Wednesday, May 15, 2013

IMS - Day # 9 - Traffic Control - 4th Day

If you are stopping by today to see what happened Tuesday, Day 8, just refer to Monday, Day 7.  I'll just recap those things that were different.....it was 15 degrees hotter, and the traffic was heavier.  Some days are just hard, at 5 am, to write about in a way that makes them more interesting than they were, and I guess that is the way many, if not most jobs are.  After the newness wears off, and the anxiety about getting through that new job learning curve dissolves it's just work.  What makes it interesting, for me, is the people.  The people we work come from every vocation under the sun.  What they all have in common is a love for the "Indy" experience.  Some are in their 70's, and some, like our co-worker Sarah, are in their early 20's.  Sarah stays in a large tent here in the campground.

Many of our co-workers have been working the "500" for over 20 years.....some close to 40 years.  Our overall supervisor, Linus Rude, has been here since he was 15, and is in his 31st year.  Linus is not retired......he does have a real job.  My traffic control buddy, Joe, is a retired middle school teacher, a history buff, and an avid reader.  When we are out on the line directing traffic he will talk about the history of the traffic during lulls in the traffic.  Another co-worker, Greg, is a Marine (served one 3 year stretch), and now works for "Head Start" Mon-Fri, and arrives at the track around 2 to work the last 4 hours of the shift. On the weekends he works the full shift.

When we are out on the "line" we each take turns running "point"....the point guy determines what lane each vehicle will enter.....the "point" directs traffic into lane 1 until it is full, then directs vehicles to lane #2.  He also determines which vehicles may not enter through Gate #2 from 10 am to 6 pm.  The second person backs up the point.  All buses, trucks of all kinds, motorhomes, and limos go in lane 1.  Motorcycles are directed to lane 2.  Each lane takes you into a tunnel that goes under the stands and race track.  Gate #2, where we are stationed, is the only one that can accommodate vehicles over 8' tall.....our gate is 13'11", but the ceiling was not always that high.  Even so, some of the large transports have only a few inches clearance as they creep through the tunnel, and they have to be sure they are far enough to the left as they enter the tunnel, or the trailer will hit the curb, and bounce the rear of the trailer up into the ceiling. 

We also have a lot of pedestrian traffic that enters on each side of Gate #2.  There is no parking fee for the vehicle, but each person is charged $10......as we get closer to the race, and the traffic increases the rate goes up in increments of $5.....right now we are still charging $10 person.

The "infield" of the track is enormous.....a small city could exist there....actually, it is a small city, which also includes 4 of the 18 holes for the Brickyard Gold Course.  Each day as we are shuttled down the middle of the infield we pass the motor coach area where all the drivers have their million dollar plus coaches......I would say about half are Newells.  Another parking area holds all the enormous transport trucks.  There are restaurants, concert venues, office buildings, etc.

I am told that on race day over 400,000 people fill the viewing areas......remarkably "we" are able to empty the track after the race in about 90 minutes.

Our shifts start, right now, at 6;45 am, and end at 6 pm.  Saturday our start time will be 5 am, and will end at 6 pm.  Then, starting Sunday, our daily shift will begin at 5:45 am, and end at 6 pm. Race Day our shift starts at 3;15 am, and ends at 4;15 pm, or shortly thereafter.  Amazingly, in just 4 days my body has adapted to waking up at 4:30, and I am getting by on 6-7 hours of sleep....thank goodness for 5 Hour Energy!

Okay, well I guess the preceding was a decent attempt at making the same thing sound a little more interesting......at least I hope it will be received as such.

Oh, I almost forgot, a few months ago one of my blog readers, Jeanne, wrote asking if when we were in Indianapolis, could they come and meet us....they live in the area, so we set the date for Tuesday at 7 pm.  Chris, her husband, works for one of the Indy Car race teams.  They, just a few months ago, purchased a 1989 Prevost, 40', motorcoach.  The conversion was done by Marathon.  They just started fulltiming in March, after selling their local home.  They are in their early 50's, and Chris plans to work while on the road.  They brought some nice craft beer with them as a gift, and we sat talking for an hour and a half...Chris has to be at the track each day early, just like us so they bid adieu around 8:30.  We are so glad we had the chance to meet them, and are looking forward to seeing their coach after Race Day.  

That was our 4th day......time to eat breakfast, and head out for another work day....it is 5:56 am as I finish writing.

Thanks for stopping by!

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