Gentlemen…start your engines.

OK, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and this year it’s going to happen. I’m going to Le Mans.

I bought myself a fancy new camera so I can document the trip so I thought I’d get some sort of website to post updates and other random notes when it comes to the trip planning and execution.

We’re in the middle of snowmageddon and Super Bowl weekend and I’m bored so here we go.

Right…so I’ve bought my race tickets; but not without some minor hiccups.  The race is run by the French organization Automobile Club De L’Ouest – the ACO.  I jump on their website and attempt to purchase tickets.  I pull out my trusty Wells Fargo check card, no joy.  Rejected.  Issues with the international purchasing.  I try again, and it works.

A reserved grandstand seat in the Dunlop Tribune at the chicane near the famous Dunlop Bridge.  I’m set, right?  Wrong.  My ticket gets me a seat in the grandstand, but it doesn’t get me into the track.  Huh?  I have to go back and buy a general access pass to get me into the track.  It doesn’t make sense, but I guess that’s how the French do things.

Two days later, I’m out with a lovely woman and as I attempt to pay for our dinner, my card gets rejected.  What the what?  I shrug it off as a troublesome card and move on.  The next day I get a call from the Wells Fargo fraud prevention department.  They ask about some charges to some automobile club and if they’re legit.  Yes, yes they are please process the payment.  I’m sorry we can’t do that, we need them to re-submit their charges and then we’ll honor them.  Crap.

I bought THE LAST ticket to the Dunlop Tribune.  And if the bank didn’t send my money, how long before the ACO puts my ticket back into the wild for any of the regular 300,000 fans who attend the race each year to buy my ticket.  Monday morning I call the ACO.  They’re closed.  Missed them by 30 minutes.  I check online, it still shows the Dunlop Tribune as sold out.  Ok, I’ll take care of it tomorrow.  Tuesday morning I get in touch with a pleasant English speaking woman in Le Mans.  I give her my reservation numbers and she tells me I’m all set.  I check online and call Wells Fargo to confirm – nothing.  Again, the ACO has to resubmit payment request before they’ll honor the charge.  This is really odd.  Finally, it dawns on me – I’m an idiot.

When I first tried to buy my tickets with my WF card and it got rejected, I went to my backup card – good, old, reliable international friendly Chase.  In the excitement and confusion of what I was doing, I forgot I did that.  I checked online with Chase and there it is, two charges to the ACO.  After all of that, I finally get a confirmation e-mail from the ACO telling me my tickets will be shipped to me in April.

Next week, I’ll be booking the travel package with Grand Prix Tours and in the coming weeks, I’ll get my flight tickets done.  Slowly, it’s coming together.


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