Hey, y'all, since I'm still recovering from the events of the weekend (and believe me, it took ALL weekend to prepare for and go to Talladega), preparing my entry for the GH, and trying to rebuild the iPod list I accidentally deleted last week, I'm introducing my very first guest blogger. My husband is only too happy to tell you about the Talladega experience. So please welcome Mike, the man who indulges my writing habit, keeps me in groceries, and says nice things about me. 🙂

We went to Talladega for the big NASCAR race and these are my thoughts on it. First, it was a very long and hot day. We got up at 0500 and did not get to bed until around midnight.

Shortly after arriving in Talladega , we setup for a “tail-gate party” with tables, chairs, and food. It was around 0900 when we started partying. The race did not start until 1:00 p.m., so we did a lot of people-watching, eating, and drinking. I can't get over just how many people and campers there were. The best way I can describe it was “immense.” There were cars and campers for literally miles around. It was like a carnival atmosphere. There were concessions all over the place selling food, t-shirts, and whatever else you can possibly imagine.

Around noon, we all hiked up to the race stands and found our places. It was around 90 degrees outside and getting hotter by the minute. I was starting to rethink this whole watching the race thing because of the heat. Every once in awhile a cloud would block the sun for 10 to 15 minutes and grace us with a much needed break. The hour prior to the start of the race went by fairly slowly, but our patience was soon rewarded.

At 1:00 p.m. the race started and I couldn't believe just how much noise the cars make. I won't try to describe the race, but rather my impressions of being at a race. I've seen NASCAR on TV and never thought it was all that thrilling. Well, being at a race in person is very thrilling! The sound of the engines combined with the speed they travel (around 200 mph) is incredible to watch. There is an ever present smell of fuel and rubber from the tires. (Lynn here: oh heck yes, the smell of burning rubber and the feel of grit on your skin. Just what I needed on a Sunday…) In addition to the smells, the feel of the ground shaking as the cars whip past is amazing. After the cars pass there's a sudden rush of wind with all the smells intensified which shortly fades into the background. The race went on for about 3-hours and wasn't boring, which was a complete surprise to me. Jeff Gordon won on the final lap and that was the end.

Here's Jeff driving back to the pits after his win:

If the traffic was bad getting to Talladega , it was ten times worse leaving. Many of the campers that spent the weekend there had packed up and joined the exodus. Since we knew traffic was going to be bumper-to-bumper, we decided to tail-gate again to cool off and eat some food. After a two-hour break, we decided to head home. The traffic was still bumper-to-bumper, but it was starting to move. We didn't get home until 11:00 p.m. After unpacking and showering, it was midnight.

Lessons learned: Spend the weekend down there so we don’t worry about the traffic. It would probably be best to have an RV instead of a tent since a drunk can't trip and knock over your RV. Make sure you have the day off after the event! You have to RECUPERATE. (Lynn: When you add in the migraine I got from the heat and lack of sleep, it took me three days to recover…) Oh yeah, traffic should not be a big problem t
he day after either. Take more pictures. I shot around 80 pictures, but I don't believe I captured nearly enough. I may need to get a digital SLR because taking pictures with a typical digital camera is challenging during the race. (Lynn: Ohhhhh, trying to sneak that one in on me huh? The man is a gadget junkie! It's a ploy, darn his hide.) Tracking the cars becomes an art of anticipating where they'll be when you press the shutter. I had a few empty shots (at least I'm not wasting film). Take a video camera for general purposes. I can't describe the enormous size of this event and I believe a video camera would have helped by recording our drive in and out. Go with a “Hot Babe” like I did. (Lynn: Notice the flattery. This is to smooth the way for the camera! I've got your number, cup cake!)

Well, that's the Talladega experience in a nutshell. Am I sorry I went? No way! It was pretty cool, and I learned that the car chase scene I wrote into my WIP needs the smell of burning rubber and the grit that gets thrown from the tires. I wouldn't have known just how bad it smells if I hadn't gone to Talladega. A car burning rubber on your street is different from that sustained smell of melting rubber that a racecar exudes. And since my car chase involves a high-powered sportscar, I can just imagine what that would smell like. Did I mention the smoke? These are things I'd forgotten to include, but you can bet they'll find their way in now. So, going to Talladega was a learning experience for my writing. And isn't that what all our experience does anyway? Gives us fodder for our imaginations.