Tag Archives: Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend Indy Race in Portland

For 3 yeas IndyCar raced in downtown Baltimore over Labor Day weekend. I always wanted to go because it was so close and a holiday weekend and a true street course but we always went to Rehoboth Beach as a family so I never got the opportunity.

Arriving via Max on race day.

Baltimore lost the race and then Watkins Glen did the same thing and now it was Portland’s turn to host this race over Labor Day weekend. I was so excited when I found they would be coming to Portland International Raceway. Now that I live here it is super easy to attend and I have no chance of going to the beach house this year. The cherry on top is I can get there by the Max yellow line.

Being the long weekend and my first Indy race I wanted to do it right. I got a premium grandstand seat at turn 2 and a paddock pass for the entire weekend. All in all it was a great weekend but I think next time I will skip a premium ticket and the premium price and just go with something more generic.

A pretty good vantage point for the tight section of the track.

I unfortunately couldn’t make it out on Friday. I didn’t want to take time off of work and everything was over by 5:30pm any way. Saturday I was going to stay all day at the track. I packed everything I would need in my CamelBak and set out for the train station. A fifteen minute walk and then a 30 minute train ride I was at the front gate of PIR.

For quals I didn’t really care where I sat and actually decided not to see my seat until race day. I didn’t go into the infield on Saturday at all and instead decided to walk around the track exploring. By the time I left that night I had walked around the entire track.

When you first arrive to the track you walk down a hill and come in at the Pro Mazda and USF2000 paddock. It was great getting close to these cars but a little disorientating when I first stumbled across the paddock. I just wasn’t sure I was suppose to be there. Few signs, no barriers and no one directing people. Just go till they tell you to stop I figured.

Lets the festivities begin.

The front straight was a typical vendor area. Lots of pop up tents and weird shit being peddled. I was actually shocked at the the lack of facilities at this track. It really is just a track. Even the main grandstand was a temporary structure. Only one three story building and it was small and not at a good location.

The track is also really narrow with limited run off areas. I was shocked at just how narrow the turns are. Kudos to the drives all weekend for keeping things mostly under control. If you made even a tiny mistake you would be off track, especially at turn one. See lap one of the Indy race on Sunday for proof.

A good spot I found was the back straight along the top of the hill. Here there was no one around and I actually found some shade. The high on Saturday was in the low 70’s but escaping the radiant heat from the sun was good for a while. Here I caught some of the qualifying for the support races. The back straight is a long sweeping straight with a slight bend to the right right after a tight section of turns. Good opportunity to see the cars go by pretty fast. You really can hear the revs and shifting which is cool.

Go fast day was finally hear. The race didn’t start till around noon so plenty of time to get to the track, bum around and get my seat. Sunday was also my first trip into the paddock. By the time I got there the cars where already starting to exit their garage and get to the grid. This was great because I got to see some of the cars up close and personal which was cool. Also saw some of the driver introductions. Lots of grandstanding but still cool.

My seat turned out to be a pretty good one. The entire section was pretty well elevated so I could have saved some money for a lower seat. And in fact the other side of the track had the added benefit of seeing the cars come down the straight and out the pit. That view was blocked from our premium seats.

Quite unexpectedly there was a wreck just after turn three on lap one. All I could really see was the plume of dust that erupted as the cars went off the track onto the dry grass. One guy managed to go over top another which was pretty impressive. This lead to a long delay with the pace car while they cleaned up the mess.

After this there where only a few minor hiccups in the race but for the most part it was pretty clean. A good afternoon of racing. I honestly don’t follow the series so the drivers I don’t know. It was close to the end of the season and the drivers championship was still up for grabs. Apparently the turn one incident caused problems for the leader. He got back on track in last place but managed to work his way up through the field.

After an entire race weekend spent at PIR I was rather disappointed with the track. CotA has really ruined me when it comes to a race track. That track knows how to put on a race. From the entertainment before, during and after the race to the food, facilities, and vendors. Everything about that track is just so well done.

Not that I wouldn’t go back to see Indy next Labor Day weekend. I think the next time around I just wont spend as much money on my ticket and simply enjoy an afternoon at the track.

Labor Day Weekend 2013

This weekend we usually go to the beach house but half the family bailed because of a wedding and Bobby and Tracy are in the process of moving to Washington. We couldn’t rally the troops so we scrapped the plan this year. Just because we didn’t go to the beach doesn’t mean it wasn’t a weekend packed with events.

tasting room at La Grange
tasting room at La Grange

This was the last weekend to spend with Bobby, Tracy and the kids before they all leave for Washington so we headed to Winery at La Grange for one last tasting. Saturday the winery was throwing a big Labor Day weekend party with BBQ, live music, and specials on wine. We scored a table and sat outside enjoying the decent weather. Pat had complimentary wine tastings that we used and we plowed through a few bottles just relaxing.

Saturday was also Nancy’s mother’s birthday so we head up the road from La Grange to Greg and Maggie’s house for dinner. Greg smoked several whole chicken that came out really well along with all the trimmings. That evening we relaxed in his tiki bar, drinking and smoking like usually, and hatched a plan for Sunday. The beach was out so we planned to play a round of golf at the Osprey’s at Belmont Bay in Woodbridge. It has been several years since I played golf. Maggie is getting into it because of work, Nancy has always played, and Greg was playing because it was something to do with our wives.

10th hole at Osprey's
10th hole at Osprey’s

We got a late tee time for Sunday but started the day off with a bang. The temperature was not bad at 10:30am but it was going to get hot and humid as the day went on. It took 4:30 hours to complete our round and I must say that by the end, I was ready for the 19th hole. It was a long day of drinking beer in the hot sun. The course was pretty banged up this late in the season but it was a challenge. Lots of elevation change throughout the course, several blind greens, and narrow fairways most of the time.

Monday was celebrated at my Dad’s house. Matt was cooking some ribs and it was the last family dinner before everyone left for Washington. Bobby already started his journey to Washington in his truck. He was driving the entire way, 48 hours according to Google and needed an early start. Tracy, the kids, and Marley where flying out on Tuesday. It was a last supper of sorts. Over the weekend we all agreed it would be a while before we got together as a family but that plan is already in the works.

It was a long weekend filled with activities. For a holiday that is meant to celebrate the working man, I sure didn’t do much relaxing. I thankfully got to spend a ton of time with both sides of my family which was nice. Will have to see what happens next year.

Labor Day 2011

family picture
isn't technology wonderful

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This year there was no Buffett show during the long weekend so Nancy and I took the opportunity to just relax after a long few weeks. On Sunday my Dad got the family together at his house to enjoy some of my famous smoked ribs. All summer we have talked about cooking the ribs for him and Pat and this weekend was the perfect opportunity. Upon hearing I was cooking ribs many decided to show up: Bobby, Tracy and the kids, Matt, and even my brother and Audry. The two of them never show up to any family events so it was a surprise to see them there.

Nancy and I arrived at three so I could start cooking the ribs.  I had the rub and sauce already done before arriving, just needed to prepare the ribs my dad got.  After getting them on the grill it was time to relax and enjoy a few beers while the ribs slowed cooked. One thing I really love about ribs is there is very little that needs to be done while they cook, all the works is in preparing them.  About 90 minutes into the cooking process I add some more charcoal and a few more handfuls of wood chips and that is i.  Almost three hours later I pulled them off and they looked incredible as always.  I brought them into the house and the vultures circled as they cooled off. All the sides had been prepared and the table was set, just needed the meet.

After dinner we celebrated Bobby’s birthday which was in a few days. Got a great shop of him blowing out the candles with his kids.

slow cooked over charcoal, baby back ribs
yum! slow smoked ribs

After a successful dinner and it not being a school night, everyone enjoyed the cool summer evening and sat on the deck for a few more hours. Pat and Tracy eventually get the kids ready for bed while the adults setup a family poker game. It is becoming a tradition that we have a couple $5 buy in games when we are all together. I couldn’t hang and decided to take a nap on one of the outside couches, the cool weather was making me sleepy. Eventually everyone called it quits and we headed home well past midnight. That evening over dinner we talked about a rib off when football season started and we are working on a date that is good for everyone. I will cook the same recipe, been very happy with the results so far, and hope to bring home a trophy.

Prince William Forest Labor Day 2010

Prince William Forest
Prince William Forest

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Just two days ago Nancy and I saw Jimmy Buffett for his annual, third straight year, Labor Day weekend show at Jiffy Lube Live. With Monday being a holiday I was looking forward to getting outside and doing a little hiking. I have not been able to get out and hike a local park since Spring so with a day off I thought what a better way to spend the day than outside hiking. The weather all weekend was beautiful after hurricane Earl, another reason to get out the last official weekend of summer.

I was not certain of where I wanted to hike with so many options in the area, but I decided on Prince William Forest and its nearly 40 miles of hiking trails. The tree covered paths would provide some much needed shade and an opportunity to spot some wildlife. When I arrived to the park I headed to the main parking lot at the front. I figured I would hike the same trail I took during my snowfall hike in winter. The only change I made this time was when I got to the bridge I headed right and continued along the waters edge deeper into the woods. The water level was low but I wanted to get some shots of the dried out creek bed. I love to take shots during the various seasons in this park, seeing how it changes at the years go by. My journey was just over 4 miles long all said and done and it was a wonderful afternoon spent in the woods. I didn’t run into many people surprisingly so it was a quit hike. Nature was alive around me, singing goodbye to the summer.

I am hoping to put together a Fall hike in the Shenandoah in October. I put some feelers out but have gotten only one response. I unfortunately have not gotten out nearly as much as I would like this past year. The few times I have been hiking have certainly been high quality hikes in my opinion. The snowfall hike at Prince William Forest and the Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge in Hilton Head were both fantastic.

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Jimmy Buffet Big Top Tour, copyright Beanhammer

Jimmy Buffett at Jiffy Lube Live September 4th 2010

Jimmy Buffet Big Top Tour, copyright Beanhammer
Big Top Tour, copyright Beanhammer

Labor Day weekend is here again and Buffett was playing his annual run at Jiffy Lube Live. Nancy and I planned months ago to attending when tickets went on sale and we coordinate with Dave and Mike from last year and we had extras so we invited Cassee and Chris who we went to Tom Petty with a few weeks ago.

We started the long day early with some pre-game at Dave’s house who fortunately live 5 minutes from the venue. He made margaritas while we sat out on the patio.  I would have loved to join everyone but I knew there would be police check points going to venue and decided to wait. We would be in the lots for hours so I was certain I would have my fill of drinks. We had several six packs of beer and a blender to make boat drinks.  We brought banana colada and Dave brought with him margarita stuff.  Then there was the food we all brought.  Nancy and I had buffalo chicken dip with some home made burgers.  Cassee brought some marinated chicken on a skewer that was soooo good.  Dave brought more dips and brats to be grilled.

We arrived at Jiffy Lube just before 3pm when the lots opened to the general public.  We found out that you could get in at noon for an extra $30, maybe next time.  As soon as we arrived we setup shelter, brought out the coolers and I fired up the grill.  It was a chaotic mess as everyone was running around doing their own thing without much direction.  After 10 minutes or so we had the canopy setup, chairs out, grilled started, beers cracked and a new addition to our setup, a porta pot for the ladies.  Nancy got a small changing tent and a camping toilet so she wouldn’t have to pee in the woods.

A couple of beer down and two dips killed I wanted a hamburger really bad so I fired up the grill again and started cooking.  From here on it was on like Donky Kong with me manning the grill cooking a ton of meat.  The burgers came out perfect with Cassee’s chicken bits up next, they were so good I couldn’t stop eating the bit size peaces of goodness.  As for the brats no on really ate those, but they certainly came in handy after the show, so I was glad I cooked them up.  To wash all this food down I must of had 4 beers and several mixed drinks.  We had some difficulties with the power convert for the car to power the blender.  Nancy tested the setup in her Jeep successfully but it didn’t work in my truck or any car we had with us.  Not sure why, only thing I can figure it our old ass cars couldn’t handle the current draw.  The blender was slow and wouldn’t run constantly but I got my banana colada and a vary strong margarita.

tailgating for Buffett at Jiffy Lube Labor Day weekend
tailgating for Buffett at Jiffy Lube Labor Day weekend

For hours we just chilled in the lot eating, drinking, and smoking cigars.  I could not think of a better way to spend a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  The weather certainly was cooperating with us all day.  Hurricane Earl passed by a day earlier off the coast and brought with it 80 degree temps with a nice breeze all weekend long.  By showtime the temps dropped further give a nice crisp chill to the air.

All afternoon things were rolling along quite well till the pee incident!  The bathroom Nancy bought was strictly female only.  I was totally fine with this because I didn’t want anything to do with clean up.  As a man I could always find a tree, bush, or two cars to do my business.  As the day went on the rule got loosened so all the men started using it.

Nearing the end of our time in the lot Dave needed to make one last piss.  Things were going well till all of a sudden he walks out of the makeshift bathroom holding the bag of piss!  We couldn’t believe what had happened, nor did we know exactly what happened.  But we looked at the floor and it was covered in pee.  He begins to tell us when he opened the lid the bag of pee feel and despite his better judgment he quickly reached for it.  In the process, getting pee all over him and dumping half of the bags contents onto the tent floor.  Nancy’s saw this and almost went ballistic, she kept her cool but I could tell she was upset with the whole situation.  Her tent was ruined, but at least Dave was covered in pee as punishment.  To his credit he was very apologetic and immediately began to clean the mess.  We went through a whole roll of paper towels and a gallon of water cleaning it out.  All the contents used to weight down the tent and keep it from blowing away in the wind was written off as a loss, no one wanted pee covered anything.

After the pee incident was cleaned up we started to dismantle Camp Buffett in preparation for the show.  In no time everything was put away and we were getting physced for the show.  I even put the grill into the bed of my truck so it wouldn’t get stolen this time.  We each grabbed one last beer and started to follow the hordes into the venue.  From our lot it took several minutes as we passed fellow concert goers still partying in the lots.  While walked Dave couldn’t wait for a bathroom so he stopped at a porta pot and we continued on.  When we finally got up to the gate the line were huge and moving very slowly.  We all finished out drink and just sat in line, nothing we could do.  While talking I see a flash of a blue Hawaiian shirt, I turn to look and it’s Dave weaseling his way into the venue, before us!  I tried to get his attention but he was focused on getting in and his next mission was getting beer.  We finally caught up to him in the beer line which I promptly cut in to help carry beer for everyone.

crowd getting into venue, copyright Beanhammer
crowd getting into venue, copyright Beanhammer

Next up was the long walk up the back of the hill to get to the lawn.  I had a beer in one hand and a cigar in the other on my way to see Buffett perform, life is good.  When we made it to the top it was just before 8pm so the sold out lawn was just smashed with people.  I didn’t feel much like fighting the crowds so I lead my group to an open spot on the left side of the stage.  Surprisingly when 8pm hit there was an opening act, never caught the name and they only lasted a few minutes.  Finally the spectacle begins with a couple guys shooting t-shirts into the audience and the stage lights go crazy while slowly the band meanders on stage.

All I can really say for the show is it was great.  The set started off great with a good mix of new and old tunes, slow and fast.  The vibe from the audience was intense with everyone up on their feet dancing around.  Myself I never once sat down much to the chagrin of Nancy.  She rented a seat with Cassee and Dave and I would catch them several times during the show sitting down with Chris, I just couldn’t do it.  At one point we lost Mike for a while as he got another beer and meet up with some friends.  About the same time we lost Dave as well, not sure where he was or what he was doing but he was gone for a long time.  Probably chatting it up with others after a bathroom break.

We heard several of the classics that you want to hear including: Piece of Work, Volcano, Changes in Latitudes, Son of a Sailor, check out the set list below for more detail.  I was happy to hear two Grateful Dead cover that Jimmy is known to cover regularly; Brown Eyed Girl and Scarlet Begonias.  While in the lot I heard them sound check Scarlet Begonias so I was pretty certain it would make an appearance that night.  The party  went strong for over two hours with no set break.  Every time I have seen him before there was a set break after about an hour, not this time.  The band took a small break while Jimmy did a solo and vice versa when Nadirah sang Creola.

The show ended strong with Southern Cross and Magaritaville two hours after it started.  By this point we already lost Cassee and Chris and Dave and Nancy decided to bug out before the encore.  The two of them have gotten into the habit of leaving at the encore to grab a seat at the car and have another beer.  Mike and I were the only ones to stay to the bitter end, not till the houselights come on do I leave.  Because we stayed I got my Scarlet Begonias and the ever popular Fins.  For the second encore it was a Jimmy solo acoustic He Went to Paris.  Speaking of solo acoustic Jimmy at the beginning this summer released an album called Encores with nothing but Jimmy on acoustic guitar.  The album featured songs from the 2009 Summerzcool tour where he would play a song or two solo acoustic each night for the encore.  A great idea, I just have not gotten it yet.

Jimmy usually does some sort of weird location in January or February.  A small venue in a far flung part of the world.  Last year he played in Hawaii for two shows and we were fortunate enough to catch him at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu.  We turned it into a week long Hawaiian vacation because of the show, what a fantastic trip.  I hope to do it again in early 2011, but we probably wont have the money because we are saving for our wedding.  Another fantastic Labor Day weekend with Buffett and some close friends.

Set 1 (start 8:18pm)
01. Nobody From Nowhere
02. Piece of Work
03. Knees of My Heart
04. Wings
05. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (w/ Mac)
06. Bama Breeze
07. Windows on the World
08. Volcano
09. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
10. Where the Boat Leaves From (Zac Brown Band cover)
11. On Particular Harbour
12. Brown Eyed Girl
13. Brahma Fear (solo acoustic)
14. Why Don’t We Get Drunk (Jimmy and Mac)
15. It’s My Job (Jimmy and Mac)
16. Mexico
17. Creola (Nadirah on vocals)
18. Gypsies in the Palace
19. Son of a Son of a Sailor
20. Come Monday
21. Cheeseburger in Paradise
22. A Pirate Looks at Forty
23. Back Where I come From (Jimmy and Mac)
24. Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street
25. Southern Cross
26. Margaritaville
set ends at 10:17pm

Encore 1 (starts at 10:21pm)
27. Scarlet Begonias
28. Fins
encore 1 ends at 10:29pm

Encore 2 (starts at 10:31pm)
29. He Went to Paris (solo acoustic)
encore 2 ends at 10:35pm

Sonny Landreth was a guest for this show
Brahma Fear was last played November 20th 1999 in East Hampton, NY
It’s My Job was last played November 3rd 2007 in Tampa, FL