Pros and Cons of Camping at Road America

This last week was my first time camping at Road America. It was also my first time camping at an IndyCar race. It won’t be my last. Before I get started I will say the pros far outweigh the cons. Camping at Road America was so much fun. I can’t wait to do it again.

Pros-

  • Cheaper than a hotel. I will discuss this a bit more in the cons but overall we spent less than we would have if we stayed it a hotel.
  • So close to all the action. When we stay at a hotel it is sometimes hard to get to the track for the first practice or for the Lights race. It didn’t matter at all how early things were because we were at the track. Our campsite was right across from the pits. I could even see the cars go by from the breakfast table in my camper. There was no excuse for missing any of the action. Previously when we attended Road America we stayed near West Bend and commuted nearly 45 minutes each way to get to the track. This year I literally walked over to the stands in my pajamas with a coffee to watch practice.
  • Food and drinks always within reach. Road America is know for its great concessions but you still can’t beat a quick trip to the camper to grab a drink or a snack.
  • No need to carry everything you need for the day all over the track. In between sessions we would head back to the camper and take a break in the air conditioning and grab what we needed. My back wasn’t killing me from hauling backpacks and chairs all over.
  • Easy to bring the kids bikes. Zach and his friend had a blast riding their bikes all over the facility. It made getting around so much easier for them.
  • Port-a-potties were really clean. I was worried these might be a disgusting mess as the weekend went on but they were very well maintained.
  • Access to the paddock. Okay you get this with your admission ticket but we didn’t feel any rush to leave the track so we could linger in the paddock. We saw AJ, Mario, Hinch and so many others. You can’t beat the access they give you at Road America. There is absolutely no reason to wait in the long autograph lines. We see everyone in the paddock- Will Power, Arie Luyendyk, Josef Newgarden, the list could go on and on.
  • Great neighbors! Well this might not always be true but we had great ones on both sides. We all made plans to camp on the same sites next year. The kids exchanged snapchats and we all enjoyed hanging out.

Cons-

  • The cost- I already stated the price was cheaper than a hotel but… My cousin Randy came with so we would have needed two rooms at a hotel so the camping was definitely cheaper. However, we still paid about $100 a night which is way more than I usually pay to camp. I understand this is a different circumstance so I was okay with the $300 for the weekend to camp on an electric site. The problem was you had to add a camping wristband for everyone over 16. The wristband was an additional $60 each. The pamphlet we got with our camping registration said to call before 10:00 for water delivery. No where on there did it mention a cost for water. Always when we camp water is free. So we called for our water delivery and then were charged $40. When it came time to dump there was a suggested donation of $10. So it appeared that camping would cost $300 but in the end it was $470. Non electric sites are much cheaper so if you are planning to tent you will find it much more reasonable. I’m still okay with what we paid I just hate how the cost aren’t listed upfront. The water especially was frustrating, we could have filled up at home. Now we know for next year.
  • Now I’m just getting nit picky because I don’t have much to complain about. The track never opens up for you to walk or bike on. I would love to take an early morning or late evening walk on the track. I understand why it doesn’t open up but sure would love it if it did. Hope the Road America officials don’t read this but Zach and I did sneak out on Sunday night and took some pictures at the start/finish line.

Our weekend was about perfect. We greatly enjoyed the racing and the camping. Already planning to return next year. Speaking of next year tickets are on sale. You can buy a four day pass for $100. That is a steal. I believe the deal runs through October 31 but check the website. Oh and did I mention kids 16 and under are free. Makes for such an affordable weekend even with the added camping costs 😉. Hope to see you there. Huge Thank You to Randy for being willing to tow the camper and attend with us. I would have been to afraid to tow it myself.

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The Coolest Thing about IndyCar

The cars, the sound, the speed? These are all amazing things about IndyCar but the coolest thing is the people! Not just the drivers but of course they are super cool but the entire IndyCar group- drivers, owners, crew members, tv and radio personalities, bloggers, twitter friends, fans and everyone who attends a race weekend.

Almost as soon as we entered the IndyCar paddock we ran into Tony Dizinno. Tony wrote my favorite article about Justin Wilson and I always enjoy catching up with him. Soon after we saw Katie Harget, Mike Hull, a fan I don’t know but we often see at races among others. We didn’t talk with all them but still makes walking around feel familiar and like a family outing. Then we saw Robin Miller and George Phillips and his wife Susan. Oh and we had only been there less than an hour.

I’m not trying to name drop although it might seem that way especially as I continue, but honestly my point is I’m just a fan who attends a couple races a year and somehow I have many friends within the paddock.

As the weekend progressed we saw Curt Cavin, too many drivers to count and spent over 20 minutes talking with Marshall Pruett. Mario Andretti loved that we had visited his winery. We caught up with friend and fellow blogger Mike Silver. But here is the best story.

In 2015 we gave James Hinchcliffe a checkered flag bracelet and after his horrible accident gave Ryan Briscoe a checkered flag necklace to give to James. He did and you can read the full story here. Today when we saw Hinch I said we were the ones who gave him the necklace. He saw mine and said, “Oh yeah, it’s still hanging in my room.” Wow! I didn’t expect that. Very cool. Does he know us-no but he also won’t ever not know us. Just needs a little reminder. One of his crew guys, Scott, helped us find Hinch at the Milwaukee Race in 2015 and we have been friends with him ever since and always say “Hi” on race weekends.

So yes I’m excited for the race today. Yes we love watching cars go fast. Yes we love great passes. Yes we love when our favorites win. But the coolest part of IndyCar is that is truly is a family.

Thank you to everyone who sent thoughts or prayers for Matthew. He has arrived in Pignon, Haiti safely as is eager to start working with the Haitians on his mission trip.

note- I’m having trouble downloading images so if you check back later I hope to have some more attached. Thanks for reading.