Sunday, July 30, 2006

I havn't posted in a while so I thought I'd put up a post to somewhat cap the experience. I've had the car now just over a month. The redelivery took a while but in the end it was all worth it. I've had a chance to do some driving events with the local BMW Car Club chapter and the car is just fantastic. Anyone who's thinking about buying a BMW has got to put some thought into doing a European delivery.

Freude am Fahren

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Well, I've been impatiently waiting on my car to arrive and tracking it as it goes. It's on the Hojin which is operated by the NYK Line. With some info I got from I've been using AISlive to track the ship. It's actually kind of fun to see where it goes. The first picture is of the ship while it was in the Dover Strait between England and France from AISLive. After it left the strait there was no way to track it till it got to the Panama Canal. The next pictures are from the Panama Canal web cam. The first is of the ship going under the Centennial Bridge in the Canal and the last picture is of the ship in the Miraflores Lock at the Pacific side of the Canal. Next stop California!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I finally got the pictures off the BMW site. Unfortunately they kind of made these wierd collages out of them instead of just putting up the picture by itself. I guess it's not all bad though.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Just thought I'd mention it as I just noticed myself, the blog doesn't keep all the entries on the main page so to see the older entries from the beginning of my trip you have to go to the archive on the bottom of the right hand navigation bar. I'll be working on cleaning up my pictures and choosing the better ones this week.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I thought it would be cool for a last post before getting home to post from 34000 ft. Give Connexion by Boeing a try.
Well, it's been a great trip and I've had a ton of fun. The grand prix was amazing. The only way I can describe it is as a spectacle. The sheer numbers of fans, the camping areas, It really was cool. I ended up sitting by a couple guys from the UK on one side, A guy a couple years younger than me from Canada who was backpacking through europe and there were 3 guys behind me from Seattle. Havn't been around that many english speakers since I left the states.
The only bad thing that's happened on the trip really, happened today. I forgot my MP3 player in the seat pocket of the short flight from Munich to Copenhagen. I remembered before I boarded the second plane but when they went back to look for it they couldn't find it so they told me to call the police's lost and found to see if it got sent there. I'll have to try to call them once I get home. There wasn't anything irreplaceable on it as I have copies of everything on my home computer but it still sucks. I guess these things happen though and I can still hope that the police have it and I can get it sent to me or someting.
I took a couple pictures out the window so I'll postone of those but I'm going to wait to post the others till I get home. I put it up full size (Edit: just noticed blogger resizes pics if they're too big). Greenland's pretty white huh?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm posting Thursday Friday and Saturday together as I just got internet access.
Not too much to mention today. I missed the Mini Challenge race at the start of the day because there was quite a bit of traffic. It's been getting worse and worse each day so I'm definitely going to have to make an effort to show up early Sunday for the race. I bet it'll be a mad house.
The third F1 practice wasn't much different than the other two except it was a bit more busy. Porsche Supercup Qualifying was next followed by F1 Qualifying. It's amazing how much faster the F1 cars go. You can't get a good feel for it until you watch both go around the same track back to back.
The GP2 cars had their first race after the F1 Qualifying. It was a pretty exciting race and there was a pretty decent amount of passing which made it even better.
The drive home was equally slow as the drive to the track and people seemed especially impatient.
I may or may not get a chance to post again before I get back to the states so I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did my vacation. After I get a chance to go through my pictures a bit more I'll put some up and I'll also try and host the videos somewhere so you can watch those also.

Thursday night had a few events. I showed up a bit late for the pit lane walk and the bus tours of the GP track but I got to watch a bunch of people take rides in "taxi's" around the GP track. They had nice cars from each F1 team's company and they were driven by the GP drivers, no Ferrari though. BMW had the Ring-Taxi's, Mercedes brought SLK 65's (I think, I'm up on my Mercedes models) Audi brought RS6's, Honda had 2 Race preped S2000's and Toyota brought a WRC Celica. I think there were about 14 cars total. I think I could have gotten a ride but I found out too late that there was a line. I thought they had some kind of lottery to pick people to go. Oh well.
Friday went well also. Parking was a bit of a pain but after I asked a couple of the parking attendents and found a lot that was open it was only a matter of a little walk to the track. I sat through part of the GP2 practice and all of the first F1 practice.
I was amazed how loud the cars were. I brought earplugs but I thought I wouldn't need them. When I could hear the GP2 cars from where I parked, a 10 min walk from the track I realized I'd need them. The F1 cars were even louder.
After the F1 practice I went to the BMW Sauber F1 Theme Park. If any of you get a chance to go it's VERY worth it. As you arrive they require either a ticket for the race or a BMW key (I think) for entrance. After you got inside they had "Umbrella Girls" putting necklace, with a card on it, on people and handing them earplugs.
If you havn't seen the pictures of the park it's shaped like an oval with a dogbone shaped track in the middle. The entire park is about 100 yards long so the track isn't that big. There are "garages" all around the outside facing the middle with exhibits in each. The first was an exhibition of F1 technology. They had a set of wheels you could pick up to see how light they were compared to a normal set of high performance car wheels. Same diameter, the F1 wheels were about 2 inches wider and the whole wheel weighted about a third as much. THey had quite a few different parts out of the car. The next booth had some huge helmets set up with seats for 3 inside and a short video to watch. The next was a quiz station with about 3 computers set up that had F1 trivia.
The next part was very cool. They had one of the F1 cars and a couple "Umbrella Girls" posing with the car and with people next to the car. The cool part was that before you entered they put a small, bout an inch in diameter, multi-colored circle sticker on your card on the necklace. The camera that the photographer here, and one walking around the park had were both wireless and sent their pictures back to a main server. A piece of optical recognition software looked at the pictures and used the circle sticker to match the sticker to a number on your card so you can go to the BMW-Sauber website and download your pictures. The roaming photographer was taking pictures of people all over while they were taking part in the exhibits and such. The next garage had 3 of the BMW race cars, Formula BMW, M3 GTR, and race spec Z4 Coupe. A cafe and interview area were next but I didn't stop at either, nothing interesting going on.
The last two garages had a pitstop challenge where 4 groups of 2 people would race each other changing a tire and two F1 car mockups set up as simulators. There wasn't any motion though, just surround sound, steering wheel, pedals and a big plasma screen.
While I was there they had two different driving exhibitions. The first was a Formula BMW driver who came out and did a few donuts in a Formula BMW car and then later Martin Brundil (sp?) drove on of the F1 cars and did the same stuff. It looked like he hadn't driven the track before though because he was a bit tentative, though I can't really blame him. Each end of the track was about 3-3.5 cars lengths wide and I wouldn't want to put an F1 car worth that much into the armco, especially with all those people around.
As of writing this I don't have the pictures downloaded from BMW yet but I'll see what I can do. I really hope they turned out well.
Afterwards I caught the second half of the Formula 1 second practice session. I sat in the Mercedes Stands for GP2 qualifying which was next. Nice view from the expensive seats. I went down to my seat in stand number 8 for the Porsche Supercup practice, and I do mean down. You really don't get a sense of the elevation change when you watch on TV. I think it'll be a great seat for the race Sunday. Before I left the track I wandered through some of the team booths again and got a bit to eat.
Sorry this message was so long but it was a busy day and there was a lot to write about. I probably even forgot something but I'll probably remember later. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Met up with Greg Tuesday night and we met three of his friends for dinner at a nice Thai restaraunt. I got a brief tour of Hamburg as we walked back from the restaraunt to where my car was parked by his work. Got a few suggestions for places to see and things to do for today as well.
As I was up rather late in the night I got started in the morning equally late. Everyone else had already left so after getting ready I headed down to the waterfront to take a boat tour of the harbor. It seemed like a good suggestion as so much of hamburg revolves around shipping and trade. I took quite a few pictures from the boat but unfortunately the glass added reflections to many of them and others had window sills or other obstructions in the way of getting a better picture so only very few turned out decent. The rest give you an idea what I was looking at, but are all in all pretty bad pictures. The tour was both in english and in german although the speakers were a bit quiet for all the ambient noise. Still though, I think I got most the main points. Got to see one of the Wallenius Wilhelm ships in dry-dock which was pretty impressive. There was also a huge container ship in dry-dock next to it getting some repairs done. We passed several old sailing ships and got to go through one of the many flood locks in the harbor.
After the boat tour I walked up to St. Michaels church to take a quick look and a couple pictures. I've seen quite a few churches this trip though and decided I didn't really need to go inside. The Koln Dom was enough for one leg of my trip.
I took a quick subway ride to the Rathaus(city hall) to look around a bit there as well. It's a nice looking building but nothing spectacular. It was worth a look though.
For most of the rest of the day I ended up wandering around Hamburg, looking at a few shops and doing a bit of people watching. I found a nice little place to get some food and took it to the square in front of the Rathaus to eat. There was street performer there singing Opera and was pretty decent for a street performer. I kind of ran out of things to do near the end of the day so I spent a bit more time lounging around but I can't say it was all bad. I'll have to wait till everyone gets home so I can see what's planned for tonight.
By the way, it's amazing how much construction is going on around his appartment. I count 12 cranes within a 1 block radius of their apartment.
I'm heading back to Bonn tomorrow to check back into the hotel and hopefully check out the BMW F1 exhibit at the track. I'll have to check the F1 site again to be sure the exhibit will be open Thursday.
Here are the pictures from Tuesday that I promised. Mostly of the Koln Dom, that and a cool fountain in front of the Dom. More pictures and journal to come. I also added the picture of the odometer as I passed break-in.