September 17, 2012 After an incredibly long flight, the entire family made it to Germany yesterday. Its a great feeling to finally be here. Weve kind of been walking around in a fog, but today was better and were acclimating. Germany is beautiful! The weather is perfect right now, and I know Josh and all the riders wish they could be racing right now. I dont know if this great weather will hold out for two weeks. I do a fair amount of travel for work, so flying is nothing new, but the Airbus we were on (Lufthansa) was the biggest airplane Ive ever seen. It was a double decker the entire length of the plane. We forced ourselves to stay up for over 30 hours to try and acclimate to the time zone. By the time we got our rental car, the kids were zombies. Not only that, but everyone was irritable and grumpy. It was like a scene out of National Lampoons European Vacation, as we tried to cram all our luggage into our van. My son Kobee fell asleep anywhere he could on the way from the airport to the hotel. After a little nap and some food, everyone was feeling better. We took a drive out to the Sachsenring race track that will serve as the main paddock (pits) for the entire event. Being Sunday, there wasnt much of anything going on. It still looks like a pretty awesome facility though. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we meet with the rest of the team and begin unloading the crate. Today was our only free day, but since we were right on the rebound of a long day of travel, nobody wanted to spend the day driving long distances. We opted to go check out some of the special tests. With the help of the GPS, we easily found all 3 that will be used during Days 1 and 2 of racing. I seriously dont know how we would ever navigate over here and find these locations without the GPS. The first Special Test was up on a hill overlooking a little Germany Village to the south. It was/is a farmers corn field on a big knoll. It had hundreds and hundreds of lathe pounded in, but no ribbon strung yet. We were the only ones there, and we tried to imagine what this will look like once all the ribbon is strung. The dirt has moisture in it but there is a lot of leftover corn stubble and stalks, so it looks like it could be really slippery at first, but should then rut up really nice. Mom was happy to see that there were no real dangerous obstacles on this test Once a mother, always a mother. I have to say thank you to this wonderful woman for being so supportive of her kids and letting them live out their dreams. This was the road leading to the test. This is open for two-way traffic. We then drove to Test 2. This test is in a really deep forested area. Its the kind of forest that is so thick that without the harvested trees, you could barely walk through it. This reminded me a lot of the Idaho City Grass Track. The ground is so soft and full of roots and tree stumps. Little brother Benji checking out the test, dreaming of someday riding it himself. Driving around to the tests was pretty cool because in the process we drove through lots of little towns and backroads and just tried to enjoy observing and soaking up the German culture. As mentioned, its beautiful. The homes are modest, and kept up well. The cities and streets are clean. Older men and women ride around on bikes everywhere, and the cars and roads are tiny. Its fun experiencing a different culture and in two days our kids have already started to understand how incredibly spoiled we are in America. Time for some lunch. As we sat here under an outdoor umbrella enjoying our Czech style sandwiches, I commented that I felt like we were in France .oh wait, were in Germany, close enough for us Americans. Time to find one more test. This would be Special Test 3 that will be run on Days 1 and 2 (all tests will be run twice each day, for a total of 6 tests on Day 1 and 2). This third test has a mixture of everything. After driving up a little cobblestone road on top of a hill, it opens up to this. When I thought of Germany, and the ISDE, and an ISDE style grass track, this is pretty much how I had it pictured. Stunning views of beautiful countryside with an 8km (over 5 miles) grass track that is set all across the side of a grassy field, that weaves in and out of a deep forested section, and even incorporates the total of a local MX track. I know Im weird, but just seeing lathe and ribbon in that quantity in an awesome setting, just gets the heart rate pumping. Josh was ready to ride, right then and now. The transitions into the deep woods had a few crazy drop offs. Some of the big trees as you enter were marked with mattresses. This was on the other side (standard disclaimer ..way steeper than it looks), and now Mom was nervous. Benji found this perch overlooking the grass track. Our rental van had 10km on it when we got it. The rental guy said to us when we picked it up, das a beeg van!. When we got to it, we just laughed. He doesnt know beeg van (although we know it does 175k (110 mph) on the autobahn. We drive a 15 passenger Chevy Express back home nicknamed the Moto Bus, that doubles as a moto hauler race van, and people mover .... now das a beeg van. It was great seeing the three tests. Well drive to the others on other days and spend more time walking and studying them. Most of the rest of the US team arrived in the hotel tonight. The kids enjoyed meeting some of the other racers and a little friendly game of ping pong in the courtyard area to pass the time. Its been a great day. Looking forward to tomorrow.