Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Drove Right By And Didn't Even Have A Clue
If anyone asked me what I "don't" like about La Carrera Panamericana I would have two answers and even though it's easy to understand why these are things that likely will never change I still wish it was different...
First of all it's really too bad drivers and teams don't ever get the time to spend some quality time getting to know each other. Oh sure, we all meet a few people and make some life long friends but when it's all over everyone loads their trailer up and gets back on the road toward home as fast as possible. Like many others who have ran LCP for me it's been two years and I still see faces in photos of people who ran with us and don't have a clue who they are. Sad.
The other thing I regret is simply that we drive the full length of this amazing country so rich in history, beauty and tradition and yet when we get home all we have to show for it is a few lousy trophies and a lot of pictures and stories of a lot of race cars. Sadly we know nothing about the country of the people whom invited us to their country to do something so amazing that is not done anywhere else in the world. Much of the history of many of the very places we raced through and visited is so interesting and yet we fail to stop and smell the roses so to speak.
Take the rock in these photos for example. All of us LCP veterans would recognize it it in a heart-beat as a landmark near Querétaro as would any of those who competed this year. But did you know that rock is called "The Peña de Bernal" and that it's the third largest rock in the world after the Rock of Gibraltar and Sugarloaf Mountain in Río de Janeiro. Now that's hardly just another rock wouldn't you agree?
Peña de Bernal translates to Bernal's Boulder or Bernal Peak and is the second-largest monolith in the world, after Mt. Augustus, Western Australia. At 1150 ft it is also the fourth-tallest monolith in the world, after Mount Augustus, the Rock of Gibraltar and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Many people make a pilgrimage to the highest point hikeable, visiting a little chapel about halfway up. On the Spring equinox, people gather all dressed in white to form a human belt around the monolith.
I feel as if we should know more about these things if nothing else simply out of respect. I have a little book that I bought in the early 70's to take with me on a long drive through Baja. This book pointed out so many points of interest along the way which I could read later and in doing so have even a broader appreciation of the country we passed through. Believe me there is so much more. Wouldn't it be nice if LCP organization made something available with respect to highlights along the specific route for us like that which we could enjoy on the trip down or back home?