Sunday, September 20, 2009
Look, I'm a Baby Boomer, and all the apologies I'll ever make for My Generation won't change the fact that My Generation has changed things for the worse in many arenas. That being said, I think you'll agree that we Boomers move thru life with an unheard soundtrack playing in our skulls. Boomers, you know it's true...admit it...OK, Embrace It! You'll be Empowered!
The Pop Music of the Boomer Generation has many Hit Songs about change. I don't know how many albums Billy Joel's "Stranger" sold. Multi-Platinum to be sure...all on the strength of the "Don't go changing..." lyrics of "Just The Way You Are"
For Boomers, the Change meme began in 1966 when the Chambers Brothers recorded "Time Has Come Today" Following the same theme, 1970's "Them Changes" by Buddy Miles...1971's "Changes" by David Bowie, all laid the groundwork for the orgy of Change Tunes that have provided the Soundtrack of Our Lives.
Change is the ONLY constant in our experience that doesn't change...it only accelerates.
I was reminded of this while shooting up the Hill Friday night. CalTrans is rebuilding Interstate 80 from Colfax to the Nevada State Line. New asphalt pavement made last night's journey as smooth as any 70's/80's Sci-Fi Movie's Spacecraft Flight. The pavement reminded me of the early days of our Interstate Highway System...smoother than a baby's bottom, and reminiscent of driving the same Interstates when they were new, in the long-wheelbase land yachts of the day. Changing back to better days is still change...in the status quo, anyway.
The only thing to distract me from my nostalgia, was the unchanging reality of timid drivers on the open highway...clogging the travel lanes, real danger in the name of caution, on the ever evolving highway universe that is our Modern Interstate Highway System.
I forgot about all of that when I arrived at The Valley Of Speed Saturday afternoon. I've been enjoying the Reno Championship Air Races from "The Fenceline" for almost Three Decades. The Fenceline is the Stead Field version of "Freeloader Hill" The place where "True Fans" watch the action, year in and year out, without the "benefit" of an Event Ticket.
The Fenceline was always private property, but the owner was absentee, and there was no problem up until a couple of years ago. That's when some Jerk showed up in his Dump Truck, towing his Backhoe, with his Trophy Wife in the Motorhome with their Kids and their ATV's on the trailer. Mr Jerk assumed that as a FreeBorn American, it was his Constitutional Right to "Improve" the terrain on the Fenceline Private Property, so his kids could enjoy "Better Motocross Riding" while the Thousands of Well-Behaved Fenceliners enjoyed the Unlimited Class Air Racing.
As you can no doubt imagine, this didn't exactly sit well with Absentee Landowner's Neighbors! The Brack Brack Brack of 2-Stroke Motocross Race Bikes kicking up clouds of desert dust, drove home the obvious to the Full Time Neighbors, and Paradise was Lost.
This afternoon, I rolled up to the top of the old Fenceline Road to shoot some video of today's Unlimited Gold Heat 3A. The Fenceline Road as I knew it is gone. There was some "Crime Scene" Tape across the old right of way, but the desert has reclaimed the roadbed. Sagebrush and exotic grasses have obscured the old road. That was just the little change!
At the Top of the Hill, there was a brand spankin' new Electrical Substation. Surrounded by a new chainlink fence and crushed rock parking areas, it looks ready to supply electricity to at least 400 new Ranch-Style homes, and maybe as many as 1200 "ranchos".
I was looking at the end of the Reno Air Races. The largest Air Race in the World. It's so very special, that my words can't convey to you just how special they are. Some day, I'll miss the National Championship Air Races. A half-thousand new homes will spell the end of the fun in the Valley Of Speed...
Another piece of American Culture will be gone...gone without a whimper, with nary an obituary, or the realization of how important these American Touchstones are to the survival of our Great American Experiment.
As always on Saturdays at Stead, the favorites started out front and ran out front. By lap 3 of 6, the leaders had backed off some 80mph...after all, you can't win Sunday if you Blow Up Saturday! The favorites were in front as always, Strega, Voodoo, and Rare Bear will be the contenders Sunday...Voodoo is on the Pole owing to Strega's cutting a pylon. it's Voodoo's first Pole at Reno, but tomorrow's Unlimited Gold Race will be contested by two extremely modified Mustangs, perennial contender and winner Strega, Johnny Come Lately Voodoo, and the Big Modified Bearcat, Rare Bear...perhaps the extreme Hawker Sea Furies were sandbagging today, but tomorrow will be another one for The Ages. I'll let you know.
Oh yeah, Strega was going 480.077 mph average...dogging half her laps...