I know I keep harping on about Alumapalooza even though it is over for this year, but the event gives me a lot to think about. Although we now run three events per year (and four are planned for 2014 so far), Alumapalooza has always been “the big one.” I meet a lot of people there who give new perspectives on what Airstreaming is all about, and also a lot of people who say they read this blog.
This year, I was particularly thrilled to hear from a couple of people who separately told me that they went full-time in their Airstream partly as a result of inspiration from this blog, or the previous “Tour of America”. Lots of others commented on Emma, saying that they’ve watched her grow from a little five-year-old tyke to a teenager. These friendly folks are like an extended family to us, even though we often don’t know they’re watching until years later when we meet at an event!
I kept hearing from people that one of the best parts about Alumapalooza was that there was “no drama,” meaning that there were no internal battles, no public embarrassments, no arguments, and no politics. Everyone just laid back and had a good time. It might seem that this should be the norm for rallies, but too often events (not ours) have been marred in the past by such things, and a lot of people are frustrated by that. The best rallies and events are the ones where everyone sets aside their politics and prejudices, and shares the good values that bring us together. We work hard at making sure that happens, by thoughtful programming of the activities, and selecting the volunteer staff very carefully. So I was glad to get the feedback that we’d succeeded.
We are now in Vermont, with the Airstream parked in its usual summer resting place in the shadow of a row of cedar trees near Lake Champlain. It won’t move again until late August or September, but despite that we have many travels ahead. Eleanor and I are focused on getting out the door next week for a long-anticipated trip to Europe. By Friday we expect to be attending a big (for Europe) Airstream rally in Weilburg, Germany. This is going to be a major experience for us, since we’ve never camped in Europe and we haven’t yet had the chance to meet many of our correspondents in Europe.
Our Airstream during the rally will be a brand-new Airstream 684, which is the largest Euro-spec model available. It is being provided courtesy of Airstream Germany. (Because it is new and unsold, we can’t use the bathroom or the galley, so it will be sort of an “aluminum tent” for us, but that should not be a problem since the campground is in town—see upper edge of photo.) CORRECTION: It turns out this is a PR and rental trailer for Airstream Germany and we will be able to use all the facilities —bonus!
We’ll be parked in a lot with about fifty other Airstreams for three nights. Quite a few of them will be caravanning down from the UK, as well as Belgium, The Netherlands, and other countries.
On Saturday night I’ll be giving a little talk at 9:00 pm, about Airstreaming in America’s National Parks. (While researching this presentation I did a quick count and found we’ve visited over 100 of them so far, which is only about one quarter of the entire NPS system.) Otherwise, there’s not much on the program other than a barbecue, so there should be plenty of time to explore the town of Weilburg and meet the European Airstreamers. I expect no drama.
This weekend Eleanor and I will be busy prepping for this trip. With about 10 days to play with, we are likely to visit Switzerland and a little of northern Italy in addition to Germany. I’m bringing only an iPad and an iPhone 5 (with a German SIM card) for technology, trying to keep it light. Also in keeping with our usual travel style, we are going mostly reservation-free. We don’t want the pressure of a fixed itinerary. We’ll have a car and some maps, and see what looks interesting along the way.
The trip starts on Wednesday. I’ll blog as much as I can.