a couple representatives from both Mobil 1 and Hagerty about the new partnership between these staple companies in the automotive community. Mobil 1’s mission is to share the love of driving, and Hagerty’s purpose is to save driving and car culture. I spoke with Doug Clark, Vice President of Commercial Partnership and Business Development. He stated that there is such an authentic fit between the two companies, that it just made sense for them to come together. The partnerships goal is to create compelling content, which they both already do individually. So why not double up and grow it exponentially.
Their other goal is to cultivate the community. There are 750,000 Hagerty Driver’s Club Members. Hagerty also partners with video games, like Gran Turismo, where you can take advantage of some Hagerty Diver’s Club Member perks in game. Hagerty is about, “creating on ramps and lowering the barrier to entry.” They know that people that are in their 20s and 30s are gaming, and even more women are now gaming. Hagerty wants to give them the opportunity to discover cars. In today’s day and age, it is not abnormal that people are discovering different cars and what they like in games. In Gran Turismo, if you earn enough credits to get to the Legends Dealer, you gain access the Hagerty Collection where you will have the opportunity to learn about the cars that are available that day and go through the history. It’s yet another way to get people involved and appreciate the history and love of cars. Hagerty Driver’s Club Members can receive a special code that will give them access to a limited car in Gran Turismo with a special Hagerty Livery that they can enjoy in game. Each year, you have the chance to receive a special car from Hagerty as long as you are a member. Mobil 1 partners with Rocket League, bringing a different sort of relationship between consumers and companies. Rocket League has a virtual high octane car that players have the ability to use in game. from Mobil 1.
Both Hagerty and Mobil 1 work to bring new people into the community as lover’s of cars and driving. Mobil 1 focuses on quality gas for your car. This partnership also wants to focus on car care with a purpose. Hagerty protects it’s club members with roadside assistance and with their firm foundation of insurance. When Hagerty receives a claim, they are able to help keep our beloved cars on the road so that we can continue to enjoy them. The products of both Hargety and Mobil 1 are top quality, and they will continue to deliver that to us in new and exciting ways. Doug describes the partnership as just a natural alignment.
Mobil 1 and Hagerty have been working on this partnership for about a year. They are excited to continue to cultivate the driving culture. I spoke with Ryan Allen, Mobil 1’s Brand and Partnership Manager, and he states that a lot of people simply view cars as a commute. But there are just as many of us that view cars as more than that, where we enjoy the actual drive. Through the partnership, they are trying to bring a lot of the joy of driving back to the consumer. There will be some very unique content that will come as a result.
He goes on to say that it is not always necessarily about the car, but the love and joy of driving, which is where they are trying to get back to. They want to celebrate the love of driving and the act of driving together as a community. Mobil 1 has access to many driver’s in Formula 1, NASCAR and NHRA. Bringing Hagerty and Mobil 1 together is going to bring about some unique content, that goes above and beyond what they have already created on their own.
The ultimate goal is to continue building the community for generation to come. The future of car culture and driving is in the hands of those who may not have discovered it yet, and continuing to expose it to as many people as possible. This partnership will give them an abundance of avenues to be able to do that.
We look forward to what this newfound partnership will bring to our community.
The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals is an annual event that takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. After SEMA, I had the honor or being offered the chance to go and check out the largest display of American Muscle Cars in the world. It is a place for enthusiasts, both young and old, to come together over their love for these classic vehicles.
I landed at O’Hare International Airport from Logan Airport at 8:30AM on Saturday November 19th. I went to the hotel to drop off my luggage and then made my way straight to the convention center. As soon as you walked through the doors, you could smell the oil, fuel and tires from the classic vehicles lying in wait on the showroom floor. A display of Corvettes greeted me.
The Chevrolet Corvette is one of my all time favorite vehicles, and is definitely my favorite piece of American Muscle. I walked over to Will Call to pick up my badge so generously left for me by eXoMod Carbon. Thank you so much, Rick!
Vendors, car displays and happy event attendees covered the floor. There was so much to take in. I took a couple laps around the floor to see what was there, and then went back through to capture some more specific details. So, where to begin! It is hard to pick. I will start with this 1960 Corvette.
In 1960, this Corvette won 1st in its class making history at the famous 24 hour Le Mans Race. The #3 Cunningham Corvette held this title for more than 40 years. An impressive win for the car at the time.
While on the topic of Corvettes, there was this 1969 unrestored L88.
19,000 original miles, and two time Concours winner in 2017 and 2019. This 427, 4 Speed was one of 116 built in 1969. It has also been awarded the NCRS Top-Flight, Bloomington Gold Certification and MCACN Triple Diamond Award.
There were also an array of vintage mini bikes. These were especially interesting for me, as I used to own a Coleman Mini Bike and attended Mini Mayhem in North Carolina last summer.
This 1981 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro had my heart.
With so many interesting vehicles there, it is hard to pick just a few to write about. There was this custom one of a kind Mustang, with a removable hard top and custom sound system. Photos of this build, do not really do it justice, but here it is.
Most of the cars were set up close to each other in their classes or groups. It made it a little difficult to get clean shots of individual cars, but it also made for some neat opportunities to catch these cars sitting together like a group of friends would.
Next up, this 1977 Dodge Charger SE caught my eye. I had never seen a White Charger before. Usually, the ones that I have seen in the past were black, green or purple. The white gave it an old feel and a certain elegance to it.
There were an array of Superbirds and Daytonas in the Wings Over America section. This was particularly interesting for me, as I had never seen so many Superbirds and Daytonas in one place before, let alone one right after the other.
One in particular caught my eye. This 1970 Plymouth Superbird had a very different paint job, with matching helmet and model car. As the board states in one of the photos, this car is in its “as raced,” unrestored condition.
What an interesting take on this iconic piece of history.
Another section of the convention that seemed to always be busy with people was the Barn Finds & Hidden Gems. As the name suggests, these were cars that were found in as is condition, and either still ran, or were rare pieces not commonly around, let alone now. A few of these gems were in running condition, which made it that much more impressive. For years these old bodies could have sat, but they were not ready to give up. They are now on the hands of eager owners and restorers, so that they may be returned to their former glory when they rolled off the assembly line.
The Studebaker Legends was another section that had some beautiful cars that you don’t get to see everyday. Like a 1963 Studebaker R3 Avanti that was Hot Rod and Motor Trend’s Test car.
Amongst the cars, there were also several vendor booths set up. One had metal art of some of our favorite cars.
There was also Kitty’s Warriors, which I will be writing a separate piece on. They are a non-profit that donate 100% of their proceeds to cancer patients and their families.
Johnny Lightning was also in attendance, selling model cars and an exclusive 2022 MCACN Superbird model.
Last, but certainly not least, there was the Premier Unveiling of the most anticipated builds of the year., the 1971 Plymouth Cuda built by Mopar Obsession/eXoMod Carbon.
I won’t spoil all the fun as this car will have it’s own write up coming soon. This drop top 440+6, with a Shaker hood and intake, leather interior and go wing was absolutely stunning in person. The color was perfect for this iconic vehicle.
My first experience at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals was one to remember. I had never been around so many classic American muscle in one place. The best part of shows like this is that a lot of these cars are driven, all the time. They were raced, dragged, driven, family hauling for years, and are still kicking around. It is truly something to be appreciated. I am so grateful for the experience.
Here is a full album of photos from the event. If you’d like to support me and my adventures, please consider sharing and purchasing a photo.
Walking around SEMA is great. You are able to interact with so many new people and see all kinds of cool up and coming products and seervices.
One of the booths that I interacted with was Greenlight Collectibles. They are a premier manufacturer of authentic diecast replicas of all of your favorite vehicles. They even manufacture other replicas to scale with your diecast vehicles. During SEMA 2022, they were handing out Limited Edition 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 models. A very cool, and free, collectible item I got to take home from SEMA.
Here is another example of some of the items that they have for sale.
While perusing the rest of their booth, one little model caught my eye. A 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S. It is not too often I see many classic mini models, let alone one in my color. The lovely gentleman at the booth were kind enough to part with the model, and it got to come home with me.
Thank you, Greenlight Collectibles! Your booth was the only one I went to with any classic mini related products. My new SEMA shelf thanks you for the collectible item.
We all struggle, whether it be in our professional, or personal lives, family. friends, our job, our cars, there is always something that may be weighing on our minds. It can be something as simple as what we want to make for dinner that night to something as complex as if we should walk away or not. Often times when I come back from a large event or trip, I question myself. Did I use my time wisely? Did I do enough? Could I have done more? Did I miss an opportunity because I wanted to do something else instead? These are a few things I ask myself when thinking about the dream I am trying to pursue.
The week I had was great, and I couldn’t be anymore grateful for the opportunities that did present themselves, and will continue to do so. But a lot of other obstacles came to light. I had a discussion with someone very important to me a while ago about the decisions that we have to make. The hardest decisions we make, are the ones we already know the answers to. And yet, we hesitate. We hesitate for many different reasons. But prolonging the inevitable will just make it hard on us in the long run.
I read a quote not long ago, “It’s You Vs You,” by Alysha Wagorn. Our lives are not all butterflies and rainbows. It is also darkness and hurricanes, and one cannot exist without the other. The quote goes like this,
“Learn to go with the flow. Take each day as it comes. Slow down and listen. Accept your thoughts. Let them come and go. Take back your power. Pursue your passions. Chase your dreams. Shape your future. Forge your own path. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong choices – be only afraid of never having the courage to try something new. Step out of your comfort zone and back into yourself – into who you’re becoming. Express loudly. Bloom wildly. Live boldly. Get out of your own damn way. It’s you vs you. It’s always been you vs. you.”
We all struggle. We all get in our damn way and caught up in our own thoughts. The important thing is not how fast you reach your goal, or how well you do it, but rather the amount of times we get pushed off our paths and find our way back. I know that I will always have doubts about my journey. I may try and blame my shortcomings on others, but I only have myself to blame for allowing distractions. Others have tried to blame me for their own shortcomings, but like myself, they have no one to blame but themselves.
What I do know is, I’ve made it this far. I have pushed, overcome, pursued, built, and continue to work on the life that I am living and want to live. I have done everything in my power to ensure that I have what I need, and can obtain what I want. The journey is not easy, but nothing worth it ever is. My journey is not over. I will continue to have days where I feel like I am not good enough, and I will also have days where I feel on top the world. The light cannot exist without the dark.
On the very first day on the floor, I met Tony Ortiz, the owner of a 1973 De Tomaso Pantera. It is just one example of some of the beautiful builds that were in attendance at SEMA 2022. The car has been highly modified. The front and rear end was made to simulate a 2005 or 2006 Ford GT (one of my favorite cars). The parts were made out of metal so that they could be welded to the car. It has full air ride suspension, a 454 cubic inch clevor engine, which is a 351 Bosch windsor block with cleveland head. It has a CF transaxle, 180 degree headers, and the seats are practically on the ground. They also relocated the water pump so that they could put a clear plastic lense on the engine bay and the cabin to the car. The rear tires are 345s on 18×13 wheels and the front is 275s on 17×11 wheels. It took a period of three years for them to complete the main resto mod on this car. But the project, like all of them, is still being worked on. Little things here and there are always being improved upon or modified.
Tony wanted it black with a wide body. So they fabricated the wide body as well. His love lies in the european styling with an american V8. The rumble of the V8 is just irresistible, and draws a lot of attention. Even being a 1973, the sound and look of these cars will always turn heads. We talked about how just hearing the sound of a V8 makes you turn to look to see where its coming from. The other thing about these engines is that not only do you hear it, but you feel it. The deep growl that resonates through your chest is another reason why we love our classic engines. Tony said there is no radio in the car, as you wouldn’t be able to hear it anyways. You spend all of your time listening to the engine.
Tony’s plate, “BLKPNTR,” stands for Black Pantera. He’s from Arizona, so he hunted for a black and blue plate so that it would keep with the black and blue theme as to not draw attention away from the car itself. The rear lights are also painted black. There is a heat shield on the trunk where the engine is, engraved with the logo for De Tomaso. For those unfamiliar, De Tomaso is the manufacturer of the Panteras and has a very unique and notable design.
The painter of Tony’s car was in the Marines, and the stickers on the inside of his trunk symbolize his group number. Tony wanted to make sure that his friend, along with other fellow Marines, were honored. Tony said that it keeps us grounded and humble. Without the men and women who serve our country, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the cars we love so dearly. Other small touches on this 73 is the shifter, which is also made to look like the De Tomaso logo. The logo is also incorporated on the dash and on the seat belt harnesses. JMD, the booth that Tony’s Pantera was in at SEMA 2022, supplied part of the exhaust system that was used in the build.
We had a great time talking with Tony, and learning about his one of a kind build. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak with you and take some awesome photographs of your car!
I am back from my week in Las Vegas, Nevada for SEMA 2022. All I can say is, wow. Being across the country for the first time, and for such a big event, was an incredible experience. I met so many great people and made new friends.
The week started with the flight from Logan Airport to Harry Reid International Airport. We landed in Las Vegas Nevada at about 7:30PST. We met up with some friends, Dave and Lorenz, at Polo Towers. We dropped our bags, wasted no time and hit the strip. We walked down to Encore for a little bit and hung around. Jet lag soon set it, so we headed back to Polo Towers, our home away from home for the week to get some rest.
The next morning, we got up and headed over to the Las Vegas Convention center to grab our badges.
It was this moment when it finally started to set in for me. I was here, in Las Vegas, at SEMA, one of the most sought after car events in the world. A good friend of mine pushed me to apply for credentials, and I am so glad that I listened to them. With two days left til show time, there was a lot of hustling around the convention center grounds to get it prepared for the event. A few cars were set up and ready to show off.
The bare inside of the convention center left much to the imagination, so we headed back down the strip. We walked over to the Bellagio and took a look in the flower room. It was quite beautiful.
We then made our way over to The Cosmopolitan where we had some much needed breakfast at District Donuts. Sliders. Brews. Once we were back at Polo Towers, we dropped our gear and then headed back out for the day to walk the strip. The first stop I had on my agenda was the Hello Kitty Cafe. It was just as adorable as I thought it would be. I had to hand it to my bunk mates for the week, Dave, Lorenz and Josh, who all put up with my silliness on day one.
From there, we made our way back through to The Cosmopolitan for Secret Pizza. This place is unmarked, except for a hallway of albums lining the walls, and the lingering smell of cheese wafting through the corridor. It made for some great lunch. If you are a foodie, like pizza, and small incognito spots, this should be on your list. We then made our way over to Planet Hollywood and walked around in there for a little bit. All in all, there was a lot of walking to be had that day so we headed back to Polo Towers to rest.
I was still itching to go out, so Dave and Lorenz accompanied me over to the Bellagio where we watched the fountain show, found some cool street art, listened to some performers and I got to take some night shots of the city.
What I anticipated to just be an hour hanging around, turned into several. The lights and sounds of the city were intoxicating for me. Everywhere you look, there is something new, different, exciting. I have not been anyplace like this before, and I wonder if I will ever find someplace like it again.
Since I knew I was going to be getting up early the next day, we finally headed back. It was good to spend some time with some new people and get to know them. I knew it was going to be a great week.
5AM came quickly, and a little easier than anticipated. With the time difference, it was 8AM back home. We headed back over to the convention center where exhibitors were still busy getting set up. There was only one day until show time. Several more cars and booths were set up. It was cool to see the convention hall pre show, and pre people. It was quiet except for the beeping of forklifts and ripping open of boxes for setup.
After some wandering around the convention center, I headed back to the hotel for the day. It was a long morning, and I wanted to relax from the 15 mile walk the night before. I spent some time in the room with Dave and Lorenz editing photos and talking. Later at night, we went out to Old Vegas. It was Halloween afterall, so might as well have a little bit of fun. Old Vegas had a completely different feel. The canopy covering Freemont St made you feel like you were inside, but still able to enjoy the outside air. There was a mini truck show going on as well, so we went to check it out.
We ate out at Nacho Daddy. They had great Quesadillas and Nachos. A delicious end to the night. Tomorrow marked the first day of SEMA, and I was ready.
5AM came quickly again, and off to the convention center we went. We tackled South Hall since there weren’t too many cars set up in there. But there were some awesome paint jobs.
At 7:30, we made our way over to Westgate for the Kick Off Breakfast and New Product awards presentation. Breakfast and coffee was served, and we were able to network with some great people. The highlight of the breakfast was watching Ken Block’s Hoonitron take on the streets of Vegas. For those unfamiliar, Hoonitron is the first all-electric Gymkhana car. Audi dedicated their entire design team into creating this car. If you haven’t seen the video of Ken Block enjoying the Las Vegas playground, here is a link.
Having not seen the video beforehand, but familiar with what it was, it was quite a treat to see it for the first time to kick off SEMA 2022. When Breakfast concluded, we made our way over to North Hall which was a showcase of artists, stereo systems and the Battle of the Builders stage. Some of the stereo builds in this hall were absolutely incredible. When I tell you I have not seen any systems like these before, it is the absolute truth.
As 930am rolled around, we made our way over to the Hoonigan Burn Box. We walked around and saw some of the crazy drifters that would be out in the box in just a couple hours. It was the calm before the week long storm of burnt rubber and smoke.
I didn’t know what to expect that morning. I had never been to a drift event before. I had the privilege of being directly behind just the concrete that separate drifting cars from myself. When they sent that first car out a little after 11AM, I was hooked. The adrenaline rush that took over me as I watched these cars drift around was intoxicating. The smell of burnt rubber, and smoke filled the air. The sounds of the engines revving at their redline and tires screeching is something I will be hearing in my sleep for a while. Photos don’t do an event like this much justice, but here are a few of my favorites from the morning.
The crowd cheers, the cars burn it up faster. The energy in the air is electric. I could’ve, and wanted to, spend my whole day there in the Burn Box. So I did. we made our way back to the hotel for a few hours to do a photos dump, and then made our way back for the 3PM show where they did it all again.
At the end of the day, we were covered in rubber bits from all the tires. The burnt tire smell lingered in our clothing and hair as we made our way to the Tesla Tunnel to take us to the West Hall and Lot. The Tesla Tunnel is an underground system that allows you to take a Tesla from the Central Hall lot over to the West Hall. It saves time, and saves your feet a little bit of walking. Once we were there, I got to see one of the coolest Classic Mini builds I had ever seen.
Seeing this little Ghostbusters MINI was the best way to end the day, and was the only classic mini on the entire show floor. Represent! We made our way back over to Polo Towers for some much needed rest. SEMA day two would be where I tackle the halls and see who I can meet.
Central Hall was on deck for the day. It was great to have the opportunity to walk around the show floor with no one around, because I probably looked like a lost puppy wandering around wide eyed for several hours. So here are some my favorites from Central Hall.
With so many fantastic companies and builds on the show floor, it is hard to pick just one car out of them all. But one stood out to me.
The attention to detail, airbrush, and lace metalwork was stunning, and unlike any custom car I had ever seen. I did not get a chance to talk to the builder of this beautiful piece, but I am sure they know that they did a wonderful job. Bravo Hoppos!
With there being over 1 million square feet of ground at the Las Vegas Convention Center, it is hard to know if I was able to see it all. But I certainly got to cover a lot of it. Here is some more of what was hanging around outside.
With the end of day three, it was back to Polo Towers for a couple hours before hitting the strip for another night of adventures and exploring. We headed out a little late, and local Police were closing off part of the strip. After just seeing the video of Ken Block in the Honitron earlier that week, that was my first thought of what could be going on. In the distance, we heard it, the roar of a Formula 1 engine. Definitely not Hoonitron. We walked down the strip a little bit to the fount in front of the Bellagio, and there we saw where the magic was happening.
The Oracle Redbull racing team was here, filming a promo, likely for the F1 Race coming to the Las Vegas strip next year. It was one of the most incredible things to witness, I still have chills thinking about it. What are the odds that we were in the right place at the right time to witness this incredible moment. The rest of the night was quiet and the roaring of the engine was now a distant memory. It’s unexpected moments like this that make traveling into the unknown so exciting. You just never know what will happen and what you will stumble upon.
Thursday at SEMA was an open day to roam around. I had captured a lot of what I wanted to and spoke to a ton of a great people. Stay tuned for their individual posts later this month. I tackled South Hall, Toyo Pass and then a quick run through back Central Hall to get some more specific details of stuff I might have missed. I chatted with Greenlight Collectibles who were giving out Limited Edition 2021 Mach 1 Mustang models with a special livery for the SEMA Show. After chatting with them some, I spotted a Classic Mini model on their shelf. Having just told them about my own Classic Mini, they let me get the one on display. Thanks Greenlight Collectibles! This is a great addition to my Classic Mini collections. More to come on this great new company.
I then made my way over to the Traxxas booth, an RC car booth. They had a great interactive setup where peoeple could test out their RC Broncos.
The display of vehicles out in the Toyo Pss were unmatched by most others on display. Here are a few from the spread.
Toyo Pass also spent the week handing out limited edition pins. I was lucky enough to get my hands on most of them. Another blog post will be up on those that you can read about.
Later in the day, I got to try my hand at some Airbrush with iwata. It was very fun! Yet another hobby I’d love to take up!
Thursday night we went out for some fun at Hakkasan Nightclub in MGM, Dave, Lorenz, Tony and I spent the night out on the strop and had a great time. Friday brought on a full day of rest before SEMA Ignited that night. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love watching cars roll into a show, and I love taking photos of them even more. For the grand finale of the week, here are some of the best cars rolling in.
My first experience on the West Coast was incredible. I couldn’t have dreamed of what I would see, who I would meet and the adventure I would have. It was truly humbling to be around so many incredible minds and talented builders. As I boarded the plane and took off to head back home, I already started planning my next trip out to Las Vegas. The intoxicating energy, the lights, the food, the people and most of all, the unexpected is what make the city so interesting. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to go to SEMA and all the people I met this week. More stories to come, stay tuned!
We all know that Google tracks our every search and suggests products or events that its algorithm thinks we may be interested in. Often times, my suggestions are spot on. As I was scrolling one night, the Weymouth Lantern Festival, happening on my birthday, came up. I looked into the event and it looked interesting. I had seen similar events where they launch them into the sky, but this event launched them into the harbor in Weymouth, MA. I decided to buy a ticket and attend.
Since I was working that day at Palmer for their Laps with Larz event, once that event ended, I hopped in my car to drive back across the state for the Lantern Festival. When you arrive, there isn’t much parking close by, unless you got there early. There is a lot only about a 15 minute walk away. The streets of Wessagusset Beach are quiet and quaint. Beach themed mailboxes lines the streets as you walk to the water. Food trucks and vendors lined the streets hoping to draw in the festival goers.
If you bought a ticket to participate, you check in at registration and then they give you the lantern to decorate. Here was mine.
It was fun to decorate. For a little bit I walked around the beach. People then started releasing their lanterns into the water. I ventured down to the shore to watch.
It was fun to watch them float around and see everyones creation illuminating on the water. I decided it was time to release mine and set my intentions for my upcoming year.
I released the year that had come and gone before me with all the challenges and victories that came and went with it. It was an emotional experience as I recalled all that had happened, and the plans that I set into motion. Some times were difficult, but things also happened that I never thought would have. It just goes to show that we never know where we will end up, the opportunities that will present themselves and the people that we will meet along the way. The sun went down, and everyones lanterns made the bay glow.
As I turned to venture home for the night, I am grateful for all that the 27th year gave me, and can’t wait to see where the 28th will bring me.
When us car enthusiasts think of the term “lemons,” it is not often in a positive light. It’s often viewed as a negative term that refers to a car that gives us nothing but issues and problems one after another. However, to some of us it is a term of endearment.
I recently got together with my friend Jason Hopkins who has been a member of the Lemons Racing community for quite some time. I photographed his 2020 Subaru Impreza with a 5 speed manual transmission. He describes his car adventures as somewhat common, but also uncommon. From a young age he was always into Hot Wheels and car magazines. He had posters of everything and anything car related on his walls. From the classic Lamborghini Countach to the humble Dodge Stratus. Jason has been in the car show scene as well as the Lemons Racing community.
Jason’s main love for vehicles lies in the history of them and all the little quirks that make us love them. You can find the connections in the automotive racing community. Jason has taken part in a few Lemons Rallies, which are cross country scavenger hunts. He has also done a few autocross events. But Jason’s “claim to fame,” is his facebook group the Citrus Racer Lounge. The group brings members of the Lemons Racing community together from all over the United Stated and all of the world. It is one of the largest groups for lemons racing in the world. Jason was even invited to Facebook Headquarters in 2019 as one several hundred admins to attend the Leadership summit. He also does some social media PR for a racing group in New Zealand and several other of his friends.
Jason’s automotive journey has been unique and has allowed for him to make a lot of friends. Like a lot of us, he does as much as he can with the resources he has, and continues to make new friends and help out the ones he can in the automotive community. We’ll circle back with Jason as he continues his journey through the uniqueness of the Lemons Community.
Palmer Motorsports Park, located in Palmer, MA, was the brain child of the NER SCCA (Sports Car Club of America New England Region). Soon they created the NER Investments LLC to create, own and operate Palmer Motorsports Park. After many professional and public hearings, they issued a special permit to build in December of 2007. The LLC then signed with a local developer to build the new circuit layout, hotel and restaurant, private garage and visitor center.
The track, Whiskey Hill Raceway, was completed and operating in May of 2015. The track is 2.3 miles long, 40 feet wide, has 190 feet of vertical elevation, 14 turns and most of all, unbelievable scenic views of the mountains that span past Massachusetts and into, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.
On October 8th, 2022, Larz Anderson and Palmer hosted their annual Laps with Larz event. It is their annual event that allows for inexperienced or new drivers that want to go a little faster the ability to do so without the requirements of a full on track day.
The morning was cold, but that didn’t stop anyone from attending this event. Some had come in previous years and some were attending for the first time. Being the photographer for the event, I had the opportunity to drive around the track in the morning before anyone else so that I could pick my spot. When the driver’s were ready to hit that track, they took me up to corner 10. Corner 10 is perfectly situated up on a hill, so that I had a view of corner 8 as well. Below is a view of the track and what corners are where, curtesy of palmer Motorsports Park’s website.
As the cars came down the track, you could hear the engines revving around corner 6 into one of the first series of turns. One after another, they were lead by a more experienced driver. Each group went around the track three times before returning to grid. The first lap was slow, just to get them used to the track, the second was where they were able to pick up some speed, and the third was full on (as much as it could be).
In the middle of the day, the attendees broke from their runs on the track. Some of them got the opportunity to partake in hot laps with Ron Savenor. These lap required those participating to wear a helmet as he was going to give them the full track experience. Even not being in the passenger seat for this part, I had participated in ride alongs at several track and autocross events before, and I recall the feeling quite well. It is a different experience from when you are driving the track or course on your own. It is a bit more exciting, or maybe frightening. In my opinion it is only frightening because you are not the one that is in control.
At the end of the day, and after almost filling up one of my SD cards, I had the chance to take my turn on the tack. I had my 2001 Miata that day, one of my more fun cars to dive, and one of my manuals. While you can still have fun on a track with an automatic car, I prefer to take the turns in a manual. You have more control over the speed of your vehicle without having to use your break as much.
I would’ve liked to have taken my laps a bit faster, but it was still great to experience the track first hand for the first time. As I was walking back to my car to head to my next adventure for the day, I heard someone say it best, “it was great to meet you today, It is always a good time to get together and meet new people with a common interest.” It is small moments like that one that make the experience that much more enjoyable. Having the chance to meet more like minded people is always a bonus to any car event. I will definitely be back for more events at Palmer Motorsports Park.