Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Night Speedway Surprise, Camping at the Grand Rapids County Fairgrounds

July 3rd - leaving Calgary for Minnesota
We have set the stage for our expedition.  Our house is in order and in the care of dear friends for the time we are gone. Vera our cat has a loving adopt-a-family. Sampson, Markos and Tarn are enrolled in the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.  Rick's youth development organization, Two Wheel View, in is the capable hands of a strong staff. Tanya's Day Home kids have exciting plans for next school year.  Rick and Tanya have 5 or so weeks ahead to sort some remaining matters and Sampson, Markos and Tarn get to go to Camp Mishawaka.  Our flight to Tromso, Norway is August 14th.

50 meters from our campsite....

July 15

Towering white pines over a sunshine grass expanse, a sole tent on the far-off side, basically a campground to ourselves.  It invited disc golf and hanging of a clothesline to air gear.  The picnic table, a perfect setting for packing camp duffles (off the ground and free from the tiny ant hills that dotted the ground). A shower house.  What more could we ask for on our last family night together before dropping Sampson, Markos and Tarn off at Camp Mishawaka for the next four weeks?

THEN…from the grandstand... up until now quiet and empty on the other side of the forested slope dropping from the campground…a scratchy blaring voice broke the peace: “Welcome to the Grand Rapids Saturday Night Speedway”…. a familiar “OH CANADA” followed by a rather grandiose recording of “THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER”.  An evening disturbance of incredible volume had begun.
Racing engines, floored motors, skidding tires sliding out at the turns, bunched up beasts threatening disaster.  Two+ hours ensued.  A teasing silence between heats the only break from the deafening racetrack roar.  Enough time to make a joke that could be heard…..
Tanya repaired swim trunks.
Markos threw the disc.
Sampson, Markos, Tarn and Rick went to go swim.
Names were labeled on rackets, shoes and all else packed into camp duffles.
Dinner was eaten (re-invented leftover taco meat, shredded cheese and bbq sauce on a bun, romaine salad, kale, tomatoes and more…leftovers from the last days’ family reunion at Breezy Point). 

Go-Carts turned to Stock Cars.  Our solace I suppose, to the unbelievable immersion-by-proximity,  was free viewing of the races from the path in the trees.

Eventually...the anticipated end came.  Grandstand goers filed off the bleachers...the moon rose.  Silence and peace returned to the grounds. As I walked  to the shower house in the darkness a voice rose from a quiet campfire, "THAT, was insane."

Truly, this night goes down with our travels' handful of unforeseen extreme evening disturbances.