Monday, July 14, 2014

Wild & Wet Weekend

Investigating Rock Creek State Park
I had a weekend away from blogging here to spend time with my son, Jacob, who is going to be 11 years old here pretty quick. I was gifted some season tickets to Iowa Speedway by my Mom, so we bought another season's worth of tickets to go along with that for Jacob. He was stoked to go see the Indianapolis style racing cars on Saturday night, but first, there was a Camping World Truck series race on Friday evening that we went to. My plan was to go set up the new tent on Friday afternoon at Rock Creek State Park, go see the event on Friday night, sleep over, goof off Saturday for awhile, then go to the evening event at Iowa Speedway to see the Indy cars race. After that, we'd come home. A "budget" weekend, to be sure, but a good one to get away with my son.

Friday afternoon the first order of business was to secure a spot to camp and get the Sierra Designs Lightning 2 tent set up for its first test in the field. The set up went super smooth and then it was off to watch the race. That went well, and then it was back to the park to sleep off the day's excitement. Then things took a dramatic turn toward being "unsmooth".

This happens in Iowa quite a bit in high Summer. It gets dead still, the air temperature remains high, and the humidity levels are ridiculous. Friday night was just such an evening to start out with. I have managed to be able to sleep in such conditions before, but it never is easy to fall asleep for me. Having "neighbors" at the campground that would rather stay up, chat loudly, and have an occasional outburst, matched up with another group with a barking dog, made for a sleepless beginning for me. My son? Of course, he fell asleep immediately!

We were at the track early on Saturday.
 Then came the severe weather. I had an inkling that it would visit us as we settled in for the evening when I checked the radar on the iPhone. Sure enough, at 2:00am it started to rain, and immediately the sky was filled with a consistent lightning display with the accompanying thunder, of course. Rain slashed down so hard that I thought for certain I would find myself in the same situation I had found myself in when I was a child and water was rushing around my air mattress as if I were in a mini raging river. I kept thinking I felt a drip, or imagined the tent floor was soaked, but it wasn't. This was all good.

My son, however; doesn't care for storms and was wide awake, shivering and clutching me as the raging tempest continued for probably close to an hour before relenting. I thought we were in the clear when another, less severe rain came up with less lightning but more wind than before. This agitated my son for awhile longer, but eventually he fell back asleep. I was constantly checking radar, since I wasn't too keen on riding out a tornado or high winds in a two man tent. Things looked to clear up about 5:00am when I finally went to sleep for a bit. Well, that lasted until about 6:30am when my son insisted I awake to "get ready to go", since he was so excited to get on with things. Uggghhh!

Then I made a mistake. I reached into the vestibule area of the rain fly to grab a bag we had and as I jerked it inside I brought in about a quart of water with it that dumped all over the inside of the tent, creating a big mess. Double uggghh! Well, I kept my composure, since I was too groggy to be anything but zombie-like, and anyway, what could I do but get on with the clean up. That I did and we continued on with our plan.

Following are some selected images from the Indy race which was won by the Indy 500 champ, Ryan Hunter-Reay .....

Weather threatened the start of the event, but despite a short rain delay after the race started, it was okay. 
An early wreck sent debris flying in the air, much to my son's delight.
The impact of Juan Pablo Montoya's crash in Turn 4 was so loud it was scary. He walked away unharmed.
The day Saturday was fun, but it was a tough slog for both of us, and when I drove home after the race, Jacob slept the entire way home and pretty much cannot even remember going up to his own bed that night. I remember times like that when I was a kid too. Hopefully it was a good memory for him and I'm just happy we survived the night Friday!

And that was a nice break from the regular stuff. Now one week to go at work before RAGBRAI starts and two till GTDRI. It's gonna get busy!

1 comment:

Steve Fuller said...

One thing that I take along on RAGBRAI, if I'm not bagging out anyway, is one of those Coleman battery powered tent fans. Small LED light in it, and it moves enough air to make camping on a hot muggy night a little bit bearable.