Friday, November 09, 2007
Some of us are Indians and some are chiefs
I don't refer to the La Carrera Panamericana as an event because as anyone who has taken part in it knows, it's far from just another event. Without a doubt it's an adventure. While I was on a hunting safari in Africa the Swahili's told me Safari is a Swahili word that means journey.
What I have realized since then is that there are many kinds of journeys. Many people go on journeys and in doing so they take some pictures, eat some food and write home about all that they are enjoying. However, when not just anyone, but in fact when a racer makes the trek to compete in the La Carrera Panamericana they have set out on a journey that far exceeds any other. Of course there are the typical photos, food and postcard opportunities but this journey far exceeds any of those. This will be a journey that takes each of us on a soul searching adventure of a lifetime no matter how many times they go. Our unconscious feeds on the dreams, fantasies and reality of these coming to life. It will take your emotions thru highs and lows. It will test one's endurance... something that doesn't happen when you go to Disneyland. It will test your desire to be the best or at very least it will shove reality in your face. This journey will take you to another time and place, one that can't be tested prior on some track and not even reading about it or photos will do it any justice. It is a journey that only you can trully apreciate after having endured it. Nobody really survives this journey but instead they are allowed to go home knowing they are somehow better off for having attempted to survive it.
As is the case in any adventure there is always someone who got our minds wrapped around the possibility of taking part in such a dream and all too many times those are the ones who never get the credit they ultimately deserve. I have a good friend who was building a car to compete in the La Carrera Panamericana a few years ago and that was when I first became interested in the Mexican Race. But there was another man who really set the hook and began reeling me in. It was none other than Gerie Bledso. Gerie didn't just tell me about the race, but in fact as he calmly talks about the race his eyes reach into your very soul and pull at whatever it is that drives a man crazy with desire to get behind the wheel and drive on the very roads that he talks about.
If it were not for Gerie Bledso I would never have competed in this race and in reality, without him it would have almost been impossible to at least done it with any organization. Gerie was always on the phone within a few rings of the phone or replying to my many e-mails within moments and he answered every single question not only quickly but with the best possible responses available. Gerie's relentless barrage on my attack of redundant inquires made it entirely possible for me to not only end up with a safe adventure but everything I planed went off without a hitch. Not too many can say the same when going to a foreign land for three weeks.
And after I paid my fees Gerie's attention to detail didn't end there either. He led the Coyote Convoy the same as a general would take his men into battle never leaving one behind. When we got to the border not only did he walk me across the border like a little boy but he stayed late into the night until every last one of us had their issues dealt with, several of which may very well have not been resolved without his leadership.
From there on out he led the way all the time making sure each one us had everything we needed, taking the time to give us educational information about wherever we happen to be along the way. He made sure we knew what watering holes were the best and what was best to see and do. The bottom line is Gerie Bledso was one of the main reasons for my personal adventure being as awesome as it was.
When we got to Oaxaca the first phone call I got in my hotel room was Gerie asking if I had everything I needed and the very last phone call I got when I got home was Gerie making sure I was home safe. How can I explain how much that means to me.... the words escape me. On the morning when they began the tech inspections I was the first car in line and many were whispering, "I sure wouldn't want to be first in line. They will probably really look hard and find things that you may regret." But here came Gerie and he walked right up the head inspector with a huge confident smile and said, "Is this one #$%%#*((* beautiful car or what!" It seemed to really put things in perspective for not only the inspectors but for the drivers and teams as well and between you and me I don't think it was an accident either.
There were countless other times that Gerie's attention to detail helped get'er done and while I don't want it to sound like I can't wipe my own butt but if it were not for Gerie Bledso our trip would most certainly not have been the success that it was. Gerie is without a doubt a charmer but when all is said and done he's a real man's man. Gerie, thank you from Team California's Best and all that you do prior, during and after the adventure. May many other in future years be so lucky to enjoy the fruits of your love and labor.
For me the top photo above pretty much says it all. This is the guy who walked around all day making sure everyone was ok and having a great time.