Listen, I KNOW my truck is pretty dirty right now. It travelled through five states in 18 hours a week ago. It rained, it snowed, and I'm pretty sure I drove through a dust storm in Missouri... my truck is filthy. I get it.

But that's NO reason to blast me with water from the city fire hydrants in Kalamazoo, right?

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I thought maybe I'd imagined it, because I was coming into work pretty early on just a few hours of sleep, but something was definitely off. There was standing water under the railroad bridge on Michigan, Ave, then AGAIN, up the street before turning on Gull Road, dry pavement gave way to a SOAKED 10-foot strip across the road. Other than those spots, the roads were near bone dry.

What is this? Did it rain in JUST these spots last night? Was there just two very specifically placed water main breaks?

Then, as I turned down the road to work, I see it... a WIDE OPEN fire hydrant, blasting water across the road. I thought something had broke, maybe a valve busted or something. But as I look further down there street, I see two men and a giant wrench, opening up one of the fire hydrants right in front of the station.

So all those wet spots on the road, I'm figuring out, are from fire hydrants being opened up. THAT part makes sense now, but WHY is it happening? Is this some kind of "end of year prank" that the college kids play on the city? Some new "fire hydrant" challenge on Tik Tok I haven't seen yet? WHAT IS GOING ON!?!?!?

This is not something common from my home state of Kansas, or my home city of Wichita. The only time you see fire hydrants open, is if there's a FIRE... and I saw no flames coming into work.

Turns out, it's none of that. I guess in Kalamazoo, and likely in surrounding townships and cities, it's common to open up the fire hydrants to flush the system, and get ride of some sediment or buildup in the lines. I was told the water will turn an orangish color from the pipes if it's not flushed regularly, and I should check water color before I do a load of whites at the laundromat (good to know).

So, yet another thing I've learned adjusting to life in Southwest Michigan. Now, if I can just figure out the schedule for when they do this, and change my morning commute to get a free car wash once in a while.

Getting To Know Kalamazoo A-Z

Whether you're moving, new or from Kalamazoo, here is a nutshell of our city, from A to Z.