18 JANUARY 2018 scca.com
he only thing that isn’t terrific
about where I live on Lake Lanier,
almost anywhere! If you can get to the
gate. Some days, that’s a big if.
For one, it was Halloween. A
celebration of spirits, spooks, skeletons
and spider webs. There had to be a
bad moon risin’. Gremlins. And I don’t
mean chopped-off AMC Hornets.
In my semi-retired-pro-but-still-
life, one of my new waves has been a
wonderful relationship with Motor
Trend as writer, video host, and best of
all, track test hot lapper. To this end,
I am off tonight to Circuit Paul Ricard,
near Marseille, France, to track test the
new AMG GT4 racecar, and then private
jetting to Affalterbach, Germany, by
way of Stuttgart to tour the AMG
production facilities and Mercedes
Museum. Wow! If I can get to the gate.
So, here I am checking traffic on my
one-hour drive to the friendly skies,
with an extra hour of cushion, and I’m
staring at a traffic map of bloodshot
red. The evil spirits of the day have
played mischief on the 285 beltway,
and even Waze has no way around it,
having plugged the side streets, too.
My cushion melts away, exacerbated
by my missing the early shortcut exit
for the international terminal and
forcing me to my fallback parking
strategy, in the blazing sun at airport
economy rather than my cozy
covered off-campus discount spot.
“I am really quite late, ma’am,”
I politely plead to the shuttle driver,
to which she responds, “Just one
more customer,” and wanders
around the next aisle until she finds
one – meanwhile, I watch the clock
tick away another couple of precious
minutes. I’m reminded of a sign I used to
see in grimy old-school machine shops:
“Lack of planning on your part fails to
constitute an emergency on our part.”
And, say, doesn’t Delta International
cut off bag check a little sooner
than domestic? Sinking feeling....
Finally arriving at departures,
I grab my bags (no tip for you, babe),
and leap off the bus for the skycap,
flashing my wallet. These guys are
fixers, right? “Too late, just missed it,”
he says, “but try them inside.” Really?
I thought you knew all the tricks,
hmmph , and I zip to Sky Priority.
Where I’m A Somebody.
It’s Tuesday, Halloween, light travel
load, no line, hooray! “Oh, you did your
check-in already? That’s a big help,”
says the agent. (Really? Just a click on
my Delta app?) “We’ve got you
covered, Mr. Pahpst, don’t you worry.”
Whew, made it, what a relief. That was
a close one. Dang Atlanta traffic.
Breathing easier, I head for
security, and then start to feel light.
Know what I mean? Like something’s
missing. My scarf. My beautiful, long,
2-TIME RUNOFFS NATIONAL CHAMPION
2-TIME SOLO NATIONAL CHAMPION
4-TIME PROSOLO CHAMPION
4-TIME WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPION
2-TIME ROLEX 24 GT WINNER
HALLOWEEN TRAVEL HELL
“I’m reminded of a sign I used to see...
lack of planning on your part fails to
constitute an emergency on our part”