Since our first racetrack camping trip was such a success, we looked at the event calendar for a follow up event and bought tickets to the IMSA Sportscar Championship in August. With our Jaguar XJ8 packed to the headliner we set out for three days and two nights with full camping gear for the complete camping experience.
IMSA weekend is VIR’s big spectator event this season, so by Friday afternoon most of the prime camping spots were spoken for. VIR is a big beautiful facility though, with several nice dedicated camping areas, both clear and wooded. We picked a flat spot with no exposed roots in the trees near the pond, behind the Ferrari prancing horse statue, and set up camp.
Weather can be unpredictable in this region in late August with potential for severe temperature fluctuations overnight, so I came prepared. Or so I thought. We weren’t going to need the sweatshirts and extra sleeping bags I brought in case the mercury dropped, but we were looking forward to running some fans off the generator I picked up on sale at Harbor Freight earlier in the week. Unfortunately, the little Storm Cat Harbor Freight generator only ran for about 12 minutes before it vibrated its recoil handle off, sucked the coil rope into the flywheel, and ate the plastic arm that grabs the flywheel when you pull the rope. No more electricity. No more fans. How do you know your 8-year-old is having the time of his life? When it’s a humid 96 degrees at eleven o’clock PM, you’re both sweating bullets, and he’s still thrilled to be there. The bullfrogs eventually sang us to sleep, and with the tent canopy removed for maximum airflow we opened our eyes to blue mountain skies and the rhythmic thrum of race engines warming up in the paddock across the pond.
Saturday morning began Alex’s full camping experience with pepper, onion, and cheese omelets with bacon cooked on our trusty old Coleman camp stove. I forgot to pack plates, so we ate our eggs out of a red solo cup, and lined another cup with paper towels to absorb the bacon grease. Half the fun of camping is necessary improvisation, and Alex got a crash course. After some spectating we ran back to camp for another campground staple – hot dogs. We boiled up a pot of water and prepared some Cup ‘O Noodles to complement the dogs, then hit the bleachers for more wheel to wheel action. We shared dinner with our buddies, the Torres brothers, who were camped out with us – burgers and teriyaki chicken with fresh raw snap peas. Meat is a staple of a male run campsite, but a growing boy and his aging Dad need their veggies. Nightfall brought smores over the charcoal grill and cards by the light of an old gas lantern.