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Barnstormin’: The Triumph Of Showing Up

Barnstormin’: The Triumph Of Showing Up

(Motorcycle photo by Tanya Timberman) – If there were ever truer words spoken than, “90% of success is just showing up,” I have never heard them. Ask anyone who has ever done something that they’ve always wanted to do and more than likely you’ll hear about how they bucked convention, logic, and good sense along the way to get the job done. Such is the case with some new friends my wife Kerri and I made at the recently ended June ECTA meet at the Ohio Mile. On the way to the track on Friday we spotted a totally sweet 1960s Dodge van parked at the hotel next to ours. Needing to inspect this awesome little van closer, we gave it a quick flyby on the way to the racetrack. I was hoping to get a closer look at the van and the motorcycle in it at the track and frankly, where else would that thing have been going in Wilmington, right? As it turns out, the van belongs to Burry and Tanya Timberman from New Jersey who have led weirdly parallel lives to my wife Kerri and I. They have been hanging out with each other since high school, are now married, and Burry is an incorrigible hot rodder who has a bunch of cool stuff….including a flipping C50 wrecker. It was like we were long lost cousins or something.

That stuff aside, they had gone on a 12 hour odyssey in the van to get from their home in South New Jersey to Wilmington, Ohio. The little van with its slant six and three on the tree is capable of 58mph on the highway and the couple had to have the windows cracked open to keep fresh air flowing through the Dodge as the engine (which is essentially mounted between the seats) is a well used original piece that burps and farts like a drunken uncle on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner. Their plan was to stop along the way and get some sleep but everywhere they looked for a room was full so they made the full pull. Part of that drive was done with Tanya hugging the engine cover for warmth as the cold night air of Ohio rushed through the van. Like my wife Kerri, Tanya is a great intrepid companion apparently!

The reality of the situation is that they made it, Burry raced his awesome vintage Triumph motorcycle and there wasn’t a damned thing ironic about a guy sitting on the starting line of the Ohio Mile on a Triumph after years of hard work, dedication, and a ride that he and Tanya will never forget. Burry told me in the pits that Tanya has a modern pickup and they could have just as easily loaded the stuff into the truck and driven out like everyone else but there’s not a whole lot of adventure in it. Let’s be honest. If YOU had a vintage van and were going to run a vintage motorcycle, you know damned well that the bike would be in there, 58mph top end and all.

Burry and Tanya heard the cat calls and concern from logically thinking friends and family and they KNEW that they’d make it to the track in the old van. We’re sure the intentions of the people telling Tanya and Burry to take the truck or some other “normal” means of transport were in the right place but in 50 years when the grandkids are over for the night, guess who can tell them a tale of epic adventure, sleep depravation, high speed, and suspense? Not the guy that towed his junk to the track in a brand new van! I’d never advocate for people putting themselves in harm’s way or taking stupid risks, but I’d also never advocate a life of couch sitting, bitching, crying, complaining, and back seat driving stuff that they’ll never actually do. To normal people, the idea of sticking yourself in a breadbox of a van that was built 50 years ago and driving off into the night is completely wrong so thank God that none of us are normal. My greatest gearhead adventure ever was the recovery of my beloved Brutus the wrecker and that was completely idiotic according to every person that wasn’t somehow into cars or trucks. My advice on that front is simple. Screw ’em. You only come this way once and it isn’t about bowing to the pressures of people who don’t truly understand what your passions are. And that’s where I fold the story back to Burry and Tanya as people.

He and I have lucked out in the fact that we’ve found people who may not completely understand the pathological need to do car stuff that we have but they understand us on an emotional plane that allows them to come along and participate in the adventure. My wife Kerri isn’t going to be setting ignition points any time soon, but she’s more than happy to help me do zany stuff to make content for BangShift, to spend a fine weeknight evening at a cruise night, or to humor my bad ideas for banzai road trips, old cars, and big smelly trucks. From the limited time I spent with Burry and Tanya, I suspect that they’re in a similar boat. Perhaps the girls seeing all this stuff coming like a freight train through a tunnel in the night has helped because they’ve been around us since before we “grew up” is the trick, but it rules.

So the point of this whole diatribe is that showing up is what life is about. Sometimes it is about how you show up, sometimes it is about when you show up, but damn it…SHOW UP. If you have an idea of a pipe dream you want to chase, sit down and start asking yourself why you have not done it yet. One of two things will happen. The first thing is that you’ll meet every “why” with an excuse as to why you haven’t achieved what you wanted. The second thing is that you’ll become so pissed off you’ll see red when you realize that the only reason you haven’t done this stuff is because you’ve internally “sold” yourself on why you can’t. It took a conversation with a guy about 15 years ago to change that for me and it literally altered my life. Figure out a way to show up. It doesn’t need to be dramatic. It doesn’t have to include a wrecker or an old van, but it does have to include you sitting back and recognizing what the hell you just did for a second. There is not a greater feeling in the world.

Tanya and Burry rule pretty hard and it was our pleasure to meet them. I have a feeling that they’ll be “showing up” in life for a long, long time.


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6 thoughts on “Barnstormin’: The Triumph Of Showing Up

  1. 38P

    But will they get the grandkids away from their digital addictions long enough to tell any stories?

    “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear ” — Edmund Burke

    But . . . .

    “No passion so effectively robs the bank account of all its contents as showing up.” — Speedy

  2. craig

    makes sense in all the right motorhead ways.but, how fast did he go that was the object of the whole trip…………………?

  3. geo815

    Great story. Great pic of the Triumph. And the exclamation point to it all is that Honda trike lurking in the background.

  4. TheSilverBuick

    Awesome van, Awesome story and Awesome blog point. I get the shaking head from other’s all the time, haha.

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