Survival Guide for Formula 1 at Circuit of the Americas

Are you planning on attending the Formula One Race event in Austin, Texas?  This year the weekend event takes place October 20-22 and it again will prove to be filled with fun and excitement.  In fact this year Circuit of the Americas has some fun new activities for both kids and adults.

In order to maximize your enjoyment at Formula One, here is a list of 11 things you should consider bringing with you, and 5 things you should just leave at home or in your hotel room.   I’ve also included other TIPS for the weekend!  See you there!

What Should I Bring?

  1. An empty or unopened water bottle.  Anything else will NOT be allowed by staff at the gates.  The empty water bottle can be filled at the Water Stations located thoughout the facilty.
  2. Wear closed toe or athletic shoes.  Circuit of the Americas, or COTA is almost 3.4 miles of circuit.  Your parking spot may not be close to the gates so you will need to walk.  Some events are spaced far apart and although there are shuttles, those only take you from one gate to the next.
  3. Bring a hat, cap, or visor and a pair of sunglasses.  Texas is hot and almost always bright and sunny!  All of the Grandstands and Lawn Areas are in the sun.  Only the Main Grandstand will provide some shade.
  4. Do not forget your SUNBLOCK!  It is best to lather it on 30 minutes before arriving at the gates.  I’ve seen many people red as a tomato by the end of the first day!
  5. Mornings may be cooler and it would be smart to not only watch the weather the night before, but also bringing a light jacket will help keep the cool morning air at bay.
  6. A few years ago we had one of our worst rain events in the history of COTA.  It rained just about every single day that year.  That should not happen again; however, I do recommend a foldable poncho, just in case of an unexpected rain.
  7. Dressing in layers will help keep you comfortable all day.
  8. Most people will bring their cell phones, but I’ve heard many say that they cannot get service: therefore, I recommend you bring a set of good old-fashioned Walkie-Talkies with a good range.  This is especially helpful if you and your family plan on going in diferent directions while at COTA.
  9. One of the most beneficial thing you can bring is a clear pocket lanyard.  Some ticket holders will get theirs with their ticket, but most will not.  Ushers will expect to check your ticket just about everywhere you go.  Having the ticket in the clear pocket will be easy for you to keep up with and  eliminate the need to dig into your pockets to search for the ticket every time you go to your seat!
  10.  Bring a light-weight lawn chair.  If you are a GA (general admission) ticket holder you will be allowed to sit anywhere there a lawn space availble.  It’s a great option since you can always get up move to another Turn when you get tired of the one you’ve been watching.
  11. A backpack or a crossbody bag that will hold everyone’s things is better than bringing many small bags and purses.  All bags will be searched so having just one bag will help at entry also.
This gentleman is there every year! Look for him!

What Should I Leave At Home?

  1. Purses that are heavy or too fancy
  2.  Large umbrellas are not allowed in the Grandstands because they obstruct the view of those behind you.  See #3 above.
  3. Shoes with heels or platform shoes.  Although they are fashionable, they are not functional for this event.  See #2 above.
  4. Bags filled with snack foods or drinks are NOT allowed inside the facitily.  You will be asked to leave them at the gate or to return them to your vehicle (I promise you will not want to have to do that).  The only drink allowed is water.  See # 1 above.
  5. Ice chests are also not allowed.  🏁See TIPS below.
The COTA Tower

Other TIPS?

  1. Consider leaving an ice chest filled with ice, drinks and snacks in your car.  Based on where you are parked you can take a shuttle back to your vehicle for a lunch break.
  2. Food prices range anywhere from $8 to $15.  Drinks range from $5 (soda) to $16 (alchoholic)
  3. Many people make most of their souvenier purchases on Friday, leaving Saturday and Sunday open to just view the qualifying races and enjoy the activities.
  4. Be sure to pick up a daily event schedule at the Guest Services tent near the gates.  This will help you plan out your day’s events.
  5. Autograph sessions fill up FAST!  Be sure to get in line early if you want an autograph from your favorite driver.
  6. The big concerts–Stevie Wonder and Justin Timberlake will be on the Big Stage.  Unless you have a specific ticket all others will be on a first come first serve basis.  Be sure to get in line early.

Goodbye! Montreal–Hello! Toronto

It almost hurts to say goodbye to this lovely city.  Montreal has introduced us to friendly people, delicious foods, breathtaking sights, and plenty of cultural experiences.  We will miss you Montreal…thank you for the wonderful memories!

Sadly, it is time for us to continue on our journey.  We leave our lovely hotel, have our last espresso, and get on the cab to our next train!

Prior to leaving Montreal, we stopped for dinner at a place which reminded us so much of HOME!

Back at the Montreal Union Station, we find the line for boarding–luckily only a short wait.  The train to Toronto is of significantly better quality than our previous VIA Rail train, but still a bit lacking compared to Amtrak in the US.  The seats on this train were reveresed so I was forced to sit facing the opposite direction as we traveled.  This always makes me a bit dizzy so I had to keep the curtain closed most of the ride.  This explains the lack of pictures of the countryside.

Toronto is immensly different from Montreal.  It is a typical big city with its tall, shiny buildings, lots of traffic, lights, billboards, and your everyday big city stores.  We checked into our hotel The One King West Hotel, settled in and headed out to see some of the tourist sights nearby.

Downtown Toronto, Ontario

My iPhone Challenge For August

I’m extremely excited to have taken on the August photo challenge presented by #fatmumslimphotooftheday
This challenge has given me another opportunity to practice my iPhone-photography skills.  All Photos were taken with the iPhone 7Plus and edited using the ReTouch app which I reviewed in a previous post.  You can find it here.
She has challenged us to take a photo each day in August, reflecting our representation of the letter of the alphabet.  Find the list here.
I’ve chosen to use words/names of places and things unique to Austin and Central Texas.  If you have ideas for the rest of the letters—please share!

I began August 1 with the letter A


August 2—letter B


August 3—letter C


August 4—letter D


And today’s letter is E……

drumroll, please…..


If you’d like to see the pics I post each day, you can follow me on Instagram.   Just CLICK HERE!

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears—On A Hillside In Austin, Tx

It’s always a fun adventure when you think of something to do at the last minute and it ends up being an unexpected surprise!
My cousins Sylvia and Melinda visited Austin to attend 2 different workshops.  As we were sitting at home one afternoon trying to think of something to do, the word “theater” was mentioned.  This reminded me that there was a performance of the Wizard of Oz scheduled at our local Zilker Hillside Theatre.  All we needed was a blanket to sit on and off we went!
As we approached the theater area, the colorful blankets, umbrellas, and chairs appeared.  It was as if we had walked into a box of bright colors.  It was beautiful!
The performance was excellent!  It followed the original, except with a few lines here and there which added some humor.  It is Austin, after all—keeping it weird is what we do!
It was a fun time!
Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers!


Surprise Meeting!

Ever wonder how many relatives you have yet to meet?  Yes, we all remember all the good times we had with our cousins when we were younger.  But at some time, those same cousins had their own children, who are now grown and on their own.  Unfortunately, due to the mobile society we live in, we sometimes never get to meet those 2nd cousins.
 I recently had the chance to meet my 2nd cousin, Miranda and it was completely by accident.  I was scheduled to pick up my cousin Sylvia, at the airport.  It was a surprise to us all that Miranda happened to be on the same flight into Austin.  I was thrilled to meet Miranda, who happens to be my daughter’s age, and had the pleasure of spending an entire day with her exploring some of Austin’s unique sights.
Our adventure began at 10:00 am, as we walked along South Congress Avenue (also referred to as
SoCo), taking photos and browsing through every little shop.  I had been wanting to visit this area for a while to work on my i-Phonetography, so this was perfect timing.
 We had such a good time getting to know each other, as we walked along admiring all the Austin “weirdness”!

First stop?…The Continental Club.  This is one of the more famous spots in the Austin music scene.  Many big names have performed in this small club, such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Ely, Junior Brown, and even Robert Plant!  

 Judy In Disguise was another interesting stop.  This is where Austinites come to find the perfect costume for any occasion.  In fact, while we were there, a guy came in looking for a tuxedo “costume” for a wedding.  I wondered where his bride would be shopping for her dress–Party City perhaps?
Judy In Disguise, Austin
 We found a cute little shop called Uncommon Objects, and the name truly says it all.  In this shop, we found everything we could possibly imagine and more!  Incredible collections of antiques, fabrics, cameras, even trophy animals!  We spent a long time browsing through this fantastic wonderland of  uncommon objects!
The Tom Store has a location here, and it is a combination Tom shoe store and coffee/bar.  Not only are the shoes really great, but even the coffee and drinks help fulfill their commitment to the One For One promise throughout the world.


As we were walking, we came across this beautiful covered walkway.  As you can see, at the end were flowers and a picture frame.  We were curious and thought we’d walk to the end to see what it was.  It was a marriage proposal that had been prepared for someone.  We practically ran out of there and forgot to take a picture of the vignette he had set up.  Someone is a lucky girl….I hope she said, “Yes!”.

It was a memorable day, for sure!
And then, there was this…