Gotta get down to St. John Washington … for the August Sprint Boat races. To refresh your memory of what this is all about, go back to “Racing in the Water“.
The Palouse is beautiful any time of the year
Old barns … baking in the relentless sun
Silent sentinels on the sleepy country road
Every time I make this drive, I vow to come back and spend a week gathering photos … but the business of life presses too hard. While digesting this fact, we enter the town of St. John – and the street is lined with sprint boats and their towing partners … a 4×4 Jeep club. There’s precious little room to drive through … as sightseers, pit crews, drivers, navigators and mechanics mingle and talk racing.
Cara (navigator) and Dan (driver) hang out by one of the quickest boats on the circuit
Cara, who teaches 2nd grade when she’s not racing, is also assisting in the curriculum for a mission effort in Mexico! Wicked’s superboat will be shaking out the bugs on a new engine (500+hp) in the race day warmups.
That’s a lot of power in a itty bitty boat!
The racing seats also must keep your head where it’s supposed to be!
The Canadians field a huge team – also a helicopter and lots of equipment in their familiar orange and black!
Most importantly is the food in St. John. EVERYONE recommends the huge crab salad … but we head for the St. John Health Mart! It’s like an old fashioned drug store, with a real soda fountain! There we find $1 ice cream cones … a little more if you want a big ole waffle cone stuffed with ice cream. It seems like every person has a cone in their hand – a perfect ending on a hot day.
Yes, it’s huckleberry …
The soda fountain alone is worth the side trip if you’re ever in the St. John area! Well, we must continue on up to Webb’s Slough – on the western edge of town. Again, it looks like an RV city – and the racing doesn’t start until tomorrow.
RV’s are pouring in … all boondocking.
And the “office with a view” sets up in the pit area
It’s a great time to relax, check out the race course, meet up with our four-wheeling friends.
The course looks calm tonight
Morning comes early … and it’s nice to be in a TC. A little breakfast, a spot of tea, then it’s off to the drivers meeting, setup of the Jeeps, and pulling boats into the water to do their final tuning and checks.
Drivers, navigators, crews and pit people get their safety instructions, last minute tips, and a healthy dose of prayer.
Jeeps to the ready!
Most of the tow Jeeps have hitches on the front … makes for a quicker load and unload into the water.
Just get me to the church on time!
Hundreds of HP pushing back against the Jeeps.
And soon it’s race time! four trial heats, then a race off between the top 8, then the top 4, then the finals. Boats in and out of the water – lots of action and crashes … a good time was had by all.
That’s the Jolly Rogers team … Eric driving, Jana navigating. At the end of the day, Jolly Rogers prevailed with an amazing time of 58.195! They cut all the corners very tight, have the best starts (straight and fast), and don’t make mistakes! This win puts them in the lead of the “Super Mods”. Check it out here.
Here’s the navigator at work – check out the white glove. Turning through the hairpin turns, selecting the direction at each “intersection”, cutting the corners tight … the navigator must memorize every nuance. There were a couple of teams that went the whole day with “DNF” status – that is, did not finish. Took a few wrong turns, they did.
Turn here, NOW.
Notice the starter in the red t-shirt … and look at him run below. In a fraction of a second a boat missed the turn and came crashing his way.
Close call for the starter.
Saved by the bale of hay! It was a day of missed turns … and other misadventures! A challenging course indeed. Below, in a fraction of a second, a boat misses a turn, goes out of the water, flips over and crashes. The safety crew was there in a flash – everybody got out OK.
Turning over …
… turned over …
If you’ve got a truck camper … or any RV, this is a must on your bucket list.
A day in the sun …
… watching skill and speed …
… listening to the roar of the engines, and the crowd.
And for us, when it was all over, and the awards presented, and special rides were complete, then it was time for the 4×4′s.
Yes, after the work, it’s time for Jeeps to play. Wha … is that a Nissan in there?
The “office with a view” again had a great view. There was time in the evening to pick up a few emails, respond to client requests, and sleep soundly. Why, we even needed the heat at night – it got down to 49 degrees!
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