|Cloudy skies threatened the entire weekend|
The most awesome thing about travelling without an agenda or a plan (other than to get back to Canada sometime) is that you randomly run across awesome things. Two awesome's in one sentence? You betcha...it was...awesome! ;)
Initially I ran across the Pocono on saturday morning after leaving Strousburg with my new muffler on. The sign said "Detour here unless going to the race". I like racing so I promptly skipped the detour and headed towards the Pocono International Raceway. On the way though...I was getting pretty high off a righteous smell of gas that was filling the cab up with increasing intensity. I knew that there was something wrong but initially (probably because I was so in the clouds from the fumes) but i decided to wait till I got to the track before checking it out.
Well when I pulled up the young kid took about 5 steps back and when I asked him if it was gassy...he nodded in agreement but then said "Yeah a little bit". Honestly all I could smell was gas so I pulled over and voila...the fuel pump was pouring gas out of the upper seem...I mean pouring.
Obviously your engine is a heat source and gas is a flammable liquid...I decided to turn the van off for a few minutes to let it cool down while I decided what to do. Then...as will happen...a guy pulled up and told me about this place called Jimmy's just down the road. I didn't want to suffer the (totally personal and not real embarrassment) of having a tow truck pull up in the throng of thousands of cars to tow me away...so I decided to take the risk and drive to Jimmy's Auto.
When I got there though....Jimmy's was closing and they had told the guy on the phone that but he failed to relay that critical piece of info to me. So I spoke to them, made an appt for monday and with their caution of "don't drive too far" I thought I was going to park the van at the local grocery store and ride my bike down to the race.
Well...I never left their driveway. As the saying goes...it shit the bed right on the edge of the highway. The beautiful thing was that it didn't take but one second for four of them to come running out to push it back to the shop. A phone call was made to locate a pump, it was delivered within 15min and a great guy named Steve installed it after shop hours while I bombarded him with endless mechanical and race oriented questions. He was a cool guy, single dad, used to race demolition derbies and now his daughters have decided to carry that torch forward (at age 16) so he couldn't be happier that they have followed his footsteps. 20min later I was wishing I had of just done it myself because it was ridiculously easy...but the best part was that I was done with it and ready to hit the race...but what? dang...ding dang *&^% the race was over for the day (ticket sales) by the time I got there.
So I could have sat in the lot with 4000 drunken NASCAR fans waiting for the 4am gate opening to get a good spot on turn 1...or I could have gone to find a quiet place to sleep and make it back to the race at a reasonable time...I chose the latter and headed to the nearest mechanics shop to bed down for the night.
Woke up at 5, headed to the race for 6:30. Got my spot in the infield, took a 4hr nap...woke up and wandered the madness, took the bus to the fan zone, took in as much of the track as I could on an infield ticket...to visit anywhere else (like even the grandstands) would have cost another $40, to visit pit row would have cost $50...so I was fine with the infield as it stood...and as it stood there was PLENTY of people watching to do in the infield and I am as some readers know... a serious people watcher!!
|That's NASCAR for you|
|Shot from the bleachers|
The next day when I was washing my clothes at the laundromat I got to speak with the semi-truck driver from #17 and when I said it was all in all a good afternoon he replied, "well it would have been better if someone hadn't died" and I was stunned...then I realized what he was talking about.
At about lap 92 there was a lightening strike so close and so loud that it was a certainty that it struck somewhere very close. I had assumed the grandstand as it is a massive metal structure in the middle of an open field...but no. Some poor person was struck in there tent and died on the scene and 10 others were injured. So that marred the day and left a heavy cloud over the NASCAR folks. It was tragic and my thoughts go out to the family.
|Everyone is flying flags...|
But after surviving a fire a little lightening didn't deter me at all from having a great time. Now other people do NASCAR in their own way...usually drunk as skunks and partying hard. In fact when I climbed into the Chariot to get some shut eye at 12am...the rv beside me had people standing on it partying away (WAY too many people for what that RV roof should handle) and when I opened my eyes at 6:30...they were still on there partying hard!
|And they did!|
|This guy was dressed up like Earnhart yelling and screaming in order to disrupt or enhance (not sure) the live Speed broadcast that was going on|
|An old classic|
|Picture of the track while riding the shuttle bus|
|People gathered on pit lane|
|More pit lane|
|more pit lane|
|wth...more pit lane! :)|
|The army is a big draw for kids at any NASCAR event...but at this time no one was caring about the army equipment they had on display :)|
|The Fan zone...|
|rained like hell and they brought out these wicked jet engine track dryers|
|Infield...1 day, race day!|
|All sorts of drying equipment was used|
|People came with everything and their kitchen sinks! Some of these motorhomes were massive!!|
|victims of the previous nights party|
|Another victim....I think that chiro appointments go up 100 fold after a NASCAR event|
|Yep...that pretty much says it all for about 90% of the infield|
|Lap 92 and the threat of rain was upon us!|
|This character was a wild thing to witness...I have no idea who she was cheering for but she was freaking out clenching her smoke between her teeth (easily one of the grossest things..period) and hooting and hollering!|
|For some reason I was all alone...and loving it!|
|This rig was wicked and the picture below shows it's matching golf cart|
|And that's my first ever NASCAR event!! ;)|
Eventually there was just a handful left (yes the people were still on their roof) and I fired up the beast...let it warm up and headed for the Delaware Water Gap and the national park!! Vroom Vroom...here I go....