(photo courtesy of Nick Martines)
I’ve been working on this event for a year, and now it is finally over. Sunday morning was wonderful. I awoke around 7 with beautiful sunlight streaming in the windows and crisp air outside, and just lay in bed basking in the knowledge that I didn’t have to get up and start running around. Emma had a sleepover at her friend Katherine’s trailer, so Eleanor and I were alone to enjoy the quiet after the storm of Alumapalooza.
By around 8:30 we were still lounging around the Airstream with all the shades drawn. I was working on the blog and Eleanor was also at her computer, when we heard an assertive knock at the door. I figured it was one of the Alumapalooza team, finally deciding we’d enjoyed enough laziness, and being in a good mood I decided to have a little joke. Before I opened the door I said loudly, “Eleanor, can you untie me so I can open the door?” Equally loudly, Eleanor said, “No, I like having you tied up and I’m not done with you yet!” I paused a moment and then said, “Aha, the oil you smeared on me is letting me slip out of the ropes!” and I opened the door to see … nobody there.
About fifty feet away I spotted a lady heading away from us rapidly, and I called out, “Were you looking for me?” She walked back and explained she had wanted to invite me to see the work her husband had done on the interior of their trailer. I was really not in the mood to get out of my pajamas and go see a trailer, plus it was time to go assist with the teardown of all the Alumapalooza stage stuff, so I said, “I’m sorry, this isn’t a good time for me right now,” and she agreed to email me a few pictures instead. It wasn’t until I had closed the door again that I realized our playful dialogue had been heard by the wrong person. That probably explains her apparent discomfort when talking to me.
Oh well. If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t come to Alumapalooza, because we do like to avoid seriousness whenever possible. I think she was not permanently traumatized by it. I got dressed and went out to help with striking the set, which took a few hours (in between goodbyes and congratulations). By noon, the field was 90% cleared of Airstreams and tents, and most of the volunteer staff were on their way home. We hitched up and towed over to the Terra Port.
A few people were still hanging around, including Brett & Lisa in the Argosy motorhome, Alex & Charon, sKY & slaDE, Elly C, and Kite-Flyin’ Joe. We spent the afternoon cleaning up and getting back in the mode of “normal” Airstream life, which meant laundry, washing the mud off shoes and mats, fixing the leaky sink in the bathroom, and re-arranging our stuff for the next phase of travel. I really wanted to go somewhere for dinner just to have a change of scene, since I had hardly been off Airstream property in a week, so we ended up in Lima OH with Brett, Lisa, Alex, and Charon that night. We had a fairly mediocre dining experience but I was still glad to get out of town for a couple of hours.
The talk lately has been a combination of Alumapalooza review and Alumafandango (Denver) planning. Already I’ve received a few emails from people with their suggestions on how we can improve the event, and we’ve all talked about new ideas and ways to make our jobs more manageable. Most of the new ideas will be tested at Alumafandango in August, including an all-new cooking competition that we will announce in a couple of weeks.
On Monday morning we all finally got to visit the Airstream company store like regular people. It was blissfully uncrowded, with only a few service customers hanging around. I bought an LED lamp, a tube of caulk, and some replacement latches. I’m gearing up for our winter-time Airstream renovation. Brett went into town to make his final payoffs (we buy services and products locally in Jackson Center whenever possible), and then we had our post-event debrief with the Airstream managers. This year there was little to discuss since the event went so well, but we have a few procedural improvements for next year and we are hoping that some re-seeding and drainage improvements will be made to the field as well.
By 2 p.m. we were off, heading northeast toward the Cleveland area, where we have landed in “the best campground in northeast Ohio,” AKA Lou & Larry’s driveway. Three other Airstreams are here as well, making it a sort of mini-rally, and Al & Shinim (Team Doxie) dropped in, and Loren & Mike. Most of us sat around the campfire in the back yard last night telling funny travel stories until 10.
I think even the people who weren’t working at Alumapalooza appreciate the chance to decompress before re-entering the “real world”. I know I do. Lots of work lies ahead for ‘fandango, the Fall 2012 issue of Airstream Life, and several other projects. But I can’t complain—my job is making fun and that’s not so bad.