Still trying to figure out Texas!

As many of you know we are currently on vacation. We traveled to Phoenix, visited the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park before flying home from Vegas. We are staying in a rental home near Zion but unfortunately they did not have NBCSN as part of their cable package. I watched on my NBCSN app but at least three times it completely froze up and I had to restart it which took forever. I was also watching from my iPad so not my preferred way to watch. However, I was able to watch so I’m thankful because I never would have believed that race if I had not seen it. I’m still shaking my head over it. 

So you all know what happened so I will just give my two cents on a couple of things and you can let me know if you agree or disagree. One thing I know we can all agree on-Texas is always interesting. 

Tristan Vautier- wow!  Tristan qualified well (5th) and was so fun to watch race. He led laps and held his own With the full time drivers. I’m so glad he was able to fill in for Bourdais and hope we see more of him. Unfortunately, he was caught up in “the big one” and that ended his day. Dale Coyne Racing didn’t need that accident which took out both their cars but they are super impressive.  I can’t understand why sponsors aren’t calling them begging to be on their cars. Love this team. 

Helio Castroneves- Helio hit the wall but it didn’t look too bad to me. A hard hit of course but like most others. Then it took a long time for him to get out of the car. He was fine, checked and cleared by medical and tweeting later in the race from his hotel but I think that was a bigger impact than most. 

Ryan Hunter-Reay- RHR was also caught up in “the big one”. He was fine but in his post crash interview he said too many inexperienced drivers were making stupid moves and he couldn’t trust them enough to pass them. WHO IS HE TALKING ABOUT?  I know I don’t see all that is going on and don’t understand all the intricacies of racing but i didn’t see anything out of the norm. Who had him freaked out?  

The Big One- Around lap 150 Tony Kanaan (inside), James Hinchcliffe (middle) and Mikhail Aleshin (outside) were three wide. TK went high giving Hinchcliffe no where to go with Mikhail on his outside.  Hinchcliffe ping ponged between the two cars before spinning taking many others with him- both Coyne Cars, RHR, Aleshin, Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand, Carlos Munoz and perhaps others I’m forgetting. Twitter immediately exploded placing blame- Hinchcliffe caused it, no Aleshin he was the last to join the three wide he should have backed out and TK was blamed too for not holding a lower line. There was so much carnage that a red flag was thrown- that was the right call. Dale Coyne immediately went down to the cars on pit lane and began yelling at Tony Kanaan. I understand he was upset. Twitter and the broadcast kept rehashing who was at fault. Chip Ganassi when asked if TK was at fault defended his driver. That drove Twitter even more nuts. I honestly thought Chip had a fine response. You don’t want to incriminate your driver especially at that time when the accident was still under review. However, Chip did not need to throw Hinchcliffe under the bus saying Hinchcliffe has been trying to get in an accident all race.  When Hinchcliffe was told of Chips comments Hinchcliffe replied, “that’s adorable”. I think IndyCar fans will be using that term for years to come. Hinchcliffe was much more kind saying he is sure TK did not do that on purpose and in post race interviews TK apologized and said of course he never means to take anyone out. Wow! A lot of drama over a race accident. Cmon people it was Tony Kanaan. He’s been racing in IndyCar for 20 years. He was racing and you have to go for it when racing or else there is no point in being there. He obviously did not get info from his spotters or did not understand that he had two cars on the outside. Yes I think Tony caused the accident and perhaps he deserved the penalty- he had to stop in his pit box for 20 seconds but he didn’t do it on purpose and we all know he doesn’t race reckless. As I said a lot of drama. 

Mandatory cautions- Seriously what in the world is this? Sometime after the accident or during the red flag Firestone and Race Control decided that because the tires were blistering and were possibly unsafe there would be a mandatory caution after every 30 laps of green flag racing. Okay I don’t always agree with calls that IndyCar makes but this one was ridiculous. I want the drivers to be safe. I don’t want to push things when we know we have unsafe conditions but there is a much easier way to solve this– change your tires within thirty laps or be penalized.  How is this different than needing gas. There is no caution because the cars will eventually run out of gas- the teams and drivers just know they need to come in and do so under green flag conditions. They could have pit to change tires and done so when they wanted as long as it was within a thirty lap window. Why? Why did it have to be under a caution?  I will never understand that or agree with it. Hopefully Curt and Kevin can offer some insight but I think it was ridiculous. So the cautions came out and there was still some confusion about them and everyone was required to stop but somehow through other yellows I suppose TK was able to get back on the lead lap.  I think the stupid mandatory cautions actually ended up helping him make up the penalty he was given Hmm? Such a weird race. 

Last yellow- With just a few more laps and only a handful of cars on track- 11 I believe, we had one more accident. Sato went into the grass and ended up losing control and taking himself and another car or two out with him. I honestly don’t remember who all was caught up in it but I thought to myself that we only had a couple laps left so surely they will throw the red flag so we can finish under green flag conditions. I don’t necessarily agree with a red flag towards the end of the race but it seems to be the new norm and Will Power was leading and I was hoping Tony Kanaan would win so I guess I was hoping/ expecting the red flag. It never came and the race ended under yellow. Will Power won and Tony Kanaan finished second. Everything I expected to happen did not and things I never thought would happen did. It was just a weird race. I’m sure it’s one we will be talking about for a long time. 

Overall I enjoyed it. I like good fast racing and we saw that. I do like some unpredictability although this might have been a bit too much. I do like accidents and engine failures because it mixes things up. No not misunderstand- I never want to see drivers hurt and realize it is expensive for the teams and exhausting for the crews when accidents happen but it also greatly changes the course of the race and I enjoy that part. However, I don’t like a manufactured race and the cautions went too far. I hope we never see them again. I also would have preferred more cars still racing at the end. It was really a wild night. What were your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?  Guess we will have two weeks to debate about it as IndyCar has a week off before Road America. 

Summer vacation 2017 – Grand Canyon Bryce National Park

Just a small break from my IndyCar blog so I can journal about our vacation. It’s mostly a photo journal with brief descriptions of our day. 

Monday morning we flew to Phoenix to begin our vacation. We met my cousin, Jeff and his daughter Maddie, at the airport. I haven’t seen Jeff in nearly thirty years. We had lunch and it was great to catch up a bit. We needed more time but I’m thankful for the time we did have. 

After lunch we drove to Flagstaff. We spent the night there.

Tuesday Morning- Woke up, enjoyed free breakfast at hotel and then drove to the Grand Canyon. Steve and I had been before but Zach and Matthew were amazed by how large it is. I had more fun watching Zach’s expression than the Canyon when we first arrived. We took pictures, walked along the rim and finally got the boys to walk back to the car for sunscreen and a snack.

  We then planned our day and decided on a hike. Zach was desperate to go down into the canyon. We told him we didn’t have time for that but we could venture down a bit for a different viewpoint. We walked down for about an hour- longer back up of course. I’m glad we did it and we all were wishing we did have more time so we could have gone even farther. 

We found some lunch for the boys. Steve and I had packed a lunch for us and we rested from the hike. Then we drove to a couple more lookouts before driving to Marble Canyon for the night. 

Once we arrived at Marble Canyon Lodge all I heard were complaints. I had warned everyone it was a small motel but when they learned there was no pool and even worse no internet they were not happy. The motel was just a block from the Colorado river and there were Condors nesting nearby so I thought it was perfect. It had a restaurant so we were good. We drove to the river and walked the bridge and spotted the Condors. Some women had spotting scopes set up and you could view the nest but the baby was under the parent at the time. 

We had grabbed a bite on the road so after our walk the boys and I stopped at the restaurant for ice cream for them and a glass of wine for me. 

Wednesday- I woke up early and walked to grab a coffee and then to the river. The Condors were in the same place as last night. Steve went for a run and we packed up to head to Bryce Canyon. 

On the drive we were following a river and I told Steve it reminded my of the Sevier river which we followed on our last trip out west. Sure enough it was. It surprised me when I saw the sign. We were quite far from where we drove on our previous trip. 

We arrived at Bryce and enjoyed the park for a couple hours before checking into our hotel. The boys were happy because we once again had a pool and wifi. 

The boys and Steve went for a swim and I relaxed in the room. We had dinner at a diner. Burgers and chicken sandwiches before heading back into the park for sunset. 

Thursday- We got started a bit later than we planned. We hiked the Queen’s/ Navajo combination loop with a 600 foot elevation change. I was worried about going back up but the switchbacks were actually fairly easy and I was much happier going up than down there because the gravel was quite loose. We definitely picked the right direction. The views were amazing. 

After our hike we returned to the hotel for lunch and to rest before venturing on another hike. 

We chose an easier hike for the afternoon.  It follows a creek and ends at a waterfall and a mossy cave. Steve and the boys ventured passed the waterfall but I sat at the waterfall and waited for them. Unfortunately their were small black flies that flew in my face and they were very annoying. The boys could have played by the water all day. They loved hopping over the small river and finding new trails. The river is there because in 1890 the settlers hand dug a 10 mile canal to divert water from the Sevier River to the town ensuring a steady water supply. 

We had dinner at the buffet at our hotel. It was good. After dinner we took a short drive to see the end of the sunset. The sky was just beautiful. We also put the boys in jail at the small stores across the street.