We just got back yesterday from a NASCAR weekend at Kansas Speedway.
We had a terrific weekend with good friends and the usual drama on (and off!) the track. Here are a few of my favorite memories, in pictures:
I met the Hound Around Hotel ‘Bus’ on Thursday morning. I felt like I was dropping my kids off at the Bus Stop! Janine already had one dog on board, and we loaded up Ekko and Charra. As I was leaving, three more people met the ‘Bus’ with their dogs. I was amused by this.
About 15 miles from home, we had a blowout.
Actually, let me rephrase that. The blowout happened approximately 11 miles from home.
We stopped to change it 15 miles from home. We didn’t stop before because one of us happened to be on the phone, and ‘shushed’ the other who said, “I think we had a blowout!” When the person disconnected from the phone, they opted not to stop because it was probably a bump.
Shortly thereafter, the tire shredded. OOPS. I hate it when that happens.
The shredding tire did minor damage to the skirting and cut the wiring to a couple of clearance lights.
Fortunately, Jimmy had the foresight to bring a regular-sized jack and the air wrench he bought prior to Florida last year. With an onboard generator, we were able to get the tire changed relatively quickly.
I supervised and documented it for future torture. Like now. 😀
The next day, Jimmy headed straight for the tire store to get a new one so we would have a spare. (This was our 3rd blowout either en route or returning from Kansas City in the years we’ve been going. Aside from almost-brand-new Brighton watch which I lost somewhere on I-35 several years ago, we’ve never lost anything, no one ended up bleeding, and we never had any damage.
I love this picture of me and my friend Kathy. I should probably wear this outfit more often. Black really IS slenderizing! 😉
Three couples in our Kansas NASCAR family didn’t arrive until Friday, so it was just Dan and Kathy and Jimmy and I.
And the possibility of severe weather.
This is a shot of the clouds over the speedway on Thursday night. I tweeted this to the National Weather Service, who then retweeted my tweet. Six other Twitter accounts then retweeted the NWS tweet which was originally my tweet.
It’s really twue, I swear! (Sorry I couldn’t help myself!)
I felt important. 😉
Fortunately, other than a few sprinkles, the system split and passed us by on either side, and the sky cleared.
Dan made this fire pit from a washing machine tub welded onto an old disc and painted black. Is that not the coolest recycling idea ever? The firelight looks neat in the little holes, and all your ash is contained. Groovy!
The National Anthem flyovers always bring tears to my eyes, and make me proud to be an American. And you can’t get much more American than NASCAR.
The weather was beautiful for the truck race. Because they averaged a caution every ten laps, it went way longer than it should have and got a little chilly at the end. But it was fun.
There was a baby bird in a little nest on the ground (see him under the clump of grass?) Momma Bird hung out on a large boulder across the road trying to draw attention away from baby all weekend, or swooping down on some people if they got too close.
We were all terrified he would end up mashed, as one of its siblings had who was in the road. After much discussion of whether to put a marker so people would avoid him or try to move him, we collectively decided his best chance was to leave him be and not draw anyone else’s attention to him.
I’m pleased to say when we all left Monday morning, he was still there. Whew!
Saturday morning Rayna and I did 2.5 miles of running intervals in the campground (she pushed a 50-pound stroller!) It was great! And it was the last healthy thing I did that day. 😀
Meanwhile, the guys had Bloody Mary’s using Zing Zang. I tweeted this picture with the caption “The Boys are Back in Town. Zing Zang!” without an @ or even a # and Zing Zang retweeted it. I thought that was cool. I love Twitter.
And once again, we forgot to take a group picture of the girls. Dadgummit!
This is a good time to mention that shortly before we left home, we discovered our water pump was malfunctioning.
When you’re dry camping as we were, the water pump moves the water from your fresh water tank to your faucets. Over the years, they’ve improved them enough that you can turn the pump on when you set up camp, it will stay primed, and then you can just shut it off when you break down camp.
Because it wouldn’t stay primed, we had to only turn it on when you used it, and shut it off immediately after, or it would keep running and overheat.
This meant going to the bathroom, coming out to turn the pump on, going back to flush, then coming back out and shutting the pump off.
I tried to look at it from the benefit that I burned more calories. 😉
The guys played a rowdy game of corn hole. (Don’t you like the custom Black Dog Saloon boards?) 🙂
We’d been watching the weather all afternoon. And, of course right about race time, ominous clouds rolled in and the threat of severe weather loomed.
We should be good at this by now. The last three races have all involved severe weather and taking shelter of some kind.
Right after I got to our seat, I began receiving texts and Facebook messages from friends at home making sure we were watching the radar. Thanks guys!
Often at these events, there’s enough people with phones and computers that it’s almost impossible to get a phone signal, much less access to internet and radar.
My lesson learned is to take my Hot Spot with me and a portable phone charger next time; my phone was dead before the end of the race.
Just as the race was getting ready to start, the Speedway announced there was lightning in the area. Because I got soaked in Daytona, I had no desire to do it again. Jimmy stayed in the stands, and I went up to the mezzanine underneath the upper rows.
So did a lot of other people.
I appreciated a firefighter friend who messaged me updates through Facebook. It was easier to access those messages even though I couldn’t get a consistent signal to get the radar. He was able to watch and give me details, and tell me that it was going around us and that we were in the clear. For now. Thanks Chris!
I received a text from another friend that made me chuckle: “Are you in a safe place?”
“If she only knew,” I thought to myself. 😀
My response: “There is no safe place!”
My options were to go to the Speedway, or to stay at the camper by myself. While one of the storms that passed over us later spawned the tornado that hit Orrick, Missouri, the race was still running on time and we hadn’t received any messages from the Speedway indicating that severe weather was imminent.
And while I was concerned about the weather at the Speedway, I was more concerned about the weather as we traveled home on Sunday.
Fortunately, the storm went around us, it only sprinkled a little, and the crowd went back to the stands.
It turned out to be an exciting night of racing, and we were happy for our friends who are Jeff Gordon fans. It’s nice when your driver gets a win!
Sunday morning we packed up and hit the road around 9:00 ish. We were excited that we’d be home around noon.
And then, that familiar sound, just east of St. Joseph, Missouri: POOM.
This one actually didn’t lose air, it just shed the tread.
And took out the fender skirting, the brake line (on that side), mangled our sewer house and wrapped the wiring around the axle.
This one was more dangerous to change by virtue of it’s location on the driver’s side. With the flashers on, I stood on the shoulder behind the trailer to motion people to the outside lane.
Every single vehicle but ONE changed lanes. One little car driven by a man who was well enough to know better ignored me and stayed fastened in that lane.
Using sign language, I educated him that was poor etiquette and not appreciated.
Two Good Samaritans who passed us turned around and stopped, parking their pickup halfway out into the traffic lane. The gentleman, who happened to be wearing an orange shirt, signaled traffic while Jimmy changed the tire. We appreciated their help very much.
Our tire guy tells us that you never wear out an RV tire. The trailers bounce so much on the road that the steel belts simply wear out. And most RV manufacturers don’t put high quality tires on them in the first place.
At this point, Jimmy decided the safest option was to travel no faster than 50-55 miles an hour to ensure we got home without another blown tire.
Sure, we have emergency road service, and my brother offered to drive and bring us a tire if we needed him to. But fortunately, we didn’t have to call either one.
We rolled into our driveway about 2:00 p.m. from the longest drive home from Kansas City ever.
One thing I can say for sure: just like NASCAR, camping is never dull! 😀