People often think that things need to be far away from themselves to be interesting or cool. That’s just not the case. I have been looking for things around my (current) town of Cedar Falls, Iowa that can be counted as interesting or cool, in the gearhead sense. Here’s a short list of what I have found thus far.
MotoGents – A group of friends who like motorcycles, building them, and living the lifestyle. They had their first motorcycle show the other weekend in town and it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people who have a similar passion for bikes as myself. My bobber was welcomed and I saw a lot of other cool local bikes as well.
Team SpeedASalt – A local shop teacher who got the need for speed after visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats recently. He has since banded together a group of people who enjoy performance vehicles and he is building a land speed racer, locally!
Waterloo Technical Society – This is a group of people who are passionate about technology. They meet once a month to talk about their latest projects, meet like minded people and learn about something cool being done locally. I just found out about this after 2 years living here.
Cedar Falls Raceway – This is a local drag strip. It’s so great to be able to drive 5 miles to a drag strip, make 20 passes (for $25) and be home in 5 more minutes. You also meet lots of people who would love to give you advice. They’ve been there, done that and they want to help you avoid the same mistakes they made.
Iowa SCCA – If you’ve never been to a SCCA race but you love cars, you need to go. SCCA = Sports Car Club of America. They host race events in parking lots and race tracks. It’s another great place to meet people passionate about cars, like yourself. They have them all over the country. Find your nearest and run what you brung.
Iowa Enduro Riders Association – This is the local dirt bike racing community. They are sanctioned by the AMA (American Motorcycle Association). I have driven a hare scramble and they are one of the most fun ways to be a gearhead. You get so much seat time, 2 hours, vs. 1 minute for the SCCA or 10 seconds for drag racing. They have events all over the state so you can do them every weekend, or just when they are close, like I do.
Monster Jam! – There will be a Monster Jam event in my backyard soon. I’ve never been to one, but I have been wanting to for a few years only. Huge trucks, huge engines. These things are technical masterpieces. What isn’t to like for a gearhead?
Independence Motor Speedway – Dirt Track Circle Track racing has been in my family for many years. I have had a love/hate relationship with it in that time. It can get stressful in the pits! But I usually enjoy watching something live instead of watching it on tv. Check it out!
Iowa Speedway – This is a (relatively) local NASCAR track. It’s about 1.5 hours from my home, which is not that far to see something that is broadcast nationally. I had never been to a NASCAR race before this year and it was a great time.
Twisted Kreationz– A local painter. His work looks good. I haven’t talked with him personally, yet.
This Monte Carlo – This car built by Daniel Howe, Iowa local. It’s been featured in many magazines. I ran into Dan recently at a SCCA event (see above) and he was a great guy to talk to. He was so passionate about his car. It was double interesting to me as I also have a Monte Carlo and had recognized his car at a show a year earlier.
Car shows – There are plenty of local car shows. You just need to look for them!
One of my favorites is Vintage Torque Fest in Dubuque, IA. Check out some local cars here.
Antique Archeology – More commonly known as The American Pickers Guys. I haven’t been there yet, and they don’t only do cars, but they do find some occasionally.
JP Cycles National Motorcycle Museum – This is a motorcycle museum that is full of motorcycles of all brands. You can get so close to the bikes and the variety is incredible.
This is just a short list of a few of the local things I have thought of. There are so many other people I have met and things I have watched and participated in. I hope this inspires you to look locally for cool things happening in your community.
Do you usually feel you need to travel far to see “cool” or “interesting” events and people or do you embrace the resources in your local community?
What is your favorite local gearhead happening?
What is your favorite local car builder?