Unfortunately, I didn't take many photos to share with you but I brought plenty of stories!
One of the major reasons this camping trip was so different than in the past was that because it was a major race event, we had lots of people popping in--team members and randoms at the race. We never ate a meal alone and all pooled our resources together. It was like we were all a giant family--that warm fuzzy feeling really helped boost the experience in my mind. All together our team consisted of Dad (driver), Eric (driver), JJ (mechanic/driver), "Pops" (mechanic), Kyle (mechanic intern, prospective driver), Heather, Brenda, Christine, Laura, Myself. Oh, Eric's parents and his little cousins (8 and 10) also stopped by! It was definitely a full house.
The race track course....we watched the race from a hill near turns 1 and 2 and camped in the paddock area, near turns 5-8
JJ, Brenda, Pops, Kyle, Heather, Dad, Laura, and I were the ones staying at the race track while Eric, Christine, and their bunch stayed at a local hotel. From the very beginning, this camping trip was different from the others. From the community spirit that is fostered throughout everyone there, not just the individuals on the team, to our actual family/racing team--it was pretty much a giant family reunion. The track for this race was also very different....normally when JJ is the driver and Dad his spotter (the normal arrangement) it's a regular, circular track. Watching the cars go in a circle for 2 hours is not a great time. However, this course is a road-race course, 10 turns in total and no place to watch the entire track. Oh, and Dad was driving! There were several different types (or 'classes') of cars, Dad and Eric drive legends cars (think Cruella de Vil's car only tiny), and it was fun to see all different kinds of cars race against each other. (It also helped my sanity to have someone around that was my age woo thanks Ky!)
Dads' Car! (Lucky number 6+1) Like it on Instagram
When I say we never ate alone, I mean it. At lunch we had big cookouts with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, chips, potato salad etc. and everyone came to eat! We made spaghetti for dinner one night and invited the guys in the camper next to ours as well as radio announcer friends over--it was like a giant party. Afterwards we all went for a walk, cracking jokes and crashing other racers' dinners. Even the mildly-serious thunder storms that rolled through couldn't ruin our fun! (Although they did turn the main drag into a river for a while)
The overall point of this post is not to brag about my fun weekend -- it's to actually show that you can have fun when you exit your comfort zone. Had I not gone this past weekend I would have missed out on some seriously fun times, hearing really funny stories, meeting awesome people, and seeing grownups get excited about something for once!
That might have been the biggest thing....I mean I see adults having some fun all the time, at family dinners or at the kids' soccer games etc., but I have never seen grown women and men so excited to kick-ass and drive fast and literally feel like kids again. It was very refreshing, and gave me hope in my own aging process. (I know I'm only 17, I've got a long way to go)
Normally, I'm not the one telling people to go climb mountains and do the things that scare them, although I do believe in trying almost everything at least once. I get why we all love our comfort zones and staying home, doing the things we know won't push our emotional/physical/spiritual boundaries. But now I'm starting to realize there's a difference between staying within your boundaries for good reasons (like when I had to stop scuba diving certification because I know something was wrong and months later was diagnosed with asthma) and staying within your boundaries for comfort reasons--like staying home because you know you don't like bugs, camping, and/or racing. (For example)
So....here's to us all getting out of our comfort zones! Sometimes it won't be a great experience, but most of the time you'll get something very special out of it. Promise.