When the girlfriend asked what I'd like to do for my birthday, I, half-kidding, half-dreaming, half-bluff-calling, said that I'd like to take the day off, and spend it, the whole damn day, at the speedway.
(That's what I want to do every day in May. My birthday was a convenient excuse.)
There's nothing like having someone say "Let's do it!" to turn a daydream into something feasible.
Weather checked (Thanks, weather.com). Meeting moved (Thanks, Mark). PTO request approved (Thanks again, Tim). Fat Tire in cans (Thanks for your genius, New Belgium). It. Was. ON!
The day started with a short run on tired legs.
Then, a delicious birthday cupcake from Holy Cow, Cupcakes. One bite. No video. Pity.
Then, we hit the World's Greatest Race Course!
Arriving just before the cars hit the track, we had a whole section almost to ourselves.
Mrs. Brown's 4th Grade class from PS 39
sat right in front of us. Quarter million seats in the place...
Poor Mrs. Brown looked like she could use a beer.
We sat behind them until mildly amused turned into mildly concerned for the future of America. It was time to move...
Scientific fact: The weight of the contents of coolers increases by the square of the distance they are moved from their last resting place.
We were settled in and getting back into a groove when I had an emergency. Having retrieved a fresh Fat Tire from the cooler, I couldn't find my coozie! I pawed through the cooler. I looked under my seat. I even peaked through the cracks to see if it had fallen beneath the stands. Who took my coozie?!?
Oh, there it is, on my last and still half-full Fat Tire.
Yep, buzz fully engaged. It was shaping up to be a fine day.
Short yellow for drops of rain on the backstretch (Thanks for NOTHING weather.com) was the cue to have some lunch.
On the way, I ran into Tommy...
Tommy and Me.
Tommy is my kinda people. Ok, probably not, but he was very nice and super gracious, and you gotta dig the threads.
Miraculously the lines were short at the Plaza Cafe...
Indy Dog, Track Fries, and a Tenderloin.
I didn't eat all of this. Just most of it. And I've been to IMS about 7000 times and have never had a tenderloin. I have been missing out.
Topped off, we headed back to the seats to meet up with my good bud Jeff from Chicago, and his cousin Scott.
Scott, Me, Jeff. Easy there, ladies...
Jeff is also the girlfriend's brother. And for those who notice these kinds of things, Scott is also her cousin. Whatever... Jeff brought 16oz cans of Bud.
He also bought a paper. This is important because when the rain came to stay (eat it weather.com!) and we headed down, I noticed IndyCar driver, N**CAR driver, even NHRA Top-Fuel dragster driver, and all-around good guy John Andretti walking by.
Richard Petty on left, John in the middle, John's wife Nancy on right
The girlfriend leapt into action, snagged Jeff's paper, and made her way through the throng, face-to-face with John, who couldn't resist...
John's autograph (Yay!)
Jeff and Scott decide to split (and by "split" I mean leave the speedway, not break up, they're not a couple, they're cousins for crying out loud). We headed to the museum, where we saw vintage automobiles, historical race cars, and the greatest trophy, ever...
Stanley Cup, eat your heart out.
And as you may have seen yesterday, I was ever so slightly heartbroken to see the fountain firmly in the off position. But not too heartbroken to violate it. It was my birthday and I would not be denied, at least not by the yellow-shirts in the guard shack who thought it was too windy.
I'll be back, my precious.
No cars on the track. Museum browsed. Fountain defiled. It was time to go home.
And Yay! for me, at home there were presents! Among them...
Fat Tire Hat
Fat Tire shirt
New Belgium glassware
Bazinga shirt, which I'm wearing as I type this.
Finally, it was a birthday dinner with The GF, Jeff, and their parents.
Happy happy happy birthday.
Happy happy happy birthday.
Happy happy happy birthday,
to you, to you, to you. Ole!
It was a fantastic day. And I owe it all to one person.
So, without further ado, my wonderful girlfriend, Debbie...
Thank you, baby!
What? Ya think? Oh, ok...
Much better :-)
Numbers: 4.5 miles on still pretty tired legs. On roads.