Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alabama

Welcome to Alabama the beautiful ... Lynard Skynard's song was playing on my CD while I was entering this state ...



Couldn't miss the Talladega superspeedway while passing through Alabama ... Images of Will Ferrel and John C Reilly from that superb lampooning movie about NASCAR ...

First I took a tour of the speedway ... Not that crowded ... I was one of three people taking this tour ...


But the time to visit this place would be during race days, and they have two such events in the year ... At that time, hundreds of thousands of people land into this town from all over the US ... About 35,000 people camping out in RVs and tents right on the motor speedway grounds ... All the motels and hotels would be booked months and months in advance ...
Here's a shot of the speedway ... The incline is pretty steep ... More than a 45 degree angle in my estimate ...


They have a couple of fully staffed medical centers with top doctors from Alabama stationed here during the race days ... There's also a helipad which will take people to the nearest hospital in 10 mins if required ... And this center is not just for the drivers, but for any ticket holding person with an ailment ...



A photo at the victory stand ...

The lap counter ... Each car has an electronic chip embedded in it to make tracking easier ...


And then a visit to the Auto Museum right next to the speedway ...



The DeLorean ... An irish sportscar from the early 80s ... Only a 1000 of these were manufactured ... A modified version of this car was used in Back to the Future ...




The Budweiser rocket ... Doesn't fly, just zooms along the ground at record speeds ... 0-140 mph in 1 sec ... 400 mph in 3 secs ... Highest speed attained - 739 mph ...



One of the NASCAR crashes on display ...



Next I headed to my campground for the night ... Some pics of rural Alabama along the way ...



Bingo is big in Alabama ... On one particular road I saw atleast 20-30 bingo joints continuoously ... Was tempted to go in and try my hand, but I was getting late to enter the camp ...


Reached the campsite ... My first of many State Parks ... This one was called "Clear Creek Recreation Area" ... Got a campsite right next to the Lake ...


Setting up a tent ...


First we lay the Tarp down ... It's essentially a large canvas / vinyl cover which is used extensively in camping ... Back at B-school we used to refer to a different type of TARP ...
Now, here I'm placing the Tarp only so that the tent doesn't get worn out ... But the actual purpose of tarps are multifold ... Here's a good link on the usage of tarps ...

Lay the tent out flat ...

These are tough fibreglass rods to give the basic support to the tent ...


Putting the rods in place ...



Clipping on the sides of the tent to the rods ...


Put the flycover on, to keep out the rain ...


If it's windy, the next step would be to place the tent pegs firmly on the ground ... This particular tent also has two vestibule areas to keep things that you cant bring inside the tent dry from the rain ... e.g. shoes ...

The whole tent takes about 5 mins to setup and 5 mins to dismantle ... It's a two person tent, so it's quite spacious just for me ... Not a palace, but it's home for the next month ...

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