All summer I have been waiting for my reader Tanya to send me her blog post about her family’s IndyCar vacations. Yes! I said vacation(S)! Each year, Tanya and her husband Augie plan their family vacation around an IndyCar race. But that is not all! These people are committed fans…they are from HAWAII! So they have to fly their family to the mainland to see a race. That is some serious IndyCar love! So, I am happy to hear about the vacation fun of this family, and hope you will enjoy reading as well.
My husband (Augie) and I are originally from Long Beach so we decided that Kale’s (my 11 month son) first race should be there with the family. So in April 2010 we took the 5 ½ hour plane ride from Kauai to Long Beach, CA.
As you know the track is set up in the streets of the LB, so driving down there is crazy so the whole family (all 11 of us) decided to take the little red bus down town. We were there all 3 days from 9am to 7pm and had a blast! On Friday as a family we cruised all through the convention center, checkout all the booths, walked the entire track and watched the practice. The convention center is great if you have kids, they have all kinds of inflatables, games and bmx and skateboarding shows. On Saturday we watched the qualifying and then we all split up to get our drivers autographs and pictures. Afterwards we walked around, listened to the bands. On Sunday we of course sat in the stands and watched the race itself. The stands were jam packed with fans…in LB everyone goes to the race. Then we all had a family dinner. All 3 days my son hung out in the pack and never complained once! He absolutely loved people watching, the car sounds and of course watching the cars go by. Here are a few pix…
All the drivers, of course, are so darn nice…here is Justin Wilson, me and my son.
Autograph session with Vitor Meira, one of my fav drivers. Hubby, son and I.
This is the view from our seats in Long Beach.
This is Kale and his Grandpa Thom watching the qualifying.
All of us…Front row(L to R) My mom Diane, me, Kale, Augie, Cousin Addy, Aunt Joyce
Back row(L to R) our good friend Chris, Uncle Leeroy, Sis-n-law Heather & Father-in-law Thom
So a few months after the Long Beach Grand Prix my father in law passed away. He was just few weeks from retirement and his plan was to buy an RV and go to the 100th running of the Indy 500, and then travel to all the other races. Since he couldn’t attend all the races we decided to go in his honor and plan our yearly family vacations around the indycar races.
So in 2011 we headed to the Indy 500, the only difference this time I was 4 months preggos and my son was now 2. And wow it was an adventure to get there! 5 1/2 our planes ride to LAX. Then 4 hour plane ride to Chicago. Then at Chicago our flight to Indianapolis was delayed for 4 DAYS!! By that the time the race would be over, so we decided to rent a car and drive!! Of course were leaving the Chicago Airport at 2am in a horrible thunderstorm not knowing where were going LOL.
Of course we made it for the race weekend yay! And the long adventure to get to this race was completely worth it! We were in complete awe of the track; we didn’t even know where to begin. The fans were incredibly nice they hi-fived my son (which he loved), let us cut in every line when they realized I was pregnant and then when they found out we traveled from Hawaii just for this race they praised us all around! We did everything we could – visited the museum, watched practice, watched the band, cruised the track, autograph session, and watched the race. We were behind pit row and my son LOVED it! He couldn’t stop smiling and pointing at the cars. The only time we left our seats is when he needed to go potty.
This race ended up being so special for us for so many reasons: it of course was in honor of my father-in-law Thom; Augie favorite driver Buddy Rice was there…this is a childhood friend of my husbands and their families knew each other well; and of course not realizing at the time that it was Dan Wheldon’s last win. We just absolutely love this race, we cannot wait to return. Here are a few pix….
The only time Kale stopped smiling is because we made take a family pic, lol!
Cruising the museum.
Augie and Buddy Rice.
This year, 2012 we hopped on the 5hr plane ride to Sonoma, CA for Paloma’s (my daughter) 1st race. We had a great time! Wine country was beautiful! On Sat we arrived at 7:30am and cruised around, hit the booths, hit the 1st autograph session, watched qualifying, rode the Ferris wheel and hit the second autograph session at 5pm. We checked out the Formula Mazda cars which were pretty cool. We met one of the drivers, Cameron Parsons, who was extremely nice. He invited my son to sit in his car, of course Kale all of sudden became shy and said no. Then after watching Parsons race he wanted to return and get in the car LOL. We finally left the track at 6pm and on the bus that took us back to our car my and son says “Mommy, Daddy I don’t wanna leave the race cars”, the whole bus cracked up laughing.
On Sunday, race day, it was packed and filled with extremely nice fans. Everyone stopped to tell us how cute our kids are. Before the race we watched the Scott Dixon interview live which was so much fun! (We recorded the race and my son was very excited to see himself, when we got home, LOL.) Our seats had a great view of the track and of the scenery. Both of the kids were completely zoned out on the race, yelling every time the cars drove by. We had a blast! We definitely want to return to this race. Here are a few pix…
If Paloma were a boy she would have been named Kanaan!
Jan Beekus stopped to take a pic with my boys.
Paloma fell asleep during qualifying.
Kale watching qualifying.
Augie & Kale with Scott & Dario.
View from our seats at Sonoma.
It was great they had a photo booth and they email the picture to you for free!
Okay! Tanya! I am sure that I haven’t yet found any family who as dedicated to our sport as your fam! I can’t wait to meet you when you come to Indy again! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and photos!