Vacation (a sleep-deprived tour of central Indiana)

May 21, 2008

8:30 p.m.: SuperShuttle arrived, transported me to SFO.

10:30 p.m.: Boarded AirTran flight. (Darn, not the Air Tranica plane…) Plane was loaded with race fans for the direct flight to Indy – great vibe. Overheard someone saying he was the great-grandson of Ray Harroun.

11:30 p.m.: Despite the fun and laughs, I inserted my noise canceling ear buds, settled into my business class seat (almost big enough for me to curl up sideways in), and tried to get some sleep.

May 22, 2008

6:30 a.m.: Flight landed at Indianapolis International. Took an eternity to taxi to the gate.

7:10 a.m.: At the Alamo counter, they upgraded me to a Parnelli Jones orange Mustang. Almost too bright to look at that early in the morning, but I figured it would be 1.) fun to drive (yes) and 2.) easy to find in race track parking lot with thousands of other cars (yes).

8:00 a.m.: Arrived at my sister’s house in Fishers, mauled by 5-year-old nephew Josh, (the 11-year-old, Luke, had already caught his school bus) and a happy, slobbering yellow lab (Chase).

10:00 a.m.: Napped while my sister helped out at Josh’s kindergarten class.

12:00 noon: Met dad, stepmom, brother-in-law, and Josh (freshly sprung from kindergarten) for lunch at the Nickel Plate bar and grill in Fishers. Had an excellent hand-breaded tenderloin sandwich.

2:00 p.m.: Parents headed back to New Castle; drove to my hotel and checked in.

5:00 p.m.: Dinner back at sister’s house – followed by a brief concert by Luke on his Guitar Hero game. (Josh sings “Going out on a whale on the Crazy Train” – cute.)

7:00 p.m.: Headed back to the hotel, listened to Talk of Gasoline Alley and Indy Live while setting myself up for my five-night stay. Wanted to sleep early but it was midnight by the time my eyes closed for good. Ugh…

May 23, 2008

6:00 a.m. Whose idea was it to get up this early? :p Very slowly gained a state of semi-awake while checking email and looking at the doubtful weather forecast. Although armed with the recommendation to try breakfast at Brickyard Crossing (thanks, CC!), was unable to wait that long and partook of my hotel’s breakfast instead. Next year, for sure!

8:00 a.m. Left hotel for IMS.

8:50 a.m.: Parked in Lot 2, entered Gate 5 and headed for the garage area to make my morning rounds.

10:00 a.m. Settled into the Tower Terrace in front of the Media Center, tried to get online to blog with my Asus Eee PC. Plenty of public wireless signals detected, but could not get connected. Ah well. IndyCar practice eventually got underway and I was joined by my Facebook pal Tom Beeler, who took a break from his media job to come say hello. And then, the rain…I tried to connect with other Facebook pals John Edward and Crash Gladys, eventually getting a text back from Crash, sharing that it was “Limo to all the race parties night” for her. (I just can’t live like that…) Told Crash I’d find her on Sunday.

5:10 p.m.: After a day of sheltering, wandering, shutterbugging and not seeing any more track action, it was time to head to Plainfield for Curt Cavin’s Carb Night Burger Bash. My mom, two sisters, niece and three nephews headed down from points north to join in. The party started at 6:30 and they arrived a bit late, but still got to see eventual race winner Scott Dixon in person. The little ones spent a good bit of the evening outside with me, full of milkshakes and shivering, so I left the party early (apologies to CC, Jeff of “My Name is IRL” fame, and his readers- really wanted to meet you all). We finished the night at sister’s in Fishers, where the little ones wore themselves out on her new Wii Fit. Didn’t get to sleep until 1 a.m.

May 24, 2008

6:30 a.m.: Whose idea was it to get up this early? :p Very slowly gained a state of semi-awake while checking email. Needed to be at sister’s at 7:30 so we could drive to New Castle for breakfast at 8:30.

8:30 a.m.: Stacks Restaurant, New Castle IN. Two sisters, niece, three nephews, dad, stepmom and I laid waste to some pretty decent breakfasts, then went to parent’s for a few hours of lolling around while the kids ran through the house. For some reason, dad decided to make real, stove-top popped kettle corn right before we had to leave for lunch in Muncie. But it was awfully good…

12:30 p.m.: Mom’s house, Muncie IN. Two huge Pizza King pizzas were delievered (I can’t tell you how happy this made me!). Kids had a fenced-in yard and a full-sized trampoline with safety netting to romp on. It was a lovely day, so we hoovered down the pizza and lounged around outdoors under the big patio umbrella.

6:00 p.m.: Back in Indy at Scotty’s Brewhouse. Picked at a salad while visiting with a friend I hadn’t seen in 4 years. She and I could gab all night, but I enforced my 9 p.m. curfew so I could try to get some sleep. Ha. Still not adjusted to the time zone and finally got settled after midnight.

May 25, 2008

6:00 a.m. Whose idea was it to get up this early? :p Very slowly gained a state of semi-awake while checking email and looking at the glorious weather forecast. Quick breakfast topped it off.

7:15 a.m.: Pointed the Parnelli-mobile towards IMS.

8:20 a.m.: Traffic? What traffic? Split the early- and late-arrivers perfectly. Parked in Lot 2, in through Gate 5, headed off to the Clabber Girl stand for another quick breakfast. Wandered around, enjoyed the gorgeous day, took tons of photos and kept track of Facebook pal John Edward, who was stuck in the late-arriving traffic jam. Texted with my sister – she and the whole family were at a cousin’s house for a BBQ and they had a race pool going. She was asking me who to keep and who to trade. Settled in my spot early and quickly found the stands around me packed in with race fans, so by the time John arrived, I knew I’d miss shooting the main ceremonies if I went to greet him. Never tracked down Crash, either – need to email that woman!

1:11 p.m.: Kristi Yamaguchi (always a favorite – so cool to see my skating and racing worlds collide) dropped the green on the 92nd 500 and we settled in for what I later called “four hours of pit stop practice with a few sprints in between.”

5:30 p.m.: Wandered around the grounds after the race to let some of the traffic get out of my way. Finally left grounds at 6:10 and didn’t get out of my lot until well after 7. Back at hotel at about 8, completely exhausted from a day in the sun (big shout out to my best friend SPF 85 for keeping me pale as ever), but too wired to sleep. Watched most of the race replay and some local sports coverage while catching up with email and my usual round of web sites and blogs. Got to sleep about 1 a.m.

May 26, 2008

7:00 a.m. What the…? My alarm was set for 8:30 and there I was, wide awake at 7. Sleep deficit continued to grow. Everyone came to my sister’s in Fishers for a BBQ. We had a way too much to eat and a really nice day.

7:00 p.m.: Back at the hotel to pack while watching the victory celebration on TV. Planned to get to sleep early, but yet again I got caught up in following coverage of the race, reading papers and blogs and emails. Got to sleep at midnight.

May 27, 2008

6:30 a.m.: Ugh. Showered, finished packing, checked out and headed to my sister’s for breakfast with Josh. Left at 8:45 to turn in the Parnelli-mobile, then wasted time at IND waiting for my 12:05 flight. Stopped over in Vegas and touched down at SFO at 4:30 p.m. Grabbed a SuperShuttle to my place, where I was greeted by one feline (Sebastian) and hissed at by the other (Sabrina, who soon purred and made up). Posted some photos on my blog before turning in early for a real night’s sleep at last…

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Bash

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