Friday, August 28, 2009

To Canada I Go

August 27, 2009

This morning I woke up excited to head to Canada’s Mosport International Raceway. Thankfully, I was all packed & ready to go this time around unlike some mornings before travel. I fed my fish and began my morning routine of shower, shaving, breakfast, and this morning, reviewing the media information I had gathered for Adam Hoover of VW to go over.

Soon it was 10:00 AM and I was out the door with my father Bruce on the way to San Jose International Airport. When I arrived, I met David Arken and passed out our boarding passes then checked to see if I had everything I needed for this journey, especially my passport so I could actually be accepted into the lovely country of Canada.

I've only been to Canada once before, for the Canadian Grand Prix back in 2003 which was one of the greatest racing experiences I have ever had. The sheer noise of the Formula 1 cars was ear shattering and the standing start the Ferraris and Schumacher made that trip was incredible. I still have a Ferrari flag hanging in my bedroom from that trip.

Today David and I only had to catch two airplanes. Our first was a little out of our way as we flew down to Phoenix, Arizona. At least I got two very awesome people to sit next two. One was Kate, a college rower Kate out of Buffalo, New York who had just visited California for the first time in her whole life. We spent most of the less then 2-hour flight talking which is always nice from time to time.

Things only got better when we arrived in Arizona. I managed an amazing feet: I bought lunch and spent less then $5 on everything (I even managed to get a free water). After lunch I walked up to the counter to get my passport checked and a US Airways employee named Bill managed to get me terrified in one easy step. After looking at my passport Bill informed me that it was not a valid passport and a state of panic came over me. As he turned it around and I noticed, I had not yet signed my passport to make it legal. Bill started chuckling and I even had to laugh. So I signed my passport he stamped my boarding pass and I thanked him for the scare and we were laughing as I walked away.

Shortly after the scare of a lifetime, we began boarding our flight to Toronto. The ramp to the plane was 108۫ !!! I also noticed that all the airplanes on the ground in Phoenix had covered their windshields, probably to keep the heat out. On the way back to our seats, I was thankful I found an empty overhead bin as I had my unabashedly over-sized duffel bag that does not fit conveniently in the compartments.

Dave and I then grabbed our seats and I promptly started my iPhone and blasted some wonderful "hyper crush." The temperature finally began to equalize and as it cooled, I fell asleep but it only lasted for about two hours before my phone was beeping at me from low battery. I shut my phone off and enjoyed the remainder of the flight sitting with my eyes closed thinking about all the different things I have to do this weekend and how excited I was to be driving in Canada - I was going to be an international racecar driver!

Our landing in Toronto was one of the smoothest landings I can remember. I grabbed my duffel bag, backpack and Defnder neck brace and said goodbye to the airplane. As we got to immigrations, I was waiting in line looking at all the workers in the booths and noticed they were sitting in bulletproof vests. Was that really necessary? It would take a miracle to get a gun on board an airplane in the first place. I guess traveling to Canada is pretty dangerous these days…

After being interrogated by a young bullet-proof man, I began the hunt for a rental car. We ended up with a lovely Mercury Crown Victoria! Next we grabbed some grub. A few minutes after Dave and I placed our orders I looked behind me saw the kid that stamped my passport at customs! There was a whole group of customs agents with him - one of them had stamped David’s passport - and they were all sitting right behind me drinking beers. Well I found this hilarious and after talking to them, I think we made their night funny as well. Upon leaving we said goodbye to our new custom agents friends and from there began our half our drive to our hotel. During most of it, I slept and found myself in the driveway to the hotel. We both checked in and passed out, my head filled with dreams about the race this weekend and maybe even checking out Niagara Falls! Cannonball!!!

Later Everyone,

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