Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Awesome Air Show And More!

When we came to town a couple of days ago, one of our first stops after settling in was a trip to the local visitor's center in Kennewick, WA, the closest major town. We picked up our usual tourist guides, magazines for the area, and local newspapers and settled in for an afternoon of reading to get the feel for the area. We found out that there was an unlimited hydroplane race at Columbia Park in Kennewick this weekend, called the 41st Annual Tri-Cities Water Follies, which features the Columbia Cup unlimited hydroplane event AND an air show and Friday was "free Friday"--no admission, and something about free french fries from a local company. (FREE and FREE french fries? I'm IN! says E.) He's a big french fry nut.....

We headed out to Kennewick late this morning, about 28 miles away, and we ended up spending the rest of the day there. It was really fun! Although it was hot, there were shady spots and Friday was a great day to go, 'cuz it was FREE!

Today we got to see a terrific air show first to start off the afternoon...Restored Huey helicopters doing a flyby, F-15 fighter jets, and the craziest stunt pilots in small planes doing the most incredible aeronautic acrobatics we have ever seen!

The stunt pilots stalled their planes to a virtual stop, they did all kinds of rolls, dives and wiggling and whipping their planes back and forth, flipflopping around to the extent that it looked effortless to make their planes do whatever they wanted them to---almost like a little kid with a remote control airplane doing the most impossible twists, turns, corkscrews and dives, only these were real planes. We've never seen anything like that! It was amazing and jaw dropping. We had no idea you could make a plane do all the sorts of tricks they did. They seemed to defy every aeronautic law in the books while they were up in the skies...... How about an F-15 doing a fly by right in front of you just skimming over the water, flying upside down then climbing 3 miles straight up, then diving straight back down? The announcer spewed lots of facts right and left about the jets, the stunt planes, the G forces, facts about the Hueys, but it was hard to remember all that while your jaw dropped open taking photos......WOW! and "LOOK AT THAT!!" was about all we could manage during the air portion of the show....But it failed to impress this guy--guess he just wanted to work on his tan....
This little miss was on a very serious mission....she had to follow her daddy and not lose him in the crowd. She passed by us at least twice in her pink jeep. (Bet she'd love the pink jeep tours in Sedona, AZ!)

Then, the qualifying started for the hydroplanes....Those boats are FAST!  We had a great view in front of us.....late in the day, they ran a "Dash for Cash" race and we got to see as many as six boats all racing at the same time....I guess this race is on the main racing circuit, so it's a big deal!  We were lucky to find out about it, and get to get a taste of what it was like without having to pay the 15.00 a person one day's admission.

There was lots of good food there as always with a festival/show and Sparky never fails to find good food when there's good food to be had.....It was hot but a nice breeze came in off the river and after sitting in the sun for awhile, we backed up into the shade, that and two snowcones helped cool me down....A fun day and it was FREE! We almost thought about coming back again for the races Saturday or Sunday, but after talking to the gal sitting next to us, who had been here before, she told us the crowds would be ridiculous and you'd have to come hours early to get a seat for the race. She said it would be difficult to even see the boats. After talking to her a little more, she turned out to be a full time RVer just starting out, so we traded stories about where we'd been and exchanged phone numbers and email. It was nice meeting you, Karen!
serious shade, these folks had the right idea!
It should be a rather calm weekend, we don't have any plans as of right now for Saturday and Sunday...BUT, you never know with Eldo! We'll see what the day brings tomorrow.....


  1. WOW! That would have been fantastic. We certainly wouldn't have looked like that fellow ignoring all the events. I would have been out there snapping all the pictures I could!

  2. So.... how were the fries? :)

  3. actually, Eldy maintained and didn't have any! I'm not a french fry person myself, but heard they were great!

  4. Those air stunt pilots always make me nervous.
    They do such amazing things and I'm so afraid something is going to happen.

    Somehow free things are always more fun. I guess we have greater expectations when we pay. Sort of like workamp volunteering and workamp for pay. :-)