Let’s start with the biggest and best news: Alumaflamingo was a big success. I know a lot of long-time Florida State Rally attendees were wondering if it would be worthwhile, and from the anecdotal reports we received on-site, they drove away with smiles on their faces. We had over 250 Airstreams parked on the field, and next year I would be surprised if the number wasn’t much higher.
Pulling off an event of this site was a monumental task, and of course a few things didn’t come off as planned, but overall I was pleased with the results. The SNAFUs were minor: two presenters failed to show up (in one case, an attendee jumped in to take over), we ran out of Airstream t-shirts, we had to cancel the third campfire night because of wind, etc. These small glitches were outweighed by the successes, in my opinion. Several presentations and tours got high praise, the meals were a hit, the entertainment and vendors were great, and as I mentioned before, the parking crew managed to park over 200 trailers in a single day. We kept the attendees busy day and night with things to do, and I think a lot of them were surprised by that.
About 30 Airstreams have been signed up for next year already, and we haven’t officially opened registration yet! It’s great that the event has been so well accepted, but of course that means we need to start planning for next year … and right now I need a vacation. We’ve just completed a marathon of sorts: five days of Alumafiesta, a week-long drive 2,000 miles across the south, and then five days of Alumaflamingo. Time for a break.
Our first post-event stress reliever was to visit Lido Beach in Sarasota before hitching up the Airstream. The beach is a great reviver, with the sound of waves and the squinch of white sand beneath one’s toes, and the seagulls & pelicans flying around. In just a couple of hours, most of which I spent lying on a beach blanket, I started to see what we’d managed to accomplish—and it feels good.
Now parked in Tampa, we are spending three days at an RV park to catch up on things, and then we will go offline for a four-day weekend. The trip back west will begin on Tuesday, March 3. I don’t have an itinerary for the return trip, but I can say with some confidence that we will go a lot more slowly. I can’t face another 2,000 mile race along I-10. People keep asking when we will get home (including people in Tucson who I need to see), and I keep saying “sometime in mid-March.” At this point that’s a good answer. The return trip is an opportunity, and if we do it right, it might be the best part of our entire voyage.