Watch the video interview below:
Murfreesboro, Tennessee hosted a lunch stop on the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. The cars stopped in Murfreesboro on Monday, June 26, 2017 at 12 noon. The stop was at the Cannonsburgh Village.
The Great Race, the world's premiere old car rally, brought 120 of the world's finest antique automobiles to Murfreesboro for the $150,000 event. The Stones River Region of AACA hosted the event.
In all, the participants in the race will cover more than 2,100 miles in 9 days. The start was on Main Street in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on June 24. The race will finish July 2 in Traverse City, Mich., on the banks of Grand Traverse Bay just off Lake Michigan as part of that city's annual Cherry Festival.
Teams and cars from Japan, England, Germany, Canada and every corner of the United States will be participating in their vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916.
"There are more than 450 people just in our entourage from all around the world taking part in this incredible adventure," director Jeff Stumb said.
Along the route, competitors will travel parts of the original Dixie Highway in seven states - Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
The Great Race, which began 34 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.
He escaped Vietnam as the war came to a close in 1975 with the help of a CBS News Chief Correspondent named Brian Ellis. 58 year old Liu Khai Trac remembers the exact date he left, even though he was only 17 at the time. Lou, as he is called by friends told me, “I think it was March 27th that I left Vietnam as a refugee.”
During the war, Lou remembers being scared. He said to me on Wednesday, “At one time I recall that the bomb shell was so heavy we had to hide under a bunk bed.” He then talked about seeing a U.S. tank heading down one of the roads in front of his house, “I saw a military tank supplied by the US – they was running on the street – now tanks don’t usually run in the city, but that’s how severe inside the city – and then bomb shell I heard.”
I asked, “Did you like the U.S. Troops?” He smiled and laughed… “As for the American Troops, I thought they were good – They good guy – and especially - they give us a little pack of cigarettes to smoke, a dollar for a soda – they was friendly to us and we was friendly to them.”
Today, Lou is homeless in Murfreesboro, TN.
He was soft spoken and kind. When I asked him what was his favorite memory, he told me he was a “Motorcycle Pilot.” Confused I asked, “What’s a motorcycle pilot?” That was when he went into detail talking about the fun he had racing motorcycles. He talked about it with a passion that brought him to life, describing other people he raced with in his younger days. He then told me about the bikes he built from the ground up. As he talked my mind wandered… What if that passion were to return to him the way he is able to described every vivid detail to me.
His fault? He told me he can’t say no to anything. I took it as people have taken advantage of him over the years. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I could tell by the sound of his voice and the way he came across as being humble, that he would be the first to help someone in need.
His life today leaves him living in the back of an old pickup truck with a makeshift camper made out of wood and tarps covering the bed of the truck. He is 64-years old.
“The connection to place, to the land, the wind, the sun, stars, the moon... it sounds romantic, but it's true - the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine - a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.” - Antoine Predock
He was once a respiratory care nurse and said that he grew up during the hippie generation, but he was never a hippie. “I was into cars,” he told me, “I had a Mustang once, but my favorite was my Super Sport Camaro.”
As we talked he said that he is currently living in a motel. He is from Kentucky, but is stuck in Indiana after his daughters car broke down. “I don’t have enough money to get back, so I am staying here until I do,” he said. “My social security check should be here in a few days, once I get it I will head back to Kentucky,” he reassured me.
As I was about to walk away, the 61 year old stopped me. “Have you found yourself yet,” he asked with much curiosity. Confused I responded, “Have I found myself?” He looked at me and said, “Yea, I mean you – your purpose – you?” I paused, “I uh, I don’t know – I guess - - Have you?” He looked at me with curiosity, scrunched his nose and said, “I have not found myself yet, my purpose. I will let you know if I do.”
Tim Tebow stated, “Regardless of whatever I do, I know what my purpose is: to make a difference in people's lives.”
“I just turned 30,” he told me. His life was far from glamourous, but he has come to grips with that as he ages.
“I was taken away from my parents at age 1,” he said with a glimmer of hope in his eyes. He went on to tell me that he has pins in his back and even a small plate of metal in his head, caused by the hands of his father. It was at that point that I began to understand why the Department of Children Services took him away from his mother and father at such a young age.
Apparently, he went into foster care and eventually back to his parents and then back into the foster care system and then back to parents. It was a tug of war between parents and people he didn’t know. Allen later became a ward of the State of Indiana.
“It never did heal properly,” he told me while talking about his child abuse and battle scars. I then asked him if he ever sees his father today and if so, has he forgiven him? He smiled, “I have forgiven him.”
While forgiving is one positive step, moving forward can take years. Allen is homeless and living in shelters some nights when the temperature drops while living on the street other nights.
By the way, Allen told me that when he told his father that he forgave him, his father responded, “I appreciate it, but there is nothing I can do about it now.”
He was marching, dancing and walking up and down the sidewalk of Riverside Drive next to a small park along the banks of the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana. His old school Sony Walkman cassette player was firmly held around his neck by a belt strap, the cassette door held shut with rubber bands. A church flyer with the word “Faith” on it was in his left breast pocket along with a handwritten note.
Motorist would drive by honking their horns and waiving at him. He would respond by waiving his American flag in his left hand and waiving his hand on the right. It was as if he were a fixture of Indiana and everyone looked forward to seeing him on their commute home.
As I approached I could see his smile grow from ear to ear. He was so excited to talk. He started talking to me before I was close enough to hear what he had to say.
Scattered on the ground before him were toy motorcycles, cars, newspapers, magazines and books… all neatly lined together. “What’s this,” I asked while pointing at a small toy car. “That’s my Ferrari, my brother gave it to me,” he said with a laugh. “What about this one,” I asked. “Oh, that’s my motorcycle – I used to ride, but now I ride a bike.”
As our conversation continued he stopped to think about his childhood. Pointing at the river he said, “One time when I was a kid, I swam in that river. It was a good thing I knew how to doggy paddle, because those currents got me.” He then told me that he is 66-years old and has always lived in the Evansville area, sometimes living on the Kentucky side of the river.
“I use to go to the Masonic Temple in Newburg. I then became a Jehovah Witness. I am now Muslim, but I go to all the churches, I like everybody, we are all friends,” he said with a smile.
American Author Bryant H. McGill once stated, "One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." Some of the folks I have met, all I can do is sit and listen. I honestly don't know how to respond at times.
“I was an Army brat growing up,” he said. When asked how he landed in Evansville, Indiana, he told me that he was living in a smaller city where he was involved in an accident.
Russell said, “I was riding my bike when I was hit by a car. The injuries were too bad to be treated there, so they flew me to the hospital here (Evansville, Indiana).” The 48-year old was flown to the Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.
After being treated and released from the Deaconess Hospital, he had no choice but to live on the streets of Indiana… homeless.
He does not have the funds to take a trip back home, so Indiana is where he will stay for the time being.
“In tragedy, it's hard to find a good resolution; it's not black and white: it's a big fog of gray.” - Paul Dano
“I was born in California,” he told me, but has lived in Evansville, Indiana his entire life. As we talked more, I realized he was placed into the foster care system at age 6. A woman in Indiana later adopted him.
“My mom (talking about his adopted mother), was like Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show,” he said with a smile. As he continued to describe his parents he commented, “My dad (adopted father) was an Evangelist.” I could tell he was proud of the parents who raised him in life, but he was struggling. A string of bad choices mixed with a little bad luck landed him on the streets. Today he is 48-years old.
The conversation then took a downturn. “I buried my best friend yesterday,” he said while looking down. When I asked who died he said, “My mom. My dad died last year and my mom passed away this past week, she was 88.” He told me she was the best woman ever.
“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.” - Edwin Hubbell Chapin
I only caught a small glimpse of his past, but he told me one of the many reasons he was homeless was because his wife left him. I simply smiled.
This was in Indianapolis, Indiana on Monday.
"Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it 'all the money,' but they changed it to 'alimony.' It's ripping your heart out through your wallet." - Robin Williams
He would walk about 10 steps and then stop to catch his breath. Ten more steps and a local resident stopped to ask if he was okay. He responded and then continued is his journey a mere three blocks to get a free bagged lunch. I ran across him in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He told me that his lungs were bad and it was his fault. A few years back he inhaled Freon while working on an old refrigerator. He said that it ruined his lungs.
I snapped the photo and he asked, “Did you get a picture of my one good tooth [laughing]?” I smiled, “Got it.” He then went into detail about how bad teeth run in his family, “That one is holding on,” he said with a grin.
“I’m homeless, but I will soon get an apartment - I’m gonna’ get that all decorated and then check into the hospital,” he said. He then told me that he can’t get a lung transplant because that is for millionaires and he wants to hold onto his millions, again laughing.
As crazy as it may sound, he seemed happy and in good spirits. Charlie Chaplin once stated, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”