Friday, October 6, 2006

HDT Rally

We arrived in Wichita on Saturday and joined about 45 others who tow their RV's with converted big rigs. Since everyone does their own thing, it is fun to see how each person customizes their rig. Some have motorcycle loaders like we do, some have very bare bones conversions and one even has ramps to load a car on the back of the truck and still pulls a big trailer. There are many colors and makes, though Volvo is more common than any other.

We spend a lot of time just talking and sharing experiences, but there is a schedule of events as well. The primary sponsor is Doonan Peterbilt that is located just across the street from the campground. The owner, Kenny Doonan, provides busses, technicians, space for the meetings and his considerable influence in the Wichita business community to arrange for tours and speakers.

The Rally started Sunday night with a pizza party kick off. Monday we had seminars on big rig testing equipment and brake systems. We also had a presentation by the Teton factory rep who came down from Wyoming to be here. Many of us have Teton 5th wheel RV's. Tuesday was a class on tires and a defensive driving course for those who wanted it. It was put on by the local community college. There was also a driving course contest for those who wanted to participate. That evening we had a BBQ.

Wednesday started with a tour of the Cessna Citation plant here in Wichita for those of us who were interested. It was very interesting so see that they still build every plane by hand. The construction methods have changed little in 50 years. After the tour we had a class on diesel engine maintenance, a presentation on tire monitoring systems and another presentation on RV suspensions and braking systems.

Thursday we had a roundtable Q & A session with Doonan's technicians, and then several of us visitied a B29 restoration project going on at Boeing. I really enjoyed that tour. They are rebuilding a B29 to flying condition. It is amazing to consider that it was built over 60 years ago. We also took the group picture yesterday afternoon. All the trucks were lined up in a large parking lot and the Wichita Fire Department brought over a ladder truck so the photographers could get a birds eye view of the rigs.

Things wind down today with only a motorcycle ride planned during the day and our final steak dinner scheduled for tonight. We may leave tomorrow instead of wating until Sunday but have not decided yet.

This has been a very enjoyable week for me. Dianna has not participated in much, but has spent a lot of time on the computer. I bet she really added to her Pogo points this week.

From here we make our way down to Denton for a few weeks. Time for doctor visits and a grandkid fix.


  1. If you learned all this week that you were exposed to, you should be very smart about your life style. Sounds as though it was a very worthwhile time.

  2. I forgot we have a factory in Wichita. I would love to see that B29.

  3. Sounds like fun! I would like to tour the Cessna plant some day.

    Did you participate in the defensive driving class, or the driving sourse contest?

    Must have been strange to be camped where your rig is only average, instead of the biggest one around which it probably usually is.

  4. Will you go back to your regular spot in Denton, or is it taken now?

  5. Daryl -- No, I did not take the course. I already have my certificate from when I was with the City of
    Santa Fe. The contest was connected with the class so I did not do that either.

    Donna -- We are back in Denton now. We are in the same park we were in near the kids, but in a different spot.