Well, that was an adventure! So glad I decided to head out on Wednesday, instead early Thursday morning. At least this way I got to sleep last night and acclimate myself today, and arrive at the Yellow Party refreshed ;-)
Anyway, I took a look at the radar yesterday in the morning, and there was a band of thunderstorms tracking along the 401, and over Detroit, so I decided to go my usual way (Buffalo, Erie PA, Columbus, Indianapolis) (it’s kinda fun crossing multiple state lines in one day too!) and just enjoy the drive.
The best part of giving myself a travel day is that I was able to stop at this great bakery just outside of Niagara Falls, that carries the best gluten free baked goods, and they have a separate GF kitchen to prepare fresh sandwiches. Yum! (that sandwich turned out to be lunch and dinner)
Also, arriving midday Wednesday at the border? Much quicker! This was the entire exchange.
Border Guard: (actually pleasant!) Where are you going today?
Me: the Indianapolis 500!! (big cheesy grin)
Border Guard: Business or pleasure?
Me: Pleasure! My friend James is on the 3rd row! *bigger cheesy grin + giggle*
Border Guard: Enjoy the race *grin*
No questions about all the bags of Canadian Chocolate in my trunk *whew* ;-)
From then on, smooth sailing. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. I have XM radio in this car (2013 Honda Civic Coupe EX-L) so it was an afternoon of 70′s tunes and singing at the top of my lungs while passing car after car in my own little “race to the party”. Since I put my “#Indy500orBust window cling in the side rear window (rather than the back) I got to enjoy the grins and reactions to it from other drivers as I lapped them ;-)
Of course that would not have played in my favour had I been pulled over… haha!
It wasn’t all fun and games though…
The car directly ahead of me, somewhere between Erie and Cleveland, hit a deer. (deer didn’t make it… neither did the dudes front bumper or driver’s side headlight… ) I saw the deer appear on the right shoulder as it bounded out onto the highway, and managed to slow myself down prepping to take evasive measures. Clearly the guy in front of me was just far enough ahead that he didn’t catch it in his peripheral vision, and blammo.
I was actually surprised by how many fresh carcasses there were all along the route. I’m used to seeing them at dusk or at night, but midday like that? not usually. Thankfully this encounter happened on a non-road work section of highway. Saw a lot of furry bodies mangled on driver’s left at the construction barriers. Even a massive severed deer head. (gross!)
But, he real fun was just outside of Columbus, with about 3 hours to go… the skies darkened, and the storm blew in fast and furious. I mean FURIOUS!! Midwestern storms are redonkulous. The buckets of rain, SHEETS of rain, the LIGHTENING! The only thing I HATE more than lightening, is being in a car, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, and lightening striking all around me. Gah!
The first cell forced traffic to almost halt. Cars scattered in all directions, mostly off to the shoulder, I remained on the road behind a transport truck, going about 20mph with my hazards on until I came to an exit and got off the highway to wait it out. (felt safer stopping in a gas station parking lot, than on the shoulder of a zero visibility highway)
Two more little storms greeted me just outside of Indy, but I made it!
Managed to find a good deal on a room for the night, and slept like a baby! Now for a little breakfast, some non-race related work stuff, then off to the track to catch up with some peeps and watch some race cars!