Girls Trip 2019

What’s happening everyone!

I just returned home from our Florida vacation and what a blast it was. Myself and three of my girl friends took a trip to Disney to celebrate our birthdays (and one half birthday ūüėĀ). The idea was planted way back in the spring and it’s hard to believe that it has come and gone already. So let’s relive the adventure.

Thursday October 24th 4:00AM

I thankfully got a good night’s sleep the night before, so my 4AM wake up call wasn’t as brutal as it could have been. Bags were packed and I was out the door. My mom drove myself and my friend to the airport for our departure. Bye Mom, thank you, you’re the best. We checked our big suitcases and stood in line for dreaded security. It was not bad though. We were on our way as the sun was rising.

The flight took a little more than three hours and I was happy when we finally touched down. The air was warm and humid compared to the crisp air of fall here in New England. Our luggage was thankfully taken care of , so we could head straight to the resort.We hopped on Disney’s Magical Express, and soon we were there. The bus driver’s name was “Mickey,” which I thought was fitting.

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We arrived on property t around 11AM, our room wasn’t ready yet, so we took off to Hollywood Studios first to visit Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars themed area. Before that, we had a Fastpass+ to Toy Story Mania, super fun shooting game. The objective is to hit as many targets as you can and earn the highest score. The inside where you wait in line was awesome, everything was made to look bigger so that you would feel like a toy.

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To infinity and beyond! Off to Galaxies Edge.

While I have never seen Star Wars (I know, I can hear you all gasping), the park was beautiful. I didn’t know what I was looking at, but I can appreciate the recreation of it.

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If you’re planning a trip to Disney anytime soon and love Star Wars, this is must for you. We did several activities here. First up was Oga’s Cantina where a mix of intergalactic drinks and some small eats are available.

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Here is the Cliff Dweller, a tasty beverage served in a Perf cup. A reservation is highly recommend and you can only reserve a 40 minute window to leave room for other travelers who did not make one. From there we went on the Millennium Falcon ride. Everyone is assigned a position, we got the engineers. Our function was to repair the ship from damage from enemies. This consisted of pushing flashing buttons and switches. An interactive 4D ride.

We then headed to Droid Depot to build our droids. Again, it is highly recommended you reserve a time slot. We were somehow able to get in early for ours though. Very grateful to the cast members who let us do that!

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You grab you pieces off a conveyer belt, either your BB type or R2 type. I selected BB-8, original colors. There are other colors like black and blue and purple to choose from as well. The assembly is relatively simple, then they activate your droid companion and send you on your way. A fun little experience.

Star Tours was up next, which is another 4D ride with C3PO. A “fugitive” is discovered aboard our ship and we have to escape to safety. The ride shifts and shakes to make you feel like you are actually flying through space. And for someone who doesn’t care for real rollercoasters, these rides are great. I was then able to witness my friend assemble a lightsaber. Without knowing any of the lore of the franchise, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Again, reserve a time slot. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan. By this time our other friends should be arriving, so we head back to the hotel to relax for a bit, then it was off to Disney Springs!

We ate at one of our favorite spots from the previous trip, The Polite Pig. A delicious array of smoked meat. I had the cheddar filled sausage and brisket. The best part was leftovers for the next day.

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Time to head back to the resort. Four more fun-filled days were ahead of us.

Friday October 25th, 7:00AM

My internal clock prevents me from sleeping in. But that’s okay. I was super excited for day two. We were hitting up Animal Kingdom.

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The Tree of Life was blocked off a bit by some construction that was going on, but it is still pretty wild looking. There are various animals carved in to it. What can you spot?

We ventured to Pandora the world of Avatar. It was awesome! The structures were amazing. A truly wonderful recreation.

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I stopped for a drink, the Night Blossom.

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It was a fruity drink with a light up flower floating on top and fruity mango boba.

We were then off to Navi’s River Journey. You’re taken into the water and journey down the river. There are an array of characters from the world of Avatar. Below is a short clip from outside in the park.

We then were lucky enough to score a Fastpass+ for Flight of Passage. That was one of the best rides. You’re paired with an avatar who is taking their Rite of Passage and bonding with a Banshee. You mount a “Banshee” with your 3D glasses and are flown around the beautiful world of Pandora. One of the small details I enjoyed was the mimic of the Banshee breathing as your were flying.

It was time to depart… for some lunch! Because we were all celebrating our Birthday’s we were wearing Birthday pins. I was lucky enough to score a free little cake!

From there, two of us went off to Mt Everest, and then myself and one off the girls went off to Up! A Great Bird Adventure. This was pretty cool. There were a bunch of exotic birds that were brought out. Here were two of my favorites. An owl and a Bald Eagle. Doug and Russel from Up! made an appearance as well, and will certainly make one later…

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Next on our list was the Safari. It is still one of the best experiences in Animal Kingdom. There are tons of animals that are hanging around in the vast fields.

Back behind the dinoland for kids, there is one of the BEST rides in Animal Kingdom. It may seem silly to some, but was one of our favorites that we rode twice. The ride is dinosaur themed and you are put on a time machine and sent back in time. Our objective is to bring back one of the dinos. It’s not quite a rollercoaster but is definitely fun. A T-Rex is ‘chasing’ you throughout the ride, and they snap your photo as it almost snaps up the cart that you’re riding in. If a T-Rex chasing you isn’t enough, the meteor shower that wiped out the dinos is about to hit as well. But, well all make it back to our own time period before it strikes.

In between all of this chaos, I met one of my favorite characters. Kevin from UP!

I’m not sure how the actor was able to see where I was taking a selfie, but this is damn near perfection.

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Okay, after my little freakout session, we head over to It’s Tough to be a Bug starring favorites from a timeless classic, A Bug’s Life. This is a 3D show, where you are taught how all of the strange little insects help out our environment. Hopper makes an appearance as well to try and scare us off. In the end, he gets scared off by a chameleon. The seats poke at you as the bugs are “leaving the theatre.” We then ended the day with meeting Doug and Russel from UP!

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It was back to the hotel room for some rest now. We had reservations for Morimoto in Disney Springs that night.

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A gorgeous restaurant with a delicious array of food to choose from. I got wings and shrimp tempura. Sooo good! A highly recommended spot, and not too pricey if you don’t want it to be. We also visited Sprinkles’ Cupcake ATM, open 24/7 for your sweet tooth.

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Saturday October 26th 8:00AM

Wakey wakey! On today’s adventure, Magic Kingdom.

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This is the biggest all the parks and definitely the most exhausting. It is a good idea to plan your day accordingly. Or if you like to live on the edge, wing it. That’s what we did on our first trip.

In the morning we had a reservation at Be Our Guest which took place at the Beast’s castle.

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Very pretty on the inside. And also very pricey! You order your own food from a kiosk and then the servers bring it out to the table of your choosing. An experience for sure, but likely not one I would do again. If this is one of your favorite movies though, definitely go for it.

After dining in the West Wing, we had a Fastpass+ for Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain back to back. Oh joy… Thunder Mountain isn’t that bad, kind of fun actually. But the big drop on Splash Mountain is just terrifying.. to me anyways. Comical to others. But hey, I faced my fears and put my hands up. #proudfriendmoment

After that we went on a hunt for the Arandelle Aqua ears. Spoiler alert, they eluded us the whole trip, but that’s okay. I got a picture with a bunch of balloons, so it’s all good to me.

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We were lucky enough to score a Fastpass+ for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. This one is relatively new still, and had a ridiculous wait time. Totally worth it though. SO much fun. It’s a relatively faster rollercoaster, but the bits in the mines with the seven dwarfs were really fun and adorable. Here is the Seven Dwarf’s house from the line!

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Next up was another favorite (YEAH RIGHT) of mine, Space Mountain. We had a good hour wait for this one since there were no more Fastpasses available. So we passed the time with the Heads Up app. A super fun game that definitely passes the time. I recommend it if you find yourself waiting in long lines with funny friends. The ride was a lot faster than I remember it being last year, and there was a lot of yelling and laughter going on. There was laughing and even some crying.

In that same area we did the Carousel of Progress. This one is really cool. You sit in a rotating theater and go through the decades. Our progress is shown and our roots and where we came from is appreciated. Since the ride is continuous, the ride never has a long line, and its a nice way to cool off for a little bit. Our next stop was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Another shooting game where you have to hit the targets and earn as many points as possible to defeat Zurg. For whatever reason, theses games are ones I excel at. Soo, I guess you’ll want me around when the Zombie Apocalypse happens ;).

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Giant view master from the ride, and Buzz Lightyear!

Nigh started to settle in, but there was one more ride we had to do before the fireworks show on the castle started. Here is the village square from Tangled below, one my all time favorites.

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We hit up the Haunted Mansion Ride before the show. This is slow ride. Sit back, relax and enjoy all the ghosts… wait what? Yea, you read that right. It’s a little spooky. And we got stuck on the ride, AGAIN, in the exact same spot as we did last year! Talk about creepy.

After our encounter with the spirits, we found a spot to park our butts for the Show on the Castle. We waited a little bit before it started, but it was completely worth the wait. For whatever reason, I was really emotional. I was here, I was alive. I was finding myself more and more everyday. I was in a position to make this happen for myself. Magical did not even begin to describe the display of lights and fireworks that they put on. A truly great ending to the day.

Sunday October 27th, 8:30AM

It became increasingly more difficult to wake up each day. We stayed out later and later. But hey, it was a Girls Trip! Today’s schedule included Epcot! My personal favorite park, and not only because the Food and Wine festival was going on, but because of Test Track. Yet Track is my absolute favorite ride ever! But we had a stop to make before we hit up that.

First on our Fastpass+ list was Frozen Ever After. I missed this one last time I was here and only remembered when I was back home. It was well worth the wait. You are taken in yet another boat to see Olaf, Sven, Anna, Kristoff and finally Elsa. As you work your way around, you see her magic castle come to life. It was truly magical.

We circled back around towards the front of the park to go to Test Track! Why is the ride so expertly fantastic you might ask? Well, first you get to build your own car. There are four categories in which you are tested. Responsiveness, Efficiency, Capability and finally Power. On our first visit to the park, we didn’t really know what we were doing. But what we realized this time around was that the overall speed of the ride was based on how powerful you could get your car..

So off we went. It takes you through various courses for the response, efficiency and capability portions, and then finally, you test your power… I think we reached a speed of about 67 MPH outside, or at least that’s what the overheard monitor said as we rode past it. Here’s a fun little collection of Test Track.

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(It may not be pretty, but it was fast.)

From there we were going to head back to the food… but I got distracted because we were going to have a chance to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out and Baymax from Big Hero Six. The Experience was just as great as it sounds…

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As I captioned this photo on social media, I’ll caption it here. “Find someone who looks at you the way I look at Baymax.”

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The whole gang!

The rest of day consisted of visiting the countries and eating food. Like this giant donut!

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“No donuts were eaten in the making of this photo”

When we circled back around to Norway, we got to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

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Our last ride of the day was the Gran Fiesta Tour. You are taken on a leisurely boat ride through Mexico. It was a nice ending to Epcot.

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It was our last day and our last park. It was time to say goodbye. A bittersweet feeling.

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After we had our fill of food we head back to the hotel to relax on our last day. We took our final shuttle ride over to Disney Springs for dinner. One more final walk around. One more time to soak in the sites, until next time.

Being able to go on these adventures makes me incredibly grateful to be here. I have great friends I can take them with, and great friends and family to return home to.

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Until the next adventure… Motor on.

 

The 24th Year

Afternoon everyone!

This post will be brief, but full of love.

Two days ago, (October 8th) was my birthday! Hooray!

This year, I could not be any more grateful for the family and friends that are in my life. I had been down for most of this past year, but with some changes and a different outlook, I feel like I have reached my best self that I can so far. I celebrated my birthday this year like I have every year, with the people who mean the most to me.

The day started with a delicious breakfast made by my boyfriend, steak and eggs. Followed by a half day at work, because my work ethic is strong. The rest of the day was filled with heartfelt wishes from friends and time spent with my family. We ventured to the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA. I had been going to this fair since I was in a baby carriage. Here are some photos!

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A carousel full of lights and wonder

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Bacon on a stick!

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And the big pumpkin! Weighing 2,294lbs!

The smells and sites are all very familiar. Everything is always in he same place, and although only seen once a year, is like a second home. Traditions like this are built from a place of love and celebration. A celebration of the day someone important to us was brought in to this world. For my family, this celebration was about me. I won’t go in to details, but I brought them a lot of joy.

I’ve been a bit materialistic, but that has gone away over time. I now know the value of time well spent with people that matter, than an object that will be forgotten about in years to come. Memories are much more important. No matter what happens, I know my family will be by my side, and I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

As I travel in to this next chapter of my life I look forward to the adventures and memories I will make a long the way.

Until next time.

Motor on.

Horsepower Farm

Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog. Today we are going to do something a little different. I’d like to start interviewing people that I know and that I come across along the way and share their stories. I will be sharing what they do, how they got in to cars, where it all started and what exciting things they are working on now and will be in the future.

For my first one, I interviewed my friend Rick Serino. Rick has been a car enthusiast since he was a child. For him, it started with Matchbox Cars. He had “all” of them, and they were all categorized. I asked if he had any pictures, but cameras were a luxury when he was a kid.

We moved on to his first car, which was a 1976 Mercury Capri. For those who are unfamiliar, like I was, it was basically Mercury’s version of Ford’s Mustang. This was when Rick first started messing with Stereo Systems. His dad was an electronics teacher, so he got him into electronics at a very young age. He had access to tons of electronics that were broken when he was growing up, which allowed him to mess around a lot. He would take things apart and put them back together. “Like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.” He would mess around with everything from speakers to lights. Hang them on his wall and wire them all together. Every ‘toy’ he had was taken apart and made his own. He attributes his talents and knowledge of how things work to his father. Without him, he wouldn’t know how to make the art he does today.

We chatted about Cruising Downtown 2019. For those unfamiliar with that event, just over a thousand car owners and a couple thousand car enthusiasts gather on Elm St. in Downtown Manchester, NH for one of the biggest car shows in the state. Rick set up shop with his welded art and collection of cars for the show.

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Mostly everything sold, except for just a few larger items. He went on to explain that the dismantling of electronics transferred to the dismantling of the electronics in cars. He always had an appreciation for the mechanics of them, but never quite knew what to do until his late twenties. At that point, he had the money to start buying stuff and messing around with them. After his first Mercury Capri, he owned a Subaru, and from there he got a Capri 5.0. This was his first muscle car, which he changed the exhaust, corroborator, wheels tires, and put his own big stereo in it. “Shit you can afford when you’re in your twenties. Rick then joined the military, sold the Capri 5.0 and bought a 1977 Camaro when he was out in Indiana. He pulled the motor, transmission, added nitrous, a new exhaust, wheels and tires, took out the back seats and put in a stereo. It had about 26 speakers from what he remembers.

One of the cars that Rick had bought was a Red and Black Chrysler 300

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The stereo was built by Traffic Jams, had Air ride and everything else. The car was unfortunately totaled when someone pulled out in front him while driving. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could have been done. One of his cars that I best remember him for is an old Ford Truck. He originally picked it up in 2001 and it was black with yellow and orange flames. It is now white with black and tan flames and looks bad. He built the transmission, drive train and rearend of that car, gutted the interior. Recently he blew the motor and put a whole new transmission and motor in, among a long list of other things. “Built from the ground up.”

He most recent project is his 1930 Ford

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Rick has about 6 spaces at his house for cars and then a few more at a shop up the road where someone helps him with his projects. I moved on to his MINI, as he did own one. Which was the reason that I had originally met him. I asked what made him get a MINI. His response was that he always wanted one, “car guy stuff.” He went on to say that every car guy wants one, and he doesn’t care who they are or what they say. In Rick’s opinion, the little compact British car is just missing 150HP, which is easily attained. From there, the little machines are unstoppable. His MINI had nothing too crazy done to it, exhaust, cold air intake, wheels, tires and of course, an updated stereo.

I asked Rick what was the most fun car he owned, and his response was the MINI Cooper. He raced it, met a bunch of people and went all kinds of places. The MINI community really is a force to be reckoned with. However, he followed with it’s not the most powerful or the most exhilarating, but definitely the most fun he’s had. The most powerful car he’s owned is his truck.

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I then asked what was the worst car he owned, and his response was his Subaru. They are fun, but the particular one he owned was nothing special.

He’s done a lot of car projects over the years, and the one that he has( and is) enjoying the most is his 1930 Ford. He just bought the body of that car and has been building it from the ground up. A “tin can.” He took the engine, transmission, tires and rims, brake system, and electronics from the Chrysler 300 (shown above) that he crashed and dropped the shell of the Ford right over it all. The challenges with this project now is just finding the time to work on it and the man power to help.

Rick has a full time job, along with the building of other people’s car that he does, and all the welding work that he does on the side.Welding art has always been something that he’s done, but he never really sold it. After his accident, he messed around with it and was posting stuff on Facebook. People were always asking how much his pieces were and they eventually grew in to people asking for custom orders. Before the Christmas of 2018, he had about 20 orders stacked up. It’s worked out though, and he has continued to create things. Here”s a few things that he has created.

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I asked him where he gets all the stuff for his creations and he said he’s been collecting stuff for 20 years. People drop off things here and there, but mostly it’s been collecting. Rick keeps himself busy, although sometimes he wants a break. Money is money, and you can’t say no to thousands of dollars. Plus, its still a lot of fun.

In the future, Rick would like to host an event at his place, which really would be attainable. He wants to be able to never leave his house and make money, which in a way, he’s already half way there. He’s living the dream.

So follow him on Instagram, @horsepower_n_goats and on Facebook, Horsepower Farm. And he also loves Tool, which was playing in the background of our interview.

Thanks Rick!

Flip Flops and Big Blocks

It’s been a while blog world. I have had a busy summer filled with car shows, events, new friends, new jobs just life in general. Since I was last here, I have continued to conquer autocross and Louisa won a few car shows. But perhaps the biggest adventure of all was a trip to Pontiac, Michigan this past weekend.

Some of you may have heard of Woodward Ave, some may not. I was one of the people who had not. For those who don’t know, Woodward Avenue is the heart of Pontiac Michigan. It is said that this was where the first ticket for street racing. This happened in March of 1895. The road first saw big spoked wheels and wagons. But in the 50s cars changed into something more reliable and became something we used to get from point A to point B. This 13 mile stretch naturally attracted a lot of people. Drive in diners started to pop up all along the road. Unlike today, a lot of these places were family owned. Coupled with the long wide stretch of road and automotive lovers in the surrounding area, it has taken its place in car history.

When spending some time with my boyfriend at the shop where he works he mentioned the event ‘Roadkill Nights’ that was happening the coming weekend (August 9th and 10th) in Pontiac, Michigan. He said he wanted to road trip out there. Famous last words of mine, I said, ‘let’s do it’. The following week consisted of getting his Caprice road ready and a little more safe for us to travel in. We looked at the route, 11 hours, 685 miles, not too bad! Then we realized that was going through Canada which we couldn’t do. So instead it was 13 hours and 764 miles. Meh, still not bad.

Monday August 5th

I was sitting at work dying for it to be the weekend so we could head out. We decided it would be best to leave Thursday night in the early morning so we could get there Friday evening and have a little time to explore.

Thursday August 8th, 12:45AM

My alarm went off after only getting 3 hours of sleep. I was still pumped though and ready to go. We packed up really quick, loaded the car and were ready to go. I was in charge of the route. It was dark, quiet. It was 1AM. No one was around. We headed out towards Keene and hit a long stretch of road in Vermont, Route 9 (more to come on this road later). We stopped at some rest stops along the way, I slept through a lot of the morning driving. We stopped for breakfast in Weedsport, New York at a place called Cook’s Village Diner. Small, a lot of locals.

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It was good! Bacon makes any day better. We continued on in to Pennsylvania Welcome Center, took a quick break and hung out in the grass. You could see out into the distance forever. The day was beautiful.

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We stopped again in Erie, Pennsylvania at a place called Tasty Bowl for lunch. I had broccoli, rice  and chicken and tried sushi for the first time. (Yes, it was indeed, Tasty.)

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Driving definitely takes a lot out of you, or in my case, being a passenger takes a lot out of you. We stopped again in Avon Ohio for some nuggies at Wendy’s and a trip to Goodwill. Thrift shopping is fun, don’t knock it til you try it! By he time we left it was about 3:30PM. We had a little less than 4 hours to go until we would reach the hotel.

At 7:00 PM we finally reached destination number one Courtyard by Marriott. We checked in and it was definitely time for a shower and a nap. The schedule events for Friday were done, but we went cruising around anyways. There were some cool cars still out and about rolling through the streets of Pontiac. We went to a place called Moose Preserve Bar & Grill for some dinner and drinks. It had been a long 20 hours. But we made it. The fun begins tomorrow.

Saturday August 10th 7:00 AM

For someone who was only able to sleep for like 5 hours in the past 30, I was feeling pretty good. It was likely because I was just so excited to get started on the day. We had picked out breakfast the night before so we could just get up and go. We decided on a place called Kerby’s Koney Island. It was ironically right across the street from the place we went to the night before. The inside was cute, it looked it had been there for a while. We sat at the little counter across from the open kitchen. Staff was friendly, and you could tell that they had worked together for a long time. Requests were met with curiosity for their own personal cooking and carried out wonderfully. I’d come back again.

Next it was off to Woodward Ave for the main event. There were several lots off site that we needed to be shuttled to the event from. The shuttles were old schoolhouses, and I emphasize the word old. I’m more of a nervous person than not, I freak out on the T in Boston when it goes over a bump, this was something else. ANYWAYS when we arrived and got off the bus (and even little before that) we could hear the screeching of tires burning rubber. My boyfriend turned to me and asked if those were tires, I laughed and said “hell yea, I think so.”

First up, we needed to check in with MotorTrend, a subscription service to various car videos, builds, drag racing, you name it. Being a subscriber gave you access to the MotorTrend Lounge which was out of the sun, had free snacks and drinks and gave you one free beer (to start at noon). There were also a number of people who would be there throughout the day that you could meet and have sign stuff and chat with. The out of the sun part was the best to me. They also gave you a fastpass to the Dodge Thrill Rides, which was where all the tire screeching was coming from. In one section there were Dodge Chargers and Challengers drifting around course taking people for thrill rides. Our fastpass was for 2:30-3:00, so we had to wait a little bit.

First up was the concourse, the section set aside for people who registered and wanted to show their car. Most of them were Dodges, and rightfully so I suppose, but there was a lot of other cool stuff to see as well.

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Like this Prowler and Viper sitting pretty side by side

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77ish Trans Am

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72 Camaro

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70s Challenger

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Early 70s Corvette

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05 Charger

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67-68 Ford Mustang

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A mixture of things

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CJ 7

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My boyfriend and a sexy cop lady

We attempted to watch some drag racing, but unless you were in the VIP section or managed to score a seat high up in the bleachers you didn’t have much luck seeing anything. We wanted to get a glimpse of the starting line, but that turned out to be pretty difficult. So we checked out some merch, I bought a t-shirt and some stickers (of course). The day was winding down. It was just about 2:30 and time for the thrill rides. When we walked to that area, the line was so long we didn’t see the end. Someone in passing said that the wait was three hours long. Hundreds of people wee standing there. But only a handful were in the fastpass line. Thank goodness. The speaker keeping the crowd entertained had a great voice. He was talking to a kid who was in line, telling him about how they burn through thousands of tires a year, just regular tires too. They are allowed to come, make a mess of wherever they’re at and then go, no clean up required. I would guess there is someone else to do that? But who knows.

It was finally our turn to go. I started to get really nervous. Uncontrollable ¬†laughter ensued. Queue ridiculous high pitched screeching as the Charger we where in took off and whipped around the cones. Here’s a video inside the car, and some photos I took outside.

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This was the ending of a ridiculously fun time. Here is the video of our time at the event.

We had seen all that we could and it was time to start the long journey back home. We took the famous 8 mile road back out. But there was one place I needed to stop before I left…

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Years ago I used to watch a show called Hardcore Pawn. One of those cheesy pawn shop reality shows. I hadn’t thought about the show in years, but when I was wondering what else we could do or see while we were in Detroit, this place popped in to my head. And you can bet your ass we visited.

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Maybe this isn’t cool to some people, but it was wicked cool to see. I had never been someplace that I had watched on TV. Inside was smaller than what TV made it look like, but still cool to see none the less. The owner, Les Gold, was even in the back behind the counter and I got to catch a glimpse. I was trying not to freak out, as this was just an everyday pawn shop for everyone else there. I had my fill and we left. A quick trip to Starbucks and we were back on the road.

Man, that 13 hour car ride did not seem so exciting since now we were leaving instead of going. But I was happy that we would be returning back home to the familiars of New Hampshire. It’s cool to watch how highways and scenes change from one state to the next, until you’re back where you know.

8 hours in to our excursion home, we stopped at Niagra Falls, the New York side. I know, I know, “its better on the canadian side,” but again, we couldn’t go through Canada. It was just about 6:30AM when we got there, so it was quiet, not many people were around It was the perfect opportunity to get some videos and some photos before the crowd rush came in. By the time that we reached the actual scenic view, the crowds were already starting to roll in. I did manage to grab few pictures before that though.

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Breathtaking is the only way I can describe it really. I hadn’t seen anything like it before. The view of the Canadian side was nice, and I will definitely be back again to see the opposite view. Heres a quick video of us walking around, there really arent words to describe it, so I’ll show you instead.

We stopped for some yummy breakfast,

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and we were back on our way home. We still had 7 hours to go.

When we finally hit Vermont, we were feeling good. Roads looked more familiar. The air was fresh. Route 9 awaited us again, and this time, not in the dark. This last video is of Route 9 through Vermont, our last stretch to home.

The experience was amazing. A last minute road trip I would not have wanted to take with anyone else. More adventures await us in the future.

Motor on.

Conquering Autocross and the Kanc

What’s up everyone? It’s been a while since I posted last. It’s been a hectic couple months and I have a feeling that things¬†may finally be turning around. Anyways, this past weekend was long and busy and so much fun. Two events, two days and loads of memories to share.

Saturday May 18th, 5:30AM

There is, of course, only one reason why I would be up so early and that is for something car related. Well, this would be my very FIRST Autocross event! I went along with the BMW Car Club of America, and they put on a fantastic event! Everyone is super helpful and friendly. The days leading up consisted of me getting things together that I thought I would need. Snacks, water, chair, helmet, and a variety of other stuff. EVERYTHING, needs to be taken our of your car that is loose, that includes the floor mats (which I did forget, but was reminded thanks to my friend Kathy!). So, the best way that everyone does this is to get a bin, a tote bin. I took to Amazon and found one that I¬†thought¬†was going to fit in the trunk… but it did not. So in to the front seat it went.¬†60611949_2320341514654384_7733489762098479104_n.jpg

I was excited for the day I was about to have. I had gone to one last year to be an observer and a passenger, and that was awesome too. My friend had told me that its much more stressful to be a passenger than a driver, and she was correct!

This past sessions started with tech inspect and helmet inspection. Your car is checked to make sure that everything is up to par, and helmets are checked to make sure they are within regulations. After that there is a drivers meeting and the Novices get a special walkthrough the course. Seeing it ahead of time and keeping in mind a few tips, I felt ready. I was in Run Group 2, which meant I worked the course first and then ran second. We then broke for lunch and did it all again in the afternoon! I was out on corner 5, and I will admit, that was not my favorite thing. Nothing hard, cone falls down, go and pick it up. Now… I’m not a very active person, so if three cones fall down in a row, its not a fun time. But whatever, its all part of the day. I will focus on the fun stuff.

When I was lined up for my run, it all kind of hit me at once. I was here, I was doing this. CRAP, I WAS DOING THIS. I considered backing out, I really did. I was unsure if I could actually do it. All novices are required to go with an instructor, which is super helpful. My first run was focused on the course, getting around and making sure that I stayed on it. I lucked out, the times were messed up and I got a rerun. So that first one really was a practice run. I’ll shut up now, and show you what I was up to.

What I gathered from this day, is that I need to keep my lines tighter and find the fastest way around, and pay attention to where I’m going next as to not overshoot a turn. There were several runs I did NOT film, where I almost spun out and was slightly off course. All in all, it was a super fun day. Tell me what you think! and if you have any questions, feel free to leave comments! Even though I had such a great day, I was super happy to get back home, take a shower and go to sleep. The next day was going to be just as long!

Sunday May 19, 6:30 AM
Not early, but still early. That extra hour of sleep and copious amounts of sleep the night before definitely helped though. Today was the NEMS Biannual Kanc Cruise to benefit Make a Wish. I had gone on it in October of lat year, which was also a lot of fun. If you are from the New England area, I recommend checking it out and coming along in October. Proceeds go to Make a Wish and it a fun day of driving and friends. Shenanigans, driving, lunch, more shenanigans, more driving, snacks. We all met in the morning and cruised to NHTI in Concord together. Once parked, it’s a waiting game. It’s nice to hang out and catch up with people I don’t see too often though. After that, everyone drives the planned route, or their own, to the lunch spot. After lunch, it’s a free for all up north, where the roads are twisty, and the sky was clear. Here is a short video from the day!

The weekend was long and fun. I would do all again and not change a thing. Until the next adventure, whatever you drive and whatever you do, Motor On!

Late Night Drive

Good morning!

Mondays are always dreaded and this past one was no exception.

I’ve been having a rough couple months. Everything seems to be falling apart at once, and I’m not sure what to do.

One of the good things I had happen recently was me buying a new car.

Say hello to my 2001 Mazda Miata MX-5 Special Edition.

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A couple weeks ago I decided that I wanted to get another car. Yes. Another car. The reason this whole seed was planted in my head was because of a track day I volunteered at previously. If you want to read about that you can check out my “Tuna. Racing. Coffee” post.

I decided then and there that I wanted to do this, someday. But was told over and over that autocross was a great place to start. I did a little research, which wasn’t even needed really, as the car that kept coming up and the one I kept seeing was everywhere. Miatas.

So I started my search. This was the first time I had looked for a vehicle really. My 2013 MINI, LuLu, was something I knew I wanted and was easy to find. My Classic MINI, Louisa, was something that fell into my lap. I had to work for this one.

I found one in Lancaster, MA. A 2008 MX-5. I went and test drove it in the rain. I discovered that these rear wheel drive cars were not made for rainy days. I like the car, a lot. But the seat was so low, and being a shorty, I couldn’t reach the pedals comfortably. In addition, after being so used to driving my classic’s standard, I suck at modern ones.

I really liked the car though. But there were other issues preventing me from buying it, which included the price. I decided to wait and do a little more digging. I found this beauty at a dealership in Kansas. Country Hill Motors. My mom and I dealt with Julio the whole time and he couldn’t have been any nicer.

I decided this was the right car for me and we made magic happen. What felt like forever was only two weeks, and he was delivered to my doorstep. I was so excited!

Since then, I have thought a lot of the car and the reason that I purchased it. Was it really for autocross? Were my intentions as simple as that? I’m beginning to think not..

Over the past few months, a lot has gone wrong. A lot has changed, and I’ve been trying to find a way to deal with it. For starters, I’m not sure what I want to do anymore. Do I really want to pursue my Masters? I’m not 100% sure of my job. Part of the reason I took it was BECAUSE of my Masters. So do I really want to stay? My home life. My family. The only thing that was solid and stable in my life, has recently gone to shit.

I have no solace. No place that I can feel comfortable. The tense atmosphere at home and at work is getting to me. My uncertainness is weighing on me. I feel so unattached from myself, from what I want to do, from what I should do.

Recently, my only solace has been driving. Driving away. Driving to someplace. Driving to nowhere. Last night was my most recent drive. So much had gone wrong this past week and I wanted to leave, and I was going to. It would be so easy for me to pick up and leave. But would it?

It’s Tuesday now. I went home last night, finally. Being someplace that does not make you comfortable is hard. When a home just becomes a house, it gets tough. When your place of solace and sense of security is ripped from you, you feel lost. Hopeless. At that time, you begin to questions every other decision that you’re making. If something that was built for 25+ years can so easily break, than what of your decisions that you make now? Will those so easily break in the future? Will you arrive at where you want?

I needed to clear my head. Sunday morning I had a car show that went less than ideally. I went home and no one was there. I cleaned up and left the house. There was a party I had to attend to. After that, I took off. I drove to the coast. I thought about everything. What was I doing?

I passed a sign I had seen before but never really thought much of it. It said, “Where are you heading?” Good question. That got me thinking more. Where was I heading. What is going to happen? These next few months are so out of focus and blurry. I need a plan. I can’t move forward productively without knowing what is happening, without knowing what will happen. It was all overwhelming.

After work on Monday I still didn’t want to go home. I drove. I drove around aimlessly, not knowing what I was looking for. I felt hopeless. I had hit rock bottom. The only place I felt at ease was in my car, driving. That may sound silly, but it’s true. I ended up getting lost. My phone was on airplane mode and I didn’t want to be bothered, and i didn’t bother to check my google maps to see where I was. I didn’t care. I wanted to disappear so I wasn’t anyone’s problem anymore.

I ended up taking a call, that I can say pulled me out. I ended up at my friend’s place. All that aimless driving had me heading somewhere it would seem. After a long talk I expressed my frustrations and felt a little better. I went home.

I woke up today feeling better. Feeling a bit refreshed. There is still so much that is wrong and that is bothering me. But I guess it’s time for me to get back on my feet. Set my head straight and focus my energy on good things. I still don’t see my potential sometimes, and my future is still a bit out of focus. I’m hoping with more positivity it will come into view.