Jun 262008

Today I’m out at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, MI for their big press-only Ride & Drive event. I’d never been out here before and it’s pretty damn impressive. I meant to bring the camera, but totally forgot in the rush to get packed last night and drive to the hotel. roadster_guy joined me shortly after I arrived at the hotel, and I left him snoozing away this morning, since I had to meet the others at 5:30, and he’s not scheduled til 8.

The proving grounds themselves are HUUUUGE; I expected maybe just a large test track and a garage, but no. This place covers what seems to be hundreds, if not thousands, of acres and mostly resembles huge tracts of farmland and trees, just like the surrounding area. Various types of roads run everywhere, and the shuttle bus to the main tent crossed over a four-lane highway that took me a few seconds to realize was also part of the proving grounds, and not actually a public highway. It’s very peaceful out here, at least until the journalists (including roadster_guy) arrive. All the rolling fields and stands of trees are covered in a heavy mist, and the isolation makes it very quiet.

The main tent is an enormous steel-framed affair with seating for over 350 people. The restroom trailer looks like a refrigerated truck on the outside, but like the bathroom of an expensive hotel on the inside: faux granite, dark wood, two flushless urinals, and two fully enclosed stalls with their own doors. I’m parked in one corner at the IT table, where there are ten laptops and two printers set up for journalist use. In theory I’m here to make sure everyone can get access to the internet but, since I already made and tested the changes necessary, my day will be spent catching up on some work and surfing.

Zingerman’s is catering the event, and there are endless supplies of all kinds of things I shouldn’t be eating. I’ve already been seduced by a chocolate croissant, and I’ll try real hard to restrain myself throughout the day, but it’s free Zingerman’s. *swoon* I intended to get up early enough to do cardio, shower, and change in time to be in the lobby at 5:30am, but just couldn’t make it. Mungo needs sleep.

And there are cars, and more cars, and MORE cars, and trucks. Entire rows of them lined up for various press types to be impressed by and drive around. Rumor has it that even the lowly IT hacks will get to do some test driving, but Aaron already promised to take me along at some point if I can’t.

Supposedly this will be over at 2, and we’ll be out of here around 3, after which I’m off until Monday because I worked (ha!) four 10s this week due to the summer hours program at work. Unfortunately I’m on call starting tomorrow at 5pm, but I’m not complaining.

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