After arriving in Indianapolis and spending a while chatting with Des, I wandered off to check out the city.
On my short cycle between the Kennedy-King Park and Des’ house, I had seen a sign for “Kountry Kitchen Soul Food” so I sought this place out first. Not much I like better than a big plate of soul food.
What I’m less keen on though is poor service. My waitress gave me a menu and a minute later asked for my food order. I asked for another few minutes to decide, and then wasn’t seen to for over half an hour.
Literally, 3 other groups of customers arrived, ordered and received their drinks, placed food orders, received their food, and had started eating before my waitress remembered me.
What was worse was that all the other waiting staff could see me sitting there trying to get their attention and neither approached me, nor told my “server” that I was still waiting.
Eventually though I was remembered, my order was taken and a few minutes later was told another server would take over responsibility for me and that my food was now being cooked. 30mins later, my new server told me that my food was now being cooked. And 20mins later I received my tiny portion of supermarket-quality food (entirely contrary to the portion sizes everyone else must have been receiving as EVERYONE was leaving with doggybags!). Hard not to take such service personally. I didn’t leave a tip!
I then spent a couple of hours wandering down to and around the downtown area. I wasn’t impressed. A lot was being made about Indy being the “Greatest Motorsport City In The World” and yet I felt the city lacked any sense of character or community. Just concrete and people.
Having rested and packed up, had a light breakfast and said goodbye, I left Des’ house and headed over to the Speedway district of town. Today was raceday. The world-famous Indy500 and Fernando Alonso was racing. For any motorsports fan, the Indy500 is certainly a big one!
My “General Admission” ticket ($40) got me into the centre of the massive 2.5mile oval track – all left turns! I didn’t have access to any of the seated or grandstand areas, yet despite this managed to find myself at a standing area immediately above the start-finish line. So obviously I stayed there for the first 120 (of 200) laps, amazed at how these cars were passing at such speed and noise every 40-45seconds.
But I got bored and went looking for a corner spot I could sit at for a while to get a different view. It wasn’t much better and 80 laps goes fairly quick – even with safety-car call-outs.
After what seemed like both no time at all, and forever, it was over and I joined the mass of almost half-a-million folk streaming impatiently out of the exits.
Collecting my bike from where I had locked it up behind the mobile police command centre, I headed West. My plan was to do am easy 20miles then find a cheap motel or somewhere to camp.
I made it 3miles before the torrential rain, thunder and lightning hit. I’ll cycle in heavy rain, but not lightning – I don’t fancy sitting atop a steel-framed bicycle during an electrical storm! So I took shelter first under a tree, second under the overhang of somebody’s garage, then in a Wendy’s “restaurant” – where I had one of the worst burgers I’ve ever had – and then in a half-hour let-up between downpours, in a not-so-cheap motel on the outskirts of Indianapolis.
An utterly terrible motel too!
So Indianapolis was an experience worth having – once! – but it didn’t leave the best of impressions on me.