Not much happening for the next 2-3 weeks. I'll be close to home, resting my wings, watching DG go out of his mind trying to do the work of two people at once, while getting ready for our next couple of adventures.
We decided to spend a day exploring Indianapolis beyond the speedway and discovered that there is a city there. Visiting the Speedway and saying you have been to Indianapolis is like going to Walt Disney World (note my using the proper name, you can tell someone who lived there, whose brother has worked there for nearly 30 years) and saying you have been to Orlando. There is a real city, that real ordinary people live in attached to many of the atractions and worlds. Indianapolis has a nice historic downtown surrounded by depressed inner city neighborhoods. Just west of downtown and just across the White River is the Indianaoplis Zoo. Decent zoo, newer, well designed, well kept, nice collection. Unfortunately we didn't call ahead, my cousins were out of town while their house is being remodeled (the sea pavilion that houses the penguin exhibit is closed for updates.)
Hang around in pit lane on qualifying day and the legends past, present and future of Indy car racing will pass by. AJ is at Indy for the 50th year. Little Al is trying for a comeback and qualified for the field just minutes after this picture was taken. Soon the classic words will be heard, “ladies and gentlemen start your engines!”
Where else can you get into a museum for $3 (no charge for pocket penguins?) The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a nice museum with a few dozen former race cars, selected antiques and a collection of racing trophies and memorabilia.
It's just over three hours drive to Speedway Indiana, home of the Indianapolis 500, parking is $5 and admission for qualifying is $5, why not go? DG has long been facinated by Indy cars, they are highly engineered to do just one thing, go fast. Within minutes of the Noon opener cars were zooming past in excess of 220 miles her hour. That is amazingly fast. How fast, it takes practice to take pictures without the car disapearing from the frame. you listen for the aproaching car, sqeeze the shutter and by the time the camera clicks you hope the car is still in the frame. Amazing! And a great source of another week of postings.
I wonder what tales these benches inside a very old Amtrak station have to tell. I can only imagine the tales of love and hate, triumph and tragedy that have passed through these seats over the decades. Someday I am going to take the train across the country and visit as many of these stations as I can.
I could not resist a quick picture of this little one room school house. We ran across it while waiting to pick up the rest of the trainers from the airport (this is 1/2 a mile from the International Airport in Kalispell MT.)
Travel agents and airlines have this concept that they call a “legal connection.” I have asked and no one can point me to the statute that makes this legal. A legal connection is one that the airlines dreams that you can make . . . yeah, if you can fly through the airport like Peter Pan and never have to stop to urinate. I have seen legal connections as short as 28 or 29 minutes. Making this connection assumes that the incoming plane arrives on time (yeah right) and that you are not in the back row of the plane (4 out our 6 most recent flights) so that you can actually get off the plane within 10 minutes of the time the door opens. Getting off in a timely manner would be more likely to happen if so many people didn’t stuff steamer trunks and car parts in the overhead bins. We have to wait while they pry Aunt Gertrude’s Nash out of the overhead bin so that they can get off the plane. With this the time to change planes is down to about 20 minutes; about the time they start calling all aboard who are coming aboard on some flights. Running through the airport we have to try not to run over the people who stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the corridor to read War and Peace; or because they spotted a bathroom from 50 feet away and want to stop and think if they need to stop. Inevitably a short bathroom break is needed, yet another opportunity for slow people to delay those of us who are about to misconnect. (Am I the only one who is grossed out by businessmen talking on conference calls on their cell phones while seated in an airport bathroom? It makes me want to go into the adjoining stall and repeatedly hit the flush button.) There are two real risks on a barely legal connection, 1) that the connecting flight is on time (or heaven forbid ahead of schedule, I nearly p-missed one of these one night in Cincinnati when I stopped to answer natures call) 2) that even if you make the flight, will your checked baggage. If it is all I can do to make it from gate C-76 to Gate A-1, how in the world will my baggage. Oh yes, traveling for business can be mighty fun.
On our free day we drove north from East Glacier to St. Mary's and west into Glacier National Park in the Going to the Sun Road. The road was only open about 15 miles into the Park, but the drive was spectacular. For most of the drive the road hugs the edge of this jewel of a lake. The snow capped mountains soar on the other side of the lake. Here I am on a nice little perch, taking a few moments to stop and smell the fresh mountain air. Sends shivers up my tail just to think about it.
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Rocky Mountains. It is about 10 miles across and about 50 miles long, really quite amazing. Here I am relaxing on a table supplied by one of the local watering holes, now where are the cold ones?
The snow was melting in Glacier National Park transforming the babbling brooks into raging rivers. The water was just about the right temperature, just above freezing. How refreshing, much nicer then the tepid tropical breaches that I swelter on a couple of times a year.
Over the river, past the moose and the wild horses way out at the end of Two Medicine Road is Two Medicine Lake. The 9th of May was still early spring; the winter snow was still melting. The campground and store were still closed for the season. It was wonderfully quiet, not a person around for miles. The squirrels were frolicking (making little squirrels) and the birds are looking for nesting sites. Our colleague saw a bear and cub coming out of the campground the day before (lucky her.) In a month the place will be full of the sounds, sites and smells of people, but on the 9th of May it was just nature, miles and miles of nature.
Many of the business trips I get to tag along on are to not so thrilling places like Fayetteville, North Carolina and Montgomery, Alabama. Not that there is anything wrong with those places, but shall we say they are not places that are on the must see list of a lot of tourists. This business trip, and yes there was work to be done, was to one of the most breathtaking landscapes this side of Antarctica (actually parts of it reminded me of home.) We just returned from Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The park is out there a way, well slightly beyond out there a way. Work took DG and his colleagues around to the far east side of the park. We stayed in a tiny mom & pop motel across the street from the East Glacier Park Amtrak station (trains every couple of hours all night long, how soothing.) The views were just spectacular. The mountains still had considerable snow on top and with a couple of warm days while we were there the snow melt led for roaring streams and water falls. We saw a moose and a herd of elk. More pictures will follow in the next few days. I hear the northern sun calling me again.
The recent flurry of postings (one a day for the past few days) will be interupted while we go back on the road again. This time to places so remote that internet access is unlikely (the Circle R Motel in the middle of no-where.) But the opportunity for pictures should be good, and no tropical beaches that will cause certain viewers to become emotional are involved. It may be a bit on the cool side, but that is inkeeping with my native temperment. I will return in about a week.
There is something in the chemestry of a southern marsh that can cause the water to be transparent yet appear black as coal. This magical southern water is home to turtles, strange birds and alegators. This picture was taken at the lookout about half way around the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive in the Merit Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Long before the "Worldization" of Florida, the real Florida existed in coastlines, rivers, marshes, pine trees and palmetto scrub. In the real Florida fake music doesn't play through fake rocks. In the real Flroida you can still hear the sound of bull alegators on a warm spring afternoon. Late spring is a great time to go exploring, especially if there is a stiff breeze to blow the bugs out over the water. Here we are headed into the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge, just north of the Kennedy Space Center, in search of the real world before the Mouse took over.