Sunday, July 16, 2006

Forest City’s Big Weekend!

July 15
High temperatures hit northern Iowa today – just in time for the annual Puckerbrush Celebration here in Forest City. The parade started at 10 a.m., and we lucked out with seats in the shade for this hour-long event. There is a unique, simple charm about small-town parades, there’s nothing “slick” – even with the corporate entries. The photo is of one of the Winnebago floats. And of course being in farming country, there are plenty of tractors along with what looked like every ambulance and fire truck in the area.

The parade was just one of numerous activities and events in the downtown area and, but due to the heat we chose to come back to the rally grounds.

Later in the day, I took a pretty long walk around the rally grounds and through nearby forested areas. The Winnebago River borders the rally area on the west.

In spite of the heat, quite a few people were sitting out under their motorhome awnings enjoying a nice breeze. There sure are some mighty fine people here representing nearly all states and several Canadian provinces. Later when it cooled off, Linda and I went into town to do laundry.

And speaking of the town – the area businesses love GNR (Grand National Rally) week. They say their sales during pre-rally and rally weeks exceed Christmas.

July 16
There were plenty of choices for Sunday morning, but since it was relatively cool I chose to take a bike ride. I was hoping to ride to Pilot Knob Park that is just a few miles southeast of Forest City – or so I thought. But I couldn’t find the map. I just headed out in the general direction.

Along the way I saw a young deer, unidentifiable road kill, ducks and geese on a private lake, lots of wildflowers along the roadsides and beautifully tended flower gardens in yards.

I rode along enjoying life and counting my blessings – and also daydreaming what my life might have been like if my parents had not moved from Iowa to Arizona in the late 1940s. My mother had early debilitating arthritis and the hope was that the drier climate would help. I was one of five Anderson girls at the time. We loaded our two-door car with all seven of us, our dog Goldie rode in the trunk, and headed west. Let me tell you, it was tight quarters, but what an adventure!

I never did find Pilot Knob, but I had a wonderful ride.

The modern age has been characterized by the restless energy that preys on speed, records and shortcuts. Despite our alleged efficiency, we seem to have less time for ourselves and far less time for each other. We have become more organized, but less joyful.
– Jeremy Rifkin from his book Time Wars.

Sunday afternoon was spent at Heritage Farm – the opposite of the modern age. This is a definite step into the past. Here farm work is accomplished with steam-powered and horse-drawn equipment. The restored homes, barns, schoolhouse, etc. were open, a blacksmith was working, and Sunday morning services were held in the historic church. If you read my blog last year (July 2005) you learned about this Norwegian church service and the lutefisk and meatball dinner afterwards.

After wandering the grounds, we headed out to the draft horse contest. Here teams were challenged to pull increasingly heavy weights. This picture shows a team pulling 8,000 pounds. Last year’s winning team pulled 11,000 pounds!

Opening ceremonies for Rally Week were held this evening. It included a parade of states and the usual welcoming speeches. Afterwards the 2007 motorhome models were on display. Tomorrow the seminars start.