It’s that time of year again. Though I love summer, the thought of July and September loom ominously as race car fans from around the country descend on our little state. This month is the Camping World RV Sales 301. (Yes, folks. Welcome to the world of sponsorship.)
If you think our state is small, the town of Loudon, NH, where these races take place is even smaller. With a population of just over 5300 annual residents, that number swells significantly as giant campers towing full size trucks or giant trucks hauling even larger campers appear almost over night clogging our roads, highways and every gas station/convenience store along route 106.
Don’t get me wrong. While I am not a race fan, I do understand the passion these people have for their sport and for the most part the people who come to New Hampshire for these events are general nice, well-meaning visitors. But these are not just one-day events.
Starting the Saturday before the race weekend, campers, cars and race car trailers begin descending on our little town. My commute both to and from work starting that Monday will extend an extra few minutes and I have to watch for out of state vehicles that do not understand the road markings or directional signs and habitually cut me off. At the beginning of the week, I try to have patience and understand that some of these people have not been here before, though I am reminded that most have and probably just forgot how to drive once they passed the border into our state.
By Wednesday my commute is even longer, especially on my way home. Those giant tractor-trailers hauling who knows what inside, will pull over to the side of the road across from the local Subway and people in shirts covered with every known marketing brand dash across the road with their food, slowing traffic to almost a crawl. Gas stations are clogged with out of state license plates and beer purchases increase by over one hundred percent.
When Thursday rolls around, I am being cut-off by visitors who must surely believe they are missing something monumental at the track and running me and my little SUV off the road pales in comparison to the events happening just up ahead. The amount of traffic during the week increases to the point where the speed limit is slowed by more than ten miles per hour and the line at the two streetlights along the way sometimes requires two changes before I get through.
The local and state police do an amazing job of handling the traffic and I am impressed with their efficiency for this event. However, by Sunday we will plan on staying put as for a few hours in the afternoon you can only go in one direction on the highway.
Just before six o’clock each evening it seems as if every car, truck and van will start honking their horns and you’d swear there was a train passing by until you realized what it was. Yes, even from my home located about three miles up from the track; I can still hear the noise. I must honestly say that in the evenings, after six o’clock, the track quiets and the participants are nice enough to keep the noise at bay.
My boyfriend, who has been to many sporting events including both the July and September races here in Loudon will honestly tell you that the race fans are some of the nicest of any sporting event. I am not aware of any increase in crime during these times and although I am sure these events put a strain on our already overworked public servants, my property tax reflects my pain and suffering to the point where I grin and bear it. I know the racetrack is not going away and I know that the fans will keep coming year after year.
All I ask is that you show a little respect for those of us who must deal with the extra burden placed on us because you are here. Our days do not stop, we do not light a campfire, pull out a six-pack and relax the entire week. We are working folk who must get up early and commute to our jobs and we want to get home and enjoy some family time just like the next person.
So, as you are hauling your huge RV with your even larger truck or vice versa, please be considerate of the local residents trying to get back and forth to work. Don’t honk at us because you merged into the wrong lane, don’t try to run us off the road or dash out in front of us or hog all the gas pumps at the gas station. Remember, we open our town to you so you can enjoy a fun filled weekend of racing. And in New Hampshire, it only takes a town vote to end it all.