Hmm.. another long absence from the blog. I can only plead guilty. Life has interfered with blogging in so many ways I can’t begin to count. But here’s a synopsis of what’s been going on.
The virus I mentioned earlier dogged me right through the week when I was supposed to be getting ready for Alumafandango, and then into the event itself. The Saturday prior to the event I dragged my pathetic self out of bed, drove to Phoenix, caught a plane to Portland, and then rode four hours with Brett down to Canyonville to do pre-event work. Sadly, I was in no shape to do any of those things, and so upon arriving at the hotel I collapsed into bed and proceeded to be fairly useless all weekend. Brett did the heavy lifting, demonstrating once again that we could only do this as a partnership.
It was looking like I might even miss a few days of Alumafandango, but then on Monday things began to improve and by Tuesday when our first guests appeared I was able to approximate a smile and help kick off the event. From there it was a marvelous week. I didn’t have time to blog at all from the event, but you can probably read more about it from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and various blogs (Casarodante, TinCanz, Notes From The Cabin) than I could ever say. (If you Google it, be sure you’re looking at comments about Alumafandango Seven Feathers, not the 2012 Alumafandango in Denver.)
What I really need these days is someone to read my mind and blog for me. That’s not likely, so I recommend following my Twitter feed (“airstreamlife”) as a way to keep abreast of events. These days I’m much more likely to get a quick tweet and a photo out, than a full blog entry. I am, however, in active talks with a few folks who each want to become Editor of Airstream Life, and I have high hopes that one of them will work out and thus free up some time. And I doubt I will ever stop blogging entirely, as it is a very useful outlet for thoughts. As fellow Airstream blogger Ramona Creel says, “There’s too much stuff to keep in my head!”
Where were we? Ah yes, Alumafandango. We had about 65 Airstreams on site, and people just raved about everything: the campground, the seminars, the activities, entertainment, meals … Even the wildfires in the area were blowing away from us, so we had virtually no smoke. The weather was great except toward the end where we had some pretty exciting thunderstorms. Three awnings were damaged in the first round of storms, which the Sutton guys fixed on the spot using parts scavenged from their new display Airstreams. After that everyone knew to pull in the their awnings when they were away.
Brett and I ran a seminar in which we accepted written questions on any subject related to Airstreaming, which we called “Airstreaming for Newbies” but really got into some advanced topics. Nobody stumped us, and I got a few good ideas of topics to cover in the upcoming Maintenance book, from the questions people asked. We will definitely do that one again sometime in the future.
The highlights of the week were many: Randy Grubb’s “Decopod,” Antsy McClain & Edgar Cruz performing on stage, the frankly awesome seminars by Thom the service manager at George M Sutton RV, the Saturday night banquet, the on-site wine tasting and off-site winery tour, several really fun Happy Hours, Indian drumming … I knew we had a hit when people kept smiling at us and saying things like, “Wow, it just keeps going!” About 1/3 of our attendees told us they were already planning to come again in 2014, and we haven’t even announced where or when we’re doing it again!
Now I’m back in Tucson, picking up where I left off two weeks ago, and thinking about what’s coming up. There’s a lot of work ahead. Our event planning team (Brett, me, Alice) is already working on the programs for our February 2014 events: Alumafiesta in Tucson and Alumaflamingo in Sarasota. We want to have the tentative programs released in October. Alumaflamingo already has 100 trailers signed up, so it looks like it will be a big one and we want to respond to that vote of confidence with a truly amazing program of activities. It’s pressure, but the good kind.
I’ve also got to get the Winter 2013 issue in some sort of shape for publication this month, even though it’s not due to layout until later. It’s looking like a good issue but there’s about 20 hours of editing work ahead. And lately I’ve been consulting to the organizers of Tucson’s new Modernism Week event (now in its second year) on how to put together a vintage trailer show this year. They are trying to get about ten nice vintage rigs for their show in the first week of October this year. I may do a presentation there on the history of vintage trailers as well, if they need it. It will be a great event to attend, in any case, with lots of architectural tours.
Back in Vermont, Eleanor has managed some repairs to the trusty Mercedes GL320. It had some minor body damage from two separate incidents (one dating back a couple of years), and we finally took it to the body shop to get all of that cleaned up. Little dings can add up: the insurance claim was over $3,000 thanks to a ridiculously expensive front bumper part. It’s the sort of stuff that could be—and was—easily ignored but I hate to see it accumulate and make the car look junky before its time. The GL has about 74,000 miles on it so far, mostly towing, and I certainly intend to keep it for a few more years, so it was time to bite the bullet and pay the deductible to keep the car looking good.
In two weeks I need to head back to Vermont and then set out with the Airstream (and once again, E&E) on our voyage west. We don’t have the slightest plan yet what route we are taking. All we know is that we need to be back in Tucson by Oct 1, which gives us about a month to travel roughly 2,500-3,000 miles (depending on route). I’m looking for little things along the way to fill up our itinerary so we won’t go too fast.
This is a nice problem to have, after last year’s mad dash over the concrete Interstates. Slow travel is the best. It won’t be a vacation, but at least it will be an opportunity to take in some fresh new scenery in the Airstream before we settle back into home base for the winter. And there will be plenty to blog about!