So how you is?
Getting along OK?
Driving your spouse/significant other nuts? Trust me: she (or he) feels the same way. Good time to keep firearms, sharp objects and blunt instruments under lock and key...
Getting out of your pajamas for at least a few hours each day?Shaving at regular (or even irregular) intervals? Risking the occasional trip to market? (And tell me: what the holy thud-muffin good does it do if the person ringing up your groceries is wearing gloves and a mask but the bagger isn't? Or visa versa?). Watching way too much daytime TV?
Read a book, for gosh sakes. Preferably one of mine. And especially if you have to buy a blessed copy (the online store is open at  and is eager--and I mean REALLY eager--for your business).
We've got the new audiobook, too. It's a hoot. Really.

Here's a look at what we woke up to this morning just a wee bit west of Chicago:

And here is our aging but still spunky & beloved Fox Terrier "Buddy" back in his snow suit. In late freaking April...

Just last week, we had beautiful early-spring weather, and we're fortunate to have a wonderful & woodsy bike path right nearby that runs alongside a river.

So I was able to take some lovely, long bike rides (12 miles one day, 23 the next, etc.) while listening to all sorts of music (from rock oldies to Rachmaninoff and Benny Goodman to Dierks Bentley) on the old headphones. Or turning them off and just listening to the birds and the squirrels...
Saw a few deer, too. Some close enough to reach out and touch:

Also had a bit of a sad and even poignant experience. I'm biking along at a pretty good clip and, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, a striped ground squirrel (usually and inaccurately misidentified as a chipmunk) exploded out of the foliage on my right and dashed frantically across the bike path right in front of me. I didn't even have time to react.

But he (or she?) was a speedy little devil and made it before I got there. I was just going "whew" when, for reasons that I will never understand, the little guy (or girl?) froze solid, had a terrible change of mind and reversed full speed in the opposite direction. Or, in other words, directly across my path again. I managed to miss him (or her?) with the front wheel, but I felt the hard bump through the seat as the rear wheel ran right over the unfortunate fellow. Or lady...
Of course I grabbed the brakes and skittered to a stop. But when I looked back, the poor creature was flailing and flopping around like a freshly caught fish in the bottom of a boat. All sorts of horrible thoughts and notions were racing through my head as I leaned my bike against a tree and ran back to it. What should I do? What COULD I do??? But as I approached, the ground squirrel seemed to settle a bit, laid flat, profiled against the asphalt, twitched a few final times, and that's when I saw and felt its spirit leave its body. It was gone.
I felt terrible, of course. Worse than terrible. But there was nothing I could do. So I eased its lifeless carcass off the path and into the tall grass with my toe--I didn't want the little kids who used the path with their families to see it--and then there was nothing to do but shrug, feel bad, climb back on my bike and pedal away. But it stayed with me, and made me think, especially in the current environment, about how random and yet final death is. But also about the terrifying magic of what I'd just seen. I think the basis of most religious philosophies is the fear of death. And the even more harrowing fear of what may or must come afterwards. But I've always felt (not to be confused with "believed") that what happens when the life spirit or whatever leaves the physical body, it doesn't vanish to nothing, but continues on in some way. Like what we learned (if we happened to be paying attention) about Einstein's Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy in science class in high school:
In any reaction, matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just changed from one form to the other.
I surely believe there's a greater power/creative force in this universe than people, but I also feel it's arrogant for anyone (or any group) to think they understand the nature of that power or think they know what happens or what things will be like beyond our current lives. I've always kind of felt--again, rather than believed--that ancient man most likely created God (or gods) in his own image rather than the other way 'round...
Sorry for taking you up this path with me, but I wanted to get it off my chest (if not out of my system). Won't do it again.

Repeating One More Thing Dept in case you weren't paying attention (like in science class when the teacher was explaining Einstein's law of conservation of matter-energy):
As previously mentioned, we ran into some unexpected glitches re: the proper ordering of chapter tracks with our first shipment of USB flash drives. This only occurred on a few in-car audio systems, but it was a definite problem. I'm happy to announce that, after a lot of irritation, anguish, gnashing of teeth and chasing our own tails, finally uncovered the cause. Our new batch should play fine everywhere. If you are having trouble playing the flash drive you have on your car stereo, we will be happy to fix or exchange it for you. Please note that the problem USBs will work just fine on home or laptop computers and can be downloaded to your audio library and uploaded to your smart phone like any other mp3 files.

My sterling Stirling story (Moss, of course):

The great & incomparable Sir Stirling Moss passed away a few days ago (April 12th, to be exact) at the ripe old age of90, and I'm one of literally millions of racers and race fans to whom he was not only a hero, but THE hero.
Let's take you back to a thoroughly pre-adolescent (say age 12-ish) future racer, writer & ride mooch purchasing his very first copy (July, 1958 issue) of Road & Track magazine.

On the cover were two of the achingly svelte and beautiful Vanwall F1 cars that--finally--earned a World Constructor's Championship for England and came within a single point of earning Stirling Moss the World Driving Championship that everybody and their brother believed he deserved.
In an age of great hero drivers, he was the consensus, all-conference pick as best of them all. Which he proved over and over and over again (at least after he respectfully emerged from Fangio's shadow following their two-year stint together on the Mercedes-Benz team).
The stories were enough to light up a young boy's imagination. Better than any comic-book superhero, because Moss was a real, flesh-and-blood human being who could do unbelievable things with a racing car. And not through balls, bravado and bravery, but rather through skill, grace, discipline and precision.
Like at The 12 Hours of Sebring in 1954, when he and co-driver Bill Lloyd did the impossible by winning OVERALL in a jewel-like little 1453cc OSCA MT4. Sure, a lot of the big guns had broken or banged into the scenery, but Moss and Lloyd not only soldiered on, but ran the last 2 hours without brakes. Really.

Moss above, may years later, showing the MT4 off. By the way, that car currently resides in the Revs Institute (nee "Collier") collection museum in Naples, FL., which you should most definitely visit if you're ever in the neighborhood.
Or in 1958, when he so nearly lost the World Championship to Ferrari pilot (and, as a result, first British world champ) Mike Hawthorn. Mike only won a single race that year (the French GP at Reims) while Stirling won four: the first race of the year in Argentina driving a Cooper-Climax (the first for a rear-engined racecar in the modern era) and three more for Vanwall. And then there was Moss's oh-so-British sense of good sportsmanship and fair play. It's part of his legend that Stirling argued against having Hawthorn disqualified at the Portuguese GP that year following a bump start opposite race-direction after Mike spun and stalled his Ferrari. Once rolling, Mike pitted for fresh tires and roared back, scoring a single point for fastest lap. That point wound up being the margin of his championship title.
There are so many other Moss stories--each of them b oth stunning and singular--but then there's the story of his big accident on Easter Monday at Goodwood. There are all sorts of theories about what caused it (I wrote about it at length in the first Steamroller book), but the bottom line is that he was all busted up--including severe head injuries--and in a coma for weeks. But, somehow, he fought his way back. It was a long and painful process, but he attacked it with his usual dedication, energy and persistence. And once he was healed to his personal satisfaction, a private test was arranged in a Lotus 19 sports car (a model he'd had conspicuous success with in 1960-61) and, at the end (and in spite of setting lap times most drivers would covet, Stirling announced his retirement. His driving was simply not up to his own, lofty personal standards. And he wasn't about to go out there and be less than he had been before.
It takes a singular sort of man to do a thing like that.

Many years later, and thanks to pleading offers of much gold as well as glory, Moss came back to racing on the vintage scene. But he didn't come back to prove a thing, only to take part and be appreciated. Which he most certainly was. And that, dear friends, is how Stirling and I wound up as teammates at the big SVRA vintage race weekend at Watkins Glen. No, really...
It happened like this: The SVRA had invited/enticed Sir Stirling (yes, he was most-deservedly knighted in 2000) and wife Susie to serve as Grand Marshals at Watkins Glen. And my great ex-pat British friend/car-preparer-and-racer extraordinaire Lee Chapman was taking care of a bunch of cars that weekend, mostly for then-SVRA owner/reins-holder/headache-sufferer Peter McLaughlin. And of course Peter wanted to offer Stirling something appropriate to drive. Like his lovely, 2-liter Chevron B19 (or was it a B23?). Now those are some of my very favorite cars, and I've had some marvelous rides and races in them. But Stirling wasn't having any of it. For whatever reason, he didn't want to drive a car that ran on slicks (treadless race tires). And, typical of Stirling, he stuck to his guns. So he was offed drives in two of the other cars in the stable, a Lotus 23 for one enduro and a Chevron B6 coupe (both on treaded tires, of course) in the other enduro.
Now the Chevron B6/B8 coupes are the cars that really put Chevron on the map in intrernational racing (and pretty much blew the doors off the Lotus Elan 26Rs that had been having things their own way in the 1600cc GT class in England before the Chevron coupe's appearance.
They were wonderful cars to drive, and here's me (below) co-driving Charlie Kolb's B8 at Gingerman many years ago (that's another great story, but for another time):

I only run the picture above because I can't seem to find one of Tom Yeager's pale blue, BMW 2-liter-powered B8, which Tom had kindly invited me to co-drive in the enduro. And damn if Stirling Moss himself wasn't going to be co-driving the other, highly similar (only I think it was maybe twincam or Cosworth-powered?) bright-yellow B6 in our stable in the same race.
So Stirling Moss and I were going to be, after a fashion, TEAMMATES!!!!
Not to mention competitors!
And so throughout Friday and into Saturday we were hanging around together and suiting up in the trailer together and sharing important lies, secrets and psych jobs (see pic below):

You'll notice I'm wearing my famous enduro T-shirt, which says
"It's not whether you win or lose,
it's how you place the blame..."
You can buy one for yourself on the website. In fact, buy two, so you have a spare for your co-driver. And maybe a third one for your long-suffering crew chief!
So race time arrives and naturally our car owners are going to start the race because, well, if something nasty and expensive is going to happen, it's far more likely to occur at the start when everybody's packed together in a feinting, frothing bunch and all the drivers are running on a heady mixture of high-test fumes, adrenaline and testosterone.
Well, we don't get five minutes into this race when, damn, here comes Tommy, trundling up pit lane in his powder-blue Chevron and leaving a visible trail of oil in its wake. It's just a slender little snake of an oil trail, but you surely can't miss it.
So Lee and his guys leap into action, the rear bodywork comes up and it doesn't take much poking and probing before they locate the problem. Oil seal. At the front of the freaking motor. And there's no way to fix it unless you take the freaking engine out. Race Over.
We are done.
And right at that exact moment, my great friend and possibly even greater photographer Louiseann Pietrowicz (she and husband/fellow photog Walter are a treasure!) is walking down pit lane with her camera strapped around her neck.
"Geez, that's too bad," Louiseann says, "You didn't get to drive."
And that's when I said: "Are you kidding? I can look anyone in the eye now and tell them that I was once Stirling Moss's teammate...Who needs to drive?"
And as I rolled my hands up in the classic, what-can-you-do shrug, she snapped the picture below, which we have used as my author photo inside book dust jackets and which is surely one of my all-time favorites:

Stay safe and be good to each other.
Back to the book.
More anon...
What's wrong with you people?


Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: