Seeking Out Some Good Advice
Although I’m the lesser of the two Indy Car fans in our household, I’m the one that is already getting restless after less than three weeks into the Indy Car off-season. My husband is engrossed in following the undefeated Tennessee Vols and hasn’t been talking about racing much…to me anyway. He religiously listens to “Trackside” every week and I can hear him pounding the keyboard every few nights like he is trying to kill it, but we haven’t talked much about racing since the season ended at Sonoma.
Even though George and I both went to UT (it’s where we first met almost forty years ago), I don’t live and die on every game that Tennessee plays like he does. We go to a few Titans games every year, but we haven’t been to a game at UT in over ten years. It’s easier to sit at home and watch in HD, than it is to sit in an old stadium with no chair backs, armrests or cup-holders.
While he is all wrapped up in the UT season, I’m already looking ahead to next racing season. Strange isn’t it…the way roles reverse themselves?
This past season we went to our usual races, which were Barber and the three straight weekends in Indianapolis. But we both went to Road America in June, while George had a guy’s trip to Pocono with our good friend Paul Dalbey. I’d like to go to Pocono some year, but my lack of vacation time prevented it this year.
As George watches football, my mind is wandering about which tracks to visit next season. We are both in agreement that we want to go back to Road America next year, but maybe a quicker trip next time. In all honesty, I need your help. We will add Gateway to our schedule, but only because it is so close to Nashville. But I am seeking your advice.
This summer, we combined a racing trip to Road America with an actual vacation that I wanted to do. The first half of the trip belonged to George, the second half was my idea. Just as we crossed into Wisconsin, I was wondering if I had made a mistake.
We drove from Nashville all the way to Sheboygan, Wisconsin on only one stop…somewhere between Indianapolis and Chicago to get gas. Thank God I went to the bathroom then, because we never stopped again. George has this thing about getting from Point A to Point B in record time. Me? I like to meander and see the sights, but not my husband. He’s a man on a mission.
Shortly after crossing into Wisconsin, I spotted the Mars Cheese Castle. When I suggested we stop there, it was met with “Yeah…right”. Then as we approached Racine, I saw a billboard for the famous O&H Danish Kringle…the same Kringle I had paid $20 in shipping to have them shipped to Nashville. When I saw it, I begged for him to stop. His answer? “Nah. We can get those things anywhere in the state. I want to get through Milwaukee before rush hour”.
There it was. It was the confirmation that I had no voice on this trip. It was obvious to me that I had kidded myself that any part of this trip would be what I wanted to do. We had to stay on schedule. Bear in mind, there was nothing we had planned for that night but we still had to maintain our pace. As it was, we sat through rush hour traffic in Milwaukee anyway. We probably would have breezed through town a little later, had we stopped a couple more times along the way.
It was a silent and icy trip the rest of the way, but things eventually thawed out soon after we got there. Speaking of icy, the temperature in Wisconsin was about thirty degrees cooler than what we left behind in Nashville. Stepping out of the car into cool, cloudy and windy conditions sent us scrambling to get out the cold weather gear we packed but thought we would never really use.
By the day of the race on Sunday, the weather warmed up to about 80 degrees. It would never be that warm again for the rest of our trip.
Did I tell you how much we loved Road America? And it wasn’t just George. I loved it too. It was so unique in every way. The food, the beer, the scenery and the people made for an unbelievable weekend.
When we left Sheboygan on Monday, we headed north. George had one final request even though we were on “my time” for the trip. He wanted to go through Green Bay and see Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. I figured since we were going north anyway, it was on the way. I thought we’d drive by, snap a couple of pictures and be on our way. What I didn’t know was what a tourist destination Lambeau Field is. I figured it would be like the Titans stadium, a lot of steel beams with a few random banners on the side.
Contrary to my thinking, Lambeau Field was a work of art. I expected a run-down stadium in a blue collar neighborhood. Instead, it was a beautiful well-maintained structure in a nice, almost upscale neighborhood. We ended up staying there for an hour and a half.
From there we headed north. Way north. To the UP, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Neither of us had been there, but had always wanted to go. George kept looking for a moose, but we did see a bald eagle soaring very low, right over our highway. We drove across the UP and over the Mackinac Bridge, known to the locals as the Mighty Mac.
Years ago, I used to frequent the Glen Arbor area in Michigan near Traverse City. If you’ve never been to Glen Lake, it is some of the clearest and bluest water you will find away from the Caribbean. The cool July temperatures make it a popular vacation spot. I had been wanting to get back there and this was my chance. We checked into our hotel around 6:00. It was windy and the temperature was 56 with white caps out on the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay just added to the atmosphere.
I had remembered a point overlooking Lake Michigan where the sunset was gorgeous. George is not really one for sunsets, but he seemed willing to do what I wanted so we made the journey to the Robert Manning Lighthouse. While it was nice to complain about being cold in July, it was REALLY cold. But even George thought it was worth it. The view was breathtaking!
Overnight, it got down to 48 degrees. It was hard to complain knowing it was in the mid-to-upper 90’s back home, but when you aren’t used to it…48 feels like 18. But it warmed up quickly as the sun came up. We drove to Glen Arbor and it was just as pretty as I had remembered.
So why am I telling you all this? Why did I bore you with pictures from our summer vacation? I’m wanting your advice. There are some of you that have been to every track. While I enjoy going to race tracks, I would like a racing destination that we can turn into a vacation after the race is over (or before the race takes place).
We have tossed around the idea of going to Watkins Glen over Labor Day weekend next year, and then going up into Canada for a few days. Or should we go to Sonoma and take in San Francisco after the race is over? Phoenix is a possibility or even Long Beach. The problem with heading west is that George doesn’t like to fly. He’s not scared of flying, mind you. He’s just cheap and prefers to take his own car.
The race in Texas appeals to George, but I can’t get excited about visiting Texas in June. We’ve thought about Mid-Ohio, but neither of us want to camp. I also know better than to even suggest Belle Isle.
Then there’s always St. Petersburg, which always sounds appealing in March. We spent our honeymoon there but that was in June just south of Clearwater. How warm is it there in mid-March?
Pocono is a possibility, but it’s right after Gateway and just before Watkins Glen. I think we’d rather go to Watkins Glen.
So, I am throwing it out to the Oilpressure.com readers. Tell us something we haven’t thought of. Give us a reason to go to one place over the other. Also keep a modest budget in mind. We aren’t the richest people on earth and George can be rather thrifty (read: cheap). Well, he’s cheap on some things. He probably hasn’t mentioned here that he bought a drone a month ago. Talk about a waste of money! I’m embarrassed to say how much he spent on that toy. So we need to keep it a little on the low scale side, but my hotel points from work sure come in handy.
Give us your thoughts so that I can have a fun trip, too.