FALL MUSINGS

Duluth Grass Drags

I’m actually cold. Cold enough to have to put on a sweater. As I write this, I have a hot mug of coffee in my Hall of Fame custom mug to sip on. That has become my favorite mug ever. It’s got a fat bottom so more coffee goes in my face instead of on my shirt and my desk. Plus it’s made in Wisconsin – not China. Lately I’ve randomly decided to not eat from anything made in China. No reason. Just seems like a good idea. Did I mention I was cold? I like being cold after what felt like the hottest and muggiest damn summer I can remember.

Cold. For the first time in months, I feel like heading out for some Quality Garage Time (QGT™). But to my astonishment, I have no projects out there. Nothing, Nada, Zip. And the garage actually clean (GASP!). Why no projects? No time right now.

Three things are going on to keep me from relaxing out in the shop. One, my normal business is growing – fast. We must be doing something right, because customers keep sending us more customers. And our customers keep getting real results, and that makes me happy. For example, we recently did this website: Smilemn.com Shortly after launching the site, their reservations from the website increased 393.33%! Man does that make me happy.

Two, over the last few years we’ve dug into a new programming language (for us anyway) called Ruby on Rails. I cannot tell you how much this has made me love programming again. I was burned out on it. Now? Can’t wait to dig into it. We have three big projects under our belt now using ROR, and we are looking forward to a lot more.

Third and not the least important, is that I am thrilled to announce I have finished my five year project to write a book about the Polaris Race Team. It is still being edited, but I sent out a few review copies two weeks ago – and they all came back with glowing reviews. The goal now is to get all the editing and pre-print work done so that Star Fire Kids (Midnight Blue Express) will be available for the first time at the race in Beausejour in March of 2012.

That’s still a very ambitious goal given how much work is left, but I feel pretty strong that I can get ‘er done.

What’s Star Fire Kids about? I cover how David Johnson built the first machine at Polaris, and how they really did start racing when the second one was completed. Bob Eastman’s story runs throughout the book, as does the story of Jerry Bunke, and all the great racers in between – from Randy Hites, to Jim Bernat, Burt Bassett, Leroy Lindblad, Don Omdahl, Brad Hulings, Steve Thorsen… and of course Larry Rugland. You’ll also get to know all the people behind the racers like Arlyn Saage, Darrell Courtright and a lot more.

Not a Polaris fan? Don’t worry. There is lots of stories in there about Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and Mercury – as they all tie into Polaris racing.

I sure appreciate everyone’s patience on this. Had someone told me it would take this long and I would be putting in all these hours, I probably would never have started doing it. But it is one of those things I have always wanted to do, and getting near the finish line is like getting several adrenalin shots all at once. I did get some really good advice when I got started from none other than the late C.J. Ramstad: "It’s not hard to decide what to put in. It’s really hard to decide what to leave out". I wish C.J. were still around so I could tell home out true that turned out to be!

If you’d like to see a lot more pictures now, head on over to the Facbook page I set up for the book… and please, please, please hit that "Like" button!

I’m going to take a little break today… the nephews are all headed this way and we are going to nerd out at the Renaissance Festival. I’m going to spend the day eating way too much, watching the nephews do battle, stare at the busty wenches, watch the comedy shows and embrace my inner geek!

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