We were hauling our bikes up Rte. 91, when we looked over and saw the Northampton Airport. I asked Kelly if she wanted to bike ride over there and see the planes, and we were on our way.
We parked at the Rail Trail entrance, and rode our bikes down Rte.9 a short ways.
On the way to the airport we passed the Tri-County Fairgrounds. The gate was open so we went in to have a look. It was now pretty desolate except for a couple of people looking after a handful of horses in their stalls. Most of those horses came out to their doorways to have a look at the strangers on wheels.
There are scores and scores of horse stalls here, and about 99% of them looked empty.
This was the weekend after their 190th fair, the longest running fair in America, and all was quiet.
There used to be thoroughbred horse racing here, but that has gone the way of the cigarette. The grandstand area is now used for more wholesome entertainment. Like Demolition Derbies.
Just kidding, kind of. The main track is still used all year long for Quarter Horse and Arabian horse show events.
The betting booths remain, however. All those betting windows are testament to the races' popularity back in the day.
I wonder how many poor souls deposited their shirts at this window.
Back then you could make your way from the betting lines to the stands without having to cross the track, via this tunnel. Now its fenced off and full of water up to the ceiling. A giant drain trap.
I don't know what this was, but that fallen panel revealed some ancient electronics.
Maybe it powered this old scoreboard.
It was time for us to move on. The Tri-County Fair is still very popular and helps keep alive and present a way of living that is slipping away with each generation. Also the twice-annual art shows are always big hits and help keep the grounds in business. It was interesting to see some of the old buildings from a previous era, though.
We headed for the airport as the sun was touching down.
Oddly, there weren't any planes coming or going at this time. The 3400 foot runway was quiet. I know I've seen plenty of planes flying around at sunset before. I told Kelly maybe there was too much crosswind or there was a storm threatening to blow in. I had no idea what I was talking about and I think she knew it.
We decide to pedal on into the dirt roads that criss-cross the farm fields all around this area. They go all the way to the river, with nice views of the Holyoke and Mt. Tom Ranges.
A Hawk burst out of the foliage in this section and flew right across my path a few feet in front of me. A short time later I thought I saw a Night Hawk, judging by the boomerang shape of its wings and the chaotic flight pattern.
Most of the corn looked very healthy, but there were big dried up sections of the field.
I thought I heard we had the driest August on record, maybe that was why. Or maybe the farmers didn't irrigate those sections on purpose to revitalize the soil in those areas.
I kept these thoughts to myself. It was too soon after the grounded airplane theories.
The wind was really picking up and a couple times we were immersed in a dust cloud like this one.