In July, 2001
I had the opportunity to ride with Ky "The Rocketman"
Michaelson on a ten day road-trip from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to attend
the 20th Tripoli national High Power rocket launch, LDRS. We towed
a 26' trailer behind Ky's Ford Expedition and stopped in LA to pick up
a rocket powered dragster that he had built in the mid 1970's.
Over 5000 miles of driving. The first day, Sun 7/15 we left Bloomington MN and covered over 1000 miles, ending west of Denver.
Ky kept me well entertained with stories of his childhood, racing career, Hollywood stuntman days, and rocket projects. The miles just clicked off.
The second day through Utah and ending in Las Vegas.
We rolled into LA about 1pm on Tue to pick up Ky's rocket car.
Tue night through Sunday were at Lucerne (actually stayed at a hotel in Victorville about 25 miles away).
I got to visit my friend and former roommate, Jack, twice and meet his new family. Hadn't seen him for four years.
The drive home was thankfully uneventful and we arrived home about 8pm Tue evening.
The only rain we encountered the whole trip was on the last night and a bit on Tue afternoon coming through Iowa.
The rocket dragster:
This car is still the fastest dragster in the world, holding the 1/4 mile speed and time records at 412mph in 3.22 seconds set on 7/7/1977 by Kitty O'Neil.
The launch: (The official web site is at LDRS 20)
The weather was fine and consistent: temperatures in the low100s with low humidity and perfectly clear skies and no wind. At about 3pm a 30mph gust would hit with a wall of sand. The blowing sand would continue the rest of the day. The ROC and LTR groups did a great job of organizing and running the event. I brought several rockets with me, including my unfinished BSD Thor that I'd hoped to certify with, but I was too busy photographing and enjoying the event to get around to launching anything.
My photos of the launch: