Monday, May 4, 2009


It's 8:00 pm Monday evening and we are just now passing through downtown Atlanta.  Rafael Garces is our support chase "team" after departing United BMW in Roswell, GA.  Rafael is trailing us in the event we have an issue after the recent work completed by the fine mechanics at the United shop.  

Who is Rafael Garces you ask?  Rafael is a long time BMW fanatic, BMW National Capital Chapter member, auto-crosser extraordinaire, and ex-MCI employee.  Woody of course knows Rafael from the BMW club and cone chasing weekends.  I know Rafael from the days we worked at MCI together.  Rafael now commutes between Washington DC and his job in Atlanta.  Woody contacted him and said we are in town for a period yet to be determined and if he had time, may be could come say hello.  No need to say more on whether Rafael headed our way...but more on our visit later in the program.

So let's back up and start the day from our wake call that came at 6:00 am although we were watching the Weather Channel starting at 5:30.  The TV screen is this dark green color and it is right over I-20 and about 30 miles east of Birmingham, AL which is Oxford, AL.  Woody...."where are we?" I ask.  Oxford, AL comes the reply.  That explains the rushing sound of water outside our motel room door from the 6" diameter downspout.  I decide to open the door and take a good look outside at the situation.  Holy weasle-s**'s a monsoon.  The drainage ditch is awash with rain water and there are frogs by the hundreds committing suicide right in front of me.  

We go through our normal morning routine and decide that a good option would be to request an extended check-out time from the motel so that we can leave our clothes, PC, cameras, anything that should not get wet, in our room.  As we must pass by the motel on our way to Atlanta, there is no issue with back tracking.  Eric Brum and Dave Flogus in the Carbon Coupe are also at our motel and they would like to add their critical belongings to the pile.  No problem for us.  So it's off to our complimentary continental breakfast and a bargaining session with the front desk clerk.  The breakfast was breakfast...I've already said to much about it.  The negotiations for the extended check-out did not go well.  We are dealing with the wrong person and the manager is not yet in the "office".  If we really want this to happen it appears we may need to pay for an extra day.

As we head back to the room to sort out what goes and stays, I decide to head back to the front desk.  I am now begging to let us have the extended stay at no charge.  "Sorry sir, I can't do it" comes the answer.  The manager is only moments away though from walking in the door I learn.  May be there is hope yet.  I layout our situation with her and she says if we can have the room empty by 1:30, there will not be an additional charge.  Great, sounds like a plan.  I head back to the room again to tell the boys of my awesome negotiating skills and what Woody will need to give up upon returning for our stuff.

As we head to Talladega Grand Prix Raceway, the rain begins to lighten up and actually stops.  We unload what little there is left in the car and then start a track walk.  Halfway though the track walk there is blue sky and the sun is fighting hard to show its face.  May be the day will turn out to be a good one after all.

The cars start to grid up and within 30 minutes I am there too.  The track is still damp, but drying.

Sorry folks....need to cut this has just gone in to engine mafunction while cruising on the highway.  Pulling over to reset and see what happens.



car54 said...

What??? That was a serious cliff hanger! What's happening?!

Neil said...

Craig -

Spoke to Woody short time ago. They're still struggling with engine malfunction triggering limp home mode. Unsure, but believe they'll try to drive gently to Orlando and have tech at BMW dealer try to figure out what's going on.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're having so many problems. I hope you get things resolved soon to get back into the fun. Good luck.

Marc Plante (using his wife's account)