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USA

Indianapolis: The Roundy-Round Tour

This was my second trip to Indianapolis for business. On the first trip, I never left downtown. So this time, I decided to fly in a little early on Sunday afternoon and visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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I grew up going to drag races with my dad and then later in life, to tractor pulls and car shows with my ex-husband so I'm no stranger to the car scene. Even as a little girl, Shirley Muldowney (the first female licensed by the NHRA) was one of my heroes. Despite all of that, I could really care less about the roundy-rounds (as my dad calls them). But visiting the Indy Speedway seems to be the thing to do while in Indianapolis and I have to say, it's a pretty interesting tour. It's also a monumental year for the track because it's the 100th year of the first Indianapolis 500.

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The tour starts with everyone piling on a bus to make a full lap around the track. Of course, the speed of the bus is just "slightly" below the 160 mph average speed of the last Indy winner. The first stop was the finish line.

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Just across the finish line is a row of bricks that make up what's left of the infamous brickyard. The original track consisted of 3.2 million paving bricks. Most of these bricks are still there today but are underneath the asphalt. This remaining row of bricks is traditionally kissed by each of the race winners.

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Also at the finish line on the inside of the track is the winners' circle.

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After the lap around the track, we made our way to the official press room.

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Next door, the current Pagoda building has nine tiers and houses the media room, broadcast booths, and timing and scoring centers. The view from the Pagoda is directly across the finish line. Each race car is represented by a person in the Pagoda and as the racers change position on the track, these persons also change seating positions in the Pagoda. It's a bit like a game of musical chairs.

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The final portion of the grounds tour was a drive through the Gasoline Alley garage area. Most of the more famous racers have permanent garages at the track.

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After the tour, I had a few minutes to spend walking through the museum. The main part of the museum showcases the Borgwarner Trophy and the winning race cars from a majority of the Indy 500 races.

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The car below was the winning car in 1947, the year my mother was born.

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The winning cars in the years Mike and I were born (1970 and 1974) are not in the museum for some reason so below are the winning cars in 1969 and 1973 instead.

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Hanging on the museum wall is this quilt which contains a patch for every Indy 500 winner along with the year of the win and the driver's signature.

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This is where the tour ends as the museum was closing so I made my way to the gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs for those who care a bit more about the roundy-rounds than I do but who unfortunately couldn't be there to enjoy the tour.

Posted by zihuatcat 07:56 Archived in USA Tagged indy Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 5: Houseboat for Sale?

Mike was able to capture the sunrise from the top of the boat on our last morning because his sore finger woke him up early.

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Just after the sun rose, a lone duck flew in from nowhere. He hung around the boat for a bit so Mike threw him some bread pieces.

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We left the mooring and cruised back to the marina early. We said our goodbyes to Sven #19. As we left the lake and turned the car toward home, we drove over the dam to get a good look at the White River.

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The nine hour drive home was pretty brutal but we survived. In a lot of ways, the trip was much different than we expected. Since the lake was flooded, the diving was a little disappointing. We had hoped to catch more fish including a walleye or two. The lake itself was much more beautiful than we expected and the experience of living on a houseboat was much more enjoyable than we expected. Our plans of one day owning a larger sailboat are no more. The first night home we spent googling houseboats for sale. Maybe one day...

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Posted by zihuatcat 22:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 4: Captain Mike vs. Moby Bass

Our last full day dawned and Mike was more determined than ever to get a fish for Vi.

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You would think, with all of this tackle, that something would bite.

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Casting with the bait net didn't work.

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More casting by rod and reel didn't work.

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All that was caught was this:

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The fishing was slowly becoming a Greek tragedy. I gave up and went noodling with Vi.

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By late afternoon, it was time to leave the dam area and make our way back toward the marina. We decided to return to the mooring from the night before since the boat had to be back by 9:30 a.m. the next day and we wanted to get in line as soon as possible. On the way, we stopped at the cliff walls along the side of the lake. A few brave guys were cliff jumping into the lake.

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Mike decided to take one more stab at getting a fish for Vi when we cruised past a small island of trees.

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Success! Mike caught a 2.5-pound, 16-inch small mouth bass (insert happy dance here).

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Unfortunately, Mike's happiness was short-lived and the fish got him back. He was sawing thru the poor little thing on the back of the boat when I said, "That knife sure doesn't look very sharp." Not thirty seconds later, Mike cut his finger to the bone with the fillet knife. Apparently it was sharp enough.

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Vi and I got him patched up and Vi finally got her fried fish.

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Posted by zihuatcat 22:31 Archived in USA Tagged lake bull shoals Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 3: Drowning Worms and Killing Time*

We woke up on Saturday morning, sticky and sweaty from our non-a/c sleep the night before. Vi made more breakfast tacos. This time they were chorizo/potato and sausage/potato (Mike no longer eats chorizo because of a regrettable incident with Jack in the Box).

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Mike was intent on getting some fishing done since he hadn't had a chance the day before with all the jet skiing and diving. He rigged up a couple of rods, we broke free from the mooring, and jockeyed our giant boat up against the shoreline of trees. This little guy was hanging out in the tree as we neared shore.

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Vi was hell-bent on having fried fish but since she didn't get a fishing license, it was up to me and Mike to accommodate her wishes.

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In the meantime, Vi struck a few poses.

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Our plan for the day was to make our way down the lake towards Bull Shoals Dam and find a place to moor for the day and rest of the evening. We fished for about an hour with no luck so we decided to head that way. Mike drove for a little while then I took over so he could relax with Vi and enjoy the cruise.

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It was about an hour's trip down to the dam. Since the lake was flooded, the dam was roped off with buoys so we couldn't get very close. We found a little cove by the boat ramp and Mike did a little impromptu hiking to get us tied up to the trees.

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We hadn't been there very long when a storm began brewing just overhead. We took the opportunity to snack on some guacamole while we waited out the rain.

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And nothing beats killing time with a few fresh pina coladas.

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Once the rain cleared, we went back to fishing. On the second cast, Mike caught a small, yellow bass. I was frantically looking for the fishing guide to see if he was a keeper or not but Mike didn't think so and threw him back. As it turns out, we could have kept him.

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More casts led to nothing. We lost some lures. We caught some trees. Mike even resorted to fishing with worms. We noticed some little perch-like fish in the shallows and he was finally able to snag one with the worms.

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Poor little perchie was placed on a hook and thrown out into the deep as bait. Still nothing. We eventually gave up on fried fish for dinner and setted for fajitas instead. Vi called it a night fairly early while Mike and I spent some time chilling on the roof. That evening, after I had retired for the night, Mike sat on the aft of the boat watching a huge fog bank roll in before retiring for the night himself.

  • From the song, "Just Fishin'" performed by Trace Adkins.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 2: Giant "Rent Me" Sign = Tourist

We woke early to the sounds of the marine radio and lots of activity on the docks. Vi whipped up some yummy potato, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos with homemade pico de gallo.

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After breakfast, we were given our how-to-drive-the-boat-and-not-hit-anything instructional test drive. We then grabbed our six scuba tanks and had our rental jet ski brought around.

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Neither Vi nor I had ever driven or even ridden a jet ski so we were pretty excited about trying it out. Mike drove the boat to an outer mooring in the marina while we took the jet ski for a spin around the lake. We had rented the jet ski for two hours and since no more than two people could ride at a time, we took turns driving and riding. I initially kind of puttered around on it until I got my bearings while Mike took off like James Bond (minus the canary yellow life vest). What a blast! Mike wants to buy one next year so this was his way of "closing the deal." It worked because I loved it.

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Once we returned the jet ski, Vi laid down for a short nap. Mike and I spent some time on the bow of the boat so we wouldn't disturb her. People that know Mike know that he can't sit still for long. He has to be constantly doing something. I call this Mike-piddling. He decided that the houseboat had lots of Mike-piddling opportunities.

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Vi woke soon after and we unhooked from the buoy and set out on our first venture outside the marina with Captain Mike at the helm.

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The jet ski guy told us about a mooring not too far away that was secluded in a cove so we headed in that direction. The lake was 40' higher than normal so it made for interesting navigation. The map was no good. There were islands where there shouldn't be islands. Instead of rocky beaches which is the norm (as we understand), the shoreline was basically treetops sticking out of the water.

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We found the mooring, hooked up, and got ready for our first dive. Part of the reason we chose Bull Shoals Lake was that there are numerous designated dive sites. Unfortunately, because of the high water, the dive sites were not readily accessible. So Mike decided to drop a line down from the boat and go down and see what the conditions were at our mooring. My plan was to stay closer to the surface and practice my skills.

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Armed with a couple of dive lights and his trusty knife, Mike made his way down the line all the way to the bottom at 90'. The only thing he saw was an empty beer can (which he dutifully brought back up to throw away). It was a cold and dark place with the temperature being around 55 degrees at that depth. I stayed on the surface keeping a careful eye on his bubbles. We took about an hour break and then Mike decided to put his thicker wet suit on and go down the line again. By this time the boat had moved from its original position and he went down the line only to land in a tree. Thankfully, he was able to free himself without too much of a problem and snap a self-portrait at the bottom.

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I only made it down to about 10' and experienced severe double calf cramps and a splitting headache from the cold. That was enough for me.

We were pretty exhausted that evening and after grilling up some burgers, we called it a night and turned in early.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:42 Archived in USA Tagged lake bull shoals Comments (0)

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