Just got home from Watkins Glen Raceway this morning after leaving 1am, we reached my yard at 8:30am - the traffic from Eastern Pennsylvania thru Upstate New Jersey was jammed packed, but moving.
Quick recap of the weekend for all those following:
We left (just the two of us; me and Bob at 3am Friday morning and made it there by 8:30am (shows you the difference traffic can make)
NOTE: after mapping out the routes, I used the majority of the trip plan that Big Rog sent to me - thanks Rog, your books and paperwork were ALL really helpful to us!!!!
We ran into trouble after pulling into our camp-spot which was only HALF the size of my motorhome www.beemaster.com/bus.html
and I grabbed a worker on a golf cart who worked with us for nearly an hour finding a VERY suitable site, both grassy and shady at turn nine on this 11 turn road course in the mountains of North-Western, NY.
We had tent campers set-up in spot next to us with tents that had adjoining Habbitrail like connectors and (unknown to us) there WAS campfires allowed all over the place.
Now, Friday, Rolex Series cars (which have headlights and brake lights and can race in the rain) were out qualifying and then later raced - we saw this fast paced race which had a few Nextel guys, including Tony Steward racing) and it was sunny and hot that day.
Bob and I lived it up, watching satelite TV, hanging in the very comfortable air-conditioned bus and we cooked up the ton of food we brought.
That day we went into the infield shopping souveniers and that night we went into Rolex pit and staging area and had the chance to sit in a few cars which raced that day - very cool.
We then went up to the long fenced in area with the multi-million dollar Nextel and Busch Motorcoaches. The only on I had recognized from TV was Dale Jr's, MArk Martin and Jeff Gordans. But what beautiful coaches, all 40+ feet, multi-satelite dishes for TV and Internet and most with 4 full slide outs.
We then made a way to the Glen Club, a hang-out for some of the race families and crew (rarely the drivers UNLESS closed off) we sat down and was asked what we wanted to drink, got a beer and a quick run to the buffet and was never charged a penny :)
Hot, really described the start of the day. Surprizingly, a newspaper was delivered to the site ever morning and we found OTHER papers all over the place to read too.
We made our way to the grassy berm to watch some of the race and to our assigned seating to see the majority of this BUSCH RACE. There was a 2 hour rain delay, but the race was finished and it was a good race. We finished this day with steaks and a full side of corn, salads and lots of good talk with the neighbors.. That night it was a loud crowd around the trace, which holds 180 thousand fans and I think around 10 thousand RV sites.
The big day started clear, got cloudy later and it ALMOST seemed like the race would be delayed with 17 laps to go. We made our way through the ocean of people in all their race garb and found a short line to the row/section that we were headed for. We were row 30, section 5, seats 9 and 10 - just past the Start/Finishline and only 200 feet from the center of all the pitroad action, we could see EVERYTHING from turn 11, thru turn one and all the pit action: plus TWO JUMBO-TRONS to watch the action around this 2.5 mile course.
Tony the bum Steward ran away with it, winning his 6th of 9 races and at the top of the stands, with Jimmy Johnson a ways behind and a close third by Greg Biffle.
The race was awesome (especially if you discount Steward blowing away EVERYONE) He literally had a 2 second lead by time he made it to turn ONE, I can only think that his gear choice was perfect and he is (right now) the best racer in stock cars in the world.
We ate terrific barb-qued chicken, burgers and a ton of fixins' for our last meal, slept a few hours and made our way home at 1am.
It was a great trip and we are now planning a trip with 2 other campers (4 guys/2 campers actually) to Dover, Deleware in the FALL of 2006. We need to stay on top of the ticket sales to get an inside track camp spot, but we'll be happy just to get to this race!!!
Finally, gas was killing us. I averaged just over 11mpg with my 37ft, 28,000 pound RV which is GREAT for all the mountain driving we did. Plus we ran the generator almost 20 hours a day while there.
Gas prices in NJ when we left Friday $2.30 and $2.49 Monday morning. It was SURPRIZINGLY cheapest in NY State and most expensive in Northern PA. The final miles 616 miles round trip, full usage $272 - I'll include actual gallonage later, but with these record high gas, it was as expensive for fuel as it was for the premium seating tickets we bought. The best deal was $200 for 4 days (we use 3) of camping.
So we did good conserving our gray (shower and sink) and Black (sewage) tank fillage, neither reached the top and NO dumping stations around. We did consume 60 gallons of water and filled up to 5 gallon cans and poured into the bus to get us through the final night.
So, there you have it. I hope to put a page together and get some photos up soon. But it was AWESOME going to the GLEN and I look forward for a race a year. I'll be (God willing) down in Roger's neck of the woods (Richmond, Virginia) in 2007 or sooner if we can get the people together for a Richmond Race.
Nice to write everyone, hope all is we and happy beekeeping.