Monday Morning Coffee
By Billy Rainford
What we’ve got here, folks, is an old-fashioned ROAD TRIP! I’m not going to lie, sometimes the thought of these trips is much more romantic than the reality of sitting behind the wheel for 14 ½ hours, but if hitting the road as often as we do has taught me to adhere to only one old adage, it’s this one: be sure to stop and smell the roses.
No, there’s noting fancy or enjoyable about setting your alarm for midnight (about 30-minutes after you’ve turned out the light on your bedside table), scrambling around to make sure you’ve remembered things like you passport, camera battery charger, wallet, and that little adapter that lets you attach your thingamajig to your whatnot that you just can’t be without.
It all happens in a bit of a blur and next thing you know the adventure has begun and you’re looking for your next cup of coffee. The argument is whether or not to start your intake immediately or wait until you start to feel the effects of a few hours staring at the dotted highway lines. I opted to wait a while this time.
We saw Tim Horton’s all the way to Cincinatti.
Here’s the interesting twist for this particular 2-week journey: my girlfriend, Emily, is on her first-ever motocross car trip. These things are fine when all you have to do is worry about yourself, but this will be the first real test for us as a couple. You’ve all been here. I know we’ll be fine, but it definitely adds an additional element to what can already be a rather volatile cocktail.
You know what’s worse than a 14 ½-hour drive down the I-75? A 14 ½ -hour drive down the I-75 to arrive in an 8-degree Atlanta! What?! Yes, the crazy jet stream has been dipping south of the Florida-Georgia line lately making it uncharacteristically cold down here.
We went online back home and booked a hotel room as close to the Georgia Dome as we could. The Castleberry Inn is that hotel. No, it’s not the fanciest hotel, and the bed wasn’t exactly ‘plush,’ but it got the job done and the 10-minute walk to the races made up for its shortcomings.
If you ever go to the Castelberry Inn in Atlanta, this upgrade might be a good idea.
I used to come to Atlanta when I was in sales for a big athletic company. We used to stay in slightly nicer digs. I dragged Emily for a walk downtown to show her this really cool hotel.
I always have to head to the Marriott just to look around when I’m in Atlanta.
The Georia Dome will be rel=placed by this new facility being erected right next to it. The Dome is definitely showing its age, and with new stadiums like the one in Arlington popping up, you have to keep up with the Joneses.
The new stadium is scheduled to open in 2017.
It was Retro Week at Altanta 2 this past weekend. Watch for lots more pics in the upcoming Photo Report and ‘Faces at the Races.’ I caught ‘The Goat’ Ricky Carmichael getting into the spirit early during track walk with this classic ‘Robot Dance.’
Ricky Carmichael steals the Retro Week show with this old school ‘robot.’
Of course, we can’t forget that this was round 1 of the MXGP over in Losail, Qatar. We were all up in the Press Box when someone mentioned that it was noon and that meant that the gate had dropped for the first MX1 moto. You know, the one with Ryan Villopoto and Antonio Cairoli in it? Well, guess what? Neither of them one it! Germany’s Max Nagl went out and won both motos, leaving the two would-be champions to scrap another day. Rest assured, the showdown is coming…
We all tried to watch both events at the same time up in the Press Box.
Oh, I forgot to mention what we did Friday night. We wandered downtown to grab a bite to eat and have a general look around Atlanta. It’s the home of Coke and CNN, by the way. On the way back toward the hotel, a scalper approached us asking if we were buying or selling tickets. We asked, “Tickets for what?” Apparently Willie Nelson was about to go on stage in the place we were currently walking past. We actually considered this spur of the moment idea, but declined.
So, then we were walking a little further when yet another scalper approached and asked if we were buying or selling. Again, we asked, “For what?” He thought we were playing dumb. We weren’t. It turns out that the Atlanta Hawks were about to tip off against the Orlando Magic. I haven’t been watching much basketball this year but I knew the Hawks were on fire. We decided to take him up on his ‘kind and generous’ offer and, next thing you know, we’re walking into the arena for a game.
Rule #1 when buying a ticket from the street: Look at it! Sure, they were legitimate tickets but when the ushers kept sending us higher and higher, we started to wonder. Then, when we got to the proper section, we were told that our tickets were SRO (standing room only). WHAT?! Not only were we so far away you couldn’t see the ball, now we had no seats! We had been duped like newbies by a slick-talking scalper. He even offered to walk us up to the front gate before we had a chance to examine the tickets. He had his routine down and was apparently much better at exploiting human nature than me.
If you’re going to buy from a scalper, look at the ticket first.
Anyway, you couldn’t really put a price on the experience anyway, so we forgot about how much we paid for $10 tickets pretty quickly. Actually, we left at halftime anyway. Who won?
It was Retro Week in Atlanta and almost everyone got in on the fun. Here’s Marvin Musquin in his retro Fox gippy.
Most riders and team were into the whole Retro Week thing.
Everywhere I looked Saturday night they were interviewing someone I didn’t even recognize. It turns out there were a whole bunch of NASCAR drivers hanging out at the event during Daytona Week. I kept getting laughed at for asking who each of them were. I did recognize this guy though…
I recognized Jeff Gordon. Like I said on Twitter, his left arm is much longer in person than it appears on TV. He just HAD to have this selfie.
I recognized ‘King’ Richard Petty too. He was a total rockstar walking around the Dome.
No wonder Atlanta gets two rounds. The pits are in a separate building that doubles as a massive expo. There were thousands of people walking around. It was great.
Like I joked with a few other photographers on the floor in Atlanta, I think we missed a pretty good race Saturday night! Yes, it’s really cool to be that close to the action, but you miss most of the race walking from place to place trying to get a good shot. Now I have to go watch the replay of the Fox Sports 2 program to find out what exactly happened before I do my Photo Report. Look for that and ‘Faces’ later today.
It’s been a little wet here at GPF the past couple days, but Josh Woods has been out on the equipment all morning and it looks like there will be riding here this afternoon. You can’t shake a stick without hitting a Canadian or an American with a Canadian connection here. I’m going to end this story here and get ready to shoot photos and video of Tyler Medaglia, Jeremy Medaglia, Kyle Keast, Justin Roney, James Roberts, Heather Bowman, Shandell Przybilla and Nick Wey. Have a great week, everyone.
The Hondas of Kyle Keast and Shandell Przybilla.
Tyler Medaglia’s Husqvarna 450.
So long for now from GPF – Moto Heaven!