Today, I was driving along College Avenue, one of the major north-south roads in Indianapolis and came to a stop in the middle of the road. Up ahead, the two lane road narrowed to one lane. I knew that and I was already in the correct lane,which happened to be the left lane. Yet, there were several people who drove up along the right side of the road even though the majority of the drivers were clearly waiting for the traffic up ahead to move along. The reason why the rest of us were stopped for so long is because of all of the drivers who was cutting the line. It was so maddening! One such driver sped past about 10 cars before budging the line and I noticed that he actually had a vanity plate that read, “THANKS” which I am sure is meant to be sarcastic. Even though he took off down the road, I ended up right behind him about 15 minutes later. I wasn’t following him, but we happened to end up in the main part of Carmel. Guess where he ended up going? He was speeding, weaving and cutting the line because he was in such a hurry to get to Arby’s! Crazy!
Today, B.B., Francis and I decided to go to Harrison State Park. As we were approaching the entry ramp to I-465, we came across an overturned charter bus which had somehow managed to land on the concrete barrier that separates the entry ramp from Keystone Road. The ambulances, police and firefighters had not yet arrived on the scene, but there was a crowd of people trying to help out. Apparently, the bus was carrying a bunch of kids who were on their way home from a summer camp. B.B. pulled over and jumped out of the car and to see if there was anything that could be done. He mostly talked to the kids to check how they were doing and to help reassure them, many of them were in a state of shock. Unfortunately, there were a few fatalities.
- 3 Dead, Several Injured After Bus Overturns In Indianapolis (businessinsider.com)
- 3 killed in Indianapolis bus accident – USA TODAY (usatoday.com)
I am generally a positive person, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep that mindset when people annoy you. Today, there were literally dozens of them, mostly impatient people illegally driving several blocks down a two-way left turn lane in order to bypass the people waiting in the correct and legal lane. This was all so that they could get to the parking lot and get to the Geist Mini-Marathon and 5km race on time! By doing that, they were slowing down people who arrived before them and were trying to patiently wait their turn in the correct and legal lane. I find some irony in the fact that there are a lot of people representing charity groups who participate in this race yet, a lot of the people at the race, seem to only be thinking about themselves and their own conveniences (I’m not sure if it’s a charity event, but it’s sponsored by a major hospital). It was horrible. There was a whole lane of us sitting in idling cars while people cruised past to cut the line.
I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”
Needless to say, B.B. and I were late for the race. In fact, we did not make it to the half marathon start. We were able to make it to the 5km run. It was possible to continue running beyond the 5km, as it was the same route, but it wasn’t clearly marked. It was just as well, B.B. wasn’t up for the run and we started running about half an hour behind the last runner. Finishing a 5km is still respectable though. I felt pretty good running, but I attribute that to the training for the Mini Marathon earlier this month.
This race seemed like it could be a good run around Geist reservoir, although, a little hillier than I am used to running. However, if ever, B.B. and I decide to attempt this half marathon again, we will probably have to leave an hour earlier than we did (I think that we waited in traffic, less than a mile from the parking lot, for a good 40 minutes).
The biggest issue was the parking, or rather, the huge bottleneck to get to the school parking lot. It was very discouraging to see so many people taking advantage of the people who were trying to be patient. I think that the race organizers should consider having more police presence to help direct traffic. It was a frustrating start to the day that I do not ever want to relive.
So, here we are (B.B. and I) in southern Indiana in a town called, French Lick, so named because the town was originally a French trading post built near a spring and a salt lick. We’re staying at the French Lick Resort originally built in 1845. It’s an impressive building that takes up most of the town. With 443 rooms, fitness center, bowling alley, several conference centers and a walkway to the 24 hour casino building, 3 golf courses, 15 dining venues, one could easily be entertained for hours. There are also indoor and outdoor swimming pools and indoor tennis and basketball courts and stables nearby.
The neighbouring West Baden Springs Hotel, is part of the same company and shares many of the same facilities, is a National Historic Landmark built-in 1901 and has an impressive atrium spanning 200 feet that was once the largest in the world but is still quite impressive, once dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
I really like our room, it’s an octoganal shape with a king bed, lounge area, desk and bathroom with shower stall. It has a historic feel to it, the wallpaper is tasteful and muted, the carpet has the leaf swirls and the bed has tall posts on either side of the headboard.
We’re about to check out, so I’ll have to post photos later (I forgot to bring my camera cord).
Drive-in theatres have been in existence for 79 years and experienced peak popularity during the 1950’s and early 60’s, yet they have been on the slow decline since then. Last weekend, B.B. and I went experience the drive-in theatre at 480 South Tibbs. We were happy to find out that we could take our dog with us. The theatre staff said that as long as the dog is supervised and not disturbing the other movie watchers, it’s fine to bring your dog. In fact, we saw other people with their dogs there also (many people set up camp chairs in front of their vehicles and sit back and watch the movie).
We got there rather early–I guess that it’s easy to do in the summer when June has some of the longest days of the year. We ended up waiting around for about an hour, but that’s ok because we had ample time to get our refreshments (popcorn, pop, caramel apple and a hot dog) plus we had an excellent spot. We later found out that the movie that we were parked to see was the children’s cartoon, Madagascar 3, which explained all of the children running around in our area. After that movie we stayed for the next movie, which was Snow White and the Huntsman, the movie we originally thought that we were going to see. But paying one price for two movies was worth it (I thought that Madagascar 3 was the better movie, anyhow).
You can view the movies playing on the Tibb’s website, which is a little tough to navigate; the drop-down menu is located at the bottom left side of the page. There is also a sign outside of the theatre listing the schedule of movies for all of the 4 screens. The drive-in is located on the west-side, just take I-465 South to exit 13, Rockville Road.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know too much about racing. I barely took notice of the sport when Vancouver had its own race, the Molson Indy. I even saw Michael Andretti at a downtown restaurant but only noticed him because some ESPN guys pointed him out. Needless to say, I am not very knowledgeable in this area, but I’ve learned a few things. For example, when B.B. told me that the other day was Carb Day, I thought that the race car drivers had to go eat a lot of pasta to get ready for the race (carb, in this case is short for carburetors). It’s also the day before the race with a big party for everyone and a free concert. Last night, Lynryrd Skynyrd performed.
There’s a lot of hype this weekend in Indianapolis because it’s race weekend. People are excited because I’m told that summer does not officially start until it’s race weekend. There are events that lead up to race day, such as the parades and pageantry and even the Mini-Marathon, which is part of the 500 festival event (500 is a key number because the Indy car race is 500 miles around the 2.5 mile oval track). I also know that this year is the first year that turbo-charged engines are allowed in the race (I have been in a car with a turbo engine which has a lot of get-up-and-go).
I have no desire to go to a hot track (it’s going 32 degrees Celsius) just to sit with 400,000 drunk people smelling engine exhaust and watching 33 cars go around an oval loop 200 times. It just does not sound exciting to me. Although, I’m told that most of the fun of going to the race is actually the people watching. I hear that a lot of people show up to the track wearing cut-off jean shorts and white tank tops–they have the so-called trailer park look. Maybe I’ll go another time.
- Indy 500 Live IndyCar Series 2012 From Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 27 (livesportstoday.net)
Every once in a while, little things irk me to the point of inspiration–I end up writing about it in this blog (check out my random rants, for example). A couple of irritating things that I’ve been noticing all too frequently have to do with driving and shopping.
Sometimes, when I’m driving along behind someone when all of a sudden, surprise! The guy in front (or woman) decides to abruptly stop, then turn on his turn signal and wait for oncoming traffic to clear before making a left turn. I end up getting stuck behind this guy because he stopped too suddenly and there is too much traffic passing me to switch lanes. It’s really annoying when you’re driving down a heavily travelled road like Fall Creek Parkway, a fast and somewhat curvy road with a 40 mph speed limit–but most people are driving 50+mph. Another curve ball to this road is that the direction of traffic changes in the middle lane (sometimes open for the drivers going southbound and sometimes it’s open for the drivers going northbound). It’s not too bad when you’re on a slower street and people do the last-minute turn signal, (often as an after thought). But it’s really kind of dangerous and downright annoying. I can’t tell you how many fender benders I’ve seen that involve at least three cars driving too closely behind one another.
The other thing that annoys me is when I go into a store parking lot and see that people are too lazy to take their shopping cart to the corral. They just leave their shopping cards next to the spot where they parked spot and drive away. Sometimes, they strategically place the shopping cart directly in the cross-section of 4 parking spots and out-of-the-way of the parking space. But, it’s just plain lazy either way. I’ve seen other ridiculous acts where someone actually pushed a cart with their truck just to have the space where the cart occupied (incidentally, they also drove the cart into our parked car and didn’t think that they were in the wrong about it). At Costco, I’ve also seen a guy shove his cart 30 feet across the main road so that it would roll into the store entry way.
Don’t even get me started about the people who park in the reserved handicap stall (and they don’t have a handicap parking permit or seem to have any obvious physical disability).
So, people in Indiana (and all around the world), let’s strive to have fewer accidents, less scratches on cars and less aggravation in general. Let’s try giving everyone some advance notice before making our turns and get a few more metres of exercise into our days by putting shopping carts away. Is that too much to ask?
The other day, B.B. and I were driving in Indiana and the following topic came up. There are certain things that one must know if one is to reside in the state of Indiana (according to B.B.). And here’s the top 3 list (drumroll):
3. Learn to drive I-465
OK, so sometimes I take the long route. Not necessarily because I’m afraid to drive on the Interstate, but because I sometimes do not know which exits to take. It’s a bit confusing. I know that I-465 is a big loop around the city (think of a clock face), knowing what exit to take in relation to your destination can be somewhat confusing. Not to mention, sometimes the exit ramps veer off in directions that I am not expecting them to go. Add to that the numerous crazy drivers, it can be a bit intimidating. I have used I-465, but only in certain areas. If I am not sure where I am going, I will take the longer route. One of these days I’ll get a map as a reference guide.
2. Know what an Indy car looks like
Understanding the fundamental differences between race cars is something that most Hoosiers know, if not all. Until recently, I thought that all car races were the same. Had I said that in front of anyone other than B.B. perhaps I would have gotten an earful of information about racing. Apparently Indy cars and Formula 1 cars are different from NASCAR. I did not know.
1. You must see the movie Hoosiers
This is apparently based on a true story that takes place in Indiana. Hoosiers is named one of the best sports movies of all times according to ESPN. I am one of the few people in Indiana who has not seen the movie. But at least I am aware that the movie exists. This is on my “must see movie” list.
Yesterday, I went to a local Jiffy Lube to get a standard oil change and also to get the tires rotated. As I was driving home, I noticed that there was a squeak on the passenger side tire and the car was shaking a little. I thought that maybe I should just ride it out for a bit (although I did think about turning around, but I was on a street that had single lane traffic and no place to really turn around).
I ended up going to another Jiffy Lube location up the road. I explained to the manager that I got a tire rotation less than half an hour ago at another location and I said that I think there are two separate problems: there’s a squeak in the front tire and there is a lot of vibration and shaking under my feet. He took a look under the car and told me that the bolts were screwed in tight and that he didn’t see anything wrong. I told him that I didn’t have this problem before the tire rotation. He said that I might have odd balding patterns on the tires and that could be the cause of the squeak and shaking. They also said that they noticed that there was a crack in the front frame under the bumper that could be rubbing against something causing friction. I said that it was never a problem before. He also said that I could have run over something that caused some damage under the car that could cause some rubbing (I felt like he was implying that I have an interesting habit of casually running over things–however that crack under the bumper was always there–there were a couple of owners before me). He assured me that he didn’t think that there was anything to worry about in terms of safety (he said this at least 3 times). He also offered to rotate the tires back to the original position and that way I would know if it really was the balding patterns on the tires. It didn’t sound like a very productive idea to me because I just paid to get the tires rotated. I felt like I was getting no where with my concerns to the manager so I thought I would just take it home and see what B.B. thought we should do.
B.B. was not happy at all and we ended up going back to the Jiffy Lube for visit number 3. The car sounded even worse than it did when I started, especially when I put the car in reverse (it sounded like I was running over metal). B.B. immediately hopped out of the car and walked over to the manager. It seemed like the manager was just reaffirming everything that he told me. The manager took the car for a short spin around the block and came back and that’s when he understood that I was right, there was an actual problem. Apparently, the guys who originally worked on the car at the first Jiffy Lube, failed to center the tires thus causing the vibrations and thudding. He also said to B.B. that he should have taken off one of the tires to check (well, duh!).
Because they were closing, they said that they would have to fix the tire alignment the next morning. The next day, we get a call saying that although there is no damage to the car, they discovered that on the squeaky tire, there was a missing spacer (normally found between the tire and the hub cap which apparently supports most of the weight of the car). They tried to figure out where the spacer was left, but it somehow got lost. They’re ordering a replacement spacer and it won’t be in until Tuesday, but he’ll order it Monday. So, we rent a car, which they will pay for but they will not pay for the extras like insurance (which I think is a basic necessity when it comes to car rentals–whatev, we’ll deal with that when we cross that bridge). We had to scramble around, trying to find a rental place that wasn’t far away and that was open (it’s not as easy as it sounds finding a place at 1pm on a Saturday–about an hour after we got the news about the missing spacer–places like Enterprise close at noon on Saturday and are closed on Sundays). Well, we managed to find a car and arrange to pick up on Sunday.
I call on Monday to find out if the part has arrived for the car. The guy ordered the part but he is waiting for a tracking order. I call Tuesday, still no part. I call Wednesday, the guy has the day off. On Thursday I get a call from him saying that the part never actually got ordered (that’s why he didn’t get a tracking order, double duh!). Each day, I have to extend the rental for a day for an extra charge of $10, which I am doing based on what the guy at Jiffy Lube is telling me, “Oh, we’ll have your car fixed by Tuesday afternoon!”
Guess what! Today is Friday. It’s been a full week since the whole Jiffy Lube fiasco began and I still don’t have my car back. The part won’t be in until next Wednesday! So, B.B. and I had to go back to the car rental place to start a new rental agreement. It’s so crazy, I almost can’t believe it. I’ve probably wasted at least 6 hours of my life (times 2 including B.B.’s time) not to mention the stress and annoyance. The guys at the first place were incompetent, the guy at the second place let me drive out when I knew there was a problem and even though during my first visit to him, he told me that he didn’t think that it was a safety concern. He didn’t believe me and it turned out it was a major oversight. He should’ve taken me seriously. This whole incident annoys me. I feel like because I am not a man, my opinions don’t hold any validity. Honestly, this whole incident makes me want to enroll in an automobile trade school and learn how to work on cars. However, despite all of the annoyances, I’m glad that I didn’t have a tire fly off of the car or get into a major accident. I live another day.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 which is held each year during the Memorial weekend (this year it’s May 30). Not originating from the mid-west, even though I have heard about the Indy 500, I was unaware of the long history of race car driving in Indianapolis. For example, did you know that the first race on the Indy 500 motor speedway course was actually with motorcycles? In recent news, Donald Trump was slated to drive the Indy 500 pace car, but stepped down from that honor. Arguably, the Indy 500 is the most famous of all the car races. I can’t help but wonder if the Indy 500 hype is the reason why a lot of people here feel like they can drive like racecar drivers?
The one thing that irritates me here is the craziness on the roads. It’s sheer madness sometimes! I thought that it was kind of bad in Vancouver (there are bad drivers everywhere). Today, I was driving on one of the Interstate highways and some guy in a tan Toyota Avalon decided to tailgate behind me. I was concerned because we were driving a little over 55 mph (that’s 90km/h) and he was so close, I could see the expression in his face (he looked like a road-rager). He then thought I was going too slow and passed me, then cut back in front of me only the tail-gate behind the next guy ahead. He was extremely close (there wasn’t even a car-width between them). It was so ridiculous. If the first guy even tapped his brakes, or if the guy in the Avalon looked away for a second, there could have been a serious accident. It was so pointless as I ended up passing him anyway while driving the speed limit. It’s not unusual to be passed by someone who just wants to get ahead of the same lane. But really, what’s the point!?! (There isn’t a major difference other than that guy burned $5 in gas just to get 10 seconds ahead)
The way some people drive around curves is somewhat irritating (being from British Columbia where windy roads are pretty typical because they are built around mountains, it’s no big deal driving around them). Slowing down to take a turn is understandable and that’s not the part that irritates me. It’s more the fact that a lot of people here drive extremely slow around gentle bends and then gun it to make up for lost time. It’s crazy! I prefer to drive at a relatively consistent speed. It reminds me of the time when I was driving on the Trans-Canada near Kamloops and I encountered a car with Saskatchewan plates driving less than 30 km/h (that’s less than 20 mph) around curves where the speed limit was posted as 80 or 90 km/h (50 and 55 mph). (For those of you unfamiliar with Saskatchewan, it’s a very flat province and the roads are long straight stretches). Since we were travelling on single lane highway, I anticipated passing him at the next passing lane. However, as soon as we got to a passing lane ,which are generally along straight stretches, he gunned the engine to more than 130 km/h (80 mph) and took off. I caught up to him 5 minutes later as soon as he got to the curves. This went on for about an hour. It was so frustrating. If only he had let me pass, I wouldn’t be writing about him all these years later (I guarantee, If he had let me pass, he wouldn’t have caught up to me because he was so inexperienced around the curves). It was inconsiderate.
The other thing that I notice here, is people like to jockey for position on the roads, so much so, that they would rather get ahead of you and risk getting into an accident. When I drive onto the freeway from an entry ramp, I notice that people are often reluctant to let you in. People will actually speed up just to keep you from getting ahead of them and getting onto the lane that they are in (they were there first therefore, they own that lane!). Sometimes the freeway is 5 or 6 lanes long. People would rather stay in the far right lane which is often the merging lane, and refuse to let you in. It happened to B.B. this week. He was forced to stay in the lane and take it all the way to the next exit. He had to get off the exit, drive through a neighbourhood and loop back onto the freeway (it’s really weird, the entry lanes onto the freeway often end up being exit lanes into different neighbourhoods a few miles down the road).
- Indy 500 fans to Donald Trump: You’re fired (offthebench.nbcsports.com)