A few years ago, after I finally got Pokey, my ’72 Volkswagen put back together, I took a road-trip up to Effingham, IL with my friend Todd from the VW club. We decided since neither of us had ever been to the MidAmerica Motorworks Fun Fest, we should go and with Pokey done, it was the perfect time.
On Friday night, there was a cruise from the show site through the country side that ended up on the town square. As I was taking pictures of the cars, I snapped a few pics of this old courthouse building as the sun was setting. Someone at YellowBook must’ve found it on Flickr.com since they emailed me asking if they could add it to the list of photos they were considering for use on the cover of their next phone book. I said sure, as long as I got photo credit and a copy of the finished book if they chose my photo. I never thought I’d see anything, but when Joy and I came home last night and I got the mail, I saw the shrink-wrapped phonebook. I almost tossed it since we never use phone books but then I remembered the email. I tore the plastic off and sure enough, there was my photo of the courthouse! I flipped to the first page and there was my name under the photo credit. Sweet!
Back in August I posted about my lunch date with Google Street View. I had driven my bright orange Volkswage Beetle, Pokey, to work and was out to get some lunch. While I was stopped at a traffic light, I saw the Google Street View car drive past so on green, I took off and tried to chase him down so I could get Pokey on the Google maps. Well it looks like the photos from the area the GSV car (and I) had driven have finally been uploaded (thanks for the heads up CG!).
I retraced my route from that day, click a hundred yards or so down the road, then spinning around. It seems the GSV car had driven that area multiple times during the day because you could click on the other side of the road (in the oncoming lane) and switch to different scenery. The shadows from the light poles and under cars leads me to believe that there’s probably several hours difference in the time the photos were taken.
I had all but given up the search since I hadn’t found anything, then I got close to where I snapped the picture of the GSV vehicle. Then I saw that beautiful orange vehicle! It was small, and slightly blurred and for some odd reason, only in one frame, but here’s Pokey as seen from Google Street View:
So I took a late lunch today (late for me, anyway) and as I pulled up to the light at Wynn Drive and University Drive, I spotted a Google Street View car driving down Wynn on the other side of University. I was driving Pokey today so I decided it was a perfect time for some GSVS – Google Street View Stalking!
As the light turned green, I dropped the hammer and unleashed all 60 of Pokey’s ponies. I quickly turned down Boardwalk and cut through University Square and picked up Wynn again. I turned left and sped up the hill only to see the GSV car turn onto Adventist Blvd near Oakwood. I got caught by the light but once it turned green I turned down Adventist Blvd too, hoping to catch him again at Research Park Blvd (the RPB). As I crested the hill, he was no where to be seen. The light was green so I cruised under the RPB and quickly did a 180° in the parking lot of the 911 call center. As I was returning to the intersection of Oakwood Rd and RPB, the GSV car was coming right at me! So I waited for oncoming traffic to stop and busted another 180. The GSV car ALSO did a 180 at the 911 call center and we passed each other again. At the stoplight, I watched in my rear-view mirror as the GSV car turned right onto the RPB service road so I turned left onto Old Monrovia Rd hoping to see him one more time and get on camera. Our paths crossed again where Old Monrovia goes under RPB. He was doing a U-turn onto Rideout Drive but I managed to take a quick picture before driving past:
I should have been captured several times and in my bright orange Beetle, I should be pretty easy to find. I guess I’ll have to check out Google Street View for that area in about 6 months. According to an anonymous GSV driver that was interviewed on Jalopnik, that’s about how long it takes for Google to update their maps.
Here’s some other interesting facts I learned about Google Street View from the interview:
GSV drivers don’t actually work for Google. They work for a 3rd party company that is contracted by Google.
Drivers are not allowed to carry cell phones when they drive.
They don’t always have a set route to drive, just a data quota to meet each day.
They’re used to pranks and being mooned. If they see anything vulgar or obscene, they just delete the photos from that area and re-scan it later.
GSV drivers are usually locals hired through Craigslist ads. So if you’re 21 or older and have a spotless driving record, check out Craigslist often and you could be a Google Street View driver too!
Been kind of a busy week this week, but not the “We got a whole lot done” kinda week. It was more of a “Finally made it home, let me eat something and relax for a few hours before bed.” I had a Volkswagen club meeting on Tuesday so I spent Monday night getting paperwork ready for our charity car show next month, Bug’n in July. Since I was on a Volkswagen kick and I was at the computer, I decided to spruce up the club website. I had to switch to a new theme awhile back when WordPress did a major update and I never got around to styling it. I added a funky, retro background, switched to a dark theme, and rearranged the widgets. Check it out:
Since there were only three of us at the club meeting and we all drove our Bugs, we decided after the meeting to go on a cruise. We drove through Madison, down University Drive and cruised up to Monte Sano park via the twisty Bankhead Parkway! It’s been way too long since I’ve been up that road. We had an absolute blast. Fast cars are nice, but there’s just something about drive a slower car fast that’s more fun. Here we are the scenic overlook ready to cruise back down:
I decided on the way back down the “mountain” that I like hill climbs better, at least in Pokey. The brake pedal is a little too close to the driver for good heel-toe downshifts. I gotta say, the new disc brakes sure worked great. Maybe once I get the front ride height the way I want and I put in a thicker anti-sway bar, I’ll talk the club into hitting Deal’s Gap in Tennessee and riding the Tail of the Dragon!
Back in the garden
Our square foot garden is doing pretty well. The bush beans still don’t seem to be fairing too well. Their leaves are still pretty dry and they’re shriveling up. We have the sprinklers in the backyard watering the lawn for 15 minutes during the middle of the night. I don’t think it’s enough. We’re probably going to have to hand water the garden every night, a task I actually enjoy because it lets me get up close to garden and check out it’s progress. Speaking of progress, let me show some pictures of the kids!
And finally, we found another “pest” in our garden, dogs. Joy went out to admire the garden and found paw prints and divots near the lettuce and spinach. We had planned on building our tomato trellis this weekend, but now it looks like we’ll also be constructing some “critter cages” to keep the junior farmers out.
Last weekend my friend Todd and I drove Pokey up to Effingham, IL for MidAmerica Motorworks 15th Annual Funfest. I had never been before and I’ve always been curious to see what this show was all about. It was going to be a bit of a trek, about 421 miles each way–that’s about twice as far away as my previous road trip in Pokey to Carrollton, GA.
We’d planned to stay at Camp Lakewood in Todd’s VW camper van “Daisy”, but rain was forecast for our trip up and Todd said that if he drove Daisy in the rain, there was no seal under the fiberglass top and our sleeping are would get soaked. So I made reservations at a hotel and both rode in my car. I think we were both a little nervous at first, since I had just finished restoring Pokey about 2 months ago and the longest trip he had under his belt was to Birmingham.
The drive up to Illinois was pretty smooth but we did have a few interesting things happen along the way. We were just outside of Athens and following a semi when one of the semi trailer’s tires exploded in front of us. Thankfully there was no one in the adjacent lane and we swerved over to the left and avoided any tire shrapnel.
As we got closer to Nashville, it started to sprinkle. That’s not unusual in itself, but we started noticing dark blue rain drops on the windshield. I don’t have a windshield washer tank, so it wasn’t leaking from me. We pulled off at the first exit and noticed this blue fluid was all over my hood too! We quickly wiped it off with some shop rags and detail spray and then headed back onto the highway.
As we were driving through Kentucky, the needle on my speedometer starting dancing back and forth about 5mph. About 15 minutes later, I looked down and the needle was stuck at 0. The speedometer cable must have broken at some point.
We made it into Effingham about 3:30pm, dropped our luggage in the hotel, gassed up Pokey and headed over to MidAmerica’s HQ to line up for the Fun Run. Thankfully the rain held off for the rest of the evening and we enjoyed a scenic 12 mile cruise to the Effingham town square. I’d never been in cruise with over 50 Volkswagens and we even had Effingham police blocking off interections for us!
Once everyone got to the square, we took over every available parking space! There were food vendors and giveaway tents and Todd and I had a “Flaming Goat” burger from Gabby Goat. It’s a beef patty with goat cheese, grilled onions, jalapenos, and Sriracha sauce. It was probably the tastiest thing I ate all weekend! We ran into some friends we knew from our local VW scene and after the cruise-in, went to a local pizza joint for a late snack.
Then the severe weather started to roll in. We ate pretty quick, paid our bill, and went back to the hotel. We dodged most of the heavy stuff and just got a lot of rain. On Saturday morning, after we washed Pokey, we noticed that the passenger side of my floorboard was soaked. We dried it the best we could, left the windows cracked, and went out to enjoy the show at MidAmerica.
There were lots and lots of beautiful VWs at the show. We were told by a few people that the turnout was actually pretty light because of the threat of weather. It certainly didn’t keep a lot of the dune buggy owners at home! We found a tent where they were showing a documentary on the VW Bus and waited out the rain there. Then we went to the Fun Dome where you could buy VW swag (t-shirts, books, and water bottles) and found three of the movie Herbies!
They also had Frankenstein’s car from the original Death Race 2000 movie that David Carradine drove!
Saturday night we met up with our friends again and ate at a great place called Firefly grill. It was very fancy and very pricey. I had a $13 cheeseburger topped with Saint Andre cheese, bacon, and a fried egg served on a pretzel bun. It was almost as good as my Flaming Goat burger. Almost. We also sampled Poutine before our entrees arrived. This dish is very popular in Canada. It’s french fries covered in gravy, bacon, and cheese sauce. It was practically a meal in itself!
On Sunday, we got up late, ate breakfast, and hit the show one last time. Since Pokey was all shiny, we took advantage of a few of the photo opportunities they had in front of the MidAmerica HQ and then hit the road.
With no rain, temps in the low 70’s, and the speedo cable still broke, we had a very cool, almost zen-like, laid-back trip home. We couldn’t tell how fast we were going and we really didn’t care. There was some road construction in Kentucky and a pretty nasty dip in the road that we hit at 65 mph. It would’ve been pretty jarring in any car, but in a lowered Beetle, it was downright teeth shattering. Luckily it don’t do any damage but Pokey did use his framehead to take a large bite out of the asphalt. I think there’s still a few pieces of Kentucky blue asphalt stuck underneath my car!
I was so proud of Pokey for doing as well as he did on the trip and I think Todd was pleasantly surprised too. It’s too bad more folks from the NAVWC didn’t join us. We had a great time and will definitely go back to another Funfest, maybe when clear skies are forecast.