Alumapalooza, day 1

It’s game day.  We’ve been working toward this for almost a year.  It’s just dawn and I’m watching a dull orange glow creep up the eastern sky.  The 6 a.m. outdoor alarm just went off at the factory building, indicating that it is time for the workers to start their day.  They start early here because many of them are farmers as well, and will go home in the afternoon to work their second jobs.

Our job this morning starts with getting the staff, volunteers, and vendors parked in the main field.  Yesterday we carefully checked all of the parking fields with a heavy truck and a bunch of volunteers, to identify potential wet spots.  There’s a section in the northeast corner we call “Lake Bambi,” and there are two smaller spots we call the South and North China Seas.  They are pretty wet, so we have marked them off. There’s also a section we had coded-named “Cairo” that we won’t be able to use even though it is mostly dry, just because we can’t get to it.

But otherwise the field is drying out very nicely.  In the morning I estimated we could use about 80% of the available spaces, but at the rate things were drying we might be up to 90% this morning.  We had a nice hot breeze all day and lots of sunshine.  In any case, we’ll have no trouble parking everyone who is signed up for the event.

The tent went up yesterday, and it is just plain huge.  We’ve got room for 450 people in there, plus a large stage. It’s the first things you see as you arrive.  Looks like the circus has come to town. There are three smaller tents too, for registration, yoga classes, and vendors.

The Terra Port filled up yesterday, as we expected.  Adam and Susan are here in their unique Class C, Alex and Charon showed up with Laura (from our Anza-Borrego trip last December), Kirk the amazing sign guy showed up with his usual bag of swag plus this cool Happy Hour sign, plus Michael Depraida, Hunter Hampton, and many other well-known Airstream characters.

With all these people, it wasn’t surprising to see a couple of big chat circles set up under the shady trees every afternoon.  Eleanor and I had enough to do that we didn’t have time to join them for more than a few minutes.  She was off until mid-afternoon making an airport run again, and then we needed to go back to the tent area to drop off the registration trailer (a U-Haul) and set up some things in the main tent.  Then I had to go out with Brett & Adam to set up signs on the entry roads (which look awesome, by the way, thanks to Kirk).

We finally got a chance to clean up and break away around 6 p.m. in the Miata for a top-down cruise through the countryside — just us, away from the bustle and crowd for a few hours.  We zipped down to the old downtown of Sidney, checked out a few quiet spots in town, then had dinner and came back via the Interstate.  The convertible is surprisingly habitable at highway speeds, especially on a night like last night when the temps were still running about 88 as we cruised home.

So here we are, 6:25 a.m. now, and it’s time to get moving.  The sun has risen as I’ve typed this. I can hear a few people outside already.  They want to get going.  We’ll start parking the staff and vendors around 8 a.m., and the general public at 9 a.m.   I’ve got to get going now if I’m going to be hitched up and ready to lead the parade …