Thursday, May 1, 2014

Midwest Race-cation, day 1

1:55 pm Chicago time:
Today is a travel day. I am "halfway there" -- sitting on the plane in Chicago, watching the rain and thinking abou thte sunshine at home in Seattle.
I'm flying into Dayton, Ohio. It was significantly cheaper than flying into Cincinnati, possibly because it's just that much farther from Churchill Downs. The plane is full of folks talking horseracing, super excited about the Kentucky Derby this weekend.
The women across the aisle are talking about the hats they'll be wearing to the Derby. The folks behind me are talking about the horses they're betting on -- lots of excitement about a California horse, given that they're from California.
I'm traveling for a different sort of racing, of course. Tonight I'm staying just north of Cincinnati so that I can pick up my packet at the Flying Pig Marathon Expo when it opens at noon on Friday. Then I'll jump in the car and drive to Indianapolis to pick up my packet for Indy Mini -- their expo is open until the very civilized hour of 9pm!
I was talking to Wil last night and I admitted I was feeling nervous. He said, "Well, we've run so many back to back races now that it's easy for me to forget that it's a real challenge." I told him that, honestly, I wasn't worried about the running part at all... that even if the wheels come offf, I'll still finish both races. What makes me nervous before a race is the logistics of it -- especilly the first time I run something, and especially in a new city.
I should quickly point out that the organizers of both the Indy Mini and the Flying Pig have been very communicative -- lots of pre-race info, including parking, street closures, public transit... even restaurants and other things to do in town. But of course I still worry. And, of course, I also LOVE the logistical part. I'm a planner and a fixer at heart, so I do love to prepare!
8:41 Fairfield time:
Picked up my car from quite possibly the friendliest, nicest rental agency I've ever experienced: Budget at the Dayton Airport. Really friendly, really charming, really efficient. And I must admit that I didn't realize that Ford Focuses (Focii??) also come in a very sporty, cherry red model. Rowr.
Made it to Fairfield with little trouble, other than being surprised that many drivers in Ohio seem to have a different understanding of what the lane markers might indicate... But before I checked in to the hotel I had to stop at Jungle Jim's...
Sure, I needed to pick up some groceries, but Jungle Jim's is no mere grocery store... First of all, it's massive. It's also... very weird. I was handed a map when I walked in, which is good, because I got lost a few times.
They have large and nicely arranged collections of ethnic and foreign foods... but it's not just the product selection. I mean, how can you resist this:
That, my friends, is a talking Robin Hood. Twelve feet off the ground. Talking to Little John (who is standing on a log that's balanced between two aisles) and Maid Marian. Yes, of course, he's the marker for the British food section. Which had Daddies Brown Sauce, a large range of biscuits and sweets (but no fruit allsorts!!!), and crisps. Monster Munch, Hula Hoops, Walkers...
They have a giant hot sauce section, which features a real fire truck overhead, a strange singing band of cereal mascots (who in turn appear on a full-sized "Minnow", painted with characters from Gilligan's Island), a massive singing Campbell's soup can on a swing, giant penguins in frozen food, and this, near the gargantuan candy section:
Now, I don't know if it's a lion or a monkey -- monkey, I guess? -- but it's singing Elvis songs every 5 minutes.
Jungle Jim's had sprawling cheese sections, as well as something I had never seen:
a BUTTER BAR???? The mind kinda boggles.
There was also a huge beer and wine section, complete with a "tasting area" that was selling pints of beer. (That seems like more than a taste... that's a bar...) I thought it was a little odd, but then again our new Bartell Drugs in downtown Ballard fills growlers...
I enjoyed wandering the store, picking up groceries for the weekend... but the best thing I found I just stumbled across: Flying Pig Jones Sodas!!!
I'm not a huge fan of green apple, but I couldn't resist. What a cool race tie-in!! Even the 4-pack holder is Flying Pig themed (and triggered a WKRP memory...):
What can I say? Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Tomorrow: a tale of two expos!!!


  1. The redesigned Focus is very sporty! That is the craziest grocery store I've ever seen.

  2. I nearly went back to the counter because I was looking for a "Tater". :)

  3. Oh, and I've come to believe that the "Elvis" is a lion. Maybe.