Monday, October 14, 2013

Fun at the Fair Grounds

Our first week in Hutchinson was spent on the grounds of the Kansas State Fair in very close proximity to 15 or 20 of our good friends who pull their fifth wheel RVs with heavy duty trucks (HDTs).  Several people were preparing for the HDT Rally to be held October 6-12, and the rest of us were just hanging out and helping when we could.  

We were all squeezed in behind the administration offices of the Kansas State Fair because the Good Sam RV Club was holding its own rally in the regular KSF RV Park.  (The Fair Grounds, with plenty of parking and facilities for seminars, is apparently well utilized when they are not holding the Fair.)  Not only were there a dozen or more RVs snuggled up together, there were hundreds of flies buzzing around each.  The jar in the foreground is a very smelly "fly trap" which worked very well, than goodness!

Never mind the crowded conditions, we all had a great time which continued when we moved to the regular RV park last Sunday.  

This is a great location for us.  The grounds are large, fenced, and have lots of grass and trees.  What’s more, personnel here don’t care at all if dogs are on- or off-leash, so all of us get plenty of exercise.  They stay on their tie-outs while they are in the RV area, but when we go for walks they can run as far and fast as they like.

We’ve been busy with things besides laundry and happy hour.  For instance, last weekend was a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo held on the KSF Fairgrounds.  John and I took some time last Saturday evening to attend the festivities.  Although not large in terms of crowds, the rodeo stock was excellent, and the competition fierce.  

Kansas is a place where they’re not afraid to pray for the safety of the livestock as well as the competitors.  They also honor our country’s flag; there was hardly anyone in the stands who was standing with a hand over their heart when it passed by.   

We saw individual and team roping events,

steer wrestling,

barrel racing,

bronc riding, 

and of course bull riding.  

 (I don't know how this cowboy kept his hat on!)


We were especially impressed with the hard work of the two men who protected the cowboys after they dismounted (or were bucked off) the bulls.  They may be dressed like clowns, but they are anything but.  While others scrambled for safety, they put their lives on the line more than once.

John carried a camera as well, and got some great human interest and behind-the-scenes shots.

We’ve had several challenges since we got here, and most of them involve Rue.  First, late one afternoon on our walk with the dogs, we thought we had lost her.  She was hot and thirsty after chasing balls.  We were on our way to get water, but she just couldn’t wait.  One minute she was with the other dogs; the next minute she nowhere to be seen.  

We called and called, then saw Kota and Colt peering into a culvert.  Rue apparently smelled water in one of the many small drainage culverts on the fairgrounds. I knelt down to look inside, but couldn’t imagine she had entered the culvert because the opening was only 13 inches in diameter.  (I measured it later.)  She was so far in that I couldn’t see her, but could hear her lapping.  

We were really panicked, because it was getting late and the culvert wasn’t like the ones you see under a road with an opening on either side.  This one had only one entrance; the other end emptied directly into the underground sewer system!  Frantic, we started calling her.  After what seemed forever, the lapping stopped and the back end of a dog emerged from the culvert.  Rue shook herself and casually trotted off to join the other dogs as if nothing had happened.  We were so glad to see her that we couldn’t even be mad.

Then, on Thursday of last week Rue tore a toenail (chasing a squirrel, we think) and it became infected.  We made a quick trip to the Central Kansas Veterinary Center on Sunday (they are a 24/7 facility) and got antibiotics to treat the infection.  She is much better; the swelling is down, and after a week she hardly limps.  Here is a picture of Rue soaking her foot so it will feel better.  

We’ve had a great time here in Hutchinson.  The dogs have had a good time as well.  One of our friends has four youngsters who thoroughly enjoyed walking them around the campground.  Here are Emalee, Abigail and Claire with their four-footed friends.  

John Michael took a turn leading them as well, but when I was ready to take photos, he was "helping" his dad under their truck.

The grownups spent some of their time in seminars.  Many of them dealt with the HDTs and how to maintain them and our RVs, communication on the road and related topics.  There were also other topics of interest to retirees or soon-to-be’s.  Our friend Dale gave a great presentation on having your documents in order in case of an emergency or health issue, and John did a session dealing with issues related to long-term care insurance and who does or does not need it.

A lot of our time was spent in enjoying meals together.  Pot lucks, pizza and BBQ dinners, breakfast, and "Cooking with Jay" where we learned a lot about food preparation and safety, and enjoyed the fruits of Jay's labors.

And, again this year Danielle taught line dancing classes so we could have fun as well as keep in shape after all that eating.

But much of our activity centered about the trucks.  You couldn’t walk through the campground without seeing guys leaning on, working on, or working under them.  

Here is a shot of the heavy duty trucks lined up for their annual portrait.  

It takes about two hours to get them all into position so we can get a good shot from the top of the stadium at the fairgrounds.  Several of them carry “Smarts,” or Smart Cars, on the back of their trucks so they won’t have to “double-tow” a car behind the RV.  Motorcycles and a Suzuki also hitch rides on the truck bed.  The Smarts and other vehicles that “ride” are also in the picture, along with their people and dogs.  

The HDT Rally concluded on Saturday, but we still have a dozen or more rigs that are taking it easy for another day or so before moving on.  We’ll miss all of them, but look forward to meeting again next year.

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