Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Back Home Again in Indiana", Part One

 Our first big road trip of the year!  At a little after 4 AM on Thursday, May 26, we pulled out of the driveway and headed to what is arguably the center of the universe on Memorial Day weekend - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - for the Centennial of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

We had our camping permit for Lot 2, right across Georgetown Road from the track, and I took these photos on the evening we arrived.  The first one is looking south from the entrance to Lot 2, toward 16th Street
 and Gate 1.  For the second one I just turned around and looked north towards the Coke Lot.

The pictures don't convey the sheer size of the place!  This is the first time we've been there when it hasn't been totally packed with race fans, so I really enjoyed the cozy, almost sleepy feel to our surroundings as we made ourselves at home for the next 4 days.

 After we got our campsite all set up and arranged, we took a walk down Georgetown Road to Lot 1A and "Camp & Brew", the premier tailgate of the "500", fundraising headquarters for Brian's Wish, and watering hole/gathering spot for members of and their friends and family.

Glenn, John, Kevin, Roach and all the other TF'ers we met were even nicer than they are on the internet, and it was really great to put faces to a lot of the names I see nearly every day on the forum.

I got two picks in the blind fundraising pool - Ana Beatriz and Scott Dixon.  I didn't win, but it was really fun to cheer them on during the race, hoping one of them would place in the standings and I'd win some cash!

 These were without a doubt the best ribs I've ever had.  One of the secrets is Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce.  I'm sure the Weber grill has a lot to do with it too, but I may try re-creating them on my itty bitty Weber.

Look!  A sofa! (Actually there were TWO sofas)

This next photo is from the road going past our campsite, looking towards the track. It's a bit blurry because I was using the "night" setting on my camera and now realize that if I use that setting again I need to use my Gorillapod.  The lit-up structure in the center of the photo is the Pagoda.  The little red sports car in the foreground belonged to a really nice guy from Florida who had worked the St. Pete race a couple of times, but had never come to Indy before.  I think he gawked more than we did, and we did a LOT of gawking!

Here's looking down the road toward the exit of the lot from our campsite.

And here's "home away from home"! The screen house is the reason why I will never, EVER purchase any more outdoor equipment at Wal-Mart. It did not survive a gust of wind on Race Day, although the tent held up well despite an already-damaged pole.  Nothing leaked this time, either.
Stay tuned for pictures of our adventures on Carb Day!  There's just too much to put into one post, so I have to have a series of posts so I remember to put everything in.

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