Around the Fairgrounds (again…)

July 15th ~ We met The Mrs’ friend, Jill, at the State Fairgrounds for a walk around the Fairgrounds then over and around Lincoln Park. A sunny and pleasant morning, perfect for our shorts & t-shirts gear. We moved water bottles around in our knapsacks so I could put Jill’s water bottle in one of The Mrs’ pack pockets. This allowed Jill to walk unencumbered by a free range water bottle. About 15 minutes into our walk as we walked past a parking lot on the north side of the fair grounds, Jill saw a billfold wallet lying in the gravel between two vehicles. I said something about how a politician’s eyes will ALWAYS notice a wallet (she is mayor of a little town nearby) but I was the only one who laughed… go figure!

The wallet had a checkbook, a few credit cards, no money, a DL, insurance cards, and a business card for the owner. Jill called the owner on her cell phone, and we made arrangements to meet her at the Coliseum where we gave her her wallet. She was thrilled! She said it looked like the only thing missing was cash… Non-traceable, cash is; unlike checks & credit cards. The owner told us someone had stolen 6 or 7 wallets from a number of the horse stall areas while people were working or showing their horses…

We walked back to the parking lot where we found the wallet and walked through it looking under vehicles and in dumpsters hoping to rescue more wallets, but found none. So we finished our big loop around the Fairgrounds and then walked through Lincoln Park into Calvary Cemetery. Jill gave us a tour of some interesting burial sites. We somehow found a way into Oak Ridge Cemetery without having to walk out onto N. 1st Street. We got to see Jill’s plot, situated on a hilltop near the Lincoln Tomb area. We walked past the GAR burial area for 97 Union soldiers of the Civil War who did not have other family plots in the cemetery. I was quite distressed to see that a few of the cannon balls that were cemented into a memorial stack had been broken out of the cement and taken…  We also walked past the Masonic burial grounds and I commented how it reminded me of the Nicolas Cage movie (National Treasure I believe) where he is following cryptic clues that take him to various locales trying to solve the puzzle of where the Founders hid the BIG TREASURE. We didn’t find that treasure either…

We returned to the Fairgrounds because Jill is important and has a job that she has to attend to (unlike me!), and walked her to her car. The Mrs & I decided to continue our walk so we could rack up 10 miles for the day, and as we walked north again through the grounds, I directed us to the west when we got to a sign announcing Barrel Races the Weekend of July 17/18. The Arena was built and opened long after I stopped working at the State Fair, so it was new to me, and I was curious to see what it looked like. There were a number of grounds workers mowing and weed-whacking, obviously in preparation for the upcoming show.

The ArenaWe walked on the nice walkway to the covered Arena and sat down overlooking the huge field. We sat down in the chairs seen below, propped up our feet, and had a break. It was a glorious day!

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007008After relaxing, we went around to the front of the building. I figured that since we were only a couple days away from an event in this building/arena, the bathrooms would be open for the workers to clean/use.  The Men’s Room was locked, but The Mrs found the Women’s door open. I followed her in, it was dark, no lights… But The Mrs found the switch. It didn’t appear this restroom had been cleaned yet… there was standing water in the middle of the floor, and the seats on the stools were covered in black mold… A bit of hand sanitizer on toilet paper and the seats were usable. I was washing my hands when The Mrs announced we were locked in. I walked over to the door and verified she was right (you doubted her???). When I had entered, I let the door close behind me, whereas, it was propped slightly open at first. So I could see three lock tabs up and down the door, the spring-loaded kind that will snap back and block the door from opening when it closes. I was able to push the tabs away from the frame with the blade of my Scout Knife and yanked the door open….WHEW! 

Once free from our moldy prison, we headed west, then north again, and looped past the Dept of Ag main building and back to the van… We completed our 10 miles, had a wonderful walk, no blisters or even sore feet, and ALL WAS GOOD!

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