Vacation week is over and I’m back in the trailer full-time. For four nights, this was where Breeze hung out while I enjoyed the luxurious hot showers and baths of a Holiday Inn Express. Ah, that was awesome. Breeze has a shower, but with the small fresh water and grey water tanks, it’s not like I can stand there and let the hot water run forever. But I can in a hotel 🙂
I took a day trip to Greyson Highlands State Park in Virginia, where friends of mine are working for the month. Imagine my surprise when I pulled in and saw not one, but TWO, Altos in a row! Turns out friends from Asheville area were camping up there for the week, so I had a nice little visit with them, too. The temps on the mountain were definitely nicer (75F) than the temps down in the flatlands where I was staying (90F)! And as a bonus, there are wild ponies at this park, originally from Chincoteague, but now adapted to the Virginia highlands weather.
From the peaceful cool climes of Greyson Highlands to the hot, sweaty, noisy environment of Bristol Motor Speedway was a study in contrasts. NASCAR does hot August nights down here, on a half-mile short track where the sound is deafening, even with great earplugs. This is a shot from the Friday night race, where the cars are slightly less powerful (Xfinity series) but still fast enough to make photography a challenge.
Saturday night was the main event, the super fast and super loud Cup cars. We had the best seats in the house, at least as far as we were concerned: right at track level. This was my view for 500 laps of rubbin’ and racin’:
I had thought the cars were going fast when I was seated halfway up in the stands on Friday night, but to see and feel them speed about 20 feet away redefines the term “fast car” in a whole new way. The “marbles” (rubber scraped off the tires due to the tight turns and high speeds) bounce around and sometimes get through the chainlink fence, so I felt a few of those hit me (like little spitballs). When the cars were slowly circling the track on caution laps, I could see inside the cars to where the drivers were sitting.
Saturday before the big race we got passes to go down onto the track, thanks to a really nice woman at the ticket counter. Walking the high-banked corners and short straightaways, checking out the pit crews working on the cars, and watching cars go through official inspection – it was hot but it was fun! They even let you sign the start/finish line, so we left a message:
All in all, some great racing and I’m glad my brother and I went. Might never go to another one after this. Sonoma, Las Vegas, Fontana, and Phoenix, we hit all the western NASCAR races with our dad, and this weekend, with him in our hearts, we did a short-track old-school race. So this feels like the proper end to an era, on a classic track with some hard racing and good company. Thanks to my brother for coming and to my sister-in-law for putting up with a couple of race nuts for the weekend.
Sunday I escaped south to Tennessee, to one of my favorite places from last year, Watauga Dam campground. It’s a small campground deep up a canyon. The paddling is glorious and I can launch right from my campsite!
I had some fun with reflections again this week, this was my favorite.
The connectivity isn’t so great there, though, so I’m in town doing errands and catching up on emails and blog posts. This weekend, I’ll be back to Virginia for a while. I’m enjoying my southern sojourn so far, which is good because I’ll be exploring the South until I hit home base in November.
Auto racing began five minutes after the second car was built.