19 May 2006

Day Three - Everybody Up to Speed

Someday I'll learn exactly which continent is in play when I hear the term "continental breakfast" in order to begin pruning that cultures attributes from my life. Sorry County Inn & Suites, I know you're in the volume business, but you ain't go it goin' on with this promise of free breakfast.

Day 3 on the road - Indianapolis, Indiana. With a distinct lack of precipitation, we piled in the Family Truckster and felt our way up the beltway to Crawfordsville Road, and finally to the House of Hulman. Today I saw the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I recall when I returned home after seeing Rome for the first time. I wanted to tell everyone about it, but I felt sheepish since Rome had been there a couple thousand years and it was me that just got there. Well today, Indy is my new Rome. The place is huge. It's got lots of old and lots of new. They love their heritage yet claw for the future. And the cars are faster and louder and more surreal than TV can convey.

Lotsa rain in the area for a while, so today was the first practice day the teams were able to turn the wick up and see race speeds. Fourteen different drivers turned in laps of 225 MPH or better. We spent some time in the chute between turns 1 and 2, and then behind the north half of the pits.

As with all big events that are held year after year, there are at Indy many different levels of access and priviledged. There are special suites, pass-only dining, rockstar parking and felonious golf cart usage. You are granted entrance to these exclusive places by knowing someone or being someone or being beholden to someone, but for only $6/head we common folk walzed right in, got to park on the infield, use of the shuttle circulator, an exhibit of pace cars (1987 and 1983 being the low points) throughout the years, and march through the museum. Quite the bargain.

Nice of the family to indulge my little-boy fascinations with race cars. As much as I've bemoaned the IRL for years, seeing a third of the field practicing in person has made me realize I'll have to suck it up and come back here soon, paying full freight to see all 33 of these airplanes lap the joint in anger.

After finding the Ford needle in the neverending haystack lot, we were able to locate a mediocre but welcome Chinese place for a bit of lunch, and then spun up the moho for a run to Columbus for dinner with more family and hours of keeping the kids spinning.

Tomorrow the whole clan will be present and there will be more hootin' and hollerin.'

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