Ken's Journal - Spring 2003

This is the first edition of my travel journal and is a record of my second shakedown trip with my new motor home. My first trip was to Florida just before Christmas 2002. I left the motor home at my Sisterís place outside Daytona until March this year. After my spring shakedown will be another shakedown trip this fall in preparation for a summer of 2004 trip to Alaska for a couple months. There may be other, shorter, trips as well. The motor home is  a 35' Damon Challenger with a Chevy 8.0L V8. Iíve had a Banks Power Pack installed since my first run to Florida over the winter. It has two slide outs, one in the front with the sofa and dinette on it and one in the back with the queen size bed and wardrobe on it. There are two air conditioners Ė one front and one back. There is a microwave, a gas stove/oven and a half-size gas/electric fridge, the usual gas water heater and gas furnace. The max combined weight is 26000# GCWR. I tow a Jeep Cherokee for local transportation with a bicycle on the back of that. In the motor home, since the Banks installation, which is a stainless exhaust kit from the heads back including headers - it looks like I'm getting about 7.5 MPG in combined flat and mountain terrain -- I.e., the Northeast - and it will out-pull anything but a big diesel on the hills. I out-pull all the 18 wheelers except the unloaded ones. I had the Banks kit put on after my first trip to/from Florida and the observed mileage for that kind of driving (flat, no hills) was 5.1 MPG overall - without Banks. On my second trip to Florida, with the Banks kit, the observed mileage was 7.8 MPG overall - not a shabby improvement!!

Thursday thru Sunday, 06/19-22/03, Days 1 - 4. I left home on schedule and arrived at the Watkins/Elmira KOA at about 2 PM - right on schedule in spite of the weather. The weather was miserable - it ranged from a slight drizzle to heavy downpour. I stayed four nights for the Grand America Rolex race at the race-track there. Friday and Saturday mornings were overcast, but bright with no rain! Friday and Saturday afternoons were spent dodging showers and downpours! From Friday afternoon, it rained steady all night through breakfast on Saturday. Saturday's morning practice (for the race on Sunday) was delayed by standing water on the track and fog. Practice got underway in wet conditions by 10:30 am - an hour and a half late! The rain held off until Saturday night when it was intermittent through the night. Sunday, the day of the Race, dawned under heavy clouds, slight rain and a little fog in the low elevations of the track. The race started on-time at 10:30 am after the fogs cleared, but under threatening clouds. The track was drying by that time but occasional light showers on parts of the track made tire choice very difficult - on one circuit of the track, you would run from totally dry to running water! By a little after noon, the sun was out and temps were going up from the 60s of the previous few days to what would eventually peak in the 80s! Even with the miserable weather, there was little carnage on the track - perhaps the bad weather slowed them a bit. In any event, I did get some reasonable pics and will soon post them on my website - after I return home o/a the 4th of July.  


A little racing action - The outer car is a Ferrari 360 Modena and the inner car is a Picchio - an Italian car I'm sure you've never heard of. The Picchio managed the pass -- The Ferrari is run by a Washington DC Ferrari team. The Picchio is a purpose built car and runs a BMW M5 engine - highly tuned of course. The Picchio is run by G&W Motorsports out of Canada and I supplied lights to them when they started in the predecessor series to Grand Am.


Hella continues to support them. You can see the "Hella" logo just below the "Bosch" logo - FYI, Bosch does not supply lights - just relays, engine management and parts like that.

More Watkins Pictures

Monday, 06/23/03, Day  5. I left Watkins Glen for Maine. I spent one night on the road at a campground right off 95 in NH - nothing memorable to write about here. I'm back on the road early the next morning.


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