Charlie and old man, same kind of blue…

I’m beginning this post in the London International Airport.  I haven’t flown in or out of here for awhile now, and I’d forgotten how great it is.  I really should try and do this more often…

So I haven’t written for awhile.  Much has happened, or at least, many miles have been covered.
Since I last wrote, the list looks something like this:
  • Mosport for Pirelli World Challenge
  • Paul Ricard (France) for Blancpain GT Series
  • Montreal for Ferrari Challenge (F1 weekend)
  • Indianapolis for Trans Am
  • Whitewater Rafting in Ottawa
  • Carolina Motorsports Park for an F3 Development Test
  • Portland for Pirelli World Challenge
And now I’m waiting to fly to Brussels (through Montreal) for the 24 Hours of Spa.  Some of you have asked, and yes I am looking forward to it.  Sort of.  Spa is a spectacular old track, one of the few remaining old school style tracks.  But, it’s a 24 hour race, which is going to be exhausting.  And this time of year, I’d kind of just like to be at the cottage.  So I’m a little conflicted, but I’m going.
What do I want to talk about from that list…  It was good to be back at Mosport, I hadn’t been there for a few years.  Though it’s always tough to be there and not racing myself, I really want to be out there.  Hopefully soon…
The Blancpain race in Paul Ricard was an experience, it was a 6 hour endurance race, which to date is the longest I have been involved with.  The cars were pretty awesome, and it turned out to be a really exciting race (last lap pass for the win).  I was at that track for an F2 development test last year, so I knew what I was in for at least geographically, and it’s not the most exciting place.  As with a lot of race tracks, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.
From there I went straight to Montreal for F1 weekend, where I was responsible for Ferrari Challenge.  I can’t say that racing was nearly as good, it was a little bit of a disaster.  Though not for me, it was actually quite an uneventful weekend on the tire front, that track is fairly easy on them.  The highlight was getting to stay a few nights with my Aunt Jeanette and catch up with mes cousines.
I always like being in Indianapolis, perhaps I’ve been lucky in that I always stay downtown where there are some really good restaurants.  Being at that track is such a special place to be, it feels like it’s dripping with history.  Though not this particular weekend, as all the history would have evaporated in the heat…  It was my first Trans Am race and I really enjoyed it, they are fast cars that are loud, don’t have a lot of down force, big tires for a lot of mechanical grip, and door to door racing.  If you get a chance to catch one of the races on TV I recommend it (especially one of the Indy races).  And the first night there, Boomer and I got to St. Elmo’s steakhouse for dinner, which is one of my favourite places from my NASCAR life.  That shrimp cocktail…
One of the things that I really wanted to do this year was to go white water rafting near Ottawa.  Part of this is just an excuse to see Craig, and part of it is because Alex and Jeremy and I did it in Colorado a few years ago and I really enjoyed it.  So a few months ago a group of us (Karen, JC, Jared, Alex, Craig and I) booked rafting and cabins for a weekend in July, and we had such a great time.  We stayed in cabins (just like adult summer camp!) Friday and Saturday nights, and rafted Saturday and Sunday.  Though before any of that started, we did the escape room at the Diefenbaker Bunker which was so much fun.  I won’t spoil it for anyone, suffice to say do it if you can!  The rafting place had a great setup, a nice outdoor restaurant/bar/common area overlooking the river, they had good local beer on tap and a band a couple of times.  There was a dance floor that we sampled on the Saturday night, and many more amenities that we didn’t get to.  Rafting is a pretty tiring thing, and we didn’t seem to want to do a whole lot of other physical activity.  The rafting was really fun, we had a great guide the first day, and were left to our own devices on the second, which obviously didn’t go quite as well.  I’m happy to report that no one died, and other than a few broken finger nails there weren’t even any injuries.  And we all got wet on more than one occasion…nice try JC…
My most recent work trip involved a two day F3 test at Carolina Motorsports Park, which is just outside of Kershaw, South Carolina.  It is, once again, in the middle of nowhere, so I stayed on the south side of Charlotte.  It was pretty uneventful, if very hot.  From there I flew straight to Portland for a PWC weekend.  Work wise it was also uneventful, that’s an easy track on tires.  And I quite liked Portland, we stayed in the Pearl District, surrounded by many restaurants and several breweries.  I quite recommend the chicken and waffles at Deschutes Brewery, and the Hazelnut Brown Nectar at the Rogue Brewery.
And that’s pretty much up to date.  I’m looking at a week in Belgium, then a race the following weekend in Pittsburgh.  Then there will be a little bit of cottage time, and I’m not really sure what beyond then.
Cheers!
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