Why does the track in Bakersfield, California, hold such an allure to me? What is it about this historic venue that connects with me on a level that no other track can do?
When I think about that track, I start at the core, the track itself. I like to walk up and look at the starting line in the morning. The air is quiet, the breeze still, and I can faintly discern the smell of a mix of flowers, mulch, and VHT. There are usually very few people out on the track this time of the day. It is quiet and the world seems like a perfect place at that moment, when time seems suspended. It could be 2015 or 1950, the date doesnt really matter; it makes absolutely no difference to the track and you simply dont care. Off in the distance, the sound of agriculture goes on with a tractor or a fruit tree sprayer chugging through the orchards, but none of that matters because right now you are suspended in time at a timeless place, ready for a day of drag racing.
I look down track from the starting line and notice the rubber from other burnouts, other cars, and I see the groove as it heads for the finish line. The old rubber lays there as a testament to long-ago passes down this same quarter-mile strip of asphalt. A slight mirage effect ripples in the air as the summer heat reflects off the black, rubber-coated surface. At this moment, nothing matters but that 1,320 feet of perfect track, a finish line, and the turnoffs.
Sure, the track is surrounded by so much more that is currently out of sight. At the end, there are the turnouts, with return roads leading to a timeslip booth and then back to the pits. At the start there are staging lanes numbered 1 to 10 and at the head of the staging stands the stage master. This official is the one that pulls out the racer and directs him toward the track, and then the racer encounters another track worker who puts him in the burnout box.
The burnout box is where the fun begins, as you wet the tires and pull out of the water. On the officials hand signal you bring the motor up so the tires begin their crazy warm-up preparing for the launch. As you shift into second gear and the tires begin to really smoke like a crazy house fire out of control, you turn off the line lock and allow the car to start spinning and moving forward toward the starting line.
Then its time to stage. As your car creeps forward, inch by inch, you feel like maybe a surfer about to drop down into a monster wave, or a sky diver looking out an open door as the world spins miles below. The thrill, the rush, its just moments away. The tires are ready, the car is lined up and now you look down track just like you did earlier. Once again, time stands still. Is it 2015? 1950? Nobody cares. Nothing matters now but the track; the wonderful, eternal track; everything comes down to the track.
As the front tire creeps forward and breaks the last staging beam the second light illuminates. You press the accelerator and the motor comes to life. Powerful, loud, ready, the motor is ready to turn your car into a rocket ship. Time may be standing still, but your engine is spinning like crazy. The starter presses his button and the tree lights up.
This is the moment, the moment when everything comes together for better or for worse. This split second of reaction time is what drag racers live for, what we spend long nights alone in the shop wrenching on cars for, why we save every dollar we can just to afford rolling in the gate. This moment is our essence, our reason for being. The tortured tires grab and wrap, the sidewalls wrinkle and slingshot the car down the track.
The front of the car lifts up and heads for the sky for 50 feet or so before gently, like a butterfly, floating back to return the front tires to the track. Everything in your peripheral vision zooms by in a blur. The car rockets toward the finish line and as you cross the stripe all you know is, you want to do that again.
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Packing for a long trip can be quite stressful, especially if your journey may last for a whole month, or even longer. In a way, youre putting your everyday life on standby. On the other hand youre going to an adventure, and thats reason enough to look forward to it! It doesnt matter if your trip is business or pleasure based, youll definitely learn new things, meet a lot of new people of which some may become your friends, and youll change your routine. But, before your adventure starts, you need to pack first. Lets see what youll need! If you are feel unsecured about your available budget for the trip, you can consider getting a loan. There are ways of getting out of debt afterwards, so you can pack yourself and enjoy.
Make a Detailed List
The whole packing process needs to start at least a month earlier if you dont want to leave anything behind. Get a piece of paper, divide the space into categories, such as for example: hygiene, clothes, shoes, gadgets & chargers My suggestion is to write down absolutely everything that comes to your mind, and cross things out when you determine that theyre unnecessary. This way, you wont forget anything, for sure.
Think of Hygiene
This may be possibly problematic, but it depends on where you are going and where you plan on staying products that help you take care of your hygiene might be a lot more expensive there where youre going. Bear in mind this fact, and make sure you check those prices before you even pack, in order to know what to expect, and how much stuff to bring with you. You probably already know that theres only so much you can carry with you, especially if you plan to fly to your destination, so purchase only the product in small bottles.
Vehicle or Not?
This is a tough one. Youll probably find it hard to accomplish your daily tasks without a vehicle, and most drivers feel safest and most comfortable driving their own car. Hire an experienced pro to transport it for you and you can enjoy your stay abroad and not feel stuck relying on taxis or public transport. Make sure that you bring with you all the proper documentation and everything should be fine. Taking your car abroad with you isnt as complicated like it was in the past.
Plan Your Outfits
When going on a long trip, the hardest part of packing is probably clothing. Im sure that youre tempted to bring every single garment you have, but thats just going to make things harder, and also cost you more money. Open your closet and realistically look at your clothes; everything you havent worn for the last three months stays there, or better yet give it away. This is a great opportunity to finally clean out your closet.
When it comes to shoes, you should make your choice based on the climate of your destination. This should be easier than the part with clothes, but you can still easily overdo it. A piece of advice pack your shoes in bags, not boxes, because that way they will take less out of your storage room.
Pack Your Handbag Carefully
This is where all your necessities go the passport, the money and the smartphone. Losing either one of these three things will make your life a living hell, so make sure you always know their location. Other than that, you should also pack a bottle of antibacterial gel, some wipes and perhaps a medicine that helps with motion sickness. When I go on a long trip, I always bring a book or two, so you may wanna consider that, too.
Get Your Gadgets in Order
I dont believe that youll need anything else other than your notebook, your camera and your smartphone. Check, double check, and triple check if all that comes with them is packed, because youll definitely need it. One more thing if youre moving from one continent to another, its a good idea to have a universal plug with you, just in case.
Make Sure Your Place Is Taken Care Of
Ask a friend to take care of your bills, water your plants or feed your pet. This isnt too time-consuming or difficult to manage, so Im sure youll find someone capable quickly. Besides, youd want your place checked on once in a while, just in case.
I hope my tips will help you with your packing. Just take your time and dont panic. By the way, you should place the list of things youre bringing with you somewhere safe it will be helpful with packing when the time comes to come back home. Bon voyage!
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