Mother Nature vs. Hi Speed

Friday, 10.28.2011

Once Jonathan got his car fully settled and ready to go, he was off to NJMP! For Hugh however, that would be a totally different story. Griff and Hugh began loading up the van and kept their fingers crossed that the weather would stay clear and rain/snow-free. Instead of having to drive back down to Norwalk when they got back, Griff decided to go home and have Hugh pick him up on the way down the next day early.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Saturday, 10.29.2011

As the sun rose early Saturday morning, it stayed close to freezing temperatures, and soon enough snow flurries fell to the frosty ground. This was NOT what anyone wanted. No snow fell in NJMP, just nasty rain making things extra slick on the track.  Hugh, as well as many other racers would not race today due to the severe weather and rainstorms.  Many raced anyway and a few cars left the track that weekend with some crazy battle wounds.  Sunday would be clear and sunny.

Raphael's 996 RSR in the rain on Saturday afternoon...
As the snow got thicker to a point where the flakes were the size of baseballs, Griff told Hugh not to come and pick him up.  The last thing he wanted was to have Hugh drive a van with a trailer and car down the unplowed side roads to get him.  It was not worth the risk as the trip had not even started yet. So Hugh stayed south on I-95 towards the New York line.  Then there was traffic. Tons of it.

There were accidents everywhere as people tended to drive at their normal, everyday pace, which often landed them into a ditch or guardrail.  The traffic lessened for a while then increased once again. After another hour of stopping and going, the fuel pump on the van gave out.  Stranded on the side of the road, Hugh gave his old friend and fellow teammate during the Speedvision days, Tom, a call.

Stuck near the NJ border, Tom travelled all the way down from northern NYC to give Hugh his blue Ford Econoline van.  Rich and Shelby arrived on the scene to assist Hugh in the moving of everything from the broken van to Tom's.  The hookup to the trailer was no issue at all, but because Tom's van was considerably smaller than Hugh's Chevy, it took a whole two hours to transfer all the parts and tools into it.  

"Kind" truckers purposely drove close to Hugh and everyone, kicking up wet, cold snow onto them.  Real nice guys! 

The next issue would be how to get the Chevy safely off the highway and to a location where the fuel pump could be mended.  Hugh began calling any and every towing company possible but no luck. Apparently, Hugh had to contact the state police in order to get a flatbed to him.  That took another 30+ minutes just for the state policeman to arrive due to the severe traffic problems.  Once he accessed the situation, he contacted a local towing company. 

Hugh requested that the van be brought to a local Advance Auto Parts, but the tow truck man insisted that he bring it to his own shop.  After some words, the man then agreed to bring the van to the Advance Auto Parts in Hackensack, NJ.  Unfortunately, the snow had not let up and was coming down even harder than before.  There was no chance of Hugh being able to drop the tank and change the fuel pump in this weather.  He would have definitely gotten seriously sick being out in the cold underneath the van.  Thankfully, The manager at AAP kindly allowed the soaked and exhausted Hugh to leave the van there until he came back from the track.

Things were looking up for Hugh as he finally continued underway towards Millville.  By now it was past 8:00pm.  He had been on the road already for 11 hours, and still had another two hours to go at the rate he was going with the traffic.  Well, the traffic got worse as he headed down and by midnight, Hugh finally arrived at The Days Inn.  It took a whopping 15 hours to get there.  But the bad luck was not over yet...

A snow-battered Green Monster arrives in Millville...
Strolling towards the front desk, Hugh signed in.  He was stunned to find out that they had canceled his reservation since he had not gotten there in time. 

"I was tired, exhausted, and soaked and all I wanted to do was sleep."  After this awful day of obstacles, problems, and nasty weather, Hugh struck a wave of good luck.  A lady had come into the main lobby and was signing out ahead of time rather than in the morning.  She overheard the conversation between Hugh and the front desk attendant and offered him her room.  It was already made up and there was fresh food in there as well.  What a day!


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