We are a very competitive family and when I laid out our vacation grid of things to do during our Spring Break Vacation to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama I picked a couple that would test some specials skills. Of course, I picked games that I thought that I had a definite advantage due to years of experience, weight and strength, and of course strategic planning.
With that in mind I picked go kart racing as our first competitive contest. Little did my family know that as a kid I owned 3 go karts, two of which I built from scratch, and we would race every weekend. So I was feeling pretty confident as we pulled into The Track in Gulf Shores and I must admit I think I was looking pretty good in my tight (maybe a little too tight for my big belly) wind resistant racing suit with a couple sponsor patches on the sleeve, my ski gloves (I couldn't find my driving gloves), and my 6th grade go kart helmet - ok, it was also tight but nobody had ever seen anything quite like it!. I set the bets - adults would need to buy the winner a margarita and the slowest kid would need to take out the trash for the rest of the week. And if any kid won, the adults had to buy ice cream and take out the trash.
The Track is home to "Wild Woody" which is a three–tiered spiraling go kart and roller coaster hybrid with fast single and double seat go karts and the "Super Track" is a smaller easier track that allows younger and shorter kids to drive their own kart. We headed to the Wild Woody and since 4 of the 5 grand kids were too young or too short to drive I quickly picked my youngest and lightest granddaughter (Renner) to ride with me. After some coaching, we immediately ran to the head of the line so we could get the lead double go kart which I figured was the fastest because it was in the first position!
And when we got the green light we shot out of the gate like a lightning bolt - I wasn't sure but I thought I heard a couple protests about us leaving before the attendant said "go." We zoomed up the first hill and skidded around a couple corners like we were doing 70 miles an hour. My granddaughter's job was to look back and keep track of our competition but she quickly decided it was more fun to just sit there and enjoy the ride - how can I win with that attitude from a 5 year old. She should have been in a tuck-and-roll position with her jacket zipped up and her hair tied in an aerodynamic style and leaning into the corners and watching for our competition.
I was hitting the corners perfectly and I never touched the brakes just like in the old days, so I figured we were probably a lap ahead of the rest of the family when all of a sudden we took a huge hit from the rear. I asked Renner to see who did that and she said Hudson (our 11 year old grandson) was ramming us and her dad and brother and grandma were right behind us. And everybody was yelling "get out of the way slow poke!" Now Renner is finally in the race - "hurry up, go faster, lean into the corners and cut them closer!" We took several bumps from behind, ran the wife into the curb (she's still mad at me), almost spun out thanks to a nasty tap from my grandson, and kept the pedal to the metal as we zoomed up and down this fun roller coaster track with lots of twists and turns. I held them off for three more laps until my Dallas daughter and her son, Cole, Hudson, and some stranger finally passed us on the next to the last lap. It was a fun competitive race on a roller coaster track with fast cars, but my head hurt - I'm not sure if it was the bumping from behind or that my old helmet was too tight. Renner and I high fived the other drivers and under my breath I swore I would take them down on the other go kart track.
With my head hung low we walked over to the miniature golf course where I knew I could out putt all of these young whippersnappers. They made me use a pink ball because of my loss on the track and they said I wasn't allowed to use my golf glove - luckly they didn't notice I was wearing my golf shoes. First couple holes didn't go my way (the greens were a little too fast for me) but I was holding my own. Two of the grandkids got a hole-in-one before the 10th hole and one grandson got two - luck and I should do better on the back nine. On hole 13 (a dog leg left along a stream) I bounced through the trap, over the rail and into the stream that runs through the course. I was a little embarrassed about having to go back to the office and ask for another pink ball! Bottom line, I lost again and said I'd buy at the 19th hole. It's a nice 18 hole course, just not one that fits my putting stroke. Now I'm in 4th place for the overall competition but have a chance to redeem myself on the next go kart track.
On the smaller track, I got off to a fast start in a cart by myself because all but two of the grandkids could race the carts by themselves. For two turns I was in the lead but suddenly the few hairs on my head flew forward as the grandsons blew by me - one on each side with a big grin on their faces. I almost threw them the bird but didn't want to take my hands off the steering wheel and didn't think it was appropriate for someone my age to flip the bird to a 8 and 11 year old. Maybe if their dad passes me I'll do it! 4th place again! Now I'm ready for a margarita followed by an ice cream cone
We spent a couple more hours watching the youngest grandkids drive on the kiddie and rookie kart track, knock each other around on the blaster boats with water cannons, ride the carousel and Rio Grande Train, and play some of the games in the arcade. Thank gosh the Skycoaster was closed because I don't think I would have been as brave as the grandkids and I would hate to have them see me shaking in line and screaming on the ride.. The Sykcoaster is a free fall from up to 110 feet at speeds of up to 70 miles and hour. A fun but humiliating day at The Track so I suggested we head to the closest beach bar for drinks.
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