Friday, June 17, 2016

A day at the Museum

Going back to school at 40 to become a motorcycle mechanic wasn't something I'd have believed I'd be doing even five years ago, but now I'm 41 and in the home stretch. The last day of classes is July 19th and it's starting to become a little too real. I get up around 6:00 am, ride to school, do whatever I have to do there until 1:20, then ride to work. I try to get to work as close to 2:00 pm as possible, work until 10:00 pm, then go home. By the time I drift off to sleep it's usually midnight or later. The next day, I repeat the same routine. Weekends have never been such a welcome relief.

So today was a nice break from the norm. Instead of normal classes, we met at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing for a field trip. There weren't a ton of motorcycle related exhibits, but the history of motorsports in Central Pennsylvania was beyond cool.

The above pictured bike was actually raced by one of the instructors at YTI-MTC in an endurance competition. It was interesting to hear him tell about it and see the actual bike in person. There were a few other bikes, but most of the museum was dedicated to auto racing and the development of the sprint car.

There were a few early NASCAR racers and a good bit of memorobilia, but the most anticipated bit for me was the dirt flat-track on the grounds.

While we were looking at the exhibits, the tour guide spoke about the track and even suggested we could go around it if we wanted, so long as we didn't damage the fences. This was what I'd been hoping to hear, and as soon as the tour was over, I and a few other students went down to the track to try it out.

I discovered something about dirt tracks and scooters today that I suspected but had never tested; they don't mix well, at least not with street tires, and especially not after a recent rain. Heading out onto the track, all seemed well, but despite a moderate speed, the rear wheel went out on me and the scoot fishtailed around like a mad trout. I made it about a third of the way around before the rear wheel just wouldn't cooperate and I had to go back to the gate on the grass. I was extremely entertained just the same. I wish I'd remembered to mount my phone for some video, but wish in one hand...

Of course, our fun was cut short by a volunteer who hadn't received the memo from the tour guide that we were allowed to take a run around the track, and lit into one of the other students.

After leaving the museum and fair grounds, I and two of the other students stopped in for lunch at a Sheetz about ten miles away and discovered we had quite a bit of mud on our plastics. One of the bikes, a Honda CBR, had mud all up in the engine and a fair amount in the fairings.

After work tonight, I stopped to get my wife an anniversary gift,  The sky was so lovely I had to take a photo. Today was a good day. Maybe once I've gotten my feet back under me, I can set up a dirt track bike and go back to that track in York Springs. One little dream I have, and one I don't know if I'll ever fulfill, is to race a motorcycle, just once in a real race. At least for now I can say I was on a track, and chuckle to myself at the results.

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