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Dodge City Speedway

Greetings from Howes Cave, New York

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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Dodge City Speedway

Dirt oval

Lifetime Track – not yet….rained out!

 

The EventPhotos

 

 

More than 2,300 Lifetime Tracks Visited

THE EVENT

I have had the opportunity to follow my trackchasing hobby all over the world. As this is written I have seen racing in 74 countries. My lifetime track total exceeds 2,300. Each and every year I will trackchase in 25-30 states.

 

 

At track #1,040 I moved into the “World’s #1 Trackchasing” spot. Here’s the funny thing about that. I was perfectly content to remain in about seventh place in the worldwide trackchasing standings. Then I had rotator cuff surgery, which knocked me out of golf for about six months. With no golf and time on my hands I turned up my trackchasing by a notch or two. I discovered I liked MORE trackchasing and LESS golf. It didn’t take all that long to move up to the top of the world trackchasing standings at that point.

 

 

My visit to the Dodge County Raceway was touch and go with the weather. First, it looked terrible with a 100% chance of rain. Then the rain probability dropped to 30%. Things were looking better. Then just a few minutes before race time it rained hard. Then the sun came out. It was starting to look good. I thought I was going to make it. Then it rained some more and the promoter threw in the towel. I went off to eat Mexican food for dinner!

 

 

My hobby is not only about racing. Trackchasing for me centers around three things. The racing part is pretty obvious. However of equal importance is the logistics of trackchasing and the opportunity to see the world.

 

 

I live in Southern California. The vast majority of tracks are located in the Midwest and East. It takes a good deal of logistical planning to get from where I live to where the tracks are. For the past 15 years I have traveled about 175 nights each and every year. Surprisingly to some, more than half of those overnights were not part of trackchasing.

 

 

Then there’s the travel just for the fun of seeing new things. You won’t want to miss my “Trackchasing Tourist Attractions” page or my “Sports Spectating Resume” page on my website at www.randylewis.org. That will give you some understanding on how important seeing the world is with my hobby.

 

 

Today’s adventure was one more of the 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the long and dusty trackchasing trail. If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

 

 

FOREWORD

I woke up this morning in Plattsburgh, New York at 9 a.m. Of course that was 6 a.m. California time after I had flown all night the night before from Los Angeles to Boston and then there’s that.

 

 

I really didn’t want to go out for a 3-mile power walk but I had to. I have trackchasing goals to meet. Actually my daily goal is four miles. I figured that the rest of the day would add the other mile and I would be good to go.

 

 

The weather forecast for my racing event tonight in a Howe’s Cave, New York called for a 100% chance of rain during the day. That didn’t leave me much wiggle room did it?

 

 

At the hotel this morning I grabbed some unusually consistent cheese egg omelets and sausage from the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I was soon departing Plattsburgh, New York. I was headed down to Albany, the state’s capitol.

 

 

Driving to Albany in the National Car Rental Racing Nissan Maxima would get me within an hour of Howes Cave, tonight’s racing destination. Regardless of whether I got rained out tonight in Albany I would have a day of Trackchasing Tourist Attraction.  By the way, I am seeing a lot of highway rest areas closed for one reason or another.  What’s up with that?

 

 

Recall that last week Carol and I had seen the #1 attraction in all of Des Moines, Iowa, the Iowa state capitol building tour (above). It just turned out that I was visiting another state’s capitol city, Albany.

 

 

Can you guess what the number one attraction is in all of Albany? If you said the New York state capitol tour you would be correct. I had just enough time to make the 3 p.m. and last tour of the workweek.

 

 

I knew that I would be driving through Saratoga Springs, New York. I really wanted to stop at the Saratoga racetrack to watch an afternoon of horse racing. Saratoga Springs and the track are beautiful places and very historic. I’ve been there before. It rained so hard during my visit a few years ago that they actually canceled one of the races. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen at all of the horse racing tracks (about 20) that I’ve attended. Alas, the horseracing season doesn’t open for their summer season for another couple of weeks.

 

 

Folks who live in this part of upstate New York must not have AT&T as their cellular phone carrier. There were several periods of “no service”. That’s a problem for me because I use my phone nonstop on these trips.

 

 

I figured I would get out of the New York state capitol building tour at about 4:30 p.m. At that point I would need to assess my options.

 

 

Of course the number one option was driving about an hour southwest from Albany to Howes Cave. That small town is where the Dodge City Speedway is located. However with the rain forecast, which was improving, that plan was uncertain.

 

 

If I could get notification early enough in the afternoon that they were canceling the race program I could still get over to Boston’s Logan International Airport tonight. That way I could make a 9 p.m. flight from Boston to Chicago.

 

 

If they raced at the Dodge City Speedway tonight I would sleep overnight in my car on the way back to Boston. Then I would catch a 5 a.m. flight from Boston to Chicago tomorrow morning. If they canceled the race I would catch a 9 p.m. flight from Boston to Chicago and then sleep overnight in the O’Hare International Airport. With either option I would not be utilizing the resources of a hotel tonight. Don’t worry about me. This is the way I sometimes roll.

 

 

Going into tonight’s new track visit at the Dodge City Speedway my records indicate that I have seen 75 tracks in New York. Those records also tell me that I have made 48 separate trips to the state of New York for the express purpose of trackchasing. When you add in the nearly once a year trips that Carol and I make to New York City and all of my business trips I guess I’ve been to New York more than 100 times.

 

 

Seeing the local sights and sounds of the places I visit is a big deal to me. You might want to look at my Trackchasing Tourist Attraction page on my website at www.randylewis.org. It’s not fully complete, especially for my foreign country visits. However, it will give you a good idea that I’ve had a chance to stop and see the highlights offered in most of our 50 United States.

 

 

Today I consulted TripAdvisor to see what the best sites might be in Albany, New York. Of course you probably know that Albany is the capitol of New York. TripAdvisor told me the New York state capitol tour was the #1 attraction in the entire city. I like to take good advice from others. I would do that.

 

 

Recall that a couple of weeks ago Carol and I took the Iowa state capitol tour in Des Moines, Iowa. That was a true a highlight. It would be interesting to compare what New York had to offer compared to that state capitol visit in Iowa.

 

 

I called ahead to confirm the details about the capitol tour. I got a live person and some very good information. The tours didn’t cost anything. They would last about an hour. Reservations for smaller groups (just me) were not needed. Parking in the Empire State Plaza building was just five bucks.

 

 

When I arrived everything that I had been told was absolutely true. Once I parked all I needed to do was ride an elevator up to the concourse floor.

 

 

When it came time to clear security I encountered a sign near the metal detector. It read in part, “All outerwear must be removed.” That alert was either poorly worded or the security folks were a bit quirky. I kept my clothes on and was allowed to clear security.

 

 

Did you know that Kingston, New York was the first capitol of New York? Really? Let’s not BS each other. I learned that and a few other things on the tour.

 

 

I was a little surprised to see that the entire capitol building here in New York was much more plain than what we had seen in Iowa. I’m not a student of architecture. It seemed as if most of the building was gray granite in Albany. There were far fewer paintings and far fewer decorations other than the granite carvings. Of course, I only had one other recent capital building visit to compare things to.

 

 

The three major sections of today’s tour included where the Senate, 63 members, of the New York state legislature meets. Additionally we saw where their equivalent of the House of Representatives, which includes 150 elected officials worked. We also got to see where the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Jr. holds his press conferences.

 

 

It was definitely worth seeing. It might be a fun goal to try to see more state capitol buildings through the guided tour process. I hope to do that whenever I can.

 

 

Now it was time to go trackchasing. I would have a one-hour drive over to Howes Cave, New York from Albany. I had plenty of time to make it. Time was not my issue.

 

 

The unstable weather was my issue. Earlier in the day the forecast for rain in Howes Cave was 100%. Later in the day it looked like the strong string of storms might miss the place. The precipitation forecast had been lowered to 20%.

 

 

I use the Weather Underground app. It gives me radar and the rest of the weather stats for the places I will be visiting. It’s all conveniently located on my iPhone. Everything is conveniently located on my iPhone.

 

 

At 5 p.m. it looked like Howes Cave was going to be hit with a major rainstorm. Bold yellow was showing up on radar. That means hard rain.

 

 

If I believed the radar 100% it would have been a good idea to drive from Albany to Boston and catch a flight over to Chicago tonight. There was a race in the Hoosier state that might have run although they had weather issues as well. However, I was this close to Howes Cave. The weather radar has been known to stop or head in an opposite direction than originally planned.

 

 

THE RACING (not)

 

 

Dodge City Speedway – Howes Cave, New York

 

 

The dark clouds were mounting just before I reached the track. Then when I was only five minutes out it started to rain hard. I kept going and pulled into the track. Several race teams were waiting to see what was going to happen with their race cars still locked up in their trailers.

 

 

It rained hard for 10-12 minutes. Then the rain stopped. It looked like fair skies were approaching. I checked the radar. There was just one small sliver of storm that could cause a little bit more rain. If that missed us we were good but if it hit us we were probably doomed.

 

 

Some racing teams started to open up their trailers and pull their cars out. That was a good sign. An announcement came over the PA system saying they were making food to order at the concession stand. I was optimistic at that point.

 

 

Then it began to rain lightly. It looked like that last little piece of storm was not going to miss us. After about 10 minutes of light rain an announcement over the PA system provided a message I didn’t want to hear. They were canceling the show. This was my very first rainout of the entire 2017 season. When you consider I’ve seen 52 new tracks I think that’s a pretty good weather record. As I have seen more and more tracks I have fewer and fewer back up plans when bad weather hits my originally planned a location.

 

 

 

AFTER THE RACES (no races!)

 

 

It was now too late to get back to Boston and catch a flight to Chicago tonight. I checked around to see if there were any evening sporting events like baseball games in the general area. I couldn’t find anything.

 

 

It was now about 6:30 p.m. I consulted Yelp for Mexican restaurants. The nearest recommended Mexican eateries were 35 miles away! I guess folks around Howes Cave don’t eat much Mexican food.

 

 

My drive back toward Albany would take me back to Boston. Stopping in Albany for dinner would not take me out of the way. I would find Mexican places there. I did and I stopped.

 

 

For my last six or seven visits to sit down Mexican restaurants I’ve been ordering queso fundido con chorizo. It’s a combination of melted cheese and chorizo sausage. It’s a great low carb meal.

 

 

A lot of times it’s not on the menu. However, when properly explained the server will do their best to make what I am requesting. Everywhere I have been the servings of queso fundido has been little bit different.

 

 

For the first time ever tonight’s queso fundido was served in a bowl. Tonight it was essentially a very large serving of cheese dip with bits of chorizo sausage sprinkled in. I ate it with a spoon! It was still good. My server was most friendly and helpful.

 

 

Now I had about a three-hour drive over to Boston’s Logan airport. If I drove nonstop I would get there at about midnight. Tomorrow morning’s flight to Chicago was leaving at 5 a.m. I would need to be clearing security by 4 a.m. or so. That only gave me the option of about four hours of sleep.

 

 

I guess I had three choices for overnight sleeping accommodations. I could rent a hotel. Renting an expensive Northeastern hotel for four hours or less probably wasn’t going to support my retirement financial plan. I didn’t come up with a plan to retire at the age of 53, without sponging off my wife’s income, by renting hotels for four hours or less.

 

 

I had two remaining options. I could drive straight to the airport and sleeping at the airport for four hours. Or I could drive about three hours and sleep in my car at the Massachusetts Turnpike rest area. I went with the latter choice.

 

 

Good evening from a soggy Howes Cave, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

New York

 

 

The Empire state

This evening I didn’t see my 76th lifetime track in the Empire state, yes the Empire state. But I HAVE seen 75 tracks in New York. Has anyone seen 75 tracks in New York and more than 100 in California? No, they have not!

 

 

 

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

New York sayings: New York is a different country. Maybe it ought to have a separate government. Everybody thinks differently, they just don’t know what the hell the rest of the United States is. 

 

 

Henry Ford

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

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 600 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,344

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 20 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 74

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.37

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

 

 

 

A good touring day but not so good with the racing     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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