My husband has always been a car nut, and unlike many other car guys, his enthusiasm hasn't been hampered by an anti-car wife. It's quite the opposite. Being married to him only encouraged my own interest in cars.
Being the car guy he is, my husband has been a faithful subscriber to Road & Track magazine for around 20 years or so. This means every time we've moved the collection of magazines has been migrated to its next home. Considering that every month the number expands, I don't relish the next move. Though I do think it might be a strong motivator for hiring a moving company.
For years we've read about the vintage races in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin at Road America. The Road & Track Concourse d'Elegance showing off all the classic Jaguar E-types, the old Astons, the Morgans... it sounds like a little slice of heaven on earth for the gas powered engine obsessed. After reading about this event for so long, this spring we finally connected with friends who've been going to the races for a number of years and they invited us along. How could we say no?
Thankfully we didn't say no and just a few weeks ago made the trip northward to Wisconsin. After a short overnight stay in Illinois on the way at a typical interstate-side "bland box" hotel we met up with our friends and headed toward the land of cheese and cars. On the way I couldn't decide which appealed more, the cars or the copious amounts of cheese I intended to consume. Whenever it came up conversation that we were traveling to Wisconsin for vacation, I was met with these puzzled looks almost always followed by "What's in Wisconsin?" After about the seventh time I had an answer ready to go. "Vintage car races, along with lots of cheese and cooler weather." That seemed to satisfy even the beach-bound crowd.
After seeing the size of Elkhart Lake, I found out why our group had chosen a hotel in nearby Sheboygan. Elkhart Lake, population 1021, has a limited number of hotels that are very much catered to the weekend race crowd that comes in a few times a year. They're limited in quantity and for the most part priced from slightly above average to prices that would cover the cost of an economy car for a family of four.
Our hotel was a Sleep Inn, and it's the first time I have stayed in one of that chain. The rooms were typical of a basic room, with furniture that could use a bit of updating. Overall though, they were pretty spacious and had a vast expanse of desk space so it was easy to drop off the stuff we'd collect over the trip and leave it for organizing and attempting to cram into the car at the last minute.
My first morning in the hotel, I fumbled into the bathroom, half-awake. I crinkled my nose and coughed at overpowering smell of cigarette smoke. I know my husband pretty well and I felt pretty safe assuming that he hadn't slipped into the bathroom for a quick few puffs (he definitely does not smoke.) The front desk attendant explained to me that the hotel has an air system that circulates the air throughout the entire hotel on a set cycle. It was the "entire hotel" part that posed the problem; ten rooms on the top floor were smoking rooms, and despite our room being on the bottom floor, it still permeated the bathroom as though an employee took their smoke break in there. Supposedly I should have been thankful that our room wasn't above the pool, the chlorine smell was considerably potent in the 2nd floor rooms. Either way, I think its pretty inexcusable with a modern hotel and should be on the hotel owner's priority list of problem areas to fix post haste. Beyond this faux paux, the hotel had an adequate continental breakfast and an extraordinarily friendly staff that rivaled southern hotels in hospitality with their sincere willingness to help.
Next stop we're off to the races and I'll elaborate on my attempts to "OC" or over-cheese at dinner every night.