Ted’s essays

feeling liberated

I am very definitely not average in my appreciation or abilities in the universe of driving. I was racing and more importantly, understanding motorized vehicles and their performance capabilities as a rug rat. I read about auto racing, designed and built race tracks, and I raced various vehicles around them before normal kids went to first grade.

I resisted thinking that my skills or nature made me an exceptional driver for decades in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. I regularly out-performed people in superior equipment as well as consistently achieving lower lap times than they did in their own vehicles on my first drive with unfamiliar equipment when they offered me drives in them.

Seven decades into my life and I finally realize that I did indeed have at least THAT ONE natural gift. Circumstances did not set it up for proper expression, but I AM A DRIVER… While I am particularly fond of the race cars, sports cars and cafe’ racer motorcycles that I have experienced on road and track, the natural ability has proven to transfer quite well to commercial trucks, tractors and other driven motorized equipment whether I’m carving corners or grading building pads.

I am quite happy to grant other people their liberty to drive within their own capabilities and that of their vehicles, in fact I quite prefer it. The occasional driver whose frail ego is assaulted by my greater speed is hazardous to me, them and the rest of the motoring public in the vicinity when they feel compelled to keep up or attempt to block my passage.

Yesterday I was the second car back behind a pickup truck whose driver was so inattentive to the job of driving that he wandered randomly and constantly between 67 and 73 mph in a 70 mph zone. Gosh! I could live with one or the other, but for those of us trapped behind him to be required by his thoughtless mandates to constantly adjust our speeds is highly offensive.

In the 17-mile stretch from Hamilton to Darby is one, and only one passing lane on an uphill stretch. With oncoming traffic preventing my getting this incoherent driver behind me before then, I really looked forward to the passing lane. I dropped into 4th (high revs in 3rd would have been more radical than I deemed necessary) and moved past the car between me and the incoherent pickup truck.

Sadly, the frail-ego driver of the pumped-up pickup with the kneeling-Christian tailgate decoration could not tolerate my overtaking him. Black smoke billowed from the oversized exhaust of his modified diesel pickup as he put his all into preventing my passage. I was handicapped by a couple hundred pounds of shopping from my trip north and that I did not take him seriously enough to drop down another gear. It was a tie at the end of the passing lane.

I backed off. The SOB immediately went back to his random 67-72 mph inattentive driving pattern. The next several miles put me under his control. Yeah, if I had taken the challenge seriously I could have gotten by, but it simply was not worth the energy. Karma will catch up with that almost-Christian idiot. He subtracted a minute or two from my life. No big deal… or so I constantly reminded myself as he controlled my progress and fettered my driving liberty.

The two video clips above are me celebrating driving freedom along with a friend who either trusts me completely, is fearless, or both.

Once upon a time Montana had a speed limit defined as “safe and reasonable”. I continue to obey that one… as you can see in the video clips above. Oh yeah, those numbers on those ‘advisory’ signs are good for motor homes and cement trucks. Not really relevant to high-performance sports cars and real drivers.

Post script: Since this video was recorded, I did replace the severely pitted windshield, updated the muffler, and upgraded the tires to modern state-of-the-art, good for another 5-mph per corner.