The hill climb is over, but click the pics anyway.
I spent some time with the flagman at the finish line, you can see the timer that times each drivers run sitting on the tripod. He has a tough job. Even though the timers are automatic so he actually doesn't have to be there, its tradition that racers get the checkered flag when they finish the race so he is there just to continue that tradition.
It's been a low 90s since I got back from the mountains, and it looks like it's going to be that way for the next ten days.
I've been looking on the Internet for slide-in truck campers for sale in the area, mainly to see what things cost. But also to find out if there are truck campers that are more suitable for full-timing instead of vacation camping, which, by the way, is how I've always looked at slide-in truck campers.
And so far, in general, it appears that truck campers that are set up to be suitable for full-timing are, as you would expect, the humongous 4000-pound models with three slides. Even if I had a truck capable of carrying something like that... Which I don't; I doubt I would enjoy driving around with something that heavy.
And it appears that the more inexpensive, lighter models are designed to get you to the lake on weekends and keep you reasonably comfortable for a short period of time.
Now that doesn't mean you can't live in one of the lighter models full-time, but it probably means creature comforts are going to be few, and repairs after years of driving on beat-up boondocking roads might be many.
I'm not looking for a new truck camper, but I can't help running into them on the Internet, and there's just no way on this earth that I would pay $50,000 or more for a slide-in truck camper. There just can't be that much materials and labor that goes into building one of those things.
I've seen new ones that cost more than my 30 foot Arctic Fox that will fit in the bed of a short-bed pickup truck! I don't know-how in the world they justify a price like that. But spending many years in business, I realize they don't have to justify it; they just have to convince people it's worth it.
I don't think I would want to stand there all day just to wave the checkered flag to each contestant. It's fairly dangerous, those cars are fishtailing up that narrow dirt road going just as fast as they can go on that short straightaway and there only a few feet from him when they go flying by, often showering him with gravel.
When the racers get to the top of the mountain they line up and wait for everyone to get to the top so they can all go back down together.
On the way back down from the top of the mountain the finish line flagman is the first one to greet the racers and let them know we all appreciate what they do.
Then way too soon it's all over, peace and quiet descends on the mountains and it starts to feel like the high lonesome once again. The racers are loading up their race cars, packing up their campers, and saying their goodbyes.
Me? For the past couple of days I felt like a part of the racing family. This extended family of car and motorcycle aficionados that had rather drive these twisty mountain roads than eat or sleep. But now that the parties over I feel like an outsider looking in a window, watching and taking pictures of someone else's life..... Always an observer, never a participant. Forever on the outside looking in.