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Clam Lake Ice Oval

clam lake 33 wing

Greetings from Siren, Wisconsin

 

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

 

 

Clam Lake Ice Oval – Lifetime Track #2,063

 

HighlightsThe EventVideosPhotos

 

clam lake racing 

My last ice-racing event of the 2015 season.

 

 mongolian bbq cook

When was the last time you had Mongolian BBQ?

 

 usc logo 1

Which three colleges have the most obnoxious sports fans?

 

 

Ice is out; cruising the blue Pacific is in.

 

 

I missed Priceline!

 

wisconsin 403 

Wisconsin ranks #1 in this category.

 

 donald trump 39

What do Donald Trump and I have in common?

 

 

Sunk costs can make one behave irrationally.

 

garth brooks 39 

Memo to Garth Brooks: Do I have some song ideas for you!

 

 

What type of ‘pop’ do you want?

 

truck crash 39 

My truck crashed when I ran over my dog on the way to my girlfriend’s drug rehab picnic.

 

 

What does it take to get a $1,000 traffic ticket?

 

daytona 500 39 

Why were the flights so full in the middle of February….or shouldn’t people be home watching the Daytona 500?

 

 

Each of my readers has been screened for superior intelligence and sophistication.

 

87 

87 World Ice Racing Championship points.

 

  

 

THE EVENT

 

clam lake racing 304

My last ice-racing event of the 2015 season.

I woke up this morning in Stillwater, Minnesota. I went to sleep at home in San Clemente, California. A nice feature about afternoon ice racing is that I can often times get back to California after the races. I like that. This is how the day turned out.

 

 

After last night’s ice racing on the Lake Wapogasset Ice Oval in Amery, Wisconsin I headed over to Stillwater, Minnesota. I had a Super 8 motel waiting for me there.

 

 

I’ve done a pretty good job of upgrading my hotel accommodations over the past year. I don’t stay in Motel 6 or Super 8 properties all that much anymore. I can thank Priceline.com for that.

 

 super 8 logo

When I checked in I asked if there was anything special going on in Stillwater, Minnesota. The middle-aged desk clerk gave my question some thought. She came back with “there’s golf on the river”. Here’s how I heard those words, “There’s golf on the ice”. That probably would’ve been a fun thing to see but I had been standing out on a frozen lake for the past three hours.  

 

mongolian bbq front

When was the last time you had Mongolian BBQ?

I did see something interesting as I drove into Stillwater on the way to the hotel. They had a Mongolian barbecue restaurant. I like Mongolian barbeque so much I didn’t even check Yelp! to see how good the place was. Carol and I eat Mongolian barbecue frequently. Have you ever had it?

 

 

Check out the details about this unusual and tasty cuisine below.

 

 

After dining on Mongolian BBQ….

 

arizona logo 

Which three colleges have the most obnoxious sports fans?

I was back in my room by 8 p.m. Central time. The UCLA basketball Bruins were playing the hated Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, Arizona on ESPN. There are three schools that I can think of that have really bad, rude, arrogant and idiotic fans. Those would be usc, UNLV and Arizona. I would never let my kids go to one of those schools.

 

 

Nevertheless Arizona is good in basketball and they have a rabid fan base. Let’s make that a rabid and obnoxious fan base. Currently the Wildcats are ranked #7 in the country. I was last in Tucson to watch the Bruins play Arizona in the McHale Center two years ago. We won!

 

 

This year the UCLA Bruins are fighting for a birth in the NCAA basketball tournament. It would help their chances a great deal if they won tonight’s game. UCLA jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then played poorly to trail by 14 points at halftime.

 

 

At the beginning of the second-half UCLA went on a 17-0 run. Now they led by three points. I never would have expected that from a team that lost three players in the first round of last year’s NBA draft. Want to know who won the game? Google it!

 

 

 

SUNDAY.

 

princess cruise ship 

Ice is out; cruising the blue Pacific is in.

There’s a reasonable chance that this will be my last ice racing opportunity of the year. Carol and I are heading out on a Mexican cruise that will cover all or parts of the next two weeks. I told you I only trackchase when there are no other family or friend conflicts.

 

 

One of the best times for us to cruise it is in March. Most of the ice racing season is finished by then. In March the outdoor tracks haven’t really gotten going yet.

 

 

I missed Priceline!

My Super 8 in Stillwater was basic at best. They served one of the more pathetic complementary breakfasts I’ve seen in a while. Maybe since I’ve been upgrading my hotels lately that’s the way they’ve always been but I don’t think so.

 

 

It would be an 80 minute drive up to the Clam Lake ice races in Siren, Wisconsin. The forecasted temperature for the 12 noon racing start with 6° below zero.

 

jeds laker lounge

Wisconsin ranks #1 in this category.

Using Waze, my GPS app, I found Jed’s Laker Bar and Grill in the village of Siren easily. Like so many of these Wisconsin and Minnesota ice racing tracks a bar and grill is often the entry point to the lake. Notice in Wisconsin the word “Bar” comes first in the phrase “Bar and grill”. I have never seen a single state that drink Wisconsin folks under the bar.

 

 

I was a good 45 minutes early. This would allow me to have lunch in the comfort of the restaurant. For a Sunday morning the place was very crowded. Some ice racers were paying their entry fees and drawing for heat race starting positions.

 

 

However, it seemed as if a number of regulars were here too. I couldn’t really tell if they were here for the ice races or just getting together with their buddies over a drink on Sunday morning. There were a few older gentleman “throwing dice” at the bar.

 

 

I browsed a rather extensive food menu. Then I decided to go with the sausage pizza recommended by my server. A 10-inch pizza, a can of Diet Coke and a Jack and Seven in a tall glass only set me back $12.25 USD. When I was finished I gave my server a $15 bill and we parted ways.

 

pizza knife and fork

What do Donald Trump and I have in common?

Carol will attest to the fact that I almost never eat pizza without a knife and fork. It’s something Donald Trump and I have in common. However in today’s environment it didn’t seem like a very good idea to ask for tableware to consume my pizza…..if you know what I mean.

 

 

Sunk costs can make one behave irrationally.

However before I left I was able to film a few heat races and take some photographs from my indoor position. I strongly considered watching the entire event from my seat in the bar. Then I thought about my investment in wintertime clothing. That wasn’t rational thinking on my part. My investment in “winter wear” was a sunk cost. It wasn’t going to cost me anymore whether I watched the races inside or outside. However, thinking irrationally, I did head out onto the ice for a few races. It was cold but it was sunny. Let’s just keep the fact that I drove the National Car Rental Racing Honda Sonata onto the ice to ourselves.

 

surfer 39

Memo to Garth Brooks: Do I have some song ideas for you!

Before I left I have to tell you about some of the folks I met. You’ll hear them cheering in the background on today’s YouTube video from Clam Lake.  I was definitely amongst the locals today. I’m not complaining. I certainly didn’t do everything it took to get to rural Northern Wisconsin to be sitting next to some San Clemente surfer dude. However, it was obvious to me and probably others that I “wasn’t from around here”.

 

 

The bar had a sign that I hadn’t seen anywhere around San Clemente recently. It was advertising a “meat raffle”. I guess that’s an attraction to get people into the bar on Friday nights. I had seen similar “meat raffle” signs driving through town. Some advertised “meat raffle and bingo”.

 

 

I obviously didn’t come from this part of the country. Therefore some of the conversations were just a little bit different than what I’m accustomed to talking about with people back home. That’s just fine with me. In situations like this I like to listen.

 

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We’re going to sit here!

I was seated at a table for four by myself. I had a huge picture window in front of me that offered a great view of the racing. I was looking at my phone when a woman came up and announced, “We’re going to sit here”, as she pointed to two of the seats at my table. It sounded more like a statement than a question. I looked at the woman and decided this would be no time to argue. I welcomed them to my table.

 

 

What type of ‘pop’ do you want?

The more aggressive woman asked her more silent companion “What type of pop do you want?”. With that question I knew I wasn’t in San Clemente. However, I wasn’t in central Illinois either where I was born and raised. When I was a kid we called “pop” “sodee” (pronounced so-dee). In ALL of my travels all over the world I have never heard anyone outside of central Illinois refer to a Coca-Cola like drink as a “sodee”.

 

truck crash 304 

My truck crashed when I ran over my dog on the way to my girlfriend’s drug rehab picnic.

This woman had some stories that would be best be written into a country and western sad song. She told her friend that her son had recently got a tattoo. Of course, the 17-year old had not told his mom about it. But he HAD told his sister. Of course, sister told mom. Then mom asked son “Did you get a tattoo?”. The boy had gotten a tattoo of the date of his father’s death last year. According to my new friend the tattoo was huge. There was just one problem. The teen-ager had missed the date of death by a month. This was certainly a noble gesture by the son. The woman allowed that she was happy her husband had not died in October. She said “We would have a helluva time changing a 10 into a 2. It will be a lot easier making the 3 look like a 2!”. Like I said it’s the stuff made of country and western songs. Unfortunately, as the woman told it, he missed it by a month! I hate it when that happens.

 

 

My friend was as Seinfeld would say “a loud talker”. I was surprised she was such a loud talker when I, a stranger, was sitting only 4 feet away.

 

 

She told her companion that she was most happy with her new phone, which she had purchased on eBay for $100. She said, “I really hate paying $100 for a phone.” Then her friend chimed in. “I bought my phone on eBay for just $11,” she said.

 

apple logo 3049

About this time I was subtly attempting to hide my high-tech state-of-the-art iPhone six so as not to draw further scrutiny. Luckily, about that time, a gentleman at the next table overheard the conversation. He chimed in by saying he had spent $500 for his phone. This prompted a response by the the loud talking woman, “I only paid $350 for my car so I sure as heck wasn’t going to pay more than $100 for my phone”. Later she went on to regale her experiences back at the “trailer park”. I can’t recount in a public forum all of those stories!

 

 

What does it take to get a $1,000 traffic ticket?

Then the guy next to our table told of his friend who last week dropped her phone in the toilet. Two days earlier she had paid $575 for the phone. Then on her way home she got a $1,000 traffic ticket! What do you have to do to get a $1,000 traffic ticket? Yes these people definitely had the subject matter for a number one hit (lots of number one hits) on the country charts. If I ever become a songwriter I’ll come back here for material.

 

 

After the races…..

 

 

No ice cream cones today.

On the drive back to the Minneapolis airport it was interesting to note the state of so many seasonal businesses. They were a good number of Dairy Queen like stores and golf courses that were closed for the winter and hibernating under a few inches of snow.

 

 

It might sound as if I don’t cherish the diversity that comes with visiting these trackchasing locales. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love it. One of the main reasons for heading out on these trips is that I get to see and experience people in parts of the country that are so far away from my own personal lifestyle.

 

daytona 500

Why were the flights so full in the middle of February….or shouldn’t people be home watching the Daytona 500?

I couldn’t believe how full the flights were during the last half of February with folks trying to get from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. I am an expert at standby flying. I would have predicted that this time of year would be one of the slowest.

 

 

After having spent the afternoon on the ice the only available flights would be early evening and later. This wasn’t going to give me many choices. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I didn’t make it and had to spend the night in Minneapolis.

 

 

I had several airlines to choose from. Every flight was oversold. I would try something I had never done before. I was going to “non-rev” home on Spirit Airlines. I got the next to last seat on the plane. If I hadn’t gotten that seat I most likely would have had to spend the night in Minneapolis.

 

 

A most unusual guy.

I was seated next to a friendly and talkative passenger who grew up in Kansas City. Now living in Los Angeles he worked for a company that made furniture from airline parts and pieces! He told me to look at the company’s website, www.motoart.com. As soon as I send this off to you I’m going to check it out.

 

 

 

ONE CANNOT LIVE WELL OR SLEEP WELL IF ONE HAS NOT DINED WELL

 

mongolian bbq plate 

Buffet City Mongolian BBQ – Stillwater, Minnesota

 

 

Try it; you’ll like it.

For those that have never tried Mongolian barbecue let me explain what you’ve been missing. At a typical Mongolian barbecue restaurant you will fill your own plate with frozen meats and vegetables such as mushrooms, onions and the like. Then you’ll add a healthy dose of spaghetti like cold noodles.

 

 

At some places the restaurant will add special sauces to your concoction. And others, like today, you add your own sauces such as ginger, garlic, wine, etc. I usually go “triple garlic”. 

 

 

Then the cook takes the contents of your entire plate and throws it onto a circular flat very hot grill. He’ll have two large sticks, about 3 feet long, that he uses to move your food around on the grill. The cooks I’ve seen are experts at making sure every item is cooked evenly. When your food is ready the cook will finish everything off with one last grand gesture. With a fresh plate just one or 2 inches below the cooking surface he makes a single smooth long motion with the sticks moving all the food into the bowl. If you haven’t tried it and it sounds interesting what are you waiting for?

 

chopsticks 39

Each of my readers has been screened for superior intelligence and sophistication.

I ask only one thing of you. Eat your meal with chopsticks. I go to so many Asian type restaurants where the majority of Americans are eating their meal with a knife and fork. Would you go to Denny’s and eat with your fingers? Not likely. When you go to an Asian restaurant eat with chopsticks. Direct recipients of Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Reports have been screened for both intelligence and sophistication. Don’t let me down!

 

 

 

 

THE RACE 

 

Clam Lake Ice Oval – Siren, Wisconsin

 

clam lake racing 020 

Down on the ice.

I looked around at the bar for a moment. I wasn’t armed. I wondered how many people were. At that point it seemed like a good idea to retreat and hang out on the ice. It might be safer down there.

 

clam lake #99 

Once in the pits I went about trying to take a photograph of every racer that was here today. I’m guessing there were about 15 cars in attendance. They ranged from front wheel drive four cylinder passenger cars to Detroit’s big iron in the form of four-door late 80s Chevy’s and even a Cadillac.

 

 

There was no PA system and from what I could see no food concessions or bathroom facilities on the lake. I was surprised to see how much glare ice there was on the lake. When you walk in this environment you try to find patches of snow, which are much less slippery underfoot.

 

 

Today’s race group wasn’t as efficient as some I have seen. Despite the temperature, or maybe because of it, they had some down time between races. Ice racing is a January/February sport. Sometimes it’s too warm in January to produce enough ice to have racing on frozen lakes. February is the best month, usually for ice racing. Some of the colder more northern locations will even race into the first couple of weeks of March.

 

87

87 World Ice Racing Championship points.

It was a fine day at the ice races. With Clam Lake in the rear view mirror I had now chocked up ice racing track #71 giving me 87 world ice racing championship points. The Clam Lake Ice Oval will go down as track number 2,063.

 

 

I’ll take a break from Trackchasers now for two weeks in all likelihood. I could go back up into Canada for one more race in early March. I probably won’t do that. I’ll save that track location for next year when I can tie it in with another event to make the trip more cost-effective.

 

 

wisconsin 405

Wisconsin

 

The Badger state

This afternoon I saw my 80th lifetime track in the Badger state, yes the Badger state.

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

drinking fountain 

Wisconsin sayings: “It’s a bubbler” known to you and me as a water fountain.

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Minneapolis, MN (MSP) – 1,535 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – trip begins

Amery, WI

Siren, WI

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – trip ends – 372 miles

 

AIRPLANE

Minneapolis, MN (MSP) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – 1,535 miles

 

 

Total air miles – 3,070 (2 flights)

Total rental car miles – 372 (1 car)

 

Total miles traveled on this trip – 3,442 miles 

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Lake Wapogasset Ice Oval – No charge

Clam Lake Ice Oval – No charge

 

Total racetrack admissions for the trip – Nada

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 450 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,063

 

 

world map 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 70

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.88

 

 

 

That’s all folks! Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

 

 

clam lake #99

Click on the link below to see what the ice racing was all about at Clam Lake: 

Clam Lake Ice Oval the entire day’s trip in just one link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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