Our site was so large that we set up in a big spread – chairs under the shade tree, Kelty shelter next to the airstream. The afternoon was chilly at 63 degrees, heavy clouds, and breezy. Still, we preferred sitting out with light jackets and . . . lap blankets!
At 4:00 I suggested a dash in to Frye’s, my favorite super-electronic store, before supper. After a quick walk-around we got out without a purchase and returned to the campground just in time for supper: lamb chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and grapes. It was dark shortly after supper, and with a light sprinkling of rain, we saved the campfire for morning coffee and went inside. I had The Shallows downloaded on my computer and couldn’t wait to settle down with a good shark attack.
Lunch was Chuy’s Mexican and we made a brief attempt to go to a movie – but the one we wanted to see wasn’t on for another few hours. We headed back to the campground to rescue Charlie Button who was cowering from all the thunderstorms! It was a drippy evening and again we retreated to the Silvermine without a campfire.
Saturday Tom fixed us egg sandwiches for breakfast; there is nothing better than two eggs on an English Muffin with bacon and cheese to start the day out right! We were off to the races by 9:00, planning to meet Micah and friend Paul by 10:00 when the gate opened. The track arrival strategy was different for the AirRace as it all took place above turn 4 – but Tom knows every inch of the track and surrounding parking lots, and he navigated straight to the infamous Coca-Cola Parking lot. We arrived 20 minutes after Micah, but were parked just one row over and a dozen cars down from him.
Entrance to the track was easy, and we quickly chose seats in the top row of the NW Vista, and made the march to the top. It was hazy and foggy, but our view of the flying field was first-rate, and we settled in to get our bearings. Here is a diagram of the flying field and pictures of our view from the top. As we climbed to our seats, in Turn 4 Stand Row RR (same row as our Indy 500 seats located in Turn 2) we noticed everything was shrouded in the fog and barely visible in the distance is the Indianapolis downtown skyline.
We didn’t know quite what to expect from day #1 at the air races, but our race guide booklet showed a pretty active agenda of practicing, entertainment, and qualifications . We were in our seats by 10:00, anxious to see what would happen.
Practice was first, with a chance for us to get a feel of where the planes would take off, how they would negotiate the course, and where they would land. As each pilot left the runway, the announcer broadcast: "smoke on."
A motorcycle stunt-rider performed with a variety of tricks in front of our stands.
Several paraglider jumpers landed in front of us.
An Aerobatic Helicopter stunned with climbing, diving, free-fall and tumbling moves that helicopters are just not meant to do!
A paraglider trailing a long, long, tail, soared high over our heads and then did a death spiral with the tail twisting into a large corkscrew. I was so shocked -- I missed the picture!
With that, we left the stands to scout out the midway, the merchandise and the food stands. A foot-long corn-dog later we were back in the stands for another practice session followed by qualifications.
I got a few more pictures, myself, and then headed down to do a little sight-seeing on the ground level and left the boys to cover qualifications.
From the darkening sky, I had a feeling that some rain was moving in, and sure enough, within an hour it was spitting rain. I made a quick jump for the car, and within 20 minutes Tom joined me. So ended our first AirRaces and another great experience at the Indianapolis Speedway. Next weekend we're taking a weekend off from camping and will be hanging around the house with Caleb and Halie to make apple butter!
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