Thursday, April 29, 2010

South Bend - Usual Suspects

People frequently ask why I do this crazy drive around the country. First and foremost it is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of getting tested - yearly. Hope that is sinking in gents?

Next, it is about the folks that show up every year and are frankly crazier than I am. Many have been competing in the event for 10 years. This is my fourth event and it is so wonderful to arrive at the arm pit motel of South Bend that is the Quality Inn and see virtually all the smiling faces from the previous years. As I have said many times before there is a great comraderie associated with the Tire Rack One Lap of America. Teams in every shape and form arrive for a week of punishment. Husbands and wives, friends from opposite sides of the country, and Swiss chocolatiers to name just a few. In fact, I truly believe the entire Dubler chocolate factory in Switzerland has been shut down this week as everyone seems to be here. In short it's about seeing friends again.

We arrived in South Bend about 7:15 pm and checked in to the motel. After a pint or two at the Gipper Lounge (no I am not making that up and what else would you expect at a South Bend/Notre Dame dive bar in a nasty motel) we decide to make our way with friends to an Italian restaurant. This will be the last good meal other than breakfast tomorrow morning we will have in 9 days. Steve McGuire from United BMW has the scoop on this place and off we go. It is close to the motel and in short order we are pulling in the parking lot. It becomes immediately apparent this is not what we thought it would be - white table cloths, china plates, metal silverware, and sweet violin music. Instead, it is a pizza and sandwich shop that is closing in 10 minutes. We decide to stay as hunger has taken over and the good folks inside are nice enough to let us order and hang around to finish our meal in peace. Although it was a bit strange to be sitting there and have the doors locked and the overhead lights going out. My meatball sub sandwich was very good and everyone seems to have had a nice meal. The conversation was pretty good too.

Someone mentions a beer to cap the night off and we jump in the cars to head back to the top rate Quality Inn. Arriving back at the Gipper, the karaoke singing is in full rage and many of the usual suspects are there catching up and talking "trash". Some things never change and the older I get the more I like that concept. I have one more pint and then head back to the room to blog. That is where you find me now.

Tomorrow will be a full day with tech, registration, more stickers, wet skid pad, and a drive to Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Weather is looking good for the trip tomorrow and the rest of the week. But for now, good night and peace, love, happiness!


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