Unexpected Pleasure

I really hadn’t planned anything for today except maybe laundry, but I looked at what clean clothes I have left and how long I have to make them last, and I realized that I don’t have to wash anything before I get home. YAY!

Jen’s partner, Tim, had recommended that I visit the Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, since it’s here in Ocala. I almost didn’t go because I was still tired today, but then I thought, Why not? So I got down to the Honda and the truck and discovered that my electric cooler had basically shut itself off. The temperature inside it was 58, which was still cooler than the truck’s cab, but I guess it had detected a low-enough voltage in the truck’s battery that it decided to quit cooling. So that made my decision for me as to what vehicle I’d be taking to the museum.

The truck started with no problems (it’s a very smart cooler!) and my first stop was for gas – imagine that… Then down I-75 for ten miles or so, turn left, and there you are! Um, not quite. There’s a sign at the end of the exit ramp to tell you to turn left, but after that I didn’t see any more signs. So I tooled east on FL 484 (yep, the same road that goes to Dunnellon, but the other direction) for about 5 miles and saw nothing. I went back to the Interstate and asked a counter-person at a gas station where the museum was, and she helpfully pointed me in the right direction. (It was hiding behind the local Cracker Barrel, if you’re interested.)


I used my age to get a senior-discount admission and went inside.

Oh. My. Gosh.

First, it’s more than just dragsters. There is a totally separate building full of antiques and classics, ranging from a 1904 Buick to a 50th anniversary Corvette.


There were also items like a Chrysler Air Raid Siren:


a *very* hot-rodded lawn mower:



and a very nice three-wheeler conversion of an older motorcycle:


And all this was in a building separate from the dragsters. My only complaint is that the whole museum is stuffed so full of awesome machinery that you can’t see a lot of it except from one vantage point – usually directly in front of the vehicle. They really need about 3 or 4 times the floor space they have so they can properly display the cars.

Then I wandered over to the racing-machine building. Gobs and gobs of dragsters, of course (again, all packed in cheek-by-jowl):


including one with the engine mounted sideways. Part of the drivetrain for that one was built by SCS in Bellevue, Ohio – the same company that’s building the specialized gearbox for my Jeep. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that gearbox breaking…

They also had some dragster motorcycles:


And a few cars with two engines (this one has them both in line in front of the axle, but there was one that had them side-by-side, with the axle differential offset to be directly behind one of the engines, and there was one that had a front engine and a rear engine that both drove the same ring gear, from two different pinions):



And the world’s smallest rail dragster:



It was a gearhead’s dream.

I’m not a big fan of drag racing, but this place was AWESOME! They even had a separate room for displaying engines – and blowers, and carbs, and manifolds, and … stuff!

Thank you for the suggestion, Tim! I’m glad I went and I had a great time there.


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