This weekend of the Indianapolis 500 actually started . . . last weekend! With Time Trials! I didn't do a separate blog about that, and just include a bit about it with race weekend.
Tom and I camped at Mounds beginning Thursday, May 17, and were joined by Caleb and Halie, and Micah on assorted different weekend schedules and agendas. Tom and I did a quick dash to the track for Fast Friday, and Caleb and Halie staged an all-day stopover on Saturday for the first day of qualifications. On Sunday Caleb, Halie, Micah, and Tom returned for Pole day while I enjoyed a little personal camping bliss. By 6:00, Caleb and Halie left the track to check into a hotel for a mini-vacation leading up to the race, and Tom and Micah picked me up at Mounds to head for home. We would all recover, rearrange and reconvene in three days for race weekend! No pictures . . . just the bare facts!
Monday we started a quick turnaround re-packing of the trailer and at 2:00 went to pick up the new puppy. Oh wait! Did I forget to mention we were getting a new puppy? Jasper is a little Biewer Terrier, a somewhat new (2014) addition to the AKC line-up -- Google it! We found him within 25 miles of home, from an experienced breeder on a beautiful country farm. What a brave little fellow he is – adjusting to just two days in his new home, before rushing off to the Indianapolis 500! He has proven to be up to the challenge, and has accepted a schedule of eating, eliminating, playing, cuddling, and sleeping, all without one whine or any sign of intimidation. Oh, and he sleeps in his crate, rides in his car seat, and has had no accidents in the house! Here are some of his first little pictures.
Wednesday, Micah, Tom, and I overnighted at the Indiana State Fairgrounds; Thursday, May 24th, found us all gathered at the race track parking lot 3P, almost in the shade of our turn-two seats, right across 16th Avenue! We are allotted four parking spaces, and it is a bit of a puzzle to get us all to fit. The new 25’ Airstream takes up some extra footage this year, and Caleb and Halie are parked at an angle to fit in their tent/mini van set-up. We were able to pull out the Airstream awning, and set up an additional awning for the puppy play-pen, as well as our chairs, recliners, tables, and coolers. COZY!
We have full electric hook-up, ice and ice-cream delivery, pump-out services for the tanks, as well as fresh water delivery. It almost feels like . . . . we’re camping!
The Thursday evening surprise was tickets for Halie, Caleb, and Micah to attend the “Last Row Party” inside the track at the Pagoda. The drivers in the last row, Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, and Conor Daly were roasted amid speeches and other hoop-la. Caleb got to meet Doug Boles, the President of the Speedway and talk to him about the new handicap seating in the turn 1 stands. The views from the Pagoda were high and good, and Micah was on hand to get pictures for us. By the time they got back, it had cooled down considerably and we all settled down for the night.
A note about Jasper: I am not sure that he realizes he is at the Indianapolis 500! We have been able to keep up his potty training, and we have a puppy pen under an awning for him to romp in. Inside he has an identical crate/bed set-up as at home, between our twin beds. In the cool of the morning and early evening he plays outside under the awning and during the heat of the day he is inside (usually with me!) in the air conditioning. I am starting to think that having a new puppy in the Airstream is easier than having one in the house!
Tom, Micah and I did not go into the track Friday, but we did go to Sara Fisher’s nearby 911 Grill for a quick lunch, and then stayed in the Airstream most of the afternoon! It was HOT!
At 3:00 Caleb and Halie were back from the track and had showers to cool off. I stayed at the parking lot, and the rest went for dinner, and then had tickets for the new SOLO movie. This new puppy gives me all kinds of good excuses to just hang out at the Airstream!
Saturday morning everyone left in stages for the autograph session: Caleb and Halie were able to get in the gate early (6:30) with their bronze badges; Tom and Micah followed about 7:30. All headed straight to the pagoda and got in line, according to driver rows, for autographs. I waited until the autograph session started at 9:00 and walked over to check it out. Down by gasoline alley where the drivers all have their gigantic-motorhome-living-accommodations set up, one lucky driver had an Airstream! I ran into Caleb and Halie waiting in an autograph line, saw Micah briefly, but didn't hang long enough to find Tom. I was back at the camper by 11:00; the rest were back at the camper by noon.
Tom and I left the kids to shower and rest while we made a visit to Camp Bremer -- just a few miles away. Every year Pat & Jennifer open up their front yard to camping friends for the weekend. We usually head over for a visit on Saturday afternoon, and this year we took Jasper to introduce him to the crew.
We made another quick run for our traditional night-before-the-race dinner in downtown Speedway at the Big Woods restaurant. . . . QUAFF ON! Just as we settled under the awning back at the Airstream, a pretty severe thunder storm blew up. Most of us weathered it out in the Airstream, but Tom stayed in Caleb and Halie’s mini van/tent to make sure it didn’t leak. Fifteen minutes and it was all over, but people all over the parking lot had damage to awnings and easy-up shelters! We had no damage, although our chairs got wet from rain blowing in under the awning.
The cannon boom woke us up at 6:00 Sunday/Race day on what promised to be a hot one. Everyone practiced a little restraint in heading for the track. Caleb and Halie were off at 9:00, having to go around to turn one to reach their prime seats. Tom and Micah left at 9:30, and I held off until 10:30 – our seats are less than a 10 minute walk from the Parking Lot!
I love all the traditions, sounds, sights, and track action during that last hour leading up to the race. Tom was waiting at the top of Turn 2, Micah joined us, and we got a few traditional pictures! (Over our shoulders we could see our Airstream sitting in the parking lot!)
By the time the cars were on the parade laps, the temperature was rising as fast as the excitement, and I knew I wouldn’t be crossing the finish line! I did manage a picture of every car neatly lined up in their rows coming at us down the short shoot on the final parade lap, and I stayed for the first 25 laps while the drivers settled down to business. Then, I left the camera with Tom and the rest of my race consisted of listening on the radio, in the comfort of the Airstream!
This was the 102nd race
James Henchliff didn’t qualify for the race
Hometown boy Ed Carpenter was on the pole and in contention all day
Danica crashed in her final Indy car retirement race
Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves both crashed
Will Power won! What a HAPPY AUSSIE!
I don't feel that I did this blog entry justice! I am behind – only home 48 hours to regroup for the Firefly rally in Tennessee. I’m finishing this blog as we drive down the road!
Not to say that I didn’t love every minute of the past two weekends with large groups of Airstreamers in an Urban setting – but I was so ready for a “real” campout . . . with family and in a state park!
That is what situated us at Mounds State Park, just north of Indianapolis, for a weekend featuring the Indianapolis Grand Prix – an Indy-car road race in the month of May at our favorite track! The boys have been attending since its inception four years ago. This year, Halie and I decided to crash the party and turn it from an all-boy day-trip into a full-family camping weekend.
Tom and I left on Thursday and pulled into our camping spot at 10:30 a.m. enjoying lunch and absolutely perfect weather – 75 degrees, light breeze and full sun. A little napping and a little reading led to a walk of some of the beautiful trails leading directly from the campground. Leaves were in bright spring green, flowering trees and wild flowers were in full bloom, and we concluded that this was the peak spring “moment-in-time.” Charlie Button was with us, sporting her new summer-shaved hair-do, and she enjoyed the trails as much as we did.
We grilled up some steaks for supper, along with Mac ‘n Cheese, and took another short hike up to see the big mound. As it got dark, Tom started a campfire, and we enjoyed sitting out until it died down. We loved sleeping with the windows wide open all night long!
Friday morning Tom served egg sandwiches on English Muffins for breakfast and we made a quick trip into the Cabela’s store where I got outfitted with two new shirts. Back at the campground, the pace was picking up with a steady stream of campers arriving and a “campground full” sign posted. All along the trails and roads were walkers, strollers, joggers and hikers . . . and even one man walking backwards!
One small detail we need to remember next time we camp here – we need to be on the other side of the street so the awning side faces east! By 1:30 the sun invaded under the awning, and we have to move to the back-side of the trailer and sit in the grass for shade. Minor detail!
Friday afternoon our excitement picked up as Micah arrived for supper (BBQ Chicken and Ribs), and Caleb and Halie landed shortly afterwards. We had the handicap site right next to the bathroom, and it had an ample paved pad for our trailer and their mini-van/tent combination. There was enough time to take the kids back for an evening walk to the Great Mound and come back for an enjoyable campfire!
Saturday morning the boys were off at 7:00 for the Indianapolis Grand Prix; they texted a couple of pictures to us from the track. . . but Halie and I were off on shopping adventures of our own! The little town of Noblesville has a beautiful little outdoor shopping mall disguised as quaint city streets, and we were able to shop . . . and eat. . . and shop some more. Halie got several cute little dresses!
Halie and I were back at the Silvermine by 3:00, and we set up under the awning with radio and drinks for the race. The boys were back with us at 8:00, and Micah took off for home.
Next weekend . . . more of the same. That’s right – we’re heading back to Mounds State Park for another family gathering for Time Trial weekend. It promises to be much the same, with everyone arriving at different times. Come back to read the details!
This is our second urban rally in 10 days . . . and our fourth at Haydocy Airstream parking lot in Columbus, Ohio for the “Share the Dream” gathering.
Starting on a Thursday, May 3rd, about a dozen Airstreams set up camp in a new location on Haydocy’s side lot. . . plenty of room for ‘streams and TV’s . . . and electricity to boot!
Haydocy provided the location and a lot of the amenities for the rally, and Nova’s John and Suzie were the up-front NOVA couple pulling together all the plans. Haydocy is generous with their facilities, and we had our choice of large, covered, patio for sitting outside, or the entire indoor showroom. At night, when the staff left, they tossed us the keys and told us to “close up when you quit for the night!”
New also for this year was the addition of members of the Columbus Unit, making for a nice get-to-know-new-people atmosphere. And, we stumbled onto George and Tom who had received a call from Haydocy that their new Globetrotter had arrived; imagine their surprise at finding dozens of like-minded friends camping in the Haydocy parking lot and wanting to do nothing but talk Airstream!! The numbers of those camping for the weekend were augmented by Columbus Unit members who dropped by off and on throughout the weekend. I did my best to get pictures of everyone -- but I know I missed a few.
Sooooooo . . . what does one do when you're sitting around an Airstream dealership??? The purpose of this rally is two-fold: sell Airstreams (Haydocy) . . . and demonstrate the Airstream lifestyle (NOVA). This year the weather cooperated with a warm, spring, atmosphere that created a great back-drop for all our activities.
Some of the girls were charmed by a simple little craft of button flowers in small glass vases. We all came prepared with wire and buttons and salt-shakers, and spent a relaxing afternoon growing little flower gardens.
Alan brought out the ever popular Segways and gave some lessons!
Some of the guys enjoyed the lawn-chair sport of drone flying!
Haydocy called in a professional crew to wash and detail our Airstreams . . . right there in the parking lot!
Sue brought out some pine-basket-making-supplies and some of us learned a fun new craft!
Alan and Carie did a little convertible testing at the GMC dealership, and John and Suzie bought a new truck!
In-between there was a lot of eating: out-to-eat Thursday night . . . carry-in Italian dinner friday night provided by Haydocy . . . and a Cinco De Mayo blow-out on Saturday night hosted by Suzie and John! With live entertainment . . . and two Margarjita machines! Oh yeah, and cooked-to-order breakfasts Friday and Saturday mornings!
All weekend long we enjoyed looking at the inventory of Airstream products -- especially the new Globetrotter and the Nest. On Saturday the dealership was flooded with customers looking at the different floorpans and sizes of Airstreams . . . and talking to all of us about the WBCCI and our Airstream experiences. We don't know yet how many Airstreams were sold . . . time will tell!
There were other activities that I didn't get pictures of -- a walking, late-night, trip to the near-by casino . . . . an afternoon run in the go-carts . . . and even nightly evening campfire!
These past two weekends in Urban settings have been great fun and a lot of emersion in Airstreaming! Next on our agenda is a good old-fashioned camping trip with all the family at Mounds State Park for the Indy Car Grad Prix! In preparation, Charlie went to the groomer this morning for a major summer-do!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown