Archive for the 'transcontinental' Category

07
Feb
08

FIREBALL STORY IN A CAR MAGAZINE?

HOW WILL IT END? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ROCKET GETS STUCK ON THE ROOF, AND THE INDIAN TAILPIPE?
Well, I actually got contacted to write the story for a magazine, but on the condition that I don’t post it or sell it anywhere else, so SORRY! Stay tuned, if it doesn’t pan out I will just post the rest here. Who’d a thunk it? The 1966 Batmobile will return!
Kinda weird!8o

Star Car Central

06
Feb
08

HOUSTON TRACK DAY 4 FIREBALL RUN!

HOUSTON TRACK DAY
Well, like every day of this race, including a few after, I didn’t sleep well, and woke up early. My mind racing, calculating all the different ways I could get the car home, if I couldn’t find the shut off problem, deciding what to do while watching the weather channel and seeing a storm front headed to Oklahoma City, my eyes popped open and I was up. So while Christopher slept, I left him a note and went down to the front desk. I sat through the meeting for the guys headed to the race track (you had to be race certified, roll bars, helmet and insurance to take the cars on the track) watched those that were racing go off to the track.

The front desk lady said there was a firestone place right next door that worked on her car all of the time, and it was walking distance. I called and told them of my problems (rubbing tires in the back from cutting my springs and not installing air shocks), sudden shut off of the engine, etc.) and they said they could fix me up. So down to the garage I went, took off the cover, drove it to the place less than a block away, and cleaned out the car in the humid heat.

THIS WAS AFTER THE RACE, BUT JUST FOR AN IDEA OF THE TRASH THAT WAS IN THE CAR! I HAD DONE SOME WIREING SO THAT’S WHY THE UNDERDASH BOARD IS PARTLY OFF… ADD ONS FOR THE TRIP, NEW CD PLAYER, GPS, COLOR DUAL REARVIEW CAMERAS AND NEW SCREEN, BLUETOOTH SO PHONE CALLS COME THROUGH THE SPEAKERS, OR THE BATPHONE DIRECTLY, THAT’S PRETTY COOL!
(AS LONG AS I DON’T DISCONNECT THE POWER!)

I was dripping sweat every time we got ready to leave, just organizing stuff behind the seats and getting set for the day due to the heat and humidity! So I leave the car with a list of safety items to check. It was running fine, but after that mysterious shut off, I wanted a mechanic to go over it, and check my brakes as they were acting weird, not that I used them much!

Once the car was squared away, I took a walk over to a Walgreen’s and got a LOT of drinks to rehydrate us. 2 kinds of Gatorade, Orange juice, Diet coke, and a few extras, batteries for the camera, Blistex and an ice bucket that was a great idea that helped us keep cool water in the car longer. Before I bought it, we were drinking hot or warm water all day! No time to stop for a cool drink on this rally!
The rest of the day in Huston was great. We drank and drank and drank, to get our kidneys working again. We had missed breakfast so we had the same great burger for an early lunch. We went to the pool and Jacuzzi, worked out in the gym, and went to the mall. Got Chris a haircut, and then had dinner at Chili’s.

A much needed day of rest was great, and Chris and I had a great time, expecting to pick up our car at 7 pm with everything fixed up. What all had to be fixed? Well, the electronic ignition control had over heated, and had never been replaced since I bought the car as a donor, so that was what shut us down the day before. Then I had asked them to flush the brake system, they did and found that two of the brake lines also from 1979 had partially collapsed, and so two of the brakes were not always working. I knew that something was wrong based on how it braked. They also replaced the rear cylinders that were leaking, also 79 original parts that I had never replaced. Then the rear tires were getting cut every time I hit a bump so they installed air shocks in the back, and raised it up, and solved that. Also a problem I was aware of and a solution I had figured I would do, but I put it off when I was just driving to closeby car shows, but with 2500 miles in front of me I figured I should do it now as I had no spare tire! A blowout would be a big time loss and could damage the car, so it was cheaper to put in the rear air shocks. Dig em!

So Chris and I wander over to pick up the car at closing time, and the car is up on the rack. More problems? They had done all the work, but when taking it for a test drive, they couldn’t get it in reverse!

Back on the rack we discovered that the shift cable that a mechanic pal had installed melted due to sitting on the manifold while I tore across a third of the USA. It also needed two front tires as a steering rod had been bent, and worn away the insides of both front tires over the last 1000 high speed miles. They looked brand new from the outside, but the car is so low that unless it was up on a rack, you would never know! So change of plans #1253! We left the car, I told them to replace the front tires (asked for Futuras, but now I am half Firestone, the original tires the #1 wore and 1/2 Futuras!) and fix the bent rod, and find me a shift cable. Now we were in trouble, as the fireballers were taking off at 7 am the next morning, and all of our pre-paid hotels and meals would be going off in the distance with them! We decided to go back to the pool and cool off, and see what happened the next day. Fell asleep watching the weather channel, and a big storm front moving towards Dallas and Oklahoma City! (Sorry, no photos from this day, didn’t think to get a shot of the great guys who worked on my car! I sent them a toy batmobile and n8mobile shirt when I got home!)

04
Feb
08

DAY TWO FRIDAY START DAY

DAY TWO FRIDAY START DAY
Chris opted for less sleep so we would get to the starting line with lots of time, so we were up and tried to leave with J but they took off while we were packing the car. I had hooked the battery up to my trickle charger all night, and it started right up. Great! We drove to the starting line and I was turning the fans on and off, watching the temp gauge. When we got there it was getting a little hot, so I listened for the fans. No fans.


I AM ON THE OTHER SIDE REWIREING THE FANS IN THIS PHOTO, WHILE BANDS PLAY IN THE BACKGROUND, AND THE OTHER DRIVERS GET THEIR INSTRUCTIONS!
So now sweating like crazy, I cut through the relay wires and took a hot wire from the battery, to the dash and a line from the fans to the ground. As I was trying to get to the switch, I got mad as that same darn screw that would not let go the night before, and went ape man on it and it moved! So I got out the switch to check it and realized it was a 4 amp switch and that’s what blew. If I could have gotten to the switch the night before it wouldn’t have happened. So while all the other drivers enjoyed the bagpipes, cheerleaders, and local media coverage of the start, I was feverously connecting the fans to the right switch. Chris handed me tools and connectors and a towel to wipe off my forehead, and kept one ear on when the race would start. At one point J came by and asked how I was doing, and I told him no fans no Batmobile. He had to go and I kept the image of me in an empty parking lot in FLORIDA as they all disappeared into the sunset! So, we have no instructions, no idea what Jay has been saying, but as the cars finally start to pull out, I put the dash back together, slam the hood, start it up and we fall into line and take off!

WE ROLL OUT WITH THE REST OF THE FIREBALLERS IN THE NICK OF TIME!
Only one problem, in my rush to get done, I didn’t want any problems with the fans, so I took off the other electronics that were hooked up to the big switch. I stopped for a moment and thought “that’s just the detectascope and other flashing lights on Robin’s side, don’t need em!” But I had disconnected the power to the new CD player and that’s where we got all of our rally instructions! So we followed the fireballers and Movie Mike’s RV for about 150 miles as we had used up a lot of gas running around town the day before, then pulled off, got gas, and I went once again under the dash and wired up the CD player. Tanked up and found a hot lead for the CD player in under ten minutes and we were back in the game!

With 200 miles between fuel stops, we had a burger king card with 20 bucks on it for lunch along the way.

LOTS OF STATES GO WHIZZING BY!

THIS PLACE LOOKS LIKE THE LAST ONE! WHERE IS EVERYONE?

LIKE THE CAPE? GOOD FOR KEEPING SUN OFF OF MY NECK!

We were HOT. Inside the car the air was still and hot, but a little wind wing action with our hands helped a bit.

CHRIS USING THE HIGH SETTING ON THE AIR CONDITIONING!
We powered through, averaging 80 MPH figuring that we lost some time with the electrical at the first stop, so we wouldn’t stop and sit for lunch. Well you don’t EVER do that we found out, but we powered through 700 miles to Baton Rouge. Somewhere along the way, a big bug hits my detectascope antenna, and I hear a CLUNK!

One fan of my antenna is gone, and I thought I heard it blow over the car. “Oh well”, I think, “I wanted to get one of Sammy’s anyway!”, but this one was made by my Dad, and I was sorry to lose it.

HOLY BIG BUG IMPACT, BATMAN!
Well at the next fuel stop, the missing part was sitting under my side windshield in the middle of the car! I tuck it inside the car to reattach when we get home, with a “Thanks, God!” we check out the growing bug collection on the front of the car and then jump back in the race!


THIS WAS AFTER WE CLEANED THE BIG ONES OFF!
We had to find a clue (can’t tell, sorry! It’s like the magician thing). Then we found our clue and headed to the next check in point. Well it was a few states away, and we blew past it, stopped for some cokes and an Oreo cookie shake, skipped getting gas and went back to clock in. We made the check in, and all was well.


Then after a brief rest stop, Jay had arraigned a police escort to be headed by the Batmobile into Baton Rouge at 90 MPH! We start off, and the Batmobile chugs to a halt. Oh yeah, gas! I had totally forgotten and was ready to drive 100 miles into town! So a friendly Mustang team stops and helps, we get it primed and running but not before I get a gas “shower” as the extra gas we had gotten the last time had swelled and it blew out all over me. Having fun now! Went to a gas station and changed the shirt, and went for another 90 miles into Baton Rouge and to the hotel. We get there and the parking lot is full of high end cars with stickers on them saying “FIREBALL” and I pull up with a Batmobile with the same stickers, but security wouldn’t let me in the gates! Then after I pull past, they figure out MAYBE the Batmobile is with the fireballers, and try to back up a whole row of cars! I instead go around again and park. We are dead tired and hot. Throw the cover on, and head to the restaurant for some fluids! I down a 20 ounce diet coke and Chris says ¡§Sure you want that? It will keep you awake! “I don’t think anything could keep me awake!” but then I switch to water, chow down some pizza and great seafood, and talk to board member falcongtho3 who came down to greet team Gotham! While chatting bat stuff, I lose Chris in the croud and go look for him. He is out side talking with Susan (aka Mom) who we have had no time to even check in with up to this point. There is a small group of about 10 folks who came to see the Batmobile so we walk them back up a block past the haunted house with a million teenagers standing around, (a local tradition) take photos,


BAT BOARD MEMBERS CONNECT!
unpack, answer questions, put the cover on, take it back off for more photos, put it back on, take it off for MORE photos and put it to bed for the night. Chris and I just want a cool pool.
We finally check in, and the pool closes in 25 minutes we are told, so we race up and realize our swim suits are in the car, locked under the cover! I throw on my jogging shorts and we run down, and a nice lady lets us in after hours. Chris checks out the weight room, and I decompress. The spa won’t work because the pool really closed at ten. But it was cool, and just what I needed. There is a big casino and lots to look at, but it’s about 11PM by this time and we need some sleep!

Up to bed, for an early start the next day to Houston!

31
Jan
08

FIREBALL RUN DAY ONE

DAY ONE – GETTING TO THE BATMOBILE IN FLORIDA
Looking ahead and trying to keep the costs down on this adventure, I scheduled it so I would skip as few work days off without pay as possible. I would work Thursday, then fly out on the red eye sleeping all the way, then show up with a whole day to get to the car, check in to the hotel, and go to the driver check in at 3pm, and the first party at 6 pm. That was the plan!

Christopher was working at Jack in the Box until 8 pm that day, so we picked him up and had dinner together at Jacks, then he changed and we went to the airport. Smooth check in, and we read through some info I had printed out that day at work on “gimmick” rallies. We read through the books, checked in and boarded. The flight was a little bumpy, and I was a bit queasy. Combined with very cramped chairs I realized I wasn’t going to get much sleep. Chris nodded off for a bit, but then the in flight movie came on, and he proceeded to try and read lips as he could sort of hear the movie. I scrunched up my batman jacket and leaned forward, sideways, and got a few short naps. We arrived at 3 am our time, 6 am Orlando time, got picked up by fireball staff and instead of being taken to the Batmobile or the hotel, we went to fireball headquarters. We were running on adrenaline at this point. We waited to see if we could check in early, calls were made, and in the mean time I decided to go across the street to get some breakfast. We had ordered and I looked out the window, and saw all of the fireball support vehicles taking off! So I told Chris to wait for the food, I ran over and stopped J from leaving us behind, and we went to the OIA office where the driver check in meeting was supposed to take place. Then we got a ride from an intern to the Rolls Royce Dealership where the batmobile was. Inside we looked around for the car. The Batmobile was in the front showroom, and there was a guy already behind the wheel, it was started and he was pulling it out of a double door with about 2 inches to spare on each side! I said “Hey I will do that” and he gave me a look that said “I am driving the Batmobile, and you will not stop me!!” So he then started to hit my rocket switches as he was clearly living a child hood fantasy but I wasn’t sure if they were disconnected! I stopped him, not sure if he believed me that they worked. He pulled it out and it was running rough, but after a few photos Chris and I hopped in and GPSed to the hotel. It was about 25 hot humid miles to this great hotel. They had made a special place to park the Batmobile, not under the roof, but out in the sun in front of the main fountain. Black car, hot sun, Florida rain. Great!

batmobile with nightwing
NIGHTWING READY FOR ACTION!
famous tv car
THIS COULD BE IN THE STAR CAR CLUB, NOW THAT’S A WHALE TAIL!

LOOKING OUT OUR FIRST NIGHT ROOM WINDOW, INSIDE WITH AIR CONDITIONING MUCH BETTER!

We got out, and sort of unpacked. After we checked in and walked around a bit we then went to take a nap. I called for a wake up call for 3 pm as the driver check in was at 4pm. Chris hits the bed and went OUT. I looked around and realized I don’t know where the camera was, so I search the room. Nothing. So then I remember us putting on the sunblock we bought at the hotel out by the pool, and he set the camera down. I wanted to sleep so badly, but down I went and it was a LONG walk to the pool to look around, nothing. So I talked to a guard, he kept me standing in the heat while someone checked for lost cameras. I didn’t know the maker, it’s just silver and the lens cover sticks. So I went back up to the room. Then someone tells me that it rains every day, and my car will get wet. So I go back down and put the cover on my car. Back up to the room, I thought as I lay down, maybe the camera is by the car? But I was so tired I just figured if it is to be it will be there in an hour when we have to get up. Alarms go off and I ask Chris if he remembers where the camera is. “Sure, it’s in my back pocket.” The camera is needed for the race so I was glad to have it, but sorry I missed out on a longer nap. We headed out, uncovered the bat, hopped in and started driving the 20 miles to check in.
batmobile with star car central sticker
PROMOTE THE WEB SITE! WHAT’S A FEW MORE STICKERS?
batman car with cover
ALL DONE, BUT DIDN’T GET TO THE OTHER SIDE UNTIL DAYS LATER!

It’s Friday night work traffic! Oh yeah, people live here and go to work. So it is DEADLY hot and humid as we sit and I watch the temperature of my car all the way.

We finally drive up after the meeting is over, just in time to get in the photo of the fireballers, us up front. As we pose for the last photo, it starts to rain. Then it DUMPS! Chris and I jump in to put up our untested roofs, and side windows, everything fogs over and water is pouring through my electronics and dash and everywhere. I drive around the building looking for cover and find a two car tent and zoom in. We start duct taping and bailing as the rain comes down in buckets.

Batmobile Under Cover
J Sanchez the Owner/Organizer, and cooler and wetter Christopher!

Fireball Run Pace Car in Rain
SURE HE HAS A ROOF! THIS IS THE CAR THE WINNER GOT AT THE END OF THE RACE, AND HE NEEDED IT. BUT THAT’S LATER!

We put the cover on the car and I tell Jay “Lets just get someone to drive us to the party, and we will come back for it and drive it to the hotel.” But the party is SORT of near the hotel and there is a break in the clouds, so J convinces me to go for it.

Wet Batman and Robin
NOTICE MY GLASSES FOGGING UP, AND WE ARE SOAKED TO THE SKIN! THIS WASN’T RAIN, IT WAS A SKY BASED FLASH FLOOD!

We drive and drive, it’s raining and raining. I pull in as it starts to rain hard again, and Jay buys some paper towels and diapers to mop up and protect the dash. The rain slows down, so we go out again, but jay is out of gas! So back under cover, then on to the party. We get there and all of the food is gone, except for some chips and we are starved because a sausage muffin at Burger king was our last meal.

I sign in as a contestant for the rally, get half registered, and we spend the party putting on the rally stickers all over the car.
Batmobile Hood Stickers
THE HOOD STICKER LOOKS PRETTY COOL!
Sponsor Stickers on the 1966 Batmobile
THIS IS AFTER THE RACE, BUT COULDN’T FIND A GOOD PHOTO OF ALL THE STICKERS! SORRY IF I RUINED THE ENDING!

Then I am standing in front of the car, and realize the cooling fans are still running. I pull the relay, talk to Dale who installed the heat sensor, and we decide to interrupt the ground and put it on a switch.

Burned out switch on the Bat star car
THE RELAY THAT WOULDN’T SHUT OFF… SO I REWIRED IT!

So I spend the night rewiring that, but I can’t get to my turbines switch because a screw on the right of the under dash cover won’t come loose, so I use one of the other switches in the dash. Fans go on, fans go off, great but the battery is dead! So they want me out as the party is over, give me a jump, fans on, and off to the hotel. Cover the car hook up the trickle charger I had with me, and spend about 20 minutes in the spa as my back is in a knot after all of that, into the cool pool, spa gain pool again then fall into bed. Tomorrow will be better! lol

Stay tuned bat-fans to see how the Batmobile Survives!




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