So Willcox, Arizona is about three hours south of where I live in the Phoenix area. I grabbed my best friend Jenny and hopped in the car, and off we went on Friday. We opted to stay in a hotel in town, as the track is about 12 miles outside of main Willcox. It’s a rustic town, small but pleasant, right in the heart of Geromino’s territory and the gateway to Kartchner Caverns, and even Tombstone is just an hour to the southwest. The lovely thing about Willcox is that it was about 10-15 degrees cooler than the Phoenix area, and after the summer we’ve been having I’ll take 104 over 120 any day!
Saturday morning, Jenny and I had a lovely breakfast at our hotel and hopped in the car to find the INDE Motorsports Ranch track. The first five miles or so were paved, but the latter seven was a fairly well-maintained dirt road. The washboard ride did not take us too long, and we passed a few ranches hidden among the ocotillos, prickly-pear cacti and an occasional mesquite tree.
Despite its isolated location, I must say that INDE Motorsports Ranch was a lovely outpost in the middle of the desert. Not only is the track 2.75 miles long, but the straight away even serves as a runway as needed. The buildings were well-maintained and beautifully outfitted, and there was a control tower for us to watch the races (and yes, I did go up there even though I was supposed to be selling books!) It was large and comfortable. I was impressed.
We first stopped to say hello to Chris, who greeted me with a wide grin and said, “you’re the author!” I think I blushed. Naomi, Hurley and Dylan were already hard at work, and tables had been set up for the fair. The breeze was still cool early in the morning, and we had a nice canopy over our heads to keep the sun away. It was great! I was so pleased to be able to see so many avid readers, and I had a brilliant time chatting with everyone, especially about my upcoming series featuring several of the characters from Forever Sunshine starting in November. I met so many interesting and inspiring women and children throughout the day and had a wonderful time. Please view the photos on my website and Facebook page.The times I have been to the Firebird International Raceway have been in cooler weather, so there are more attendees at those events. Nevertheless, I have never met a more gracious group of people, and this time was no exception. Naomi was immediately able to set Jenny up for her first ride (and though she was nervous, she was a trooper!), and I immediately set out to inspect our new friend Gary’s absolutely beautiful, modified Corvette. A former Vietnam Air Force pilot, Gary is not only an American hero, but a wonderfully generous man. He was so patient and friendly, and he truly made my day by bringing me out on the track with him.
I had such an enjoyable experience that I hope I can mix business with pleasure again soon. Either way, I’ll still keep going just to see those gorgeous vehicles and to talk to those delightful people. A giant hat’s off goes to Hurley, Naomi, Dylan, Sunday, Vicki, Chris, and everyone else from ProAutoSports for all their hard work during these events. I can tell you that I for one went back to the hotel last night exhausted after such a busy but satisfying day!