Thursday, August 9, 2012

Loli Report: Loli-Camping a Moderate Success

I guess I'm doing a trip report, ne? Well since lolita and camping aren't normally done in the same go I figure a trip report would show that it is possible and it isn't all that hard. The two things that didn't work out weren't really loli issues at all, I should have chosen shoes that supported my ankles and my jacket wasn't warm enough. Originally I was going to wear my motorcycle jacket (it is Tron, natch) but the tailor did not have the alterations done in time so I just grabbed my go to black jacket. Next year I shall have a heavy jacket.

Day 0
In Which Cait and I Fabulously Go To The Airport

Parking at DFW is a level of insanely expensive that it rivals LAX. They even charge you to just drop someone off/pick them up. So I decided to take the train in, the lot just South of where Botcon was held this year is $5 for the whole time you are there and a three minute walk to Union Station. So I only spent $12 between parking and train tickets. Woo. It just meant I'd be riding the last and first trains and overnighting for about six hours in the airport on either end of my trip. I wasn't really all to adventurous during college so I'm pretty much doing all that now. I caught dinner with some friends who live in Dallas and then went off to the station. There was a really nice guy who helped me figure out which track I needed and what ticket I needed and we chatted while I waited for the train. This is also occassion #1 where someone complimented me on my pretty outfit and told me how lovely I looked.
Fab hat was a pain to travel with but I was glad for it's fab sunblocking abilities.

Then it was onto the rather fab train. The train was super nice. By about 1am I was settling in under a row of chairs near the gate for my flight when a guy asked me to help him write a writ. I caved because I am too nice for my own good and had everything typed up for him and me snuggling into my sleeping bag about 3am and since we were on the same flight he said he'd wake me up and buy me a cup of coffee in thanks.

Day 1
In Which There Are Two Flights And Camp Is Set Up Twice
6am rolled around and Writ-Guy woke me up and gave me a wad of money ($9) for coffee, saying he had to take a call that would probably last right up until the flight. So I packed up my sleeping bag, went off to the ladies room to make sure my make-up was alright (it was, hah!) and then scooted off to the Starbucks for a scone and a coffee. After boarding (and someone helping me shove my backpack into the overhead bin because I slightly overpacked my bag) I finished my coffee and passed out right until we landed at LAX where I caught my next flight to MRY, aka the fancy almost the middle of nowhere. Luckily I took my blanket out of my backpack because it took a very kind man from team Yamaha shoving it into the overhead bin for it to fit since we were on a pack of gum plane. After we landed I hailed a cab and dropped by the nearest Safeway to pick up provisions for the weekend before heading off to the track. When I asked how much it would be for him to wait while I went and grabbed my food he estimated it would probably end up about $15-20 so I said I'd just call another cab and he didn't need to wait. He smiled and said that he would just stop the meter and then restart it once we were heading off again. He didn't want me to rumple my pretty dress (#2) by lugging my giant backpack around the grocery store. I also think he pitied me/thought I was crazy because that kind of sentiment was said OFTEN during the weekend. Whatev. I had a freaking blast.
Camp Pretty Pretty Princess before I moved it.

So then it was up to the track, it was supposed to be almost a mile hike up to where I was camping (Foxhill) but about three minutes into it one of the trams that was passing me by asked where I was going and then said I was too fancy to be hiking all the way up that hill (#3) and gave me a ride. Then I wandered about looking for the best spot, and I laid my blanket down on a nice flat spot with full sun, dropped everything I was carrying on it then set up my tent.
Camp Pretty Pretty Princess after I moved it.

Then I climbed into my tent to put everything inside it and holy moley it was hot in there. So I cracked an apricot ale, ate some bread and cheese and then wandered around the hill to find a nice spot with a great view, in the shade, for my tent. Once that was acquired I dragged everything over, restaked the tent, and crawled inside for a nice afternoon nap to the music of the occasional bike roaring by on the track below.

I woke up and went outside to sit on my blanket and have some more bread and cheese (and grapes!) for dinner and one of my camp neighbors wandered over and said hi, and that he just had to come over and meet such an odd bird like me. He'd never seen someone dressed so nicely come to the races, let alone camp on the Hill for them (#4). We talked books and weather and movies and he said I should say hi to my closest camp neighbors as they were actually quite nice for their age. So when he went off for dinner I did just that. They offered me a beer and asked if I brought any other shoes and laughed when I said I didn't. We also went on a late night adventure and explored where we probably, totally weren't supposed to but it was lots of fun. It was also very cold so I was glad I brought thermals and a heavy duty sleeping bag.

Day 2
In Which There Is More Adventure And A Sprained Ankle
I had to force myself out of my sleeping bag, the mornings were really cold (like the nights) and the idea of taking a shower wasn't particularly appealing since I figured the water would be luke warm at best. But I really did want one and that meant I'd get to use a real bathroom and not a portapotty so I grabbed my stuff, threw on my shower flip-flops and hiked down to the showers in the campground over. Foxhill is only open for the one weekend of motorcycle racing and not other events so they don't bother with full facilities like all the other sites and we just get portypotties and have to hike over to Can-Am campground for showers.

The showers were actually scalding hot! It was almost sinful. The worst part is that it was a push button shower so after every 30 seconds to a minute I had to push the button again. But it was a hot shower so I was happy.

I wandered back up to camp, taking a very long way back to see if any of the vendors in the Corkscrew were open and had coffee since it was almost 10am so they totes had to. Except they didn't. I was sad but by the time I wandered back to camp and had a San P and a banana my camp neighbors were geting ready to head over to the corkscrew to watch some of the practices. I went with them because why not and we watched a round or two of AMA practice before getting bored and a little hot so we hiked around the back of the hill to the paddocks. I hadn't bought the paddock pass because that was $80 I could use elsewhere so I said bye to them and watched another practice. Then once the pretty bikes stopped for lunch I wandered past the paddock entrance and noticed there wasn't anyone checking tickets so I mosied on in and looked around. It was pretty cool, it reminded me a lot of track days except with a lot more people. There were the big fancy factory bike pits that took up like four spots and then there were plenty of people with just a trailer and an EZ-Up who were there for AMA. And it smelled like home (home being exhaust, petrol, and warm tires).
Garlic fries!

And the food court right next to the paddock had garlic fries. I remembered these garlic fries from my childhood and was sooo hoping they would still have them and they did and I was the happiest loli sitting on a bench next to Ducati Island nomming on garlic fries.

This was one of my fav old Ducatis. I like me a cafe racer.

Looked around the different vendors in the Yamaha Marketplace (the Dealer's Hall basically but outside) and marvelled at all the pretty bikes and leathers and yeah. Also Ducati had an entire Peninsula in the middle of the big ole pond, which they completely took over and called Ducati Island. This really isn't surprising but their food place had quiche! Quiche! At a race track! They also let Ducati riders park their bikes on the island so I saw lots of cool Ducatis.

At the end of the day, as I was walking back from the paddock and passing Ducati Island I overheard them giving instructions to the crowd for where to head for the track walk and stopped and went, 'OMG I could do a lap around Laguna Seca'. Then I casually walked onto Ducati Island, mingled with the crowd and followed the pack as they went onto the track. And I totally did a lap around Laguna Seca. In heels. I'm never throwing them away. Also I got a total of three comments about how I must be crazy for doing the track walk in my heels and once I told them that was nothing, I was camping like this, they told me I was crazier for camping in such pretty clothes (#5, #6, #7).

After the walk I marched back up to camp, absolutely in heaven and had a beer and some more bread and cheese and gloated about my track walking to my camp neighbors who were all thoroughly jealous. We shot the breeze as the sun set and the marine layer rolled in and right as I was walking back from the portapotties to snuggle into my tent I totally stepped in a hole and sprained my ankle. A few tears and wishing I hadn't been too lazy to get my flashlight later I hobbled back down to my tent and inspected the damage. I could hobble at that point but hobbling wasn't really going to be too viable when there was literally no way down the hill that didn't involve hiking.
My spindly ankle nooooo!

I hoped that a good night's sleep would improve my injury. Also was really glad I did the track walk before I sprained my ankle. The track walk really bouyed my spirits there in my cold tent with my potentially really hurt ankle.

Day 3
In Which There Is Fog, Rest And A Little Disappointment

You should be able to see race track and a hill in the distance and ocean and a town past that hill if, y'know, it wasn't for the fog.

I woke up to this. It was soupy, the marine layer took its sweet time to roll back and so practices got delayed and cancelled and my ten minute hike down to the showers felt almost Silent Hill like. Thankfully I had the sound of cars on the track (you have cars driving the track to help dry it and disperse the fog and also as security to catch people who sneak on to the track) and motorcycles on the access roads to remind me it wasn't. I also was able to walk fairly alright but was limping and realized how I was limping was on the pad of my bad leg with the heel raised up. As I was hiking down the switchback to the road I realized this was a blessing, not while in my shower flipflops but because I had brought heels. They ended up angling my foot in the most comfortable angle I could get it. I kind of believe in miracles after this. After my shower I just crawled back into my tent and was antisocial because man the fog was moist and kept things cold and my hair was still soaked from the shower since I didn't think to pack a blow dryer (I actually don't even own one) and my ankle was both sore and numb from the cold. A blood orange San Pelligrino and checking twitter helped improve my mood and by the time I stuck my head out of my tent my camp neighbors were out so I went over and said hi.

I wandered down to the Paddock but they were checking tickets so I just went to the food court and got a Frog Dog and wandered around the marketplace. While the Frog Dog (A sausage put in a hollowed out third of a baguette, totes delish) was $8 which is far more than I wanted to pay, I was a bit cold, and a little grumpy from my ankle and figured a more substanstial meal that bread, cheese and fruit would help matters. It did, those things are super delish (just not $8 worth of delish, like $5).

Took the road around the back of the hill to the corkscrew where I found my camp neighbors minus two, the missing two were doing the parade lap which would start soon and wanted pics of themselves in the corkscrew. The parade lap is a ragtag bunch, with a guy on a scooter, fancy GP repro bikes, normal street bikes and cobbled together junkers who seemed to have the most excited riders.

I tried to find a ride into town for sat night activities but failed (and wasted like an hour doing that) so I hiked back up to my camp after the big Yamaha rider interview at the end of the afternoon and snuggled into my tent since it was warm, the marine layer was rolling in early again and I could get some writing done (I'd had some great ideas the night before at like 3am). Unfortunately there on the Yamaha stage they had this really bad cover band for a few hours. Lots of making fun of nerds but claiming to be nerds themselves and really odd 80s song choices. And unfortunately being that the track is in a valley, my tent at the crest just about, I was stuck listening to them. My ankle was also still sore and I had to be super careful with how I sat and moved it but it still was feeling better. Next year I will take the last bus into town and party it up with my bros and then just budget the $20-30 for a cab back to camp.

Day 4
In Which There Is Another Foggy Morning, Fabulous Race Watching And Sad Goodbyes

The marine layer stayed later than the day before! So another cold, foggy hike to the showers and then the camp neighbors and myself went down into the foggy Marketplace and Paddock to find something warm to eat. I got a bratwurst because when getting my garlic fries the little old German lady working the german food next door gave me puppy dog eyes and said I should get a bratwurst. Little old German ladies can guilt me into just about anything. And Bratwurst aren't terrible.
Yes, I know I look like a doofus but the leg that would normally hold me to the bike was the hurt one.

I sat on a ton of bikes to try and figure out which I liked best (why can't you be like an inch shorter Ducati 848 Evo?!) and also took pics on some (Lorenzo's GP bike and a random one angled to make you look like you're racing through the corkscrew) and by the time I'd gotten bored with that the sun had come out and it was approaching race time.

My feet came nowhere near to touching the ground on this monster.

I sat in front of my neighbor's campsite with them and we made bets on the podium order and had beer and I had bread and cheese and grapes and was absolutely fabulous.
Capt Fab here. :D

I was also very glad for my giant hat an sunglasses. I sat and watched all the races and afterwards wandered back down and hung out until break down began in ernest. Then I walked just about everywhere I could go. They weren't checking tickets since the event was over. It was a little sad to be honest, the proof that the weekend was coming to a close.
Did you know you can improvise earwarmers out of OTK socks? :D

After exploring every place I possibly could I went back to camp and shot the breeze with my neighbors as they packed up and we drank the last of the drinks and ate the last of the food. They made sure to tell me just how cool they thought I was for my adventure and for how fabulous I had made it (#8). The fog started rolling in early and the wind was cold so we called it a night pretty much as soon as the sun went down.

Day 5
In Which Cait And I Explore San Francisco And Return Home
I woke up to a distinct lack of motorcycle engines, most had hit the road in the wee hours of the dawn if they had stayed overnight. Hiked down for a shower and noticed how much of a ghost town it already was which made me sad but the fog rolled out early so by the time I was back up at camp and finished with breakfast I was able to pack my backpack up and lay out my tent in the sun to dry a bit.

I was hiking down to the gates by about 11am and the cab ride to the airport felt decidedly sad because I had such a good time I was sad to leave. The cab driver also commented how pretty I was dressed and was shocked when I said I had camped the whole weekend (#9).

I ended up at the airport about 3 hours before my flight, mainly because I wanted to chill by a power outlet but when I saw that the plane before mine hadn't left yet I was excited. If I could get on that plane I would have a 6 hour layover in San Francisco International Airport. And we all know what shops are in San Francisco! I did make it onto that flight and so when I got to SFO I put my backpack and sleeping bag in the temp storage ($30 for both, yesh) and caught one of the trains to downtown. Their train is right there next to the terminal, no two buses to it like at DFW but it is more expensive ($13 roundtrip) and a little run down. I didn't and still don't care. I was practically bouncing in my seat as the train headed towards UN Plaza. It was a 30-45 minute walk to Baby but luckily I had been there before so I kinda sorta knew the area (which is good because BtSSB is kinda hidden away).


I only intended to buy socks. Really. But then I saw the Regimental Stripe JSK in the sale section and yeah. I did also get a pair of socks though (cute cream/gold/black ones with flags). I bought the burgundy colorway and if I'd had any way to shove another JSK into my bag I would have gotten the navy one too. But I was super limited on space. The sales-loli was super polite and wonderful btw, and when I mentioned that I was there on a layover she asked if I would want a rainy day bad instead of the normal paper one since it would be easier to pack. That is why I love BtSSB-SF, they are so super nice and I always have a wonderful experience! I also stopped by Daiso and got some candies and bento stuff.

Then I got a little lost on the trains (the announcement was so quiet and they don't have signs in the cars) but made it back to the airport in time to catch my flight. They wanted everyone in my boarding group to check all their carry-ons since the flight was so full but I completely ignored them because I had to say within the secure zone for at least five hours after landing and I wasn't leaving my loli pretties unattended for that long. Also I'd need my sleeping bag for napping between when my flight landed and when the first train would be heading back to Union Station. It was a fitful nap there in one of the lounges in DFW but it wasn't too terrible. And there was a Starbucks right next to it so I could leave my stuff where it sat while I grabbed a coffee before heading to the buses for the train.

Cait escorted me on this trip though he stayed in the tent while at the track.

The TRE is really a nice train line. It was already hot, at like 7:30am, when I was walking from the station to my car and I was pretty pooped from my adventure so I decided to not putz around Dallas for the day like I had planned and just drove home where I promptly did my grocery shopping and then went and vegged out at the movie theater for three whole movies. I may have cried that night when I snuggled into bed because it wasn't the hard ground and it wasn't freezing outside the covers.

All in all t'was fun though exhausting.

Lessons learned:
Ankle supporting shoes if hiking, even if they have heels
Always go for the warmer sleeping bag.
Pack a pool raft because the ground is hard.
Treat it like an adventure, it is one, and be determined to have fun.
You can totes wear loli socks over thermals and it doesn't look too weird.
You can make an earwarmer out of an OTK sock by tying it around your head like a bandana.
Try not to pack your bag to bursting. Really for reals I'll actually listen to this next time.
Dress nicely and girly at MotoGP events and everyone assumes you're a GP rider's girlfriend. :O

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