Monday, July 25, 2016

24 Hours of LeMons: Such a Sweet Experience!

(I know, lemons aren't sweet so that's not punny....but it wasn't a tart or bitter or sour experience in any way, so there really wasn't much to work with here)
Now THIS is the post I've been most excited to post....for, like, two months. Haha, oh, me and that delay.

But anyway, in case you're not familiar with this race, let me give you the quick recap:  there's an actual "fancy" race (i.e. automobile endurance event) called the 24 Hours of Le Mans that is held every year in June at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.  This year was the 84th running of the 24 hour race (organized by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest) as well as the third round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.  The reason I use "fancy" (and in quotation marks) this race has a lot of fast cars and money attached to it, and with higher speeds come higher stakes and rewards/prizes.

So, take that same concept but make the cars slower, the money allowed to be put into the cars lower, and then add themes, costumes, and lower stakes :)  Oh, and transport it to New Jersey instead of France.

And there you have the 24 Hours of LeMons! :D

The title is a spoof of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the race is very real.  (And REAL fun to watch and be a part of!)  It's a series of endurance races held on paved road race courses across the United States, Australia, and New Zealand (as of 2016).  Teams compete for up to 24 hours in their own race-prepared cars that cost no more than $500 (for cars in the USA series).  This means the cars themselves can be estimated at no more than $500, but more can be spent on helmets, cooling vests/gadgets, and communication equipment for the team and driver (like walkie talkies, headsets, etc.).

My friend told me a story about a guy who tried to enter a really nice Porsche into 24 Hours Of LeMons one year.  You basically sign a contract saying that once you enter your car in this race, the organizers own it.  So when this guy showed up with a car well over the $500 limit, they took it out into the middle of one of the fields inside the track and took machine guns and other destructive devices to it! lol (And I only laugh bc 1. that guy knew what he was doing when he signed the contract, so obviously he couldn't have been too upset about it, and 2. that sounds f***ing awesome and badass to see!)

So on Friday May 13th  (EEK!) I packed up my car, picked up two friends, and set out for the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ, where we would meet up with four of our friends and the rest of their racing team (as well as some other friends who were also going up there to show support, like girlfriends n such).
The race would start Saturday morning (May 14th) and finish Sunday evening (May 15th).  I was very excited from the moment I got there, despite arriving to find we were basically camping in a swamp - storms had apparently been rolling through all afternoon, and the last one had lingered, leaving the grassy field area all the teams and spectators were camping on a mushy, muddy mess of puddles.
(Our theme: "The Fast and Furiest", complete with animal onesies and car named Fifi!)

But I honestly didn't care!  We walked around the motorsports park the first night, checking out the garages and everyone's set up.  It was really fun to talk to everyone and very cool to see all the different cars.  Some were so amazingly creative.
 (Every car MUST have a roll cage)

Then Saturday morning, it was time for some last minute tune ups, me to be a loser and pose with the car a little (which they apparently used as their application pic for next year already lol), and then roll over to the starting line.
I'm pretty sure words can't express how fun it is to sit out in beautiful weather and watch your friends (as well as 100's of strangers) finally put their hard work to the test in loud, fast cars, all while you drink (or don't- do you) and hang out with more friends.   It was a blast.  (Pun intended there?)
And of course there's always the fun of watching for a wreck, which there were a fair share of in this race.
(Ooooooh but he recovered!)

Luckily my friends only went off the course once and it was in practice (which was held Thursday July 12th before we got there).  Unfortunately though, they did still end up having to be towed away, but for another reason - something blew between the accelerator pedal and the engine (and I'm sure if you know cars, you already know what I'm talking about WAY more than I do, bc apparently it's pretty common in racing) and basically all they could do was wait for the car to roll to a stop and then be towed off the track :(  But not everyone finishes, so they still placed pretty high!
(Dark days for Fifi :( )
To be continued....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wong Gonzalez: Oh my Mexico/Malaysia!

First things first:  there's another new restaurant in Richmond!  Food is always most important!

I'll have to post more detail about everything later, but I just wanted to get the basic facts up here.  A new Mexican/Asian (specifically Malaysian) fusion restaurant has opened down in the heart of Richmond at 412 E. Grace St.

Wong Gonzalez is possibly my new happy place.  Every single thing we ate was amazingly delicous.  So many flavors!  And the happy hour didn't hurt- the night we went, five Tiger beers for $10 (had never had it before, but I certainly didn't mind it).  But more info about their meshing of cultures and flavors can be found on their website,

We started with the Fiesta Bites (maybe not what you think). tempura battered chicken breast wok fried with cilantro, jalapeno, onion, and red pepper for $7.

Then as my entree I got the spicy chorizo fried rice with bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, edamame, bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes, avocado pico, cilantro, and egg.  Aaaaaall for $9.
I also did something I never do when trying to get pics of a new place - I tried to covert.  Stealth, if you will.  And the result, is this one and only "picture" of the inside of Wong Gonzalez:
Oh, but I got this great pic of the bathroom wall:
No joke.
....does that make up for it? haha

Wong Gonzalez is closed Mondays, but open for business the rest of the week at 4:00 p.m.  They close at midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 2:00 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 p.m. Sundays.

Reservations, menus, and general info can all be found at the same link here! Or by calling 804.788.9000.