Today, Tara and I returned to the San Diego County Fair for the second Saturday, and were able to see a lot of the stuff we didn’t get to last week – and get a few bad for us food items we missed last week as well.
Since I still have a healing wound in my abdomen, I played it safe and rented a wheel chair so I could rest easily, or at least rest from walking. We also got a bit later of a start that originally hoped for, and my breakfast ran away sooner than I’d expected, so the morning wasn’t quite a long as originally planned, but it went fairly well.
After we got inside, we worked our way over to the Ag building, where we enjoyed looking at the rabbits and cavies (a.k.a. guine pigs) at least until the crowds around the judging tables made it too hard to get through. We looked at the rest of what was in the building and then worked our way outside.
Once outside, I realized I was getting both sore and hungry, so I climbed into the chair – which I’d been pushing before this, and we worked our way to the main hub, looking for something for lunch. After deciding that I didn’t want any lunch item based on Navajo Fry Bread, I decided to get what I’d had the previous week – a smoked chicken panini, albiet one with bacon and probably more butter than minimally necessary.
After eating, we worked our way up the main drag a bit further, and decided that the best way to the infield – where we’d not made it either last week or last year – was through the nearby tunnel.
This was the first interesting experience in the wheel chair. I’d forgotten to grab my work gloves we’d found last weekend, so it was a bit hard to slow the wheels without rubbing my hands to hard. Then the breaks on the chair were uneven – on the right they bit too hard and on the left not hard enough. So, to control speed I kept having to actually stop the wheels – and I had enough momentum to actually skid a bit doing this.
Once we reached the bottom, we decided that I’d be better off pushing the chair back up, so I pushed it around for a while while we looked at some of the first exhibits in the infield.
Then we found a tent with more youth and school exhibits and competitions which was featuring the first day of the two day youth autonomous robotics competition. We sat for a while, not quite hearing a very good technical presentation by an older student on his fully built from parts robot – and his design for the next generation. Not too long after we sat down, however, one of the judges interrupted him and told the other students around that if they’d been listening to him, rather than their headphones, they’d have heard the solution to their algorithm problems, and then had the presenter repeat this part. Clearly this judge is a teacher who cannot let a teachable moment pass.
After watching some of the other teams run their buggy roomba-based robots through the maze, we headed off, only to find a life-size robotic giraffe. Tara, and I, spent some time talking to the people who made it about how it was built and ideas for the next generation before moving on to look at some of the other local organization exhibits and returning to the main part of the fair.
When we returned over the bridge - although it looks like we could have crossed directly across the track as well – Tara found one of the booths serving something she wanted to try. We then made a run through the theme building – this year “A Tour of The Taste” full of more food-related displays and presentation.
Finally we worked our way back down the main drag for our last bad food – an order of cheese curds that we split, some Navajo Fry Bread for me, and some ice cream for Tara. I didn’t tell the people in the fry bread booth that this wasn’t quite the fair fry bread I’m used to, since they aren’t actually Navajo, nor did they cook it over a Colman Stove.
Today was also the fair’s Gospel Fest, so there were a number of Christian Acts performing around the grounds. I did pick up a sampler CD from one, local, label which is mostly modern Gospel Soul type music, but still pretty good.
We had a good time at the fair, and I think we are faired out for another year – which is good since Westercon is next weekend and the fair closes after that.
I did learn some things about spending time in a wheelchair as well. First, I can now understand why people dependent on wheelchairs either have decent upper body condition or use powered chairs – they can take a bit of upper body energy to get moving. Fortunately, I could apply this without stressing my recent surgery wound. Second, I discovered that they can be a bit harder to steer than one might expect, but not as hard as I had feared. However, only from a complete stop could I make the sharpest turns – turns where I fully stopped or reversed one wheel. I also learned that in crowds, people seem to pay almost less attention to a wheel chair than they do a walker. At least twice I had to stop fairly quickly to avoid hitting someone who just cut right in front of me, and on another occasion had Tara run into my back when I stopped to avoid hitting someone who’d just stopped in the middle of the way.
I also know that if – and I hope it will never come to pass – I need to use a wheelchair again in this kind of situation, I’ll need to have gloves with me. My hands just don’t have the callouses to deal with this long term. They are tired even with me having walked about half of the time.