About Erin

Deputy Editor, Southern Living Magazine. Digital and social media girl who learned everything with a pen and a reporter's notebook. Mom. Florida native celebrating all things kitsch, accidental Birminghamian. Is probably getting back from somewhere or heading somewhere. Knows: Elvis, journalism, pop culture, Southern artisans and emerging neighborhoods, vintage clothes, pugs, Yacht Rock. 

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Happiness Project Finale: 120 miles in a Porsche, and Meeting Patrick Dempsey

Throughout the week, the stressful week, I had no idea that on Saturday I would find myself riding in a Porsche, going 120 miles per hour among a race course. But that's what I was doing yesterday.

Way to go universe, thanks for that.

On Friday I found out that a group of us from SL had the opportunity to go to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honday Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. And, added bonus, that we'd be meeting Patrick Dempsey, who, in addition to playing McDreamy, is an accomplished race car driver. (There were squeals in the office.)

Race day pass

I've always wanted to go to a race. The chance to meet Patrick Dempsey put me right over the edge. We met up with our friends at VisitFlorida, who sponsor Dempsey Racing, and got a behind-the-scenes look at their cars:

Dempsey Racing Cars

Team Dempsey

We learned a ton about the cars, and the crews who are passionate about them. It was fascinating to watch the fans, too, who lined up for autographs with their favorite drivers and peeked behind rigs to see parts of their favorite cars. Just an entire world that was new to me. I loved seeing the diversity of race fans too -- people from all walks of life, drawn by the fast cars, and the driver storylines, and the chance to sit out on a beautiful day, watching a race (and maybe drinking a beer.I would have been happy just observing it all unfold, but got an additional surprise when we were given the chance to ride in a pace car before the race. I like passes that say "HOT."

Our ride was a gorgeous Porsche that took us around the track at 120 mph. All I can say is "edited because of strong language." Or, one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. And I can see how people get addicted to that kinda speed. Wowza. 

After, we met the drivers, including Charles Espenlaub with Dempsey Racing:Driver Charles Espenlaub

And of course, McDreamy himself, right before he got in the car. (Thankfully there was a doctor in the heart because there were many an elevated heartbeat.) 


For the record, he was very nice, even though he had a zillion fans trying to take pictures with him while he was getting ready to focus on the race.

It was a good Saturday morning.


So there it is, 31 Days of Happiness. I didn't make it every day. Far from it. But I tried. 

It's easy to feel a surge of happiness when life hands you great adventures like yesterday's. But that isn't every day. The every day -- listening to music with Nate on the way to school, sharing a meal with a friend, writing one good sentence -- that's reality. 

Reading the posts of the other happiness bloggers, especially my Dad's (here's his final post) and Amy's (who started the 31 Days of Happiness Challenge), has uplifted me in immeasurable ways. Sharing the every day: the blessings and the challenges: that's happiness.

And the most amazing ride of all.

Related Links:

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