An old buddy asked today how one keeps the motorsport juices flowing in these dog days of winter.
In the endless whiteout the past couple of months have presented us, it ain't easy. Suppose I could break down and get that snowmobile, but that would probably bring back the warm, wet winters of yore, and I have a couple of cousins for whom that would be very bad news.
One of them continues today to cheer on blizzardy forecasts. He may be beyond saving.
No, I tend to live vicariously through the bleakest months, using the vast array of media available in these techie times to keep a finger on the pulse of as much two- and four-wheeled fun as my stormbound heart can stand.
If one had the right space, and cubic dollars, one might contribute to the numerous building blogs that have rumbled along through the off season. Guys taking tube and sheet into their home shops and driving out with a one-of-a-kind creation. Some are, let's say, esthetically challenged. Some are drop-dead gorgeous. All are a testament to their owners' love of the process and dedication to automotive art.
These days, with all the racing series starting up, the lust for exhaust and high revs is more easily satiated. World Rally, Formula One, even NASCAR, can get you the tire-burning thrill. Not to mention all the bike series that have kicked off a new season with races so fast and close it will twist the muscles of your chest just to watch a couple of laps.
But now, of course, come the toughest times for your snowbound hero. Even now, there's the hint of spring in the air. When the sun manages to push its way through to us, you can feel its heat. Faintly, to be sure, but undeniably there.
Dark puddles are forming at the foot of those massive banks of snow. There are glimpses of green among the grey and brown of flowerbeds. Oh yes, it's coming.
But that promise is still so far off as to be infuriating for the motorhead. No car collector is going to take his pride and joy out to face the salt and muck. No, warming the engine in the garage will have to do.
Very few bikers will venture out on today's roads, either. Let's forget, for a minute, the tire-popping, wheel-bending potholes that seem this year to be an unprecedented road-going plague. Just the level of gravel and other distractions on the streets will keep most of us off the two wheels for another while yet. In spite of the growing urge to throw the leg over and get riding.
So, yes, there's lots of driving to be done these days, and the pothole dodge is almost as good as any slalom course - certainly with greater consequences for the inattentive driver - but is it entertaining, or just infuriating?
Either way, it gets us by, until the real driving days do arrive. And not a moment too soon.
Ken Simmons, The Telegram’s new media editor, breathes exhaust and exhales clean, fresh air. Twitter @Ken_Simmons_NL/Tumblr rocknrolln.tumblr.com