Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Partners of mountain bikers, this trip’s for you

April 29, 2014

This is one of those “why didn’t people think of this before?” ideas.

Sacred Rides, a Canadian-based outfitter known for its serious singletrack mountain bike tours for experienced riders, has launched a line of Bring-Your-Partner Rides that mountain bikers and their non-biking companions can enjoy together.

 If I were with a mountain-biking partner, I’d love this. The destinations are great and I like outdoors activities and road riding, so I think I’d like to come along, thank you!

The new partner trips include hiking, yoga, hot springs, spa time and introductory mountain bike lessons for the companion, while the mountain biker will enjoy single-track cross-country riding on moderate to challenging terrain in Fernie, at Nipika Mountain Resort and Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country. Activities for couples to do together include hikes, yoga (pictured here) and paddling on the Kootenay River. More locations are expected to be added to the partner program, in North America and beyond.

Personally, I‘ll skip the mountain-bike lessons. Been there, bruised that. I’m sticking to the asphalt, because nothing bad can happen there. (Kidding!)

Sacred Rides owner Mike Brcic told me, when I first contacted him for my little New York Times item, that idea for the trips came from conversations with more than 100 clients, the majority of them male.

“Most of them are longtime mountain bikers with high incomes, but who have partners that don’t mountain bike,” he said. “With limited vacation time, it’s hard for them to get away on the mountain bike trips they dream of doing. So being able to bring their non-mountain-biking partner along is a win-win for everyone.”

Makes sense to me, Mike. All in all, though, I’m just grateful that my partner and I love doing the same things. Makes life easier!


Polar plunges will warm your heart

January 5, 2013

I seriously cannot imagine taking a “polar plunge.” Heck, I’m sitting here with cold hands and feet in my office as I type this. But I do love the concept, which is why I wrote this roundup of plunges for the Boston Globe’s travel section. Most take place on New Year’s Day, but one hasn’t happened yet — which means there is still time for you to sign up! Or, you can ready yourself for Jan. 1, 2014! Here’s the list:

MSP Polar Bear Plunge, Annapolis, MD (photo Steve Ruark)

MSP Polar Bear Plunge, Annapolis, MD (photo Steve Ruark)


The largest plunge in the country, hosted by the Maryland State Police as a fund-raiser for Special Olympics Maryland, is held later in January, this year on the 26th. In 2012, some 11,000 plungers jumped into the Chesapeake Bay, raising $2.6 million.


The Coney Island Polar Bear Club, founded in 1903, these days attracts about 1,500 participants who kick off the New Year with a daring dip in the Atlantic Ocean.


While polar bear plunges are a New Year’s Day tradition all across Canada, the Courage event on the shore of Lake Ontario has become the country’s biggest, with more than 700 dippers and thousands of onlookers. To date, nearly $1 million has been raised to support clean water projects through World Vision Canada.

Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year's Dive) Scheveningen in 2010 (photo Alexander Fritze)

Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year’s Dive), Scheveningen in 2010 (photo Alexander Fritze)


As in Canada, New Year’s Day dips are held in dozens of communities across the Netherlands. The largest is in Scheveningen, a beach resort town near The Hague, where about 10,000 dive into the North Sea, many wearing sponsor Unox’s orange hats and gloves.


In our backyard, upward of 700 swimmers jump into the frigid waters of Boston Harbor for the annual Jan. 1 plunge from the Curley Community Center. The Brownies, who started the event in 1904, are so named for their year-round tans.

Rocky Mountain high (tea)

February 6, 2011

This was first published April 4, 2010, in my Boston Globe column “Where they Went.” I love the trip’s multigenerationalness (is that a word?).

From left, grandparents John and Cathy Looney, daughter Delaney, Christine Hennigan, and son Riley at Lake Louise

WHO: Chris Hennigan, 40, with her children, Delaney, 8, and Riley, 10, all of Woburn, and her parents, Cathy, 68, and John Looney, 69, of Winchester.

WHERE: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

WHEN: Nine days in July and August.

WHY: To take the Appalachian Mountain Club trip “Family Hikes in the Canadian Rockies.’’

WOW FACTOR: Chris Hennigan wanted her children to enjoy hiking as much as she does. “I thought I’d wow them with the Canadian Rockies,’’ she said. “I’ve been hiking since I was 2; my dad used to put me in his backpack. I hiked until I was about 18 and stopped until I was in my mid-30s. The AMC was trying out these family trips, so I asked my parents to go along, too. Hiking isn’t really my mom’s thing, but she was excited because the kids were going.’’

Three Generations, Delaney, Christine, Riley and Cathy, at the bottom of the falls fed by the Daly Glacier

ALL AGES: The group of 25 hikers, ages 2 to 81, including four leaders, met in Calgary and traveled in three minivans. They stayed in private rooms at two hostels for four nights each, the Banff Alpine Centre and then Lake Louise Alpine Centre, both run by Hostelling International. Several children were on the trip. “It was a good mix,’’ Hennigan said. “The older ones could look out for the little ones and motivate them. They had a blast.’’

MINOR CHANGES: Each day three trips of varying levels were offered. “In the original itinerary, the easiest trips were far too difficult for a kid or older person. The first day’s hike was a good six hours and the kids were in tears.’’ The leaders adjusted the schedule, and “after that it was great. We got up later, had a leisurely breakfast, and didn’t feel pressured to keep moving.’’

Christine Hennigan and her daughter Delaney at Bow Lake

WHAT A VIEW: ’’It was unbelievable scenery,’’ she said. “When my kids keep saying, ‘Mom, look at that glacier, look at that cliff,’ you know it’s spectacular. What really got to them was the color of the water, this deep blue green.’’ One day they drove the Icefields Parkway, where visitors can walk on a glacier. “It’s like walking on ice with crunchy snow on top of it.’’

TEA TIME: They knew the final day of hiking, to the Lake Agnes Teahouse above Lake Louise, would be the hardest. “It was switchbacks the entire way up,’’ Hennigan said. “It was a tough climb on everybody. But once we got to the top it was one of the most unbelievable places I’ve ever been. You sit on a porch and have tea and homemade bread with this unbelievable vista. The kids thought it was neatest thing. Before we got back home from Canada, they told me they were already planning to go on the family trip to Colorado next summer.’’

Vancouver’s Olympian totem poles

February 21, 2010

The Olympics have reminded me of one of my biggest travel regrets — not joining Wessel when he went to Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 2004 on business (translation: free digs!).  I was just too gosh-darn busy. He raved then about the assortment of totem poles he saw all over the place, especially in Thunderbird Park in Victoria and in Duncan, City of Totems. Here are a few of his favorites:

Totem poles in Thunderbird Park in downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island

Thunderbird Park is devoted to the poles. Left, Empress Hotel in background.

Totem pole on banks of the Cowichan River in Duncan, BC

Duncan, the City of Totems, is home to over 80 totem poles

Duncan, the City of Totems, is home to over 80 totem poles

Detail of right totem pole in photo above

The roads traveled are two-way streets

April 27, 2009

I wrote the essay below for a special travel section in the April issue of Ode MagazineIt’s on their website as well.  If you don’t know Ode, I suggest you check it out. It’s at a magazine stand near you. (Borders, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, etc. Or better yet, buy a subscription and keep Ode alive.  Its tagline is: For Intelligent Optimists. Hey, that’s me! And I’m guessing you, too.

This farmer in Lombok, Indonesia plows with an ox-plow

Farmer on Lombok Island, Indonesia, plows his fields the traditional way

The Eiffel Tower. Big Ben. The Taj Mahal. Only 20 years ago, these were the notches on the traveler’s money belt, which, incidentally, was stuffed with travelers’ cheques. Today we’ve been there, done that. Affordable airfare and Western wealth (yes, we’re still comparatively wealthy even now, in the midst of the credit crunch) have brought travelers to every corner of the globe. We hop on transcontinental flights armed with our debit cards, functional in cash-dispensing machines from Dubai to Denali.

But simply seeing the sights is no longer enough. We want to stray from those beaten paths, dig deeper, get a read on how the locals live, work and play. This can include eating at a restaurant favored by residents instead of Westerners, participating in an outdoor adventure or visiting sites not found in most guidebooks. In industry jargon, it’s called “experiential travel”-travel we live through instead of look at-and it’s never been more popular. It’s popular because it’s typically cheaper than traditional travel; money is tight but we still want to go on vacation, some of us to faraway places. And it’s popular because we want to tread more lightly during our trips, in terms of our impact on the environment and on the people we visit. We want to give something back.

The desire to experience a different culture through activities and people goes deeper than adding another notch to the money belt, though that plays a role, too. It’s as basic as life. It’s our fellow human beings who transcend us. At the end of the day, we recall the burka-clad woman on the train reciting prayers as much as we do the centuries-old treasures in the museum.

A polar-bear-shaped license plate from Northwest Territories

Diane's much-coveted gift from locals in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada

When I think back to one of my life’s highlights-seeing the northern lights in the Northwest Territories, Canada, during 2002-I also relive the hospitality of the citizens of tiny Fort Smith, who cooked for me, took me dog sledding and gave me a polar-bear-shaped license plate that hangs in my house today. The most lasting impression of my 11-week backpacking trip to Europe in 1982 is my still-enduring friendship with Federico, who lives in Vicenza, Italy. In my home state of North Carolina, as I travel to research a farm-travel guidebook, the farmers stand out as much as their bounties or the sweeping rural landscapes.

Diane (left) met Federico Lauro in the mid 1980s

Diane and Federico Lauro in Vicenza, Italy, in 1986. And, yes, they're still in touch.

My reaction is hardly unique. While I’ve done a fair amount of traveling of my own, I’ve also interviewed hundreds of people over the past eight years for a column I write for The Boston Globe called “Where They Went,”  about other people’s trips. Without fail, these travelers will recount adventures, sights, tastes, but almost always add: “The people were the best part. They were so nice, so warm, so welcoming.” Those people’s stories are the ones they recount to me again and again, especially if they were allowed a look inside a community or a family.

These days, even the most mainstream tour operators include experiential travel on an otherwise-standard tour. For example, in the 2009 Grand Circle Travel land and cruise tour “China and the Yangtze River,” participants will not only visit the Great Wall, Beijing and Hong Kong; they’ll tour a kindergarten or senior center and have a home-hosted lunch. “You’ll see local customs enacted first-hand as your gracious hosts prepare and serve a typical Chinese meal,” the itinerary reads. For the traveler wanting a less-staged version of hospitality and sightseeing, many cities have forms of community-based or locally led tourism, which originates with citizens instead of national or international tour operators.

A local guide prepares a meal for a 2-day hiking trek on Lombok

One of our local guides prepares an Indonesian meal during a hiking trek up Mount Rinjani (12,224 ft.) on Lombok.

Digging deeper also requires that we set aside our demands for a money-back-guaranteed quality and “safe” experience. That can be instructive in itself. I recall a community-based “ecotourism” hiking trek my husband and I chose on the island of Lombok in Indonesia. The guides lit our campfires with the help of splashes of gasoline from the jugs they carried and they littered along the way. I later reported these issues to the organizer, who lived in the capital of Mataram, miles and worlds away. He was extremely apologetic, as he’d been trying to get the villagers to understand tourism basics. On the other hand, I saw the real way of life there. It was worth the trade-off. And I was much happier to donate money to people in the village than to an international travel outfitter.

These school children on Lombok are excited to see two cycling tourists

Schoolchildren in a tiny village on Lombok are excited to see two cycling tourists

After hearing me speak about the virtues of getting off the tour bus, one African safari tour operator told me proudly how at the end of his luxury lodge-hopping trip in Tanzania, he takes his clients into the city of Arusha to visit poor neighborhoods and give trinkets to the local children. “Everyone came away deeply moved,” he said. “The crazy thing was, after seeing all that big game, what I heard from them was it was the most memorable part of the trip.” I suggested he consider moving the outing to the beginning of the tour, so it would be on their minds as they met Tanzanian workers along the way. “Oh no, that would be too much for them,” he said.

Perhaps our challenge as citizens of the world is to decide how much is enough-and then go soak it in. Even if the recession has wiped out a quarter or more of our wealth, we’re still rich by global standards. Experiencing how other people live, whether in Appalachia or Addis Ababa, will make us even richer. And likely them, too.

Nova Scotia: big in beauty and size

February 5, 2009

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Jan. 4, 2009, in the Boston Globe)

I haven’t been to Nova Scotia since my parents took me as a kid. This piece reminded me how it’s time to return, preferably on a bicycle!

Jane Killeen (left) and Robin Killeen at the colorful Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Jane Killeen (standing) and Robin Killeen at Tin Fish restaurant in Lunenburg

WHO: Sisters Jane Killeen, 60, of Lynnfield, Mass. and Robin Killeen, 54, of Kirkwood, Mo.

WHERE: Nova Scotia

WHEN: One week in July

WHY: “Robin and I live halfway across the country from each other so we try to connect once or twice a year,” Jane Killeen said. “We were both on a budget and wanted to stay closer to home, and everybody said Nova Scotia was so beautiful. At first I thought it was going to be pretty small, but we ended up driving 1,100 miles.”

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at The Fish Factory in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Robin (left) and Jane loving the lobster at the Old Fish Factory in Lunenburg

LOBSTER LAND: From Killeen’s home north of Boston they drove to Portland and put her car on “The Cat,” the high-speed ferry to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. From there they drove north to Lunenburg, where Killeen had her “best lobster dinner ever” at the Old Fish Factory Restaurant. “Lunenburg is on a lovely harbor and is a World Heritage Site,” Killeen said.

Robin is ready for bicycle ride in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Robin is geared up for the sisters' bicycle ride to Mahone Bay

PAINFULLY PICTURESQUE: From Lunenburg, they visited nearby Mahone Bay, where Killeen wanted to photograph the town’s row of three historic churches. “Robin is a big cyclist so we decided to rent bikes and ride the 10 miles there,” Killeen said. “Although I quickly got my bike legs going there, the way back was like pushing against concrete. Afterward I learned I was in the wrong gear.”

Jane (left) and Robin kayaking with guides Gordon and Mike Crimp (center) of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

Jane (left) and Robin with kayaking guides Gordon and Mike Crimp of Cape Breton Seacoast Adventures in Ingonish

TO THE CAPE: An all-day drive got them to Ingonish on the lower side of Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail, the highway that hugs the coast. “The trail is a long, hilly, winding road that encircles the national park,” Killeen said. “It’s not as scary as they make it sound, but there were a few white-knuckle moments as we drove in thick fog. Without fog, it’s truly one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The whole time you’re on Cape Breton, you’re on the water. It’s very isolated, very pristine.”

OLD-TIME CHARM: They stayed at the Keltic Lodge Resort, on a cliff overlooking the sea. “It’s from the 1940s and just charming,” Killeen said. “The carpet is plaid and the staff wear kilts. At night there’s wonderful music. You could do things in the day, or just hang out in a lawn chair.” They took a three-hour kayak tour with a guide. “We started in shallow water and glided over oyster and clam beds. At night, it’s an activity just to look at the stars. We didn’t want to leave Cape Breton. On the way home, we were already talking about a return trip.”

Flocking to Florida, and back again

December 30, 2008
Sign at Florida welcome center on I-95

Sign at Florida Welcome Center on I-95

Here come the Canadians – and the New Yorkers, Mainers, and more. While we generally try to avoid traffic, driving to Florida the weekend before Christmas, at the start of North Americans’ migration to warmer climes, put Wessel and me in the thick of things.

Ontario - Yours to discover

These snow birds leave it to others to discover Ontario

The most direct north-to-south route, Interstate 95, was filled with out-of-state cars, most bearing license plates from New York (“The Empire State”),  Ontario (“Yours To Discover”) and  Quebec (“Je Me Souviens”). But we saw a little bit of everything from up the East Coast and over to eastern Midwest. Cars were packed with luggage, packages, toys, kids, and dogs. One pickup, from New York, was towing four jet skis and a canoe.

Dachshunds Roxy (top) and Sabrina took a 12-hour nap in Diane's lap

Dachshunds Roxy (top) and Sabrina took a 12-hour nap on Diane's lap

We had a full car as well – two humans, two wiener dogs, two bicycles and a load o’ stuff in a two-door Honda Civic. Me being the alpha (bitch?), Roxy and Sabrina feel the need to be by my side at all times, so driving positions are aligned to accommodate loving on them. (Some would say this is wrong, but if loving them is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)

I often make the 12-hour trek from North Carolina alone, so having Wessel along to share the driving was a treat. We stopped at many rest areas, and, as always, Florida’s was the best, with its free orange and grapefruit juice.

Santa had some dowtime on the beach after Christmas

Santa had some downtime on the beach after Christmas

Many of the retired Canucks will be staying in the Sunshine State through early spring, and who can blame them? Last week, while it was frigid and snowy in the north, we were jogging along Indian Rocks Beach, bicycling, kayaking with manatees, watching nightly sunsets, and feeling the warm ocean breeze.

Me, I’ll be heading back to North Carolina on New Year’s Eve, and I’m sure I won’t be alone on the road. I will be alone in the car, however. Wessel flew home yesterday so he could hurry back to the office, whereas my office stays with me. Sometimes I use the great guidebook “Drive I-95” by Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner , which leads me to fascinating diversions along the way, but Wednesday it will be a straight-through trip so I can settle in at home before the ball drops. See you on the road.

Capturing the spirit of the Wild West

November 28, 2008

Just before posting this year-old (but wonderful!) Where they Went column, Wessel looked up the traveling sisters online. We were shocked and saddened to see that Cynthia Soroos, the sister I interviewed, died on Sept. 29, 2008. From speaking with her and reading comments posted to a remembrance site, it’s clear to see that Cynthia led a full life and inspired others. May her loved ones find peace.

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Nov. 18, 2007, in the Boston Globe)

This horseback trip is about as close to the American Wild West as you can get — except it was in Canada. While this was published in 2007 BB (before my blog), it’s a classic and one of my all-time favorites.

Cynthia Soroos rides a horse in the Yukon territory

Cynthia Soroos atop her trusty steed during camping trip in Yukon Territory

WHO: Cynthia Soroos, 32, of Cambridge, Mass., and her sister Sarah Soroos, 31, of Seattle.

WHERE: Yukon Territory, Canada.

WHEN: Two weeks in July.

WHY: “We usually go on a trip every year,” Cynthia Soroos said. “We like to do something different and some sort of outdoors or athletic activity. Sometimes you need to be scared and you need adventure.” The year before, they had been on a rafting and hiking trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “This one was my idea. I found it by Googling around. I starting seeing horseback trips, then saw one in the Yukon. There’s where we have to go, I thought. It seemed so remote.”

Cynthia (left) and sister Sarah Soroos on top of a mountain in the Yukon Territory

Cynthia (left) and sister Sarah Soroos on top of a mountain in the Yukon Territory

JUMPING IN: Although neither sister had done much horseback riding, they chose the 13-day trip with Northern Wildlife Safaris over the six-day option. “My thought was, if we took the shorter one, by the time we figured it all out, we’d be finished,” Soroos said. “And the longer one allowed us to take days off. It’s a small outfitter, and we told them we didn’t have a lot of riding experience, but we’re OK with camping, and that was fine.”

Horses Atlan and Arkell are patiently waiting outside the tent.

Horses Atlan and Arkell are patiently waiting outside the tent.

PRIVATE TOUR: “We lucked out that there could have been three other people, but it was just us and the guide,” she said. With three saddle horses, two pack horses, and a dog, they traveled about 18 miles a day over mountain ranges between Whitehorse, the territory’s capital and largest city, and Kluane National Park. “It was very overwhelming in the beginning,” Soroos said. “We were both a little hesitant about what we were getting ourselves into.”

OPEN LAND: “Sometimes there were no trails; we’d go through rivers and bogs, and up and over mountains. Sometimes the grade was really steep and you’re just holding on for dear life.” Soroos wasn’t worried about grizzly bears because “when you have a big enough herd size, the grizzlies won’t attack, and we were a herd,” she said. “We saw some, but they were pretty far away.” They also saw a wolf, two foxes, caribou, and “lots and lots of Dall sheep. We were in mostly open space surrounded by rocky peaks. It was really quite spectacular.”

Horse Cody liked to nuzzle the tent. Throwing grass at him was effective for shooing him away, but he still managed to tear it.

Horse Cody liked to nuzzle the tent. The women would shoo him away, but he still managed to tear it.

RIDE, EAT, SLEEP: The trio would ride, usually at a brisk walking pace, about four or five hours a day before pitching tents for the evening. The women weren’t as sore as they’d expected to be. “Our shoulders hurt, but it was nothing compared to what everyone said it would be,” Soroos said. “We became much better riders by the end.” They would camp and cook their meals over an open fire. The meals started out fresh and went to dried and canned by the end of the trip. “Chris, the guide and owner, knew spots for camping, flat spots that had a water supply and grass for the horses.”

TRUE WILDERNESS: “It didn’t get dark until about 11, and the sunsets, the angle of the sun, were really beautiful. It was just golden and reflected off all the mountains,” Soroos said. “It was unnervingly quiet. It made you feel like you were finally away, away, away. There were no traces of people. That was the coolest.”

All cycling paths lead to Lofoten

June 19, 2008

We met two Canadian touring cyclists at the amazingly beautiful and filled-with-info tourist information center in Bergen. (Much bigger and better than Oslo’s, suprisingly.) Like all Canadians do, it seems, they were sporting a maple-leaf flag.

Barb and Janne“Are you really Canadian or Americans posing as Canadians?” I asked Janne. “I’m really Canadian, eh,” he answered in that unmistakable accent. Janne’s family is Finnish and he has dual citizenship. He and his girlfriend, Barb, who live in Calgary, are on a five-week holiday, cycling in Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Like us, they’re headed for Lofoten, so perhaps we’ll see them there. They’re taking three night trains to get there, while we, on a much-shorter holiday, are flying. (By the time you read this time-released blog entry, we should be on Lofoten, without email, freezing and enjoying the amazing beauty that the chain of islands above the Arctic Circle has to offer under the light of the Midnight Sun. That was a long sentence, wasn’t it?)

Interestingly, Janne told me, they couldn’t put their bikes on trains or buses in Sweden and had to box them up like freight and “ship” them on the same train they were on. For such a forward-thinking country, that is pathetic.

Lancome pink bikeIn other cycling news, we spied a pink Lancôme bike in Bergen. Funny, I thought the French cosmetics company made only makeup. Must have been for a promotion. If they gave away pink bikes instead of little “makeup gift bags” with a $50 purchase, I’d be first in line to buy a tube of overpriced lipstick. I’d love to post a photo of the bike on a website I found featuring only pink bicycles, but now I can’t locate it. Perhaps a loyal reader can. My friend Alice is good at that. Al, you there?

4.5 Gs of ‘fun’ at Canada Olympic Park

March 5, 2008

I spent several hours recently at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary for a Globe story. It’s only 15 minutes from downtown, and so close to the highway that you can see skiers while you’re driving by. Ski jumping in Canada Olympic ParkI’m sure the park was in the boonies when it was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, but now the suburbs have reached it. Adrenalin junkies can get their fix in all seasons here. In the winter: skiing, snowboarding (including a pipeline for those who dare), and bobsleigh rides that hit 4.5 Gs. In the summer there’s  luge rides and major mountain biking. Or how about, year-round, a zip line that reaches speed of up to 75 mph (= 120 km/h)? To all this I have to say: yuck.

Diane sits in bobsleighBeing a weenie, I took the audio tour. The audio tracks were fantastic, using interviews and sound effects to really put you in the athletes’ minds and settings. Unfortunately the equipment and technology had many failings, but the park is working to improve it. I did get to sit in a bobsleigh (woo-hoo!), watch ski jumpers, and also interviewed several bobsleigh riders for my article. 

Here’s what one of them, Calgarian Rob Ingram, said: “It starts out like a fast roller coaster then progresses to a hurtling freight train, and sounds like one too. It was deafening as we reached terminal speed (120 km/h). The bumps make focusing difficult and the 4.5 G force in the corners pushes you down in your seat and slams your head against the sled.”


Bobsleighing in Canada Olympic ParkThen, and this cracks me up, Rob goes on to say: “It was very fun, especially the Kreisel Corner, the 270-degree corner (the most G-force). I ended up with short-term stiffness in my neck and shoulders from the pounding.”

Excuse me, Rob. It was “very fun”? Are you insane? Well, he did used to drag race, so he clearly has the adrenalin gene. Rob was there for his 53rd birthday. Happy Birthday, eh?