Thursday, Hammertown has exploded with activity. There are teams and vendors and portapotties coming in by the truckload. There are food vendors set up and the welcome gate is manned, the lakebed has finally come alive. No longer a desolate valley filled with insects and foxes, it’s filled with people and horsepower now.
Our day was pretty typical to begin with, a trip to town for laundry and groceries, a quick stop for a greasy hamburger from John’s Place in YuccaValley. I was nursing a hangover and truly enjoyed the zucchini fries. When we got back out to the lakebed, I found a message from a KOH staff member, “could use some help if you are available.” Well, sure I am, I love helping, tomorrow is the official start of my work week out here, so beginning a day early isn’t really a big deal.
Turns out our registration process was not yet established, so together a crew of three put together the plan to implement, of course, that changed a bit before we were able to deploy it and some other things took precedence over the work we were doing. So after some course changes, we finally had the world right again by three a.m. Just soon enough to set the alarm for a few minutes after six. Registration opens at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and we need to get organized before we start seeing drivers, should only take a little bit for that.
Looking so forward to tomorrow, lots of drivers to see again after a break, lots of questions to answer. That’s my favorite part, being the answer girl.
Only ten more days to the big race, the city continues to unfold, 47 tents up by the end of the night Tuesday, war games being played at the Marine base over the mountain, two international teams have arrived (Italy and England), food vendors have been dropping trailers all day. Word is the wind will die down by tomorrow so a lot more work can be done.
We were able to get the download for the race course today, since we are technically “staff.” Out in the XJ to do some pre-running, Rich took me out to Cougar Buttes to show me around, then we connected from the powerline road to the race course at mm 34. There is an initial 51 mile loop, so we took that in, or at least that was the plan. Most of the sections were pretty easy desert, a couple of harder rock sections had us scratching our heads a little and then we came to the notch. Being in the XJ, out by ourselves, we opted out of running that part of the race course and came back in to Hammertown around the tip of the mountain. We had a great time wheeling today, but that is a whole lot different than taking this course at race speed. That will change the game completely. Pre-running will probably start in earnest on Friday when the teams are here to register and get their downloads, in the meantime, we are listening to them rev their engines all over the lakebed. Love the sound of that.
The staff level has jumped to 18, motorhomes on site to 20, eleven tents are up, perimeter fence is up to four miles, two teams have arrived onsite. The growth is just beginning at Hammertown. Dave Cole owns Hammerking Productions, the promoter of King of the Hammers. We’ve been staying at Dave’s compound for a couple of weeks because it was convenient for the semi truck. Dave is running a crew of at least 18 out here at the lakebed, most are volunteers. Danny and Jack are old-timers, they’ve been out here for years. Matt, the Texas Jesus, (you would understand if you saw him) works for Dave fulltime, as does Shannon and Chris. There’s a big contingent from Washington state here, Matt, Travis, Noah, and several others. Shawn is here from Utah, Simon is here from Tucson, but the hero of the lakebed this week is Tina. Tina is Travis’s wife and she is responsible for feeding the staff. She is working hard to serve three meals a day to all of those boys, and man can they eat. I got to sit next to her and listen to her schedule, she’s spending 14 hours a day cooking for this crew.
All the boys are singing her praises, the food is fresh and homemade. I listened to them talk about how they ate last year and there is no comparison. Usually everyone loses 10 to 15 pounds these two weeks, based on the amount of work that is being done and the lack of food. One of the guys described it as his new year’s resolution – how do you lose weight after the first of the year – work at the hammers. Tina has changed all that, these boys are eating better then they eat at home.
It’s been interesting listening to the radio, Dave is doing a great job running his crew, he thanks them profusely and from what I can tell, they all feel well appreciated. I’m proud of him, it is awesome to see people be appreciated for a job well done. Building Hammertown isn’t an easy task and these people are working hard for everyone to enjoy the race. Only 12 more days, stay with me and watch this community grow.
Oh, and the petition I asked you to sign yesterday, we made it – 25,000 signatures in just 12 days -thanks to all for your help.