Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bigger is Better

From North Platte, we traveled some 145 miles down the road to Grand Island, arriving on October 6. There we stayed in one of our favorite destinations, Hall County Park. It was a short stop...just two nights this time, but we enjoyed the park and took some lovely long walks.

On Thursday, Nickie and I drove an hour south and east to Clay Center for a herding lesson with John Holman, a friend of our Leander Herding Coach, Sheryl McDonald. Nickie still remembers what herding sheep is all about, but was too excited to pay much attention to my commands. That's just as well, because I had forgotten more than she had. John (Holman) said we both had a lot to learn, and that I should try not to "micro-manage" my dog. He said as a Border Collie, she is very smart and should be encouraged to think for herself. As he said, we both have a lot to learn and I'm looking forward to getting back into our herding lessons when we get home.  While we were having our lesson, corn was being harvested in an adjacent field.  A big harvester like this one with a "12-row header" was harvesting 12 rows at a time.  The corn was going into a big hopper, and the stalks and leaves were being ground up and distributed out the back as mulch.  It's farming on a scale we don't see in Hamilton County!

We arrived in Hutchinson, Kansas, on Friday, October 8, and were thrilled to find a number of our RV friends already in camp. The HDT (Heavy Duty Truck) Rally started on Sunday and continued through the week, with seminars every day, as well as plenty of socializing. For folks new to this blog, the HDT group is made up primarily of people who pull their RVs (mostly fifth wheels) with big trucks that normally haul heavy cargo on the highways. These HDTs have been modified for personal use, and are a very safe way to pull the heavier RVs. (Not only can they pull them effortlessly, more important, they can stop them!)

Henry and Davena Szmyt

All during the week, the guys poured over each others' HDTs, examining everything from hitches to beds to stuff under the hoods. Several times each day, I would hear the deep rumble of one of the big trucks (Volvos, Peterbilts, Kenworths, Freightliners and a Western Star) starting up. It's different from the sound a Harley Hog makes, but just a compelling, comforting even.

Photos from the Rally, and some of our other activities follow.

The RDBE (Rigs Driven By Estrogen) Women at Yoder, Kansas

Line Dancing with Danielle Mayer and Pat McFall

Potlucks are always popular!
   As usual, there were plenty of pets in attendance, including

Poppy Mayer

Marty Dixon

The Rally ended officially on Saturday morning, but quite a few participants stayed over for a couple of days. On Saturday night, the rumble of the big trucks gave way to the deep-throated roar of race cars. A large group of us attended the Auto and School Bus Races at the Kansas State Fair Raceway. We were told that auto races have been held there for 100 years, and that 2010 marks the 100th Anniversary for the Raceway.

Our Group in the Grandstand
We watched races for "Semis,"

as well as for "Sprint Cars."

Between heats, we were entertained by School Bus Races. Here are a few of the school buses warming up the croud before the races, as well as shots of their "competition." I'll have to say that the semis and sprint cars are a lot more exciting!

The races were exhiliarating, but it was also fun to visit the pits. Sweaty mechanics and drivers worked feverishly to ready their cars for the next heat, or to repair damage from the previous one. The smell of hot rubber tires, fuel and exhaust filled the air, and you couldn't help but be energized by what was going on around you.

John Checks Out the Pits

It was a fantastic week, and we look forward to more fun and fellowship next year!

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