therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/20/16 11:58 a.m.

Although I live in far away northern Sweden, I am blessed with family (wifes sister, with husband - my brother-in-crime - eh law, dog and Jaguar) in the US. Add to that, the fact that my part time job with amateur built vehicle inspections sometimes brings me to the US for study and exchange trips, I have been fortunate enough to have some really nice motoring experiences in the US.

So far there has been a semi-spontaneus Ford/Mercury Capri meet at the top of Mt Tamalpais, Wednesday night drags at Infineon (convinced brother-in-law to race his S-type R) and a quick stop at Laguna Seca (or Mazda Raceway). Then there was the superb trip to Bonneville Speed Week in 2010 (where we also got to visit Jay Lenos garage), and a couple of years ago me and said brother-in-law (Marion) accidently walked into Reggie Jacksons collection of classics (including Mr Jackson himself).

By some luck I had the chance to bring Marion to Jay Leno so we have shared a number of experiences. But one of the greatest things I have done, is the SEMA Show in 2010. Ever since, Marion has wanted to go too.

Last year we started to make the plans to finally make it come true. Every few years, the SEMA show coincides with the Swedish autumn break for the schools. That means the family can come along to the US. And now, with Norwegian flying direct from Stockholm to both Oakland (where family lives) and Las Vegas, meant that there was a very real chance of making the trip rather affordable and "smooth".

If you book enough in advance, that is. Which of course, I did not.

However, after a summer holiday (when the US family visited Sweden) and I had to work a lot during my vacation, I was fed up. So I decided to go on my own, flying a less smooth and cheap route. Now we could plan for another thing we had secretly (or not so secretly in fact) wished for;

A guys only vacation! In Vegas! With cars! And steaks! And beer?

I ordered the flight tickets, and performed the registration, back in late July.

Stay tuned, perhaps...

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/22/16 1:27 a.m.

So, the plans are to fly into SFO (leaving SkellefteƄ/SFT on the "fakir flight" at 6.30 am, through Stockholm/ARN and Copenhagen/CPH) on the 28th of October, and then we have flights to Las Vegas on November 1st and back to SFO on the 4th. The evening of the 5th I fly back home to Sweden.

This means I have a couple of days in San Francisco with both "in-laws" (my wife's sister and her husband). There is no firm schedule yet for those days - I have been to the Bay area a number of times so I guess we will hang with some friends and perhaps do some shopping.

Oh, by the way, shopping. Everytime I go to the US I turn into a shopaholic. The freaky thing, is that I do it in two very diverse directions. I am drawn to some outletishly cheapish designer clothing and I love going to Macy's pretending I am prepared to spend a seasons racing budget on a classy suit (which of course I am not, I may have some strokes of vanity but not insanity. I think). I usuallu come home with a bit more than planned. But the real addiction is of course car parts. Usually the credit card will get to do a decent workout at places like DIY Autotune or Pegasus Racing. This time, I have ordered a large pane mirror for the endurance racer, and a Fluidampr pulley for the Capri.

Of course, Fluidampr does not produce a pulley for a Pinto block with Cosworth YB sump and trigger wheel, and poly-V belts. But they do produce one for the MazdaFord V6 in the Maverick SUV (!). By some strange coincident, the measurements seem to match scaringly well.

I really want to look at a new racing helmet too but I an unsure where to look (need to be able to try it on) and I am not sure if the budget stretches far enough. But if someone has hints on a good racers outlet in the Bay Area, let me know.

But back to the trip plans.

I let Marion be in charge of the accomodation in Vegas, he likes picking a hotel and I was not gonna take that away from him. So he picked a suite at the Encore (hey, it's close to the convention centre, I'm not complaining).

So then it was mostly a matter of waiting.

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/26/16 2:48 p.m.

The SEMA website stated boldly that the badges were sent off early September. About a month later they still hadn't shown up in my mailbox. A bit worried I contacted the SEMA staff but they were calm - "if it doesn't arrive, we'll print them here".

OK, good, but not convinced since the website speaks about all kinds of punishment if you loose your badge. But not much else to do.

I was more than mildy pleased when the badges did arrive, a little bit more than a week before take-off :-)

Now it's October 26th, less than two days before I leave. I have some stuff packed, I am bringing two suitcases and by some strange alignment of the stars, my frequent flyer card was just upgraded to gold status. That means I can actually take three pieces of luggage, each at 23 kg. That may be really bad, or really, really nice. Future will tell.

Gustaf

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
10/26/16 3:11 p.m.
therealpinto wrote: I really want to look at a new racing helmet too but I an unsure where to look (need to be able to try it on) and I am not sure if the budget stretches far enough. But if someone has hints on a good racers outlet in the Bay Area, let me know.

There's Wine Country Motorsports in Sonoma, I think there are a couple of other places as well but that's more a question for the Bay Area regulars.

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/28/16 1:21 a.m.

Thanks! Not sure if we have time for Sonoma but it might happen, wine and all

The first leg of the trip is done, I'm currently hovering in the SAS Gold lounge at Arlanda Airport. Free food and drinks and getting through Fast Lane in security is a welcome perk!

That offsets the early start a bit. I got up at 4.15 am to catch the taxi to SkellefteƄ airport. Strange, I am used to travelling but this night felt almost like the one before great race. Not too much sleep but that might be helpful, since I need to handle the jetlag. Sleeping some on the plane from Copenhagen to San Francisco would be wise.

Now I'll get me some fresh coffee and perhaps a magazine (doubt they have GRM here though, will have to settle for less).

Gustaf

bluej
bluej UltraDork
10/28/16 7:27 a.m.

Yay motorcations! Keep us updated.

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/28/16 12:11 p.m.

No lounge time in Copenhagen but there is WiFi on the plane :-)

I also got a 15% drink discount so I may have gone a bit wild on the drink cart. But hey, I am on vacation!

Also watched a decent formula 1 documentary on the IFE. Cool.

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
10/29/16 11:57 a.m.

Landed ahead of schedule an managed to sleep through the night, feels like I am on track.

Fluidampr and panoramic race mirror was waiting at the condo. Plus a set with GRM t-shirt and stickers!

Now some shopping.

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
11/1/16 10:23 a.m.

Right now we are waiting for the flight from OAK to Las Vegas. The Southwest boarding procedure will be a new experience for me...

Only a couple of hours until I hit the show floor!

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
11/1/16 11:35 p.m.

So, made it to the show after lunch today. Focus on central hall and the outdoor area. I got some ideas for products to look out for, and there were some really nice cars.

We ran into Aaron from Fast & Loud twice, and got invited to the Ford VIP stand for the drifting show, so day one was a success!

Hoping to go by the GRM booth tomorrow.

Photos will follow when I can upload them.

Gustaf

therealpinto
therealpinto New Reader
11/2/16 7:47 p.m.

Second day is over, feet are hurting. The place is so big I lost track of my game plan for a while, need to plan better tomorrow. But I got to check out so many nice cars.

The GRM booth was populated with people staring frantically into their smart phones though, no chatting there today.

I tried to do a market research on all the Asian or Chinese "performance" tires, there are many new brands coming in...

Gustaf

Our Preferred Partners
aoq9e612au01ddHHyntpHgcAsjO2OWw1N3wfPQZMi5wN8aPUKF4cioVKpWmlcLdM