At long last, here we are in Jackson Center, Ohio, the home of AIRSTREAM for over four decades.
We’re here for Alumapalooza of course. The event starts on Tuesday, but there’s some advance work to do beforehand. So today we dragged the trailer down from South Bend (where we just spent three absolutely terrific days of courtesy parking with our friends Dr C and Mrs. Dr. C), and plopped it into Airstream’s own “Terra Port.”
The Terra Port has been our home many times over the years. It’s a little arrangement of three loops, each with eight full hookup campsites. Usually these spaces are used by customers who are here for service, although when there is extra space available any Airstream owners can stay for $10 per day. It’s just a short walk to the Service Center, and the factory tour, and the Wally Byam Store, and the outdoor display for antique Airstreams in the front lot. People with “aluminum fever” never seem to get tired of coming here.
We pulled in around five p.m. and were instantly surrounded by a bunch of folks who are here for service and Alumapalooza. Gunny is here, as well as Alice and Tim from Florida, and Forrest and Patrice from Denver. Brett showed up about an hour after we did. (All of these people have been subjects of this blog or the Tour of America blog in the past.) People were waving printouts of the tentative Alumapalooza schedule and asking what had changed since. Steve L — a serious Airstream Life fan — came over with his ladder and brush and actually washed our trailer, which was beyond unexpected. (It really needed it. The front was covered with bug guts.) Gunny hung around to harass me, as always, and other folks just came to chat. It feels like the party has already started, and the actual event is still three days off.
This is what makes events tick. We spent months working on a program of events that includes over 20 speakers, two professional entertainers, live demonstrations, cookouts, and much more — but in the final analysis the quality of the event is driven by the people who attend. I know personally a lot of the people who are coming, so I know that we’re going to have a great week.
Despite having coming to J.C. many times, we still have not managed to visit most of the local attractions. That’s because we are always here for business. We haven’t gone to the Neil Armstrong museum up in Wapakoneta, nor the Bicycle Museum. We haven’t visited the “Kitchenaide Experience,” The Spot To Eat Diner in Sidney, Indian Lake or Grand Lake St Mary’s State Park. We did once manage to see the Air Force Museum in Dayton and we’ve checked out most of the small local businesses in J.C., but that’s about it. This visit probably won’t be any different: we’ve got a full schedule through next Sunday, and then we need to bust out for points east.