Saturday, September 1, 2012

that time we crashed the grand prix

"Crashed" is probably not the best choice of words when talking about the Grand Prix, but I don't mean it in those terms.  I mean in terms of like a wedding crasher.  Meaning, we don't have tickets, so we weren't technically invited but we found a way to go and have fun...twice!

Last year around this time I was knee-deep in my training for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk.  We were regularly walking (and by walking I mean me walking and pushing Sadie in the stroller) from our house in Bayview to downtown and back.  Sometimes these walks would be 14-16 miles roundtrip, and sometimes they closer to 18 miles roundtrip (more on that in another post).

I liked to do these long training walks on long holiday weekends were perfect, cause I could enjoy and relax on Saturday, do the long walk on Sunday, and then have off Monday to rest and recuperate.

So last year on Labor Day weekend was a perfect choice for a training walk, with just three weekend left til my big walk.

It turned out that the Grand Prix was going on downtown that weekend as well.  Streets were blocked off, traffic patterns were changed, locals were freaking out about the influx of people in an area of town that is already known for having traffic issues.

In other words, everyone planned on avoiding downtown like the plague.

Since we were walking, I wasn't worried.  If it got too congested, we could just turn around and come home.  The point of the day was to get a training walk in.  If we could make it to the see any races, that would be an added bonus.

We started out around 11am.  Got downtown just in time to grab some lunch and a snack.

I soon heard that the BIG race was going to be at 2:30pm.  I had gotten the idea to go up to the Top of the World Trade Center observation deck to watch it.  When we got to the lobby, I asked what the prices were.

"$20 for all day accessibility, $5 for an hour pass, $3 for kids 3-12, under three years old are free."

I told them we wanted two tickets.

"How old is she?" the lady asked.

I couldn't lie.  Sadira would call me out so fast if I even attempted.

"She's three," I told her.

The lady looked at Sadie and said, "well today she's under three, okay?"

My kinda lady!  Thank you!

So up to the 27th floor we went.  It was absolutely perfect for watching the race.  We timed it so our hour was from 2:15-3:15.  Since this was the BIG race of the weekend, they were broadcasting it over the radio, and it was playing over the speakers.  So not only did we get a bird's eye view for the cool price of $5 total, we also got a play by play.

Plus, I was a bit concerned about the noise level.  Afterall, this IS the kids who hates fireworks.  So going up to the observation deck was perfect because it saved our ears from the the running engines.

Here are some pics from the race last year:

 (Sadira made a friend)

So it was on our summer list to take long training walk again this year, even though I'm not training for anything.  As the sweltering summer progressed, and we still hadn't knocked this item off the list, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down for the Grand Prix again.

Tomorrow is the BIG race, but we have plans tomorrow.  So I checked the website and found out they were still running races today.  So at noon today we set off for downtown, and I guess I was in the racing spirit, because we made it record time: under 1 hour 30 minutes!

We decided that going up to the Top of the World observation deck worked so well last year, we wanted to do it again this year.  Sadly for me, I ended up having to pay the kid's price for Sadira.  Our admission to watch the race from above cost us a whopping $8.

I don't know if it was because the BIG race isn't until tomorrow, or if it was because everyone was so freaked out about going downtown that they stayed away, but it was DESERTED down there.  Granted there were people there to watch the race, but by "Inner-Harbor-during-the-summer-on-the-weekend" standards, it was a ghost town.

Which meant we could pretty much do whatever we wanted.

Except actually go on the grand stands.

So just to recap, the ONLY thing you can't do if you don't have a ticket during Grand Prix weekend is actually go in the grand stands.  This year Sadira even got adventurous and we went right up the the fence as the cars zipped by for the 4:30 race.  We also decided to have dinner outside at M&S Grille, right below the grand stands.

It was so slow down there that we were our waiter's only table.

Which made me feel not guilty about only ordering a soup and salad and taking up his table!

Honestly, if we hadn't already planned on walking down, I think I could've just driven all the way down to the harbor and parked in one of the garages.  THAT'S how un-crowded it was.

Here are some pics from the race this year:

(Sadie made a friend again.)

 (Eating dinner next to the grand stands.)

Sadira got irritated at the end, because everytime she tried to tell a story, one of the loudest cars would race by.  But overall she was a lot bolder than last year.

 It got pretty funny.

It was a very fun day with my girl (both times).

And THAT is how we successfully party crashed the Grand Prix. 

Twice. :-)


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