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!
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