Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

George and Will’s Adventure Part 2

One more week on the trot 

The parts arrived to put the 250 back together. Cleaned up the bore and put in the new piston, everything is looking good. Take the 125 off and switch things around on the kart. Decide to make a new water pump cover/inlet for the 250. Get that made and check the water pump while I’m getting ready to put the new cover on. Is it supposed to spin like that? Check the pump on our old parts motor. It doesn’t spin. Hmmm…Oh yeah, it’s only supposed to turn when the engine is running. That’s why the motor stuck at the March race – broken water pump drive gear! Glad I decided to make that cover. After a quick switch job on the side covers the kart is all put together and fired up on the stand. Everything seams to work. That’s good because tomorrow morning we leave.

Got going with same routine as last time. Waited a few minutes until George pulled up. Went and got gas at the Luvs station across the freeway from Firebird. Filled the truck and bought some race gas. Their race gas pump is over by the RV and Diesel pumps. I wouldn’t want to accidentally fill up my RV at the wrong pump!

The drive to Tucson was the usual deal. Lots of cars, lots of trucks. Lots of people that like to drive exactly in my blind spot and go exactly the same speed as me. Grrr..

We knew we were in Tucson because the road construction started. Got through most of the city and decided to stop for lunch. Found a Chinese fast food place and chowed down. The place also had the windiest path to the bathroom I’ve ever seen. Then back on the road. The drive to Benson was easy and traffic was light.

Then it was time for another stop. You know the one. The destination you’ve heard about your whole life. On every family vacation you saw the signs. Bright yellow and blue. Asking if you’ve seen it. Calling to you. It can only be one thing. And that one thing is, THE THING!

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Exit 322 between Benson and Wilcox is where you get off. It’s in the Texas Canyon area. A strange formation of rocks that has had some interesting things happen around them. Missile silos, Prisoner of war camps, Indian stronghold. Fun stuff, it all happened around here.

We got gas. Then we went inside and had ice cream. Did I mention that they had a DQ there? While waiting I picked up a couple of  t-shirts from amongst the thousand of items they have there. If you ever feel the need to buy some obscure trinket or a cheap leather jacket, this is the place. While we were there we met the Mayor and then had a contest to decide who was cooler. We still haven’t decided.

After that it was back in the truck and on to Deming. Wilcox, Lordsburg, and the Continental Divide – all the neat places. It’s pretty flat through there and the wind can get rather “blowy”. On the plus side, they sell fireworks there. Do with that information what you will.

After arriving in Deming in the middle of a dust storm we pulled into the Holiday Inn and got some rooms. Rate was reasonable and the staff was friendly. After a few minutes relaxing we headed out to Si Senors for dinner.

SI SENOR
200 E. PINE STREET
DEMING, NM

Very family friendly and it seemed that everybody in town came in there. The prices were very reasonable and the red sauce is HOT, just ask my son. I had a nice pork steak, George had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a very nice potato soup. William had a chimichanga with red sauce. Whoa! Seriously, ask him about it.

Deming is an interesting town. You first think of it as just a gas stop on the freeway but there is much more to it. There is actually a lot of town around there. Lots of restaurants, a golf course, airport, a BMX track, a K-mart AND a Wal-Mart (right next to each other – huh?) a Ford dealership, and a nice courthouse. The town is over a hundred years old and has a fair bit of history. For example, the silver spike was driven here for the second complete transcontinental railroad. Betcha’ never learned that one in grade school!

Well, after dinner we went back to the hotel to rest up for the next day. A 6:00 AM wake up call is early no matter what state you’re in.

In the morning we had breakfast at the restaurant at the hotel. Pretty good eats. Then back on the road to drive the 15 miles to the track. We got there about 7:30 and that was plenty early. We met Roger Heemsbergen – the track owner – while he was emptying trashcans. Nice guy and he let us set up our pit in the NO SIT area by the base of the tower. It beat pitting in the gravel. If you come down to this track in the future be sure to bring a roll around kart stand with big wheels. There is enough pavement to get your kart started, but you can’t pit on it. Uhhh.. except that we did!

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The track can be run in either direction and this day we ran it counter-clockwise. That put us right into the teeth of the wind on the longest straight. Not good for top end speed. Some other cars showed up, a couple of open wheel cars and an Arial Atom, plus a fair number of Japanese import cars. The split us up into three sessions of 20 minutes each with us going last in the rotation. While we were waiting to go out Brad “Cannonball” Peterson pulled up with Carlton. They got unloaded quickly and were ready to go.

Carlton was off first with a nice little burn out. Then George and then William. We watched the karts go around and after a couple of laps we were one short. William had half looped it while braking for the Bus Stop turn. While I got ready to take my truck out and fetch him at the end of the session, George had pulled up and asked him if he was ok. They decided they could push start William if he would pull the kart back on track. After restarting, everybody ran the rest of the session. Thanks George.

After everybody came back in they decided that the track was pretty dirty from the wind and had NO rubber down. Everybody changed jets and gears between sessions and got better. George had a former neighbor stop by and we had fun visiting with him. With as long as each session was, the “boys” were getting tired. The wind was picking up too. We made our last run about two o’clock and packed up to go to the room. Brad and Carlton cut it even shorter. They had to get back to Tucson Raceway Park to catch the end of the Legends race there. That’s why they call him Cannonball!

After we got back to the room and cleaned up, we headed out to dinner. No Mexican food tonight, we were looking for steak! We ended up at Ranchers Grill.

RANCHERS GRILL
316 E. CEDAR STREET
DEMING, NM

It was perfect. Great cold beer, nice salad bar, and an excellent steak. Price was good too. There was also a nice pair of Wranglers there – easy George! After we got out of there we stopped at the local Dairy Queen for desert (do you see a pattern here?). There was a local carnival in the parking lot. No, we didn’t do any of the rides.

With no need to be anywhere in the morning we didn’t put in a wake up call. Went down to the hotel restaurant about 8:30. Should have gone earlier, there was a bit of a crowd. After filling the trucks up we headed out. Caught a draft from a tanker truck all the way to Lordsburg, then up over the mountains to Wilcox.

As we passed through the Texas Canyon area the call was too strong, we had to visit the Thing again. As we pulled in a bunch of cool Hot Rods were pulling out so I snapped some pictures. Didn’t talk to the Mayor but I did see a Scary Clown. Picked up some road supplies and hit the trail.

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Made it past Benson and started running into a little rain, nothing serious but it was fun to look at. While driving through Tucson we were impressed with roadside beauty of the place – if you like construction equipment and concrete plants! Lucky for us traffic was moving pretty good.

Our last gas stop was on Sunshine Boulevard. Lots of people getting gas. A couple of shuttle vans were parked in front of the pumps and were full of people. They were stopped there when we pulled up and hadn’t moved by the time we left. And we went in, sat down, and had a meal!

Another hour or so up the road and we were home. On that portion of the drive we followed a Nissan Tsuru. It looks just like the 1992 Nissan Sentra I used to have. Hope the heater controls work better than mine did. Pulled up in front of the house and unloaded the trailer. Had everything put away by 5:00. Took my wife out to diner.

By the way, we never did actually see the Thing.

(See more pictures from the event)

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