Several old sayings come to mind, perhaps the most appropriate is 'Patience is a Virtue'. The RX-7 still sits in the driveway on blocks, although we are pecking away at the remaining work. Now I'm beginning to understand why people take loans to build a race car, or perhaps I set my sights too high, thinking we could finish the car in three months. In any case, this has been a learning experience.

The latest setback occurred in early May. Geoffery woke me up at 3:00 AM with extreme stomach cramps and we drove to the emergency room. Before it was over, his appendix had burst, requiring emergency surgery and a one-week hospital stay. The good thing is he doesn't remember much about that week, just the last two days. Demoral will do that to you. At times I wish I could have sampled it's effects, it's tough to watch your child laying in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of consciousness. For the first time in months, the RX-7 never crossed my mind.

So, now that Geoff's recovery is complete, the only lasting effect is ,of course, financial. I've got pretty good medical coverage through work, and it has an out-of-pocket limit, but I wish it was lower because we maxed out. It's a lot of money, but $2250 is much better than the $35,000 total of all the bills. All in all, a small price to pay for Geoff's health.

Even though we've had some downtime, we have progressed somewhat. We sent measurements to Chassis Engineering for the roll cage and I drove down and picked it up. They have a pretty impressive facility, and customer service that is great. They can bend a roll cage while you wait, and it's not a long wait. The cage is mostly installed, and I plan to finish welding the last bars in place this weekend. We have rear brakes ready to install, and the master cylinder and line lock are in place. We also picked up a Moroso electric water pump because we couldn't pass up the deal for $40. That will make between-rounds cooling much easier. We installed a Mr.Gasket pan evacuation system because the puke tube to the intake manifold just doesn't work at wide open throttle. Lastly, we installed a CB radio in the car so I can talk to Geoff before and after he makes a pass. I modified a Radio Shack CB to take a hands-free cell phone headset that fits great under his helmet. He can hear perfectly with the motor running, and his helmet blocks the engine noise when he is talking. I called NHRA before installing the radio to make sure it is legal, and it is, for now. We are making progress, albeit slower than I had planned, but the end is in sight. We are now down to just the axles, drive shaft and front runners. I'm thinking it will be done before the end of the year, but I probably just jinxed myself for saying that. I hope not.

We also built a cool little charger for between rounds, since we will be running the water pump and electric fan. We acquired an old broken gas engined edger for nothing. I mounted an old RX-7 alternator on it and it works great! I found out that an alternator works fine spinning in the opposite direction. It's portable, has wheels and is fairly light. I'd like to take credit for this little marvel, but I saw another racer using one at the track and couldn't resist making a copy.

Finally, the drag racing fever overtook me and I decided to run the pickup truck at the points meet at Orlando Speed World last month. It was a blast, I went four rounds before losing on a .607 reaction time in the fifth round, my worst of the night. I finished in the money and got my entry fee back, so needless to say I was pretty happy since I haven't actually raced in twelve years. Oh yeah, that was before 'buy backs'. Man, now it's like racing two first rounds! There were just as many cars in the second round as there were in the first! But it gave Geoff a little motivation too, he's GOT to show up the old man now. He would have raced his RX-7 street car, but the tranny shifts so poorly that he figured it would just be a waste of his entry fee. I tend to agree, it's hard to get any consistency granny shifting.

Well, that's the latest for this installment. Hopefully, the next post will be in the very near future, with the car finished.

And maybe I'll have a better camera by then.....sorry for the crummy shots.
Here are a few pictures of the nearly completed roll cage.

A shot from the driver side

A shot from the passenger side

A shot through the hatch

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