Our weekend in KC was super fun. It didn't even occur to me that I failed to make dinner plans with my family up there, so I'll just have to plead insanity on that one and apologize for being an airhead sometimes. Next time, for sure.
We did visit Bass Pro, where the intention was to get me some camouflage to wear hunting this weekend. Drew asked me months ago if I would go along and I agreed. I chose not to take the hunter's education class, deciding that going along was plenty for me and I don't feel the need to actually shoot anything (unless it's with a camera). Anyway, I quickly realized something about the selection of women's camo. It's either cute or it's just not. The cute stuff (which pretty well consisted of Under Armour) is expensive and it seems silly to spend that much money on stuff that could wind up splattered with the evidence of field dressing a deer (which Drew is quite sure that I will participate in). The ugly stuff is cheaper, but I don't want to wear the ugly stuff. (By ugly I mean that it's boxy, boyish and/or uncomfortable.) So, I decided that if I wasn't willing to spend the money on the cute stuff that I could just look like a boy for free by wearing Drew's extras. Problem solved, money saved.
I had been wanting to visit the new IKEA store in KC and Drew agreed. Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting in to. I've looked online before, but I had no idea what the stores were like. Parking garage and then two floors of shopping and show rooms? Whoa! This is where I have to go back on something that I actually do support. Remember everything I've ever said about resisting mass consumerism, shopping local and buying only what you need? Well, that was before I experienced the utopia that is IKEA. Seriously, we had to work together to convince ourselves not to sell off everything we own and start over with all things IKEA. Instead, we've agreed that it will be completely worth a trip to KC to outfit the new house that we hope to buy in the next few years. Oh yeah, that will happen.
In preparation of our redneck NASCAR experience, we had dinner at Twin Peaks. Um, let's just say that those gals make Hooters look modest. There was a table near us with a teenage boy celebrating a birthday and a few of the scantily clad waitresses helped him celebrate by taking a photo, but not without carrying over some deer antlers and saying, "I need you to hold my rack." For real though, that place made even me feel like a pervert. If it's all on display, it's hard not to look, no matter how hard I tried. Dear ladies, if I can see the crease where your butt cheek meets your leg then I don't think that we can consider those britches to be shorts. Just saying. The food was okay, but I don't think I'll put that on my list of places to eat again.
On Sunday morning we headed to the speedway!
The speedway has seating for nearly 75,000 people and free parking for 25,000 vehicles. The race started at 1 pm, we got there at 10:30 am and we still walked quite a distance. I'd hate to think where the late comers parked. I do have to say this though, the entire operation was run very efficiently and we got in (and then back out after the race) much quicker than either of us anticipated. Why did we go so early? Because there's lost to do before the race. We spent a good while in the area where the sponsors set up and give away free stuff. Why yes, I am willing to give you my email address in exchange for a free t-shirt and other loot. I'll even wait in a short line to do it.
There were also race cars set up for people to look at and touch. Can you believe this is the driver's seat? I swear that Alex's car seat was bigger than this! I don't think I need to say that there is absolutely NO way in the world that you could convince me to willingly slip through the window, settle into this seat and let you strap me in... not to mention while wearing all the gear that the drivers must wear. Not happening.
See that handy lanyard around my neck? It's holding our tickets for easy access and all it cost me was my email address. That would be annoying, but I am smart enough to put unwanted senders straight in my spam folder, so it's no sweat off my back.
We climbed to our seat in time to watch the pre-race events. The sun was SO bright. It never occurred to me to take sunscreen to Kansas City with me in October. We are both already looking pretty pink in this photo.
Let me say this much... lots of people (including me a few years ago) think that NASCAR is little more that a bunch of guys driving in circles. Left turn, left turn, left turn, left turn, repeat. I've been watching long enough to start understanding that there's a lot more to it than that, but what I really like is... NASCAR is very military friendly. The national anthem is always sang and military personnel are very often included in multiple way. A prayer is always said before the race and I didn't see anyone there who wasn't at least respectful of that. If God & country are two definitions of a NASCAR redneck then I'm happy to spend the day in that crowd. I also like the fact that the families of the drivers are included in so much. When each driver was announced, there were more than a few who walked out and waved to the crowd with a toddler on their hip. I also can't skip over the fact that regardless of the physical attractiveness of the driver, they all have beautiful wives. Could it be that girls just can't resist a guy with a fast car? Oh, wait, let's not forget Danica Patrick. She's the only woman driver in the Sprint Cup series and, while she isn't the super star, she plays by the same rules as the guys and hold her own. There aren't special rules or exceptions for her to participate because she's a girl and I like that. If she wants to play then she has to keep up. You go girl!
We rented these super cool headphones that allowed us to use a scanner to listen to the drivers and their crews throughout the race (and block out at least a little of the unbelievable thunder from the cars).
This was the view off the top of the grandstands. Just a few cars, right?
About a hundred laps in, I decided that I needed a break from the sun. Drew went with me and we got a snack (because, really, who can resist fresh lemonade and a hot pretzel?) and stopped at one of the merchandise trailers. We purchased a hat for Drew and a t-shirt for me. We really did want them, but it also makes a great story to say that we bought Dale Earnhardt Jr stuff from a lady with no front teeth. I mean, really, isn't that the icing on the redneck cake?
We really had a great time and it was a great new experience. Final reflections? LOUD. The initial sound of the engines when they started the cars was impressive, but it was nothing compared to when they started driving. Unbelievable volume. That was one difference that I noted from any other sporting event I've attended. The crowd was cheering, but you couldn't hear them. That being said, the headphones were a necessity and the noise was still so loud that I wasn't bothered by the sound of my own breathing and swallowing. No kidding, I could have been chewing a mouthful of rocks and not heard a thing. It was for this reason that I was surprised at the number of children there. Our girls would have hated it. They would have been completely miserable and overwhelmed, but I guess NASCAR is to some like football is to others... and our girls sure did love some some football.
Okay, this has gone on longer than I anticipated and I really must get to the housework. It's just not an option. There is a smell coming from the kitchen that makes me wonder if Drew has hidden a body in the back of a cabinet or something. I guess that's one good reason to finally do the dishes?