This post is loooong overdue. I should have written some sort of blog while I was home. However, I got distracted with sleeping, digging through the mountain of paperwork on my desk, my email inbox, catching up on rest, training, getting ready for this trip (3 races/ 3 weeks on the road), sleep and friends. I had a really good time at home though and it was a well deserved break. And by break I mean, I appreciated the chance to clear my desk enough to remind myself (very briefly) what color it is. I did also make sure to take some time for me. I played tennis one evening, went for a bike ride on Saturday morning (thought it would be a short hour ride- turned into 3.5 hour half century!), played beach volleyball and BBQ’ed with friends on Sunday. Heading out for this trip, I was well rested and even had gotten a new gadget to make my travel life easier.

Last Friday I ordered an Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is a really neat e-book. It is about the size of a paperback but a lot thinner and a touch lighter. The biggest difference between a regular book and the Kindle is that I can store a lot of books on the Kindle. Rather than carting around a book, a spare in my backpack and a spare spare in my suitcase, I already have three books loaded onto my Kindle. And if I get nervous about not having enough reading material, I can browse the Amazon site and download more books. The biggest impetus for me buying the unit (it’s not cheap- but worth every penny so far!) was running out of books on planes. The last few plane trips, I got 10 minutes into the 3 hour flight and finished the only book I had with me. And the movie playing didn’t interest me, and I wasn’t tired enough to sleep without reading first and as a result I ended up bored and frustrated. Therefore I figured the Kindle would make my life on the road a little bit easier. When I get on a plane, I am totally out of contact and enjoy the chance to do work if I want, watch movies, nap or read. I really like to read and do a lot of it, so I figured it was a solid investment. Also, you can get almost all of the newest books on the Kindle and rather than 20 or 30 bucks for a hardback- most are around 10. I figure the savings alone will cover my costs within a few months at the rate I read. And I am saving the environment- Go me!

So now I am here in Edmonton for the first of three races on the trot (pardon the English-ism). We have the airport track of Edmonton this weekend, Kentucky Speedway next weekend and then the road course of Mid-Ohio after that. Edmonton is quite a ways north. Like the farthest north I have ever raced, I think. The only place that may rival it is Knockhill in Scotland. But so far the weather here is better than Scotland! (As an aside- I googled it and at 53 degrees North latitude, it is the farthest north I have ever raced- and probably ever been!) I arrived in Edmonton yesterday afternoon, the sun was high in the sky (being so far north), it was warm and I had some time to see the city. We are staying right downtown and so my dad and I walked around. And kept walking. And kept walking. We did a full lap of the downtown area, walked through the ‘taste of Edmonton‘ festival, by some neat buildings, and then decided we would walk up to the racetrack- more commonly known as the city centre airport. I thought it was like two major streets. I may have been slightly mistaken! It was more like 4 kms or 2.75 miles (and by Google maps estimation- 50 minutes walking). Still, even at 8:30 at night, the sun was out and shining and the weather was warm. It was a pleasant night for a walk and I enjoyed the exercise. The sun finally set at about 10 or so and it got darkish. It was still a type of twilight. It is very neat up here and I am really enjoying the city. I did an interview with a local sports radio station and everyone is so friendly and enthusiastic about the race this weekend. The interviewer, Dan, mentioned that the racing gods must bribe the weather gods for good weather as everytime the Indy is in town, the weather is perfect! Here’s the link to the page with an audio file of my radio interview. I have noticed that there are a lot of big 4 wheel drive trucks, very few convertibles and a lot of cars have an electric plug hanging out the front of the grill. I asked my dad why he thought the cars had plugs on them. His reply was, “well when it’s -40 in the winter, you have to heat the block of the car so it will start.” Yes, it is a great place to visit in the summer when the temperature is warm and beautiful. -40 degrees? I’ll pass.

Now it’s off to the racetrack, work with my engineer on the car set up, walk the track, and get ready for practice and qualifying tomorrow. The schedule is a bit condensed with only 1 hour of practice before qualifying. That means it is even more important to do my ‘homework’ with the data, track walk and ‘mental laps’. More impressions of the track and maybe even the West Edmonton Mall. Apparently it is the biggest mall in North America.

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