DAN'S PERSPECTIVE ON THE WEEKEND
All year long Dan waits for this one weekend in the fall. It's the weekend when he goes to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the Formula 1 race track in Austin, to watch the United States Grand Prix race and all the preliminaries. It's a three day event, starting on Friday and ending with the actual two-hour race on late Sunday afternoon. In the past, Chris has joined him there, as well as a few of Chris' Houston friends, whom Dan now counts as friends, as well. This year Chris did not plan on being there, but some of the friends, including a fellow named Lindsay, were coming, so Dan had been coordinating everything with Lindsay. They would all be staying at the same hotel on Friday and Saturday nights, in nearby Bastrop.
We have had a dry, dry summer this year. No rain at all . . . until the remnants of Hurricane Patricia slammed into us with all its fury, bringing torrents of rain and some wind. We only got three days of this weather . . . you guessed it, Friday, Saturday and Sunday . . .RACE WEEKEND! Dan was a trooper, though. and stayed for the entire three days. The friends who were supposed to join him there, however, backed out. I'll let you read about Dan's weekend experiences in his own words. This is an email he wrote to the absentee guys (only slightly edited by me):
Randy Travis had a hit a few years back that included these lines:
"As long as old men sit n' talk about the weather
As long as old women sit n' talk about old men"
From "Forever And Ever, Amen”
I can say that I thought of these lines many times as I texted and talked with Lindsay and Chris over the weekend. The weather was influencing everything and it was mean. Raining hard, wind blowing, soak you to the skin type of weather. My poncho worked wonderfully and I only got wet below the knees. Even when the rain stopped, it was still cold.
That said, going to Bastrop and the race for the weekend was a much easier decision for me than for anyone else. Never was I more than a little over an hour from the warmth and dry comfort of my own home. And definitely more than once I considered calling it a weekend and spend that brief hour or so to drive home. I didn’t, mainly because I was there and hope springs eternal. Based on the information available at the time, we all made a right decision.
Friday, they let me park in Lot N with no problem. I watched morning practice and when they canceled P2, left. Then I got stuck in the parking lot. Some very nice people helped to push my car out. COTA announced Friday night that Lot N would be closed Saturday and people that were to park there had to go to downtown Austin to park and be bussed to the circuit.
Saturday morning the circuit was closed to anyone not already there. I showed up at noon to park in Lot N and they told me only workers, campers, and police were allowed in Lot N but I could park in Lot Q (Lot Q is about 2 miles from the circuit) and I would be bussed to the circuit. I went to Lot Q and stayed in my car and watched people get drenched as soon and they stepped out of their car. I monitored from my cell phone the procession of delays for the scheduled qualification and when the drenched people started returning, I left. I never made it to the circuit. There wasn’t anything to watch, anyway, qualification was rescheduled for Sunday morning. COTA amended their parking announcement but I was still supposed to go to downtown Austin to park.
Sunday, they let me park in Lot N because I showed them a parking pass. I watched qualification then went back to my car to wait out the rain. Rain stopped about 45 minutes prior to the race start. I watched the race and tried to wait in the stands for the Elton John concert. Since I had got up at 5:30 AM to get to the circuit early, I was much too tired and left after waiting until 5:00.
So I was able to see everything that ran except FP3. I maybe should have tried to get in, but that would really be pushing my luck because COTA said that the circuit was closed. Sunday racing was spectacular. I am a great fan of racing in the rain and F1 in the rain is no exception. Practice and qualifying in the rain was spin after slide and driving off the track for everybody. And that was just at the corners I could see from my seat. Watching the rooster tail grow as they accelerated down the back straight was astonishing.
This is what Lot N looked like after it stopped raining. I took this sitting in my car on Sunday. No, I didn’t park in the mud, I was on one of the gravel access roads that crisscross the lot.
America hasn't had a Formula 1 driver in almost a decade, so Dan got this brief clip of American driver Alexander Rossi as he sped by in Practice-1.
MY PERSPECTIVE ON THE WEEKEND
I may look forward to Dan's weekend at the races almost as much as he does. I usually plan to work on long-overdue projects and spend some time just relaxing and watching movies on Netflix. So when the ominous weather reports were coming in, I began to worry that both of us might be disappointed. But Dan when wasn't dissuaded by a "little rain," I was a bit relieved, myself.
I spent a lot of the weekend finishing up a project that I had already started earlier in the week -- sorting through all of my thousands (literally) of old disorganized, disheveled photos that have been moved from one house to another - from one state to another, actually - and storing them in a keen set of boxes I ordered from Amazon. Each box holds 16 smaller containers, each of them holding around 100 photos. I filled nearly three of these boxes, plus another type of box which holds my 8x10s and 5x7s. It feels so good to have this all done! Now I can put my hands on photos, by subject matter, in a matter of a minute or so.
I spent a lot of time on my current art class painting, as well. It was great because I was able to spread out on the kitchen table , where I usually paint, for the entire three days and not have to pick everything up for meals. I just ate in front of the TV, watching my favorite Netflix features, and listening to the thunder and the pounding rain.
I also spent several hours on the computer working on Ancestry.com and (sigh) setting up a Facebook account. (Four years ago my Facebook account was hacked, and it created all sorts of chaos for me. I finally decided to take a chance again and set up a new account. I found I was missing out on too much news from friends from Alaska, Oregon, New Mexico, and closer to home.)
I really did enjoy my weekend, but when Sunday evening came, and I heard the garage door open, and saw Dan driving his wet, mud-splattered car in, I was really happy. I enjoyed flying solo all weekend, but it was great to have him back in the nest, safe and sound. Three days of being on my own is just about right.