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Parrottrek Journal 2008

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By the pool with a view of the Las Vegas Strip

Charlie followed us from Florida

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October 27th - A Day on the Roof - Las Vegas, Nevada -

Yes it sounds like on odd title of our day, but it was just that. Las Vegas hotels have discovered that they can capitalize on the sunshine at the pools by putting them on the roof. Gary and Kathy, friends from New Hampshire, are here for a week and we spent today with them at The Grand Château. The views from the bar were so expansive of the Las Vegas Strip and after the sun set it was even better. After our dip in the pool we took a walk and had dinner at The Rainforest Café and watched a lioness tear a giant raw hide bone to shreds in the lobby of the hotel.

Kathy and I pose with a huge walking M&M

A lioness plays with her chew toy

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The view from New York, New York

John and Andrea at the Bellagio water show

The water was about as high as the hotel

Outside the Luxor pyramid

November 3rd - A Walk Down the Strip - Las Vegas Nevada -

Since the race is over and John and Andrea are here a couple extra days, the four of us decided to spend the day together in Las Vegas. The weather was nice, a little on the cool side, but since we did a lot of walking, the cool weather was greatly appreciated. We started out at their hotel, New York, New York where we had lunch at a supposed New York style pizzeria. Since we were just in New York a few months back and ate at a real New York pizzeria we can attest that the New York, New York's version is a lot fancier, however the pricing was about the same since everything in New York is very spendy. After lunch we headed over to the Bellagio to watch the water show and then back to the Luxor where we thought we would take in a show, but changed our minds and headed downtown to Fremont Street instead for some bargain gambling and dinner at Tony Roma's. This whole weekend was fun. We had all sorts of friends visiting and got to spend lots of time with each of them. There is only one race left in the NHRA circuit, which is in Pomona in about two weeks and then we are off from racing until early February. Apparently we blinked at some point this year and it all sped by. It's been a wonderful year, but the fastest one yet.

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A fun cake for a belated birthday

The weekend was full of parties

One last breakfast with friends

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November 9th - Who Says California Doesn't Have Tornadoes? -

News bulletin just in "A tornado hit the Santa Ynez Valley today as Frank and Suzy Whitmore entered Highway 246 from the 101."... ... Okay, so our arrival wasn't quite newsworthy, but we did feel as though we were in a tornado as we were delightfully swept all around town visiting as much family as possible with a few friends thrown in as well. It started with a little down time at the RV park and laundry Wednesday night after a long drive from the Vegas race, followed by Thursday afternoon with my parents and an evening attending a dear friend's musical at Santa Barbara City College's Garvin Theatre. While we were on campus, Frank and I grabbed dinner at the old café where we re-met, after being friends in high school, and fell in love (this is where the oohs and aahs are supposed to be heard) The World Goes 'Round was a fabulous musical revue and Kristi was amazing.

The scene of early love and happiness

I was so glad we were able to be in town during one of her final performances. Friday we relocated to a friends house in Santa Ynez and had a little dinner party. Saturday we were able to see most of our family and would have loved to visit more but ran out of time. Sunday we caught up with a few of them and also a dinner with friends that ended in a fun surprise belated birthday party for me. Thanks guys, we all had a great night! We left the Valley bright and early Monday morning for our final race and are now in Pomona, just a few hours south. After this week we will have another break and be able to visit the rest of the family, including our nieces Hayley and Torrie that we unfortunately weren't able to squeeze in. Boo hoo hoo! But we'll be back soon! :-)

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November 12th - Our Last Monster Set-up - Pomona, California -

Today marks the final set up of the final race of the year and the final setup to the final race of our Monster sponsorship. We received news a couple races back that Monster has decided not to renew Kenny's contract and so we say good bye to a car, a driver and a great team of guys. Frank and I are fortunate enough to be able to stay on with Camp Bernstein, however we will be outfitted in Budweiser next year since that sponsorship is staying, for the time in the pits as a spectator. It feels so odd to be back here in Pomona since it feels like just a few months ago we were here for the first race of the year. However this weekend promises to be full of excitement since the Funny Car Champion has not yet been crowned and the top 5 drivers in points all have a shot at it at this moment. The Top Fuel Dragster Champion was crowed at the last race since the Army team and Tony Schumacher mathematically clinched it.

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Kenny gives a tearful goodbye

Cheers to a happy retirement

November 14th - Happy Retirement Tim and Kim - The Final Race -

After 8 years with Kenny Bernstein Racing, tuning the Budweiser, Lucas Oil Dragster, and many many other years of tuning for other car owners, the husband and wife team of Tim and Kim Richards are retiring as the Crew Chiefs. This evening we had a fun goodbye party for them along with the ESPN camera crew to record the festive occasion.  Included in the festivities was a toast where we used the sponsored product instead of champagne. I tried to get a shot of the actual toast as you can see above, but the darn ESPN camera guy bumped me out of the way so it's a little blurred but, you get the idea.

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What a rod usually looks like after a run, minus the autographs of course

A very sad pile of broken engine parts sitting in a broken oil pan

A closer look of the shattered rods

A cracked engine block = OUCH!

November 15th - Going Out With a Bang -

I broke a cardinal rule today, I took pictures at a funeral... a Funny Car funeral to top it off. Our very sad little car went ka-bloowy today half way down the track on the final qualifying round. The upper left photo shows you what a regular run does to a rod... ... pretty much nothing. In fact the part is still intact so much we often have Kenny and Brandon sign it and sell them in the souvenir store. Rods are very solid and quite heavy. Every so often a rod or two might get lodged or forced into the engine block, or torn up a bit and not be able to be separated from the piston, but all eight of todays pistons turned to confetti as the engine block blew up.

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A final shot of the Monster Men

Just a bunch of wacky guys

Between all 20 some teammates between Monster and Budweiser, not a single one of them had ever seen anything quite like this before today. The rods are sitting in the oil pan that also broke apart and the upper far right shot is the engine block that still has 7 of the 8 pistons lodged in it with a broken bottom end. Needless to say the run wasn't successful expensive but not successful.

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November 16th - Fire Watch -

Usually the flames and smoke of our weekends come from the cars on the track and the warm-ups in the Pits. Today's smoke and fire unfortunately came from the many towns all around us that are on fire. As we all pray for the safety of the inhabitants of the homes that have been lost, we realize that loosing your home and it's contents is heart breaking, eve if everyone makes it out safe and sound. I lost an apartment in college due to a fire so I know first hand just how horrible it is to return home to what is no longer a home. Please God, keep everyone safe and help the fires get under control.

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November 18th - Championship Volleyball Game - Solvang, California -

We arrived in town today around noon and hit the ground with both feet running. Our darling niece, Hayley, and her school volleyball team played tonight for the championship trophy. It was so exciting. When the game first began I teased her mom, my sister-in-law, about being so nervous throughout the first half of the first game, after all coming in second place would be an honor for the girls as well. By the end of the first half Frank and I were jumping up and down cheering and screaming for the Solvang team just as loud, if not louder, than proud mother Renee and all the other moms around us. They had to win three out of five games and Dunn, the opposing team, was ranked number 1 in the points so the Warriors had their work cut out for them. The Solvang Warriors won the first two games, by quite a bit, but lost game number three by only two. Once game four started and Dunn was ahead, we all thought it would come down to the wire of game five. Lucky for all of us, and our blood pressure, Solvang came back, got ahead of Dunn in points and finally took victory in game 4! The crowd went wild, since it was a home game and the noise of 15 screaming happy teenagers, although a little ear piercing, was a wonderful sound to hear. To top it all off, Hayley was named MVP of the game and her friend and fellow player Ashley, was named MVP of the tournament. It was a great night. We were so glad to have been able to make it. However the game didn't end till around 11, so we weren't able to go out and celebrate since it was a school night, however I think the adults were far more tired than the girls and looking forward to bed.

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Mr and Mrs. Bernstein

Watch out, these 3 can cause trouble

Suzy, Christine, Chelsea and Diane

The very happy couple

November 22nd - Tracey and Brandon Tie the Knot - Huntington Beach, California -

Since working closely with Tracey for the past two years and listening to all the fun wedding plans come together, this evening was even that much more special. Brandon and Tracey have been planning this event between two years of crazy racing circuit schedules, a new shop going in and relocating their home to Indianapolis, Indiana to help run the new shop of Kenny Bernstein Racing. Needless to say, the newly-weds are greatly looking forward to a week long honeymoon of basking on a private beach as they relax and tune out the world. The ceremony was held at the most beautiful church down in Yorba Linda with the reception overlooking the calm Pacific Ocean at sunset. Once the sun did go down we all went inside to watch the happy couple dance the night away. Frank and I enjoyed catching up with all the girls from the California office, since we only get to see them a couple times a year and always have a great time together. I do have a few incriminating pictures of John Force dancing, but as I told him... ... I'm keeping those for later blackmail material! :-)

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November 23rd - Torrie's Soccer Game - Robb Stadium - University of Santa Barbara, California -

Today's sporting event was watching our other niece, Torrie. Her game of choice is soccer, and she plays with a county wide team. Today they were matched up against the Moorepark team, and were  victorious! Hooray! The game ended 1 to 0, but the suspense was just as great as the volleyball tournament, since most of the game time was spent outside each of the teams goals. They played at the UCSB field, and considering they are all 11 years old, or there abouts, that's an the Thanksgiving weekend is over Torrie's soccer schedule will start back up at some point, including a tournament down in Irvine. We aren't quite sure what our schedule will be that week, but it would fun to attend another game. It's fun to be able to scream and cheer like a little kid again,and feel so proud when they win!

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The old and icky 80's faucet

Bradley helps out

Past the point of no return

TaaDaa!!! New and fabulous!

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November 24th - A New Fun and Fabulous Faucet!!!! - The Bus -

For the past year and a half, I have wanted to get a new faucet for our kitchen in the motorhome. It's always been on the back burner of my mind, until this past month or so. Recently the old sink has been leaky after we turn it off, and considering some times water is a precious commodity in our house on wheels, we decided to hit Home Depot to see what options we had for a new one, besides, listening to the water pump come on at 2am was a bit annoying at times. It felt like Christmas. We walked through the aisles of all the shiny, pretty, new faucets. We measured a few of them to see which one would fit. Keep in mind we do have a sweet bird that likes to perch on the faucet, so we had to make sure there was enough room for him to sit and not bump his head on the light fixtures or cupboards above. Once we found the perfect one, we headed home and handy Frank installed it, with a little help from our feathered

Bradley gives his final approval

friends of course. I can't tell you just how happy I am that my hubby can do anything he sets his mind to, and very well I might add... ...  but don't tell him I said that! Once the old one was out, and the new one in, it looked like a brand new kitchen and best of all, not only did Bradley approve, but the sprayer works, AND I have a soap dispenser. Okay, so I'm easily amused. : - )

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