The Fair That Never Was

Or, why I drove down the NJ Turnpike last night with my high beams and hazard lights on!

On Friday I eagerly reported that Bailey and I would be returning to the Monmouth County Fair for a weekend of DockDogs fun. Well, mother nature had a different plan. The fair was plagued by severe thunderstorms that resulted in a 4 hour “rain delay” opening on Saturday and the complete cancellation of all festivities on Sunday (today). It’s a good thing we got some jumps in on Wednesday when the weather was still nice!

Bailey rockin’ the dock on Wednesday evening.

As I was driving to the event on Saturday a friend called to let me know that the fair had closed at 12:45PM due to storms and at that point they didn’t know if/when the event would reopen. I was already 1 1/2 hrs. into my drive so Bailey and I hung out in the car at a rest stop for 3 hours (!) before receiving word that the fair was reopening at 5.

Bailey patiently waits out the storm at the Woodrow Wilson Rest Stop on the NJ Turnpike.

After a relaxing afternoon in the car Bailey and I headed up to the deserted, water-saturated fairgrounds. The DockDogs event staff were able to fit in the Extreme Vertical competition and two Big Air waves before the Fair closed again at 9:30 due to advancing storms. It wasn’t all bad, though… Bailey won Extreme Vertical! That’s our first EV win at a National Event and although there weren’t many competitors and her jump wasn’t actually that high for her (only 5’10”) I’m still thrilled to have brought home a blue ribbon!

(That’s the muddy bottom of Bailey’s crate in the background… all of our DockDogs gear is currently spread out on the driveway to dry!)

My trip home Saturday night was one of the worst driving experiences of my life. As soon as I got on the Turnpike I could see the cars ahead of me start to brake. This usually means one of two things — either a state trooper with a radar gun is sitting on the shoulder OR (much worse!) the highway has just been overtaken by an onslaught of torrential wind-driven rain. Sadly it was the latter so I spent 40+ miles of my trip home in the right lane with my high beams and hazard lights on. I know, I know, I was that car last night but hey, I’d rather slow down traffic than bring it to a dead halt by triggering a multi-car accident.

I somehow managed to hit all of those intense storm cells on my drive home. They were moving east and coming across the turnpike in waves.

While on the topic of slowing down traffic, have you ever wondering how the heck those drivers who fly by you at 50 mph in a downpour can actually see the road?? I was crawling along at maybe 20 mph (I quite frankly couldn’t take my eyes off the road to check) and I couldn’t even see the lines on the highway. Maybe I just have bad eyesight but I believe that my speed was much safer for the road conditions last night.

The severe pockets of rain didn’t end until I was about 15 miles into Pennsylvania and by that time I was violently shivering and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably – a combination of the scary driving and also the fact that I had apparently been blasting the A/C throughout the whole storm! (I didn’t realize this until the rain stopped.) What a drive!

Storm aftermath: this huge, well-staked, professionally installed tent at the fair was no match for mother nature. (Photo from Monmouth County Fair)

I woke up this morning to a message from the Fair saying that they will not be reopening today due to damage caused by those storms. That means I don’t have to make that drive again, thank goodness!!! I don’t know how DockDogs will handle the event placement but if they just use the existing scores this would mean that Bailey wins Big Air with her 22’6″ jump from Wednesday and she also wins the “Iron Dog” competition with her combined scores from Big Air and Extreme Vertical. (The third leg of Iron Dog, “Speed Retrieve,” was supposed to occur today.) We’ll see how things play out but for now I’m just glad that I don’t have to face the NJ Turnpike again anytime soon.

Another one of Bailey’s crowd-pleasing jumps from Wednesday. They loved it when she caught her toy!

Headed to the Fair!

Bailey and I will be competing at the Monmouth County Fair in East Freehold, New Jersey this weekend.  We drove up for the Fair’s opening night Wednesday and Bailey jumped 22’6″… not a bad way to kick things off!  I’ll post the event recap next week.

This photo of a lab named Blazer from the 2010 Big Butler Fair in Butler, PA gives you an idea of what a Dockdogs event at a fair looks like.  Pretty cool, right?

Please remember to comment on my Tomato Salad post.  One commenter will win a digital kitchen scale next week!