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Hoagland Community Park

Hoagland1

Greetings from Hoagland, Indiana

 

From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

 

Hoagland Community Park – Figure 8

Lifetime Track #1,967

 

HighlightsThe EventVideosPhotos

bad breakfast 

That’s breakfast?

 

My hobby is linked to so many different strategies.

 

I go into strategic detail so you can reapply these ideas in your own trip planning.

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3 

This trip had three purposes.

 

What a plan….Carol was doing her part.

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first class 

When Carol travels; I make sure she travels first class.

 

Just one question please. Can you answer this question?

 

Tonight I would need a covered grandstand. They didn’t have one.

 

I was wrong….twice.

.

Hoagland 2 

We are not sugar.

 

You can try this at home.

 

No! Not more rain.

 

Another first…..a timed figure 8 event.

 

Was five hours enough?

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groundhog

Ground Hog Day?

 

That’s breakfast?

I woke up this morning in Dearborn, Michigan. I went to bed for the night in Dearborn, Michigan. This is what the day looked like.

 

 

The day started with a trip down to the hotel lobby for their “continental” breakfast. Oh, my. When I got there they had only coffee (which I don’t drink) and about five oranges. That had to be the absolute worst “free” breakfast I have ever seen. The Dearborn Extended Stay American hotel gets an “F” on the breakfast front.

 

sears

I hope all this effort is worth it.

From there it was off on a 45-minute power walk. That felt good in the comfortable morning weather. Near the hotel were more huge asphalt parking lots than I can ever recall seeing. One was attached to the “Fairlane” mega shopping center. One of their anchor tenants was Sears. Are they still in business? Dearborn, Michigan is home to the Ford Motor Company hence the shopping center’s name.

 

 

Following the powerwalk I did 30 minutes of my Egoscue stretching exercises. That’s the program that cured my back problems. Got a back problem? Get someone to run you through an Egoscue program.

 

 

My hobby is linked to so many different strategies.

From there I would be returning my rental car to the Detroit Metro airport. Recall I had picked up that car in Cleveland. I would be closing out my one-way one-day rental contract.

 

 

This is one of the most valuable logistical strategies in my trackchasing toolbox. It allows me to fly into a number of different airports rather than be wedded to just one. For this trip I wanted to fly into Detroit. However, there were more seats on a flight going into Cleveland. I simply flew to Cleveland, rented a car, drove to Detroit (around two hours) and returned the car in Detroit.

 

 

Normally one-way rentals are dreadfully expensive. However, it was less than $50 to pick up in Cleveland and drop in Detroit. When the charges are $100 or more per day for a one-way rental (which they almost always are) I use my National Car Rental sponsorship program to get those days for nearly free.

 

strategy

I go into strategic detail so you can reapply these ideas in your own trip planning.

When I return the car in situations like this I simply tell the rental car check-in person, from the driver’s seat, that I want to close out my existing contract. Then I’ll start a new contract with the same car that will have me returning the car to the “new” city. This way I don’t have to “move my stuff” and I don’t have to fill the tank from the first contract. Remember I go into some detail on these strategies so that you can reapply them in your own trip planning.

 

 

This is a fun place to stop and shop.

Along my drive down to Indiana today I made a stop at a Pilot Truck Stop. Although I’m usually pressed for time today I had a few minutes to look around. Much of my life is lived as if I were a truck driver. Maybe that’s why I’m so comfortable in truck stops.

 

 

Pilot Truck Stops have all kinds of fun stuff in their stores. Today a “work shirt” caught my eye. Although I no longer “work” and don’t even like the word the shirt seemed to have my name on it.

 

 i would rather be working

By the way I did see a fellow wearing a t-shirt with a slogan I agree with. It read, “I never saw a bumper sticker saying, ‘I’d rather be working”. Been there done that.

 

 

I like it when I seem to have “all day” to get where I’m going. That is normally not the case. I arrived relaxed into the greater Hoagland area. There was even time for a special “eating” adventure detailed elsewhere.

 

 

The first trip of the summer season is my 12th for the year.

As mentioned previously this is the first domestic “summer” trackchasing trip of the season. The trip has three purposes.

 

 

This trip had three purposes.

The main objective is to get a Washington, D.C. track for Carol. With that she will have seen racing in all 50 states AND the District of Columbia. Not many can say that. Secondly, I will be able to see five tracks in four days. With nearly 2,000 tracks in the bank that’s not easy to do. Finally, we plan to add one more major league ballpark to my resume leaving just seven more to go. When all of the remaining parks have been seen (hopefully by the end of the 2014 season) I will have watched a game at every active major league baseball park.

 

 

Always playing the averages.

Tonight was originally going to have me seeing a race in West Virginia. However, the weather forecast there called for a 40% chance of rain. I decided to stay another day at a Detroit area hotel and take in a figure 8 race in Indiana. The rain chances were about the same there as well but figure 8 shows have a better chance of racing with rain than traditional oval tracks.

 

 

What a plan….Carol was doing her part.

While I was doing all of this Carol was flying non-stop from LAX to Washington, D.C. I had to watch her flight closely to make sure she got on. As a standby flier you never really know until the wheels up sign is given by the pilot and you’re on the plane!

 

 

The available seats kept dwindling but at takeoff time there were still five seats open and she was #1 on the standby list. I had taken a chance and reserved a non-refundable Priceline generated hotel for her in Washington, D.C. If she had not made that flight it would have been a mad scramble to find another flight. Additionally we would also have had to “eat” the non-refundable hotel expense.

 

first class

When Carol travels; I make sure she travels first class.

However, as I was motoring down toward Indiana I received a text from Carol. She had made the flight and in first class no less! When she arrived in Washington she would grab a cab and be treated to another first class luxury. I had reserved a four-star hotel in the trendy area of Alexandria, Virginia. She would be staying at the Lorian Hotel and Spa boutique hotel. When Carol travels I do my very best to provide first class treatment. She doesn’t ask for it or demand it but she deserves it. It only costs a little more (O.K. sometimes a lot more) to travel first class.

 

 

Just one question please. Can you answer this question?

I have a question for you. What other 65-year old couples do you know that would have a plan where one person stays in a major Midwestern city while the other stays in a major Eastern city while they both live on the west coast and do all of this on a standby basis? That just makes the meeting up all the sweeter.

 

 

 

TRACKCHASING TOURIST ATTRACTION

I very much enjoy the racing when I go on trackchasing trips. However, I am not the type of person who would feel the trip was complete if I simply left home, went to the race and came back home.

 

I do a good deal of traveling. I want to do my best to see the local area when I come for a visit. There are often some unusual attractions that one area is noted for more than any other locale. I want to see those places. I want to touch them and feel them. When I leave an area, I want to have memories of these special places that I call Trackchasing Tourist Attractions. I will remember those experiences long after the checkered flag has fallen on whatever race I have seen that day.

 

Hyerlys 

Heyerly’s Baking Company, Ossian, Indiana

It’s not often that a bakery makes it into this section of my report. Nevertheless, Heyerly’s is a pretty famous place. Yelp! gives it a 4-star rating (3 reviews). Hawkeye Racing News writer Ron Rodda first made me aware of this place. Ron hails from Ossian but now does most of his racechasing in the Golden state of California.

 

 

I was here once before. During that visit I was feeling very much under the weather. Despite my ill feeling I stopped at the bakery just in appreciation of Ron’s recommendation. Today I returned feeling great.

 

 

I couldn’t pass up the giant soft sugar cookie (six inch diameter) one of the bakery’s specialties. Then I added a caramel iced cinnamon roll. Finally I picked up a package of noodles made by another local company. Carol will know what to do with those. I was shopping at 4 p.m. That’s pretty late in the day of a bakery. The selection was somewhat limited. However, that did not stop customers from coming in steadily. Maybe I’ll get back to this place someday at 7 a.m.!

 

 

 

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

 

culvers 

Culver’s – All over the Midwest

 

Yes, I’m a big fan.

I’m a big fan of Culver’s a semi-fast food chain headquartered in Wisconsin. They’re a lot like Chick-fil-A where their service is far above average.

 

 

My “go to” lunch is the pork tenderloin and chili. The chili is used for dipping. I had all the time I needed to get where I was going. I could use my iPhone for all matter of information and education while I enjoyed one of my favorite lunches.

 

 

 

Hoagland Figure 8 Track, Hoagland, IN

 

Indiana hoagland weather map

Can this be?

I can’t ever recall being rained out at a county fair figure 8 track. That’s saying something considering I’ve seen well over 200 figure 8 tracks most of which were held at county fairs.

 

 

Usually these races are held just one time per year. I guess the fair board and organizers don’t want to cancel since this is their only shot for the year. Additionally, I have encountered very little rain at these events. That’s unusual as well considering almost all of these races are held in the middle of the summer. Everyone knows the Midwest and East get a lot of rain in the summer.

 

 

My advance information proved to be somewhat inaccurate.

I knew a couple of days in advance that rain would be in the area. I contacted race officials. They told me as long as there was no lightning they would race.

 

 

I showed up early more than two hours before I was told the racing would begin. At 4:30 p.m. it was about 85 degrees. Would it cool off by race time at 6:30 p.m.? I waited in the car with the engine and the air-conditioning running. I can do that with a 36 M.P.H. Hyundai Sonata!

 

 

This really isn’t a county fair to my knowledge. The weekend event is called “Hoagland Days”. They would be holding races tonight (Friday) and tomorrow night as well.

 

hoagland rain pit 

Tonight I would need a covered grandstand. They didn’t have one.

There was a good deal of seating in the form of aluminum grandstands all around what is known as the “ring” even though it is a rectangle. None of the seating was covered which would be a bit of a problem later on.

 

 

This was a nice touch.

On the way into the grandstand area I stopped at the “food court”. They had lots of good stuff for supper being sold by local fund-raising groups. I went with two “Coney” dogs, which were essentially chilidogs. I smothered them in mustard and onions. I handed over just four bucks for the two dogs and a Diet Root Beer. That was a bargain.

 

 

If you’re not early you’re late.

I grabbed a top row seat in the almost empty main grandstand. I would have a great view of the action. Rain had passed through at 2 p.m. The radar “out west” of Hoagland looked clear.

 

 

I was wrong….twice.

Little did I know it but I was misreading things on two fronts. First, I would learn from a local that racing was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. not 6:30 p.m. That meant an extra hour of sitting on my foam “gardener’s” pad AND getting back to the hotel an hour later.

 

 Hoagland rain clouds

The local just smiled at me.

Then the local told me he “hoped it wouldn’t rain”. That’s what they say a lot back in the Midwest. Why? Because it rains a lot back here. I assured him the weather radar was clear. He smiled.

 

 

A few minutes later I checked the radar again. Wow! Now there WAS rain (green, yellow and red on the radar) and it was close! When I informed the local sitting next to me that the “radar had changed” he smiled.

 

 

I wish they had started racing with the figure 8s at 6:30 p.m. like they had told me over the phone. That would have been swell. That was not the case.

 

 

At about 7 p.m., still thirty minutes before the race would start, the skies in the north were dark and “weather was moving in rapidly”. I never bring an umbrella for stuff like this even though Carol reminds me too every time. I have no interest in carrying an umbrella when I would only need it one time in one hundred.

 

 

We are not sugar.

Like a fan in the Netherlands told me a couple of weeks ago, “We are not sugar. We will not melt. We race in the rain”. O.K.

 

 

When the rains did come the temperature dropped precipitously. The rain started gently at first. Then it picked up with a ferociousness I had not seen recently. I turned to the south and the raindrops hit my back like thousands of cold darts. I could wait this one out right.

 

 

You can try this at home.

By now most of what was a nearly full grandstand of people was virtually vacant. Did they know something I did not? Maybe. I hung in there. At this point I was 100% wet. How wet is that? Try standing in your shower at home fully clothed for FIVE minutes. You will be not be nearly as wet as I was.

 

hoagland rainbow 

Had the races begun at 6:30 p.m. none of this would have ever happened as it did. As it continued to rain I came up with the bright idea it might be time to seek shelter. I was not ahead of the curve on this one. My primary concerned was keeping my camera dry. The pictures you will see don’t really “capture” the moment and it’s wetness.  However when most of the rain had fallen we were treated to a most beautiful rainbow.

 

 

Would they race? Could they?

When the rain did stop the demo “ring” no longer looked like a black dirt rectangle but more like a muddy swimming pool. However, to the organizer’s credit, they soon put a bulldozer and skip loader in the muck and in about 40 minutes it was usable.

 

 

No mention had been made of figure 8 racing by the announcer. He did talk about the weekend’s demo derby action and a kid’s “power wheels” competition. That was somewhat concerning.

 

hoagland figure 8

No! Not more rain.

At about 8:10 p.m. the track was now ready to go. However more dark clouds were approaching and it began to rain lightly. Some of the folks in the stands began to head for shelter.

 

 

The announcer was telling the crowd that the first event would be for the kids and their “power wheel” machines. These were small battery-powered pieces that looked a lot like peddle karts.

 

 

Of course I love kids. I love our kids more than other people’s kids. Trackchasing’s “Founding Fathers” seemingly hated kids. With more rain on the way the LAST thing I wanted to see was about a dozen kids or more trying to have their own mini demo derby when my event could be rained out. There was no way, at the speeds these power wheels were running, that anybody could knock anybody out. Luckily, the event had a time limit of ten minutes but I think they went longer.

 

hoagland mud

Finally….let’s get this thing counted.

The rain had stopped now.  But it was still mighty wet.  The race organizers put the first motorized race on the track….the big car figure 8s. Thank goodness. It was now more than two hours after I thought I would see this race. On the other hand given the amount of rain received I was lucky to be seeing any racing whatsoever.

 

 

Another first…..a time figure 8 event.

It was different to learn that each big car (V-8) figure 8 race would NOT be run for a certain number of laps but for seven minutes. I can’t recall that ever happening before in all of the figure 8 racing I have seen. Yep! Something different happens at virtually every track I attend.

 

 hoagland f8 racing

The racing was very good. The drivers had a strong element of demo derby in their figure 8 races. They did not “spare the rod” a bit. Even when a driver broke a driveshaft or lost a wheel they kept racing. Most groups would throw a red flag for those occurrences.

 

 

There were three big car figure 8 heat races. Then the “mini” cars came out to race figure 8. Their entire group was just five cars. The front wheel drive 4-cylinder powered cars were much quieter and seemed to get more traction than their V-8 older brothers and sisters.

 

 

I changed viewing areas for the last race. It was a MAJOR challenge to get past a HUGE mud puddle that blocked the way. My blue suede deck shoes had just been cleaned (by Carol) after walking through the mud and muck of the Netherlands. They will be due for another cleaning when I get home from this trip. How much can I ask of Trackchasing’s First Mother?

 

 

Was five hours enough?

It was now about 9:30 p.m. I had been at the track for five hours. I figured that at that point, considering I was facing a nearly three-hour drive, it was time to boogie. It would be after midnight when I reached my hotel for the night in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. A little organizing would keep me up until past 1 a.m. My wake-up call came at 3:54 a.m. (that was just 54 minutes past midnight on my hometown Pacific time zone). I was out the door at 4:17 a.m. and in the air headed toward our nation’s capital by 6:10 a.m.  

 

groundhog

Ground Hog Day?

Once in D.C. I would pick up Carol and we would start this all over again. Carol says trackchasing is a lot like “Ground Hog Day”. I think she means it’s the same thing every day. That’s certainly one point of view and possibly not all that far off.

 

 

STATE COMPARISONS

 

Indiana

 

The Hoosier State

This evening I saw my 79th lifetime track in the Hoosier state, yes the Hoosier state. It doesn’t seem as if I trackchase in Indiana all that much. As a child/young man growing up in Illinois we always did things Iowa and almost never in Indiana. Nevertheless 79 tracks in a place “you never go too” isn’t too bad.

 

 

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

Indiana sayings: You know what “knee high by the Fourth of July” means

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

AIRPLANE

Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – Cleveland, OH (LCE) – 2,050 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #1

Hopkins (Cleveland) International Airport – trip begins

Croswell, MI

Detroit Metropolitan Airport – trip ends – 151 miles

 

RENTAL CAR #2

Detroit Metropolitan International Airport – trip begins

Hoagland, IN

 

 

 

TRACK ADMISSION PRICES:

Croswell County Fairgrounds – $8 ($2 fair admission)

Hoagland Figure 8 Track – $8

 

 

 

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 1,967

 

 

 

Total Trackchasing Countries

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

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 68

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.96

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 hoagland mailbox

Click on the link below to see today’s photo album:

A day in rural Indiana with a major rainstorm to boot

 

 

 

 

 

 


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