Whew! Just reading the title of this post makes me tired again. It was four days of non stop action in Daytona. We arrived in the campground on Thursday before the Daytona 500 and hit the ground running. After we set up the fifth wheel we hopped on a shuttle for our first trip to the Daytona International Speedway.
Number one on my bucket list was to attend an appearance by Sherry Polex, an ovarian cancer survivor who works tirelessly to promote ovarian cancer awareness and works with the Martin Truex, Jr Foundation to raise money for childhood and ovarian cancer. After wandering around the midway and buying some souvenirs we headed to the Toyota Racing Experience for her appearance. After the interview was over, she took a lot of time to sign autographs, pose for pictures and talk to the fans. You can learn more about Sherry at SherryStrong.org
The Duel at Daytona that night was the first of the four races we attended.
Beth with Sherry Pollex, advocate for ovarian cancer awareness and girlfriend of Martin Truex, Jr
Henry with the Tototas
Beautiful night for a race
Friday we enjoyed lunch with a water front view at Caribbean Jack’s Restaurant before heading to the race track for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.
Getting ready for the Friday night truck race
Sunset before the Friday night truck race
One of the trucks foming out of his pit stop
Panoramic view of the Daytona International Speedway
Saturday morning the United States Air Force Thunderbirds flew right over our campground during their practice. When we made a run to Publix Saturday morning for a few groceries what did we find but Kyle Busch’s #18 M&M truck and car in the parking lot! Oh, the M&M’s were buy one get one free in the store so of course we came out with two bags!
Saturday afternoon we were once again in the stands for the Xfinity Series race.
Pit Stop for #1 Michael Annett Saturday Xfinity Race
Pit Stop for #0 Garrett Smithley Saturday Xfinity Race
XFinity Series Race Winner #1 Michael Annett
The Daytona 500, also called the Great American Race, kicks off the NASCAR season in February every year. Pre-race activities began early in the morning before the race. Fans who purchased a Fan Zone pass were down on the field for a close up view. This year country singer Jake Owen performed for the crowd before the driver introductions. The crowd loved the flyover by the United States Thunderbirds.
Pre race festivities at 2019 Daytona 500
Crowd gathered to watch the driver introductions before the 2019 Daytona 500
Lineup for the 2019 Daytona 500 with infield in the background
Crowd waiting for pre race concert by country singer Jake Owen
Flyover by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds
Flyover by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds
One of the Thunderbirds landing at the airport behind the Speedway
Drivers, start your engines!
2019 Daytona 500
Racing past the infield on the backstretch
Nearing the start/finish line
Turn 1 of Daytona 500
Pit stop for #19 Martin Truex, Jr, 2019 Daytona 500
Race off Pit Road, 2019 Daytona 500
The race was exciting and it was close at the finish line. The winner was #11 Denny Hamlin.
By Monday morning we were exhausted. What better way to relax than to take a leisurely drive down highway A1A. Lunch at Racing’s North Turn Restaurant in Ponce Inlet was followed by a walk on the beach and a drive to see the Ponce Inlet lighthouse.
An after lunch walk on the beach at Ponce Inlet
Racing’s North Turn at Ponce Inlet
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
After the excitement of Daytona we were ready for a quiet week at at our next destination. Stay tuned.
The festival was held on the beautiful grounds of historic Bethesda Academy. Ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss surrounded the event field. The salt marsh was a perfect backdrop for Highland Dancers. Scottish clans, societies and organizations had their tents set up under the trees. And of course there were food trucks and vendors.
With so many events going on at the same time, we had plenty to keep us entertained. Pipes and Drums music, Border Collie demonstrations, Highland Dancing competition, and Celtic music performances were all taking place at the same time as the Heavy Athletics. In addition, there were tents with information about genealogy and many different Clans.
The Heavy Athletics competition included several fun events to watch. The Caber Toss is a fan favorite. In this event the athlete lifts a twenty foot caber weighing over one hundred pounds, runs a few steps holding it upright, and then tosses it. The object is to have the caber flip once and land straight in front of the athlete at the 12 o’clock position. We also enjoyed watching the Clachneart (Stone Put) and the Sheaf Toss. We didn’t get to see the Throwing of the Weights or the Hammer Throw.
The Pipes and Drums were beautiful to hear.
I have Scottish ancestors on both sides of my family. I enjoyed stopping at a couple of tents to see if I could learn anything about my families. I found out a little about my father’s side of the family but didn’t discover anything new about my Scottish roots on my mothers side. And I still don’t know what our Tartan is. A little more research is in my future.
After the games we stopped to check out the roses at the Savannah Botanical Gardens. Stay tuned for more coming up about that in my next post.
Henry and I have only been following NASCAR for two years. Ever since the first time we watched the Daytona 500 on TV in 2016 I knew I wanted to go. So this year we went. And it was even more fun than I thought it would be.
NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The biggest race of the year is at the beginning of the NASCAR season. Every February, the Daytona Speedweeks is held at the Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 – the Great American Race- ends a fun filled week of entertainment on the midway and qualifying races for the Daytona 500 as well as two other NASCAR races.
We arrived in Daytona on Thursday afternoon. During the next few days we went to three races, drove along A1A on the way to lunch at Racing’s North Turn restaurant in Ponce Inlet, had lunch at Caribbean Jack’s on the Intercoastal waterway, watched the Thunderbirds practice, and didn’t have time to catch our breath until Monday morning.
Old photo from when the race was held on the beach
Car on display at Racing’s North Turn Restaurant
Our first NASCAR race was the Can-Am Duel on Thursday night. Here’s a short video to give you an idea of how fast these cars are going and how loud they are.
Our second race was Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night. We arrived at the track early so we could wander around the midway to see some of the exhibits and do a little shopping. We entered the grandstands with plenty of time to walk around for different views of the track.
The trucks were fast and loud and the race was exciting. A great way to spend a Friday night!
After two night races in a row, we decided to take it easy and skip the Saturday Xfinity series race. Instead, we watched the United States Air Force Thunderbirds practice in the morning before enjoying lunch at Caribbean Jack’s on the Intercoastal Waterway.
The USAF Thunderbirds flew right over the campground during their Saturday practice
Beautiful day for lunch on the deck overlooking the Intercoastal waterway
Sunday was the day of the 60th Daytona 500 and a long day at the track for us. We had tickets for the Fanzone so we arrived in the morning to have plenty of time to go out in the middle of the track and get up close to the pit area, see the cars, and enjoy some of the pre-race festivities.
We had a great view of the whole track from our seats in the upper section. After a concert by Rascal Flatts and the driver introductions, each driver rode around the track in a pickup truck.
2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion #78 Martin Truex, Jr
Danica Patrick before her last NASCAR race
After the national anthem, the USAF Thunderbirds performed a flyover.
Drivers, start your engines!
The race was exciting with the lead changing several times. A huge wreck near the end of the race knocked out all of the leaders and #3 Austin Dillon was the winner.
Watching a race on tv is fun, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. I was fascinated seeing all the things that go on before the race, at how well organized and perfectly timed everything was. The sight and sound of the cars going by at almost 200 miles per hour is mind boggling. Most fans have a favorite driver and it was fun seeing them all decked out in their favorite driver’s gear.
In case you are wondering, our favorite driver is #78 Martin Truex, Jr. He was in second place until the last wreck but he did finish the race.
I’ve already made reservations at the RV park for next year!
Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!
I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is
Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864. The capital is Carson City.
For our one and only trip to Nevada we stayed in, where else, Las Vegas. The Oasis RV Park, a short drive from the Vegas Strip, was our home during our stay. I enjoyed relaxing in the pool when we weren’t wandering around the Vegas Strip, driving to Hoover Dam or walking next door to the huge Bass Pro Shop and it’s casino.
For our first excursion to Sin City we decided to try the free trolley shuttle. Big mistake. Even though it was only May it was hot riding around in the open air trolley. We also discovered the stops were behind all the major casinos so we didn’t get to see much of the Vegas strip. Once we departed the trolley at the Stratosphere we enjoyed wandering around and stopping in a few of the casinos to play a few slots. Our pockets were a little emptier and the casinos had a few more dollars in their coffers when we left.
When in Vegas seeing a show is a must. We called at the last minute and snagged two tickets to Cirque de Soleil’s Mystere at Treasure Island. It was Memorial Day weekend and there were throngs of people everywhere. I loved seeing the city at night and the show was spectacular.
One day we took a drive to Hoover Dam. On the way to the dam we had spectacular views of Lake Mead. Traffic was bumper to bumper as we crossed the dam.
Our next destination was Zion National Park in Utah. As we drove east to the park we traveled on some mountainous roads.
Earlier this spring, we took our RV to Montgomery, Alabama to see an air show at Maxwell Air Force Base which featured the USAF Thunderbirds. Three weeks later we made a day trip to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina for their air show featuring the United States Navy’s flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels.
This was my first time on a Marine Corps station and my first time seeing the Blue Angels perform. It was a thrilling day from beginning to end.
Before the performances began we wandered around the static displays featuring historic and modern aircraft from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
We were able to snag front row seats beside the runway. That meant some of the planes went right in front of us as they taxied to their position for takeoff. The USMC AV-88 Harrier II and the F-16 Viper were just two of the military aircraft that performed impressive demonstrations.
The Geico Skytypers and other performers kept us entertained for several hours.
The US Navy Blue Angels put on a fantastic show that wowed the crowd with each new formation. They flew by so fast it wasn’t until I got home and looked closely at my photos that I realized how really close together they fly. Their precision is just amazing.
I am so grateful we had the opportunity to see both the US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels this year. Both teams will be performing at more air shows around the United States this year. If you have a chance to see a show near you, it will be a day you always remember.