En Route to Washington, Badass Bernal Racecar Generates Panic In Oregon

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As you know, America’s Most Badass Volvo Station Wagon is a proud resident of Bernal Heights.

Driven competitively by the Bernal Dads Racing Team in the 24 Hours of LeMons racing series, “The Whale” is currently en route from Bernal Heights to scenic Shelton, Washington to compete in a weekend race at The Ridge Motorsports Park.

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Yesterday, as Neighbor Stephan dragged The Whale into Oregon for the first time, Bernalwood received unconfirmed reports that Oregon governor Kate Brown had ordered the distribution of mandatory tetanus shot boosters for all residents of the Beaver State:

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Now on its third engine, second transmission, third hood, fourth bumper, third pair of front fenders, second electrical system, and second windshield, The Whale will roll at The Ridge this weekend to bring honor and glory to all the peoples of Bernal Heights.  Maybe.

If you’d like to keep track of the spectacle, follow Bernal Dads Racing on Facebook for photos and updates.

PHOTOS: Bernal Dads Racing

Competing Petitions Disagree on New Lane Reduction in Bernal Cut

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Neighbor Chris from St. Mary’s recently wrote Bernalwood to say:

Wondering what you think about the new San Jose Ave exit on 280. It’s like a pinball machine there now, even on off commute hours. Two exit lanes still exit, but now they merge into 1 within 100 feet, and it’s always backed up way before the underpass so you also have to stop suddenly. I get that the car culture needs to change, but it has to happen subtly. My girlfriend found the person at MTA responsible for the new configuration and let him have it.

It’s true; traffic patterns northbound through the Bernal Cut have changed, and there have been multiple big accidents there as a result. Meanwhile, it seems Neighbor Chris’s concerns are not uncommon, because Streetsblog reports

The redesign of San Jose Avenue took a step forward a month ago when Caltrans removed a traffic lane on a Highway 280 off-ramp leading on to San Jose, a.k.a. the Bernal Cut. The plan is the result of decades of neighborhood advocacy for safer streets, but it is running into opposition from motorists who won’t stand for the road diet.

Supporters and opponents of the project are duking it out with online petitions, both launched a month ago. The opposition’s petition currently has a lead on the supporters’ petition. The SFMTA hasn’t released the results from its survey from last fall.

On the bright side, no matter which side of this issue you agree with, there’s a petition you can sign.

PHOTO: I-280 at San Jose Accident, June 19, 2005, by Neighbor Jeremy Ambers

SUV Burns In Dramatic Fireball on 101 Above Cortland

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So far it it seems this was just a routine car fire, which means the occupants had time to escape before the vehicle engulfed itself in a dramatic fireball. But some Bernal residents definitely saw the dramatic fireball when a car caught fire on 101 south just above the Cortland overpass, and it was extremely dramatic.

Neighbor Rally brilliantly self-deputized himself as a reporter for the Bernalwood Action News Team, and he sprang into action with a live uplink from the scene:

HOLY CRAP is right.

But before long the fire department arrived, and the flames were extinguished:

Great reporting, Neighbor Rally! This seems a good time for a public service safety reminder.

Decades ago, during the Reign of Reagan, your Bernalwood editor watched helplessly as his first car immolated itself in a dramatic fireball on the side of a cold urban freeway.

Today, your Bernalwood editor always carries a small fire extinguisher inside the vehicle. Car fires typically start small, so they’re very easy to put out quickly — if you have a fire extinguisher handy. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher handy, you end up with a spectacle like this within about 3 minutes. (Important Life-Lesson I Learned: Big Gulp-sized fountain drinks DO NOT function well as a fire retardant.) Dramatic! Get a fire extinguisher.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Rally

Bernal Neighbor Has Video of His Own Car Being Stolen

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Neighbor John’s car was stolen last week, and he has security camera footage that shows how the thieves did the deed:

My neighbor recorded some nice video of my old Honda Civic being stolen the other night at the corner of Bonview and Coso/Stoneman.

This may just serve as a warning to people in the neighborhood. You can see the thieves checking very carefully for hidden keys in the wheel-wells. Doing that is a great way to give thieves easy entry. I didn’t do that, but it does seem that these guys knew some kind of trick to get around my anti-theft setup.

My car’s license plate is 3TQT217 on the off-chance someone might see it. I suspect they might have wanted it for parts. The body is pretty beaten up.

Here’s the video:

Cupid Blamed for Weird Car Crash on Bernal Summit

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Ah, the things we do for love.

You no doubt recall that weird incident earlier this week which saw a car crash into a guard rail near the summit of Bernal Hill beyond the access road gate. And then, of course, the driver of the vehicle declared he was Steve Jobs.

Well it turns out the whole thing was a romantic interlude that went horribly, terribly, insanely, stupidly wrong. So someone at SFPD’ Ingleside station had a lot of fun writing it up in the station’s normally staid crime newsletter:

Incident Date:
Monday, March 16th, 2015

Arrests:
7:20am  Bernal Heights/Anderson Vandalism
The third time was not a charm for two young lovers who wanted to park in a spot with a view of the City. The man and woman decided to consummate their feelings by the Bernal Heights radio tower. However, the road to the tower is protected by a gate thwarting their amorous plans, but only for a short minute. The lovers decided that no gate was going to prevent a wonderful morning so the two, in their Honda Civic, rammed the gate to gain entrance. But the gate didn’t break. So, they backed up and hit the gate a second time and again the gate held tight. The third time, they backed up even farther, and successfully broke open the gate, before speeding up the access road to the top of the hill. All the noise alerted nearby residents and dog walkers who promptly called police. Ingleside Officers Wong and Chang responded and found the couple, and their severely damaged Honda, parked near the radio towers. Both were put in custody and the driver, who didn’t have a valid California license or insurance, was booked for trespassing, vandalism, malicious mischief, and other charges. Report number: 150233507

Further proof: Bernal Heights is for lovers.

PHOTO: Car crashed on Bernal Hill, March 16, 2015, by Neighbor Devon

Vehicle Crashes in Closed Area of Bernal Hill Summit, Suspects Detained

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Reports are just coming in, but Neighbor Devon shared this [strangely beautiful] photo of an automobile crash at the very summit of Bernal Hill this morning, above the barrier gate near Sutrito Tower:

I’m not sure how they got through the barrier. I was near the top and witnessed it from 20ft away on the other side of the barrier. The drivers were speeding up the service road and crashed near the bench. The driver told me not to call the cops, and said he was Steve Jobs. They fled into the cellular tower gate. The suspects were in police custody when I left.

@bernaljournal (who is not the same as the Bernal Journal newspaper) reports that the perps apparently went Dukes of Hazzard through the gate:

Tonight: Bernal Dads Star as Crash Test Dummies on BBC’s “Mud, Sweat and Gears”

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If you’re a fan of the astonishingly popular BBC car show Top Gear, you probably know that Jeremy Clarkson, one of the presenters of the show, was suspended last week for getting into a scuffle with one of the Top Gear producers. And while Jeremy Clarkson is suspended, Top Gear is off the air.

This has created a unique celebrity opportunity for two Bernal Heights residents affiliated with the Bernal Dads Racing team. Many months ago, BBC America came looking for two crash-test dummies volunteers to participate in the filming of a pilot episode for a new TV show. The Bernal Dads – Neighbor Mason Kirby from Mullen and Neighbor Robert Freedman of Elsie – foolishly offered to participate.

Even more foolishly, the BBC signed them up to be in the show, which is called (… wait for it…) Mud, Sweat, and Gears.

Here’s how Variety describes it:

BBC America has given the green light to the new vehicle transformation series “Mud, Sweat and Gears,” hosted by UK car journos Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith. The hour-long spot will be produced by BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC America and BBC Worldwide’s new Brit channel.

In each of the eight unscripted episodes, daredevils Ford and Smith both captain a team of two fellow car enthusiasts and are given 24 hours to mutate, supersize or reconstruct ordinary vehicles to compete in stunt challenges.

Anyway, for the last few weeks,  Mud, Sweat, and Gears has aired immediately after Top Gear on BBC America. And tonight, the episode that stars Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob is finally set to air.

But with Jeremy Clarkson still in the dock and Top Gear on hiatus, this might be just the opportunity these two dashing Bernal Dads need to fill the void that now exists in our Top Gear-starved planet:

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The show airs tonight, March 16 on BBC America at 10 pm.

Here’s a preview. Neighbor Mason and Neighbor Rob ended up driving a mutant gold Pontiac Aztec, and apparently, they’re not very good at opening the doors: