VR-JPMD #2: An Ohio Arrival
Valvoline Runoffs '97
Copyright (c) 1997 John P. M. Dillon
I've arrived at Mid-Ohio after completing the Prescott PRO Rally and spending an evening in Phoenix with "my" little girl and her mom and other friends. The rally was fun, and Saturday's Divisional went much better than Friday's. Friday we sideswiped a mountain, plowed into a gravel hill, and had other excitement, but Saturday Fred drove a smooth quick pace and we were the highest finishing divisional-only entrants, finishing fourth in the U2 class. We even had time to tour Jerome a little before starting the fifth stage! On to Mid-Ohio....
Every year I gush about the royal splendor of fall in the east, and this year is no exception. The autumnal rainbow of changing leaves is as pretty as an Arizona sunset, and the rolling verdant fields remind me of Chino Valley and takes me back a hundred years to simpler times.
I had a couple of worries at the start... First, I tried to call the motel to confirm my reservations, but got an industrial business instead. (You may recall that last year my hotel was closed and being converted into a halfway house, so you can understand my concern.) Fortunately, when I arrived I discovered that the room was fine.... only the area code had changed. Second, I had a problem with the rental car (a jittery mirror and throttle), so Thrifty exchanged the blue Neon for a green one. Compared to my Jetta, the Neon is a disappointment... fortunately the Neon's only mine for a week.
After checking into the motel, I drove into Lexington for dinner, thinking about Jack Daniel's-soaked ribs and maybe some crawdads at the Bayou. However, unless my sense of direction is even worse than normal (always a possibility) there's an empty parking lot and vacant building where the Bayou used to be. Travelling a little further, a huge empty lot next the bank is all that remains of Buck's, which burned down a year ago. (Last year, Buck's set up a tent on the lot to keep the racers happy, so I was hoping they'd rebuild.)
This is NOT to say that dinner is a disappointment. On the contrary, I'm enjoying some outstanding pork chops at the Brown Derby Roadhouse. (From Mid-Ohio, go to Steam Corners, turn right, and follow the road for several miles.) The people here (I'm still eating as I type this) are friendly, the theme is country, and I'm glad to see they don't object to employees with pierced eyebrows in their denim outfits and cotton bandanas. My waitress, Sonja, is a writer who's going to be video-spotting for SpeedVision this weekend. She also plans to do some track photography. It'll be her first foray into shooting racecars. The tabletops are covered with brown paper, and Crayola's are provided. She wrote her name on the paper; above it I added "Pleasant."
On the way here I stopped at the track to see if I could spot any friends, but because of the late hour I couldn't get in without popping up 40 bucks. To be fair, the security guard said I would be reimbursed when I register tomorrow, but since it was a whimsical idea to begin with, it wasn't worth the trouble to go in.
I asked Sonja about the Bayou; she said they moved next door to the Infield go-kart track. I'm now back in the motel. I drove by there and saw the sign, but it looked vacant. I'll keep you posted.
This is pretty much a non-report; tomorrow the work starts in earnest.